22
Jan
08

An Offer of Immortality

ImmortalIf I offered you immortality, would you take it? I think in a way, many of us are already pursuing an immortality of sorts. Perhaps it’s on the small scale, but I wonder if our passion for user-generated content (or whatever you want to call it) is part of our desire to create our own immortality.

According to William Faulkner,

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life. Since man is mortal, the only immortality possible for him is to leave something behind him that is immortal since it will always move. This is the artist’s way of scribbling “Kilroy was here” on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion through which he must someday pass. (link)

Is that what all our bytes of data are about, achieving a type of immortality? Faulkner’s idea of arresting motion seems to fly in the face of a world that seems constantly in motion. So are we leaving anything behind for strangers a 100 years from now to put into motion? Are we creating things worth reviving in the decades and centuries to come, or are we so busy producing that we’ve lost sight of what we’re trying to accomplish?

What form of immortality are you pursuing? And is immortality as Faulkner defines it even possible anymore given the amount of what is currently being produced? Will we all end up in one big pile, no longer distinguishable from one another, no longer put into motion during the years to come? This post is not an argument for limiting creation, but rather a caution to think about what you’re creating and where you want to go. Don’t be the person who says, “If I’d only had one more day, one more week, one more year, I could have…”

Comments?

(Image courtesy of rnickme. Some rights reserved.)

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2 Responses to “An Offer of Immortality”


  1. January 22, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    family, and family identity. DNA?

    land.

    stories.

    events and changes.

    -some of the few things we can be happy to leave behind, to help make us immortal through memory.

    I think immortality would be painful, perhaps even unbearable (like Highlander would sometimes show us) – but totally worth it!

  2. 2 Britt
    January 23, 2008 at 10:41 am

    @t h rive: The idea of family as immortality is one often associated with why people have children, particularly the desire for male children.

    The idea that one is leaving something behind seems to appeal to many. Not sure it’s the best reason to have kids though.


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