Last weekend, I had an interesting breakfast conversation with my good friend Sonicsuns regarding immortality. Naturally, the question came about – would you take immortality, if given the choice? To which he and I had opposite responses.
Sonicsuns (henceforth SS) said, as a matter of fact, that yes he would. I, of course, opted for death, to which SS asked me, “So, at which point would you like to die?” which completely blindsided me. Thank you for that.
I like to say that I will probably meet my end around the age of 29, just due to probability of being hit by a bus or jumping off of something just a smidge too high this time, but in all seriousness, I wasn’t able to answer that question until I was driving away later.
The Case for Immortality:
SS: “I do these things not for a fear of death, but for a love of life.”
SS basically said that the things he does and enjoys in life are a product of loving life instead of fearing death. We don’t write love letters while thinking about our impending morality, generally, though that would be a poignant vignette. Meanwhile, I was attempting to advance the point that death brings meaning to life – that, given infinite life, progress is inevitable and therefore meaningless. This hooked us into a conversation about the dichotomy of progress and contentment that I’ve been subconsciously mulling over in my head, with Contentment as Yin and Progress as Yang.
SS saw Contentment as laziness, but I felt that was just casting things into terms of Progress. Laziness is the absence of Progress, whereas Contentment is the refutation of Progress. But, as SS pointed out, I was still reaching toward something beyond that dichotomy. I came to it as I left his house and started driving away.
The Case for Death:
Kung: “I guess what it comes down to in terms of immortality is the advancement of humanity to the point were nothing is out of our control.”
It was about Control. The point was similar for Contentment and Progress. Progress is the clenched fist controlling and altering the future, whereas Contentment is a hand left trailing in a gentle, flowing river. As a risk taker, a daredevil, and a tricker, the primary characteristic of my life has been overcoming fear. But to take away all fear, to control every aspect of life, including death, is to take away the zest of living. I don’t know when I will die. I don’t really care. Today is a miracle because tomorrow I could be gone. Neither is it fear. It is the joy and yet melancholy of a single snowflake. I have no urge to control that, and so to answer the question, “When do you want to die?”, I would answer, “When it happens.”
To Control death absolutely is farther than I’m willing to go. To limit ourselves from that ultimate test of courage is, to me, a damn shame. Someday, I’m going to see what’s on the flipside, and I’d love to tell you about it when it happens, but…