A couple of weeks ago, I went with my friend for star gazing. One the one hand, we were looking at the immortal, eternal and unchanging sky, while on the other we were wondering if the stars were dead or alive at this moment. I felt so insignificant in the big, dark and cold cosmos while she expressed that every moment is so precious as this life and this world is so unique. She felt every moment should be preserved and cherished.
Human beings have always been fascinated with the concept of immortality.
A few years ago, I had read the novel All Men Are Mortal by Simone de Beauvoir. The book was about the pain and agony of a man for whom everything is just the same and never changing as he is immortal. His life is contrasted with the life of a fading actress who wants her performances to be remembered forever. To her, everything is of great significance and is unique. The novel beautifully engages the reader in the quest for immortality and the tragic consequences for the same.
Ernest Becker in The Denial of Death, argues that the idea and fear of death haunt human beings like anything. Fear of death is universally present, and every human endeavor is to transcend into eternity and immortality. We try to deny the end and engage in the ‘Immortality Project’ which means, people, create or engage in such activities that they feel will last forever and will give meaning to their life such as art, music, religion, etc.
The Hindu religion concerns itself with the immortality in a compelling manner. Anything that changes cannot be considered immortal. The knowledge, intelligence nothing is timeless as everything changes, grows or fades away. Only the realization of higher consciousness can lead to eternal bliss and immortality.
But the above mentioned is not about physical immortality. It’s about the eternal soul. The body has to wither away and die anyway. There is no escape from that.
But all this is going to change. People can say goodbye to old age, disease, and death.
Scientists say that we are very close to reaching immortality. With the advances made in Artificial Intelligence and genetic engineering, humans can live on forever.
Dara Horn, in her novel, Eternal Life, narrates the story of Rachael who is 2000 years old. Her problem is immortality. She cannot die, and she has painfully given birth and nursed hundreds of infants and has buried hundreds of children, grandchildren, and husbands. The novel deals with the deep and cold voids of loneliness that no mortal can ever understand.
This thought of immortality in itself is so terrorizing and fascinating at the same. There is a considerable debate going on in religious and scientific realms about advantages and disadvantages of living forever.
What are your views on the immortality? Please do share what you think about it.