Thursday, 4 February 2010

Last of the mortals - immortality becons us

Over on my poetry blog last night, following the Horizon program on the current state of some of our attempts to extend human life spans (which program curiously left out Aubrey de Grey), I wrote the following poem:
Last of the mortals
What pathos is this!
To be here dying,
in the company of those who are the first humans to not die;
or else they live so long that death is merely
the last thing that they haven’t tried yet.

(see: poetry blog)

The curious thing about our desperate scramble to stay alive, is that we each of us know from our own experience that life came to us as a gift.

Why are we so desperate to keep hold of something that is after all so easy to come by? (By "so easy to come by" I mean the gift was given to us without an invoice.)

If we squint hard with our mind's eye, it is not hard to see that everything we glorify about our own particular instance of life (what we call "my self" or in the realm of the physical what we call "my body") is expressed over and over in other places in this extraordinary miracle of being (our universe) that is So designed to be taken for granted and designed so well that it Is taken for granted.

However much the universe may indeed be a mystery even to itself, the insight is inescapable that the universe really knows what it's doing.

Of course we must act in any way we can to reduce the suffering of those around us, and make the world a better place for each other in any way we can. That opportunity is part of life's gift. Therein lies the paradoxical perfection of imperfection. The state of our universe is so perfect for us that it even bothers to include something for us to do with our lives! (It even includes a little bit of imperfection - or depending on your viewpoint a lot of imperfection - just to give us the pleasure of completing the perfection.)

But even more amazing is the inescapable insight that any inclination you or I might have to worry on behalf of the universe, is blissfully unnecessary. The universe can and always will take care of itself. We are consequently completely free to let it be exactly the way it is, and not have to worry about that.

Whether or not the universe is "up to something" I think can only be a matter of speculation. But whether it is or whether it isn't, it clearly can get on happily doing whatever it is that it is doing without us "human beings" needing to be worried about that.

I don't mean to suggest that we should shy away from our attempts to become immortal, or even our attempts to become gods and be able to design our own universes entirely from scratch. I would hazard a guess that this universe (our universe) would actually love it if we did achieve that.

I picture her sitting there smiling wistfully and thinking to herself "How about that! Bless them! The kids have finally started to grow up and have universes of their own!" 8-)

Last of the mortals - immortality becons us (this post as it appears on my blog)

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