I wiped some blood off the sink the other day, (don't worry, it was my own blood, and it was from shaving), and for some reason, I was amazed at how easily it just wiped away. It got me to thinking about our permanence, as human beings, or rather, our lack of permanence. Our temporal state. And the illusion of immortality that we shroud ourselves in. I mean, we're not only NOT permanent, we're water soluble. After we're gone, you can just mop us up and we don't even leave a stain. How's that for a cheery thought before I'm even dressed and ready for the day? But for some reason it didn't bum me out. It just left me ponderous for the whole next 24 hours. All I could think of was, what would our world be like if we were truly permanent, actually immortal, 100% here for good?
Well for starters, our whole value system would be completely different. Different things would make us happy, different things would make us sad, but, not actually being IN a culture of immortal permanence, it strains my small brain to think of HOW it would be different. Being who I am though, and thinking the way I do, I quickly thought of fear, and what horror would be like if we were immortal.
I don't know exactly what would scare us if we were permanent, because everything that scares us in this life has to do with death, harm, loss and the unknown. And if we were immortal, that rules out death right there. I suppose if we were immortal but could still be harmed, we'd still be fearful of monsters, maniacs and things that could maim us. Because who'd want to live forever after being blinded, mutilated or de-limbed? Then there's the unknown... the unknown is frightening because, well, we just don't know what will happen if we deal with it. But a massive part of what scares us about the unknown is that maybe it could kill us. And if dealing with the unknown as an immortal means that no matter how unusual, weird or mysterious the unknown is, we'd still come out of it alive, well... that certainly takes a big bite out of how frightening the unknown is.
I think, if I were immortal, the thing that would scare the hell out of me would be towing around my future everywhere I went. I mean, if we were immortal, instead of tarrying away at time like we do now, secretly knowing that there's a finality and an end, our cross to bear in an immortal culture would be that if we were ever separated from what we know as comfortable and safe, we might completely come undone.
For example, picture this. You're immortal. You go on some exploration to some unknown place. You get lost, like BAD lost. Totally separated from everyone and everything you know, adrift in some endless sea, or wedged in some underground place deep below and far from home. Your food would run out, your lights would go dead. You'd be hungry (providing there's hunger in this world, which amittedly there might not be), you're in darkness, and you're ALONE. All of this is tantamount to being dead, worse than dead, because you're conscious of your fate. Now, if you're immortal, you can imagine that eventually, inevitably, someone will find you, rescue you, take you home. It's mathematically probable and most likely that they will. But while you're sitting there, alone, hungry and in the darkness with your thoughts, you think, "What if they don't ever find me? What if my eternity is to be spent alone, in darkness? And even if they do find me, how many months, years, decades, centuries will I sit here with only my thoughts to keep me company?"
This doubt, then is like the oppossite of hope. An inversion. And in a world where we and everything else lasts forever, doubt becomes the negative photoplate of hope.
And it's in doubt that we'd find our greatest fear. Doubt would eat us the way hope feeds us now.
But we're not permanent. We're not immortal. And we're not going to be here forever. As a matter of fact, we're so temporal that we're easily wiped away into oblivion with a wet washcloth. And if that doesn't scare you, nothing will.
Gaudium per Atrox.