Our Mortal Wounds: The Things We Fear…
Inspired by my own fumbling toward Immortality and +David Amerland’s Sunday Read (Sept.14, 2014)
Somewhere between the first and the last word that +David Amerland writes in his thoughtful Sunday Read posts, I can usually find some portion to contend with, connect with, and in the case of this week’s post - contextualize. The point that I fixated on from this particular read is encapsulated in these three sentences:
_We fear living it in ways that waste it_. Its one-way stream makes us fearful of making mistakes we cannot undo. Causing harm that cannot be repaired.
Coincidentally, I could have done that very thing yesterday - that irreparable thing- when I blocked someone so very tender to my heart - all in a bratty fit over something miniscule in importance. After I did it, I laid down and slept for three hours (apparently I was extremely grumpy from lack of sleep!). I didn’t even realize I was that tired. I just knew that if I stayed working at my desktop, I would not be able to stand having him blocked - he’s practically my lifeblood afteral… However, I was bound and determined I was going to make my point for the next ten minutes or so - AND then I’d go unblock him and we would both have a great chuckle at my silliness and everything would be beautiful as usual. …Like I said, though, I slept for three hours!! … … …
When I finally came back to consciousness, I awoke in a panic. Realizing what I had done and had left to ruminate upon for hours, I rushed over to my desktop, tripped over the cord as I was in such a hurry to ameliorate my dastardly attempt at proving something of naught, and I managed to unplug the cord from the wall. “Dratz!” I thought. I was forced to sit there with my thoughts and wait til my machine booted up. (Longest minute and a half - E-V-E-R!!!) After I unblocked him, I apologized with haste. Fortunately for me, my fellow in question is extremely wise beyond ego and very forgiving.
During the interim moment between consciousness and absolution, I faced the horrible possibility that I could have really hurt his feelings. It wasn’t until later in the night when we talked it out (via our precious Google+ videochat tool), that the fulness of the possible ramifications of such a maneuver were made clear. This was done with one simple statement: “It’s a good thing I didn’t block you back.” “Huh? Block me back?” I thought. Now that was an implausible scenario…
Or was it?
My point in sharing this #TMINarrative is this:
✐ We can never be too sure of another person’s ability to withstand our ego AND we should NEVER ever take someone’s feelings for granted for the sake of proving a point. Chances are that if “my fellow in question” had retaliated and not had the heart of a wise wizard to see beyond the moment, I fear that I’d have lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had. That karma would haunt me, and I’d always be left wondering: What if I had the courage to nurse my own mortal wounds? What if I had never pushed him out of my life?
Frankly… I’m not willing to ever have to wonder. Are you?
#davidamerlandsundayread #mortalwounds #NeverPushAFriendAway #NeverSellout #Courage
▼ Reshared Post From David Amerland ▼
The Things We Fear …
The notion that death can be conquered is very old. From Achilles (http://goo.gl/qaJX) being dipped by his mother in the river Styx, as a baby, to prayer, purity of spirit, morality and even alchemy (http://goo.gl/H7VXKx) there’s a long list of things that have been tried by men who range from someone who ran for the US presidency to Joseph Stalin.
Modern medicine regards ageing (and presumably dying) as a disease a cure to which may indeed be found and Google’s project Calico (http://goo.gl/C3MMQl) is only the latest, and probably the most scientific approach to the issue, to date.
Having lived a kinda uncontrolled youth where I used to take what in retrospect, euphemistically can only be called ‘chances’ I frequently used to wonder what being immortal must be like. Two things used to leap out at me: First, the boredom. Seeing patterns in the underlying motivations that made me and those around me do things, it struck me that at some point one would get tired of seeing the same thing enacted time and time again across the ages. A thought that Michael Moorcock’s brilliantly witty and frequently underrated opus The Dancers At The End Of Time (http://goo.gl/qSO0oc) makes abundantly clear. (For a taste of the style and content try An Alien Heat - http://goo.gl/APaAW7).
