My Internal Struggle With Immortality vs Finality…
The idea of long life or immortality has fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Who doesn’t at least day dream about it from time to time? Imagine being able to survive anything, cancer, a car wreck, a plane crash and so on. Or, just thought about living for a really long time thus being able to see the world and it’s inhabitants evolve. To see the events that will come like when we first land on Mars, artificial intelligence is a biggie. I’m guessing that in the next 30 years we’re going to have robots and androids that appear nearly human that will do functions like clean our house and even offer intellectual companionship. It’s on the way and living a long life will ensure us a chance to witness it all. I would imagine that if one lived long enough they could even witness a time when they Raiders don’t suck.
Today I was saddened and inspired when I read a tweet by an ABC News affiliate that announced, “Happy 116th birthday to Susannah Mushatt Jones, who is now the world’s oldest living person.” Can you even imagine that? Seriously, she was born so long ago that she lived through the invention Henry Ford’s first Model-T, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War II, Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, The Cold War, the Space Race, The Berlin Wall coming down, Hippies, the assassination of JFK, MLK and Malcolm X, the Moon Landing, Jackson’s Thriller video, the Challenger disaster, the 9/11 attacks and the legalization of of gay marriage. She’s lived through all that and much, much more. How incredible is that?!
There however is a downside to it all and that would be eventually losing everyone you have ever loved. You’re parents, friends and even your children will eventually die and there’s no escaping it. And, if you’re not careful you will find yourself living eternity completely alone and disconnected from society.
I learned this in some small way when I was in High School a long time ago. My high school was a 3 year school. 10th, 11th and 12th. I had made a lot of friends that were Jr.s and seniors when I was a sophomore. I didn’t hang out with many kids younger than myself. I was terribly shallow in that respect. I wanted to be older, the thought of hanging out with those younger me? No way! Then, my senior year came along and I was pretty much alone. My closest friends had graduated and I was surrounded by mostly people I didn’t know at all. School became so boring, all work and no play.
When I think of immortality I actually crave it. I have faced death several times in my life. I’ve stared right into its eyes and came out the victor each time. I can’t comprehend not being here. But, I have two kids and though I don’t get to see them as much as I would like I can’t imagine a world that they did not exist and I literally have no desire to exist in a world without them. When I lived through a really dark time in my life, it was because of them that I didn’t pull the trigger to end my sad, sorry existence.
Granted times have since changed and I actually love life now. I survived those dark times and am so thankful I didn’t end it. There was literally no hope for me back them. There was no way out of the situation I had gotten myself into and my very existence was only hurting the ones I loved. But, I rode it out with one simple thought. “What if?” What if I through some amazing cosmic turn of events things could change for the better? I didn’t pull the trigger and unfortunately they got much, much worse. But, they eventually got better and my thirst for life is strong and hopeful. I really don’t know how I could survive the loss of my children. I honestly don’t think I could and for that reason I am torn with wanting to live forever and not wanting to live long enough to lose everyone I love.
I am forever torn when I question Immortality vs Finality. I can’t wait to see what comes next for the world. Will we choose a path of exploration and knowledge or devolve back into a society that respects tradition and mysticism over logic and science. The future is exciting and full of possibilities that I hope to see… as long as I can share it with those I love.