The age-old question of immortality
What if we were immortal?
Throughout our lives, we face loss, some more some less.
A beloved pet passes, you lose a friend to drugs, a grandparent suddenly leaves, a week before your birthday. All when you’re not ready. And really, can we ever be ready for loss?
A family member who was your role model growing up and meant the absolute world to you
The passing of a friend
As kids, or maybe even as grown-ups, we often wish our loved ones would be immortal, so we can love and enjoy their company, and avoid the traumatising pain of loss
And yet, none of us are immortal, despite our strongest wishes
Not our bodies at least
And I think that’s a blessing
What if we were immortal?
How many of us would continue learning and growing and how many would settle into the idea that age equals absolute wisdom?
How many would continue being hopeful for the future when you observe the never-ending carnage and despair all around you?
Don’t get me wrong, there is so much beauty and kindness in the world. There is, and in my eyes, there always will be.
Personally, I would eventually develop a paranoia over all the beautiful things becoming tainted. I would lose hope for a better future, despite all the signs pointing to otherwise.
There is only so much a human being can learn in their lifetime about humanity and its history. Imagine living through that history? Through centuries upon centuries of war, ignorance, suffering?
Humanity is getting better. Yes, the war, the carnage, and overall hate towards those who are not like us, and the overpowering ego — it’s all still there. And yet, we’re getting better. A few examples are sexism, racism, and homophobia.
Women are now allowed to vote, choose their husbands (or lack thereof), and have more autonomy over their bodies than ever before and although there are still mountains of shit to sort through, we have shifted into a better direction.
Racism, with everything that’s happening, and me being a middle-class white woman, is not something I can wholeheartedly understand (not for a lack of effort) nor should I write about it. However, despite all that’s happening, I believe we’re shifting towards a better direction. I know this because I’m one of the people who chose to educate herself and work on breaking down my internally conditioned biases, rather than simply ignore the issue.
Homophobia. There are countries like Poland and Russia where being gay is literally dangerous for your Life. And yet Alan Turing was being “cured” from homosexuality in the 1940s and 1950s through the use of stilboestrol (now known as diethylstilbestrol or DES), that’s not a practice today, is it?
Despite the state of the world, I believe we’re moving forward, very much stumbling along the way.
Now, I can be impatient, all of us can. Oftentimes I use my age as an excuse. As if your age should justify your lack of patience (to a point, I’m not blaming a 3-year-old for lacking the virtue). Imagine being centuries old and being so absolutely fed up with humanity’s shit?
Seeing the patterns emerge over and over, for centuries if not millennia on end. As humans, after prolonged exposure, we begin to become accustomed to whatever it is. Pain, joy, suffering. After centuries of seeing human beings cause each other’s suffering, one might become completely desensitized. The way you get used to the pain, or how we take our loved ones for granted.
You simply — get used to it. There is no appreciation anymore. There’s only irritation at how, despite so many steps forward, through philosophy, science, spirituality, and research, humans continue to facilitate carnage and suffering, all while absolutely refusing to listen to logic and the truth.
And so, imagine we were immortal, would the life we live and experience around us matter?
Or would we stop caring because we are eternity’s slave?
One of my favourite Latin phrases is “Memento Mori” — which translates to “Remember Death”, and essentially “Remember you must die.”
The Stoics valued meditating on the thought of death and viewed death as potentially being the one thing that gives life its meaning. For if we have a limited time for something, aren’t we more inclined to enjoy it more? To do more with it? To appreciate the fragility and shortness of it?
In essence, there’s a highly likely chance immortality would indeed devoid life of it’s meaning. For if we struggle with finding a purpose to our lives while it’s limited, do you think we would have a better go at it if we had all of eternity to figure it out?