Second, the challenge of staying sane. Having frequently doubted my own ability to retain sanity for very long the very idea of maintaining a balanced outlook on life across a timespan of thousands of years, to me, seemed improbable. The TV series Highlander (http://goo.gl/8BpNB) which I loved, drove the point home with a vengeance with one immortal after another succumbing to the “curse of living forever” and losing either interest in life or their hold on reality or, most frequently, both.
There are, of course, many different paths to immortality. Emperors, Kings and politicians have frequently looked for it in history. Ordinary people have tried to achieve it through the continuation of their family name, the growth of their family tree. Immortality then, of a sort perhaps, is the residual memory of our passage through the universe.
Occultists have often drawn on the esoteric notion of the Akashic records (http://goo.gl/0AGPN) popularized by madam Blavatsky (http://goo.gl/uHRu4U) in the 19th century to explain the other-dimensionality of the consciousness of man. At the other end of the same scale of this lies Christof Koch’s, somewhat radical but nonetheless possible, notion of consciousness as an emergent phenomenon driven by connectivity (http://goo.gl/HPpl7L). In that sense we could all achieve an immortality of sorts by being remembered long enough for the world to become conscious in which case we may exist again as shadows of what we once were, memories living in the ‘system’.
If that sounds too much like The Matrix to you consider that the notion of resurrecting loved ones is already being explored (http://goo.gl/6cDiCL) with algorithmic resurrection and resurrection through simulation (http://goo.gl/7ubuC9) being hotly debated from both a practical and an ethical point of view.
The controversial, late Terence McKenna (http://goo.gl/j2tlK) proposed that resurrection was a possible reality provided one knew a person’s resonance frequency and could successfully apply it to a mass equal to that of the deceased. It was a bit like the universe being asked to ‘play back’ the person that was gone and as such is not far removed from Blavatsky’s idea of the Akashik record.
When the world was made up of people who lived like candles contained in hermetically sealed boxes, death (and immortality) could perhaps be of huge concern. While some may have, indeed, invested a certain amount of megalomania in their search for a means to cheat the end of life, others simply wanted to know that their brief passage through the stage of the world, mattered. Made a difference, however small.
The world we live in now, while not yet quite conscious is far, far different from that of the 20th century (or indeed any century beyond it). Almost 40% of the world’s population is now online (http://goo.gl/nixwem) and growing. Memories of our passage through the world will echo digitally long after our corporeal bodies melt away. Our acts and thoughts and beliefs living on in actions and trends we helped set in motion in the digital domain, through our being.
In view of this immortality is already at hand, perhaps. Just as no tree ever dies as long as there are others to replace the ones that are gone and continue the process that creates forests out of a small clump of trees, so does our passage through the world, today, become part of a larger process with a much longer end-goal. It is no accident that in ancient myth and urban legend alike immortality has always been a quest of sorts requiring a hero’s journey (http://goo.gl/ZML6W7) to complete it. Actors and performers have known this for ages (http://goo.gl/YFQad8) letting their works stay on for them, speaking long after they are gone and now, the same access to the communal memory is available to us all.
While living forever, at a corporeal level, may be just a pipedream, living a longer, healthier life may not be that much of a stretch (http://goo.gl/FrxyQD). Genetics researcher David Sinclair thinks he may have cracked it (http://goo.gl/YXzazq). This is also the area Ubrey de Grey tackles in his singularly unique style: http://goo.gl/5XQ6FU
The reason there is so much preoccupation with immortality and prolonging life is because, perhaps, we fear not just death but life itself. We fear living it in ways that waste it. Its one-way stream makes us fearful of making mistakes we cannot undo. Causing harm that cannot be repaired. Its complexity reduces us, at times, to ineffectual clumps of indecision, never knowing whether what we do is the right thing to do. That fear does not go away, but by knowing that now, perhaps, we share part of the journey with a collective “other” that can, through the connection itself, make us feel a little smarter and our passage of somewhat greater meaning, makes the journey of life a little easier to bear.
Irrespective of whether we live on in the minds of others or manage to live on a little longer than expected, and lead a full, healthy life, none of it would have little meaning without some sugary treats, donuts, cake and a river of coffee (and maybe, even, tea) to help kick-off each Sunday. Have a great Sunday, wherever you are.