Once in a lifetime redefined in forever

Forever is a foreign concept to the human mind because it's something that no one has been said to have achieved. Curiosity strikes as to what would forever be like and how would it change the way the world works. Human values may be altered as well as our habits and maybe even our natural instinct. Forever is an extensive amount of time and although it may appear life would continue as it does in our temporary world it may be completely unexpected and full of both new obstacles and new pleasures. The world is vast and the universe is full of things unexplored. Secrets yet to be discovered could potentially be unlocked and we could become extraordinary. On the contrary, we might also self destruct given a chance at forever. It is undetermined whether the human mind and body were built equipped to withstand the trials and tests of forever. We are always told to live as if today was our last but forever would reform that universal ideology. If the opportunity arose for forever to become a living reality how would we use it? How would we conform? What aspects of human life and mental process would be reformed? Some of these questions can be answered by advancing science and others only by abstract ideas.

"where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping." -Gilgamesh It is not known for sure whether humans were destined for immortality but we may be the closest we've ever been to achieving it. Although Gilgamesh sought to achieve "forever" it was rendered solely for the gods. Would accomplishing immortality make humanity one among the gods or would it change us so drastically we would fall in to a new category of our own? Gilgamesh believed it was the final step to greatness and that his life would gain significant meaning if he were to gain immortality. It's difficult to say where the world would be if forever existed but when you put the world into perspective the vast possibility becomes quite narrow.
"come to the fountain dip your heart in the stream of life" The bible even talks about a type of fountain of youth in figurative terms. Many cultures have stories of objects, or even fountains that once acquired or used will enter one into the realm of everlasting life. Other myths including humanistic forms obtaining "forever", occur but at some form of sacrifice or struggle. The "fountain of youth" has become such a popular theme that its been coined to describe many products that produce a youthful result. It is said myths stem from truth so could this mean elements of forever are at our fingertips or did we as humanity create this as a cushion to subdue the fear of death or as a glimmer of hope? Humans latch on to faith or supernatural properties to explain things or further pursue an enlightened life but humanity will have to find a new source of comfort if the talk of the town for thousands of years comes to exist.
With age comes wisdom but with age also comes the desire to be young again. The search for immortality is birthed by the reality of aging. If the aging process, the reason we all eventually die, can be reversed wouldn't that be the cure for death? Age, once valued, has become a sign of weakness and a point in life every human actively tries to circumvent whether in appearance or spirit. A wrinkle seems harmless but it's something we spend billions each year trying to correct in our outward appearances. If we were to reverse aging how far would we go? Do we make a cutoff age? Will it inhibit our brain capacity and expansion of knowledge? By playing with aging we could very well be playing with fire but it could be only a cosmetic fix affecting just appearance and longevity. Humans generally value life so we are always looking for new ways to save lives but when it comes to saving lives by reversing age which is essentially a leading cause of death, the topic becomes controversial because the immortality aspect comes into light. Regardless the effects would be extensive worldwide and the typical grandparent will be extinct. Will our future generations be taking daily anti aging supplements or injections? Will hospitals be emptying out with improved patients left and right? What will the future be like with anti-aging and possibly immortality coming into play? As a culture we are trapped in the idea of making things last and keeping them preserved and youthful but maybe there is a certain beauty in impermanence and imperfection.
The meaning of humanity has been laid out in basic encompassing terms for us, but if humans could live forever, the definition we use now would be scrutinized. Some aspects may remain unchanged but others would be thrown out of the equation. It has been said that, "hunger and love are what move the world" (Freud)and that, "we are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our body, which is doomed to decay...". (Freud) The fact of death lurking around every corner and the unpredictability of it is at the center of how we live and that would fade out as a focal point of invisible control and decision making in this world because "time is of the essence" would no longer be an issue. Dreams, goals, aspirations would they be pushed off because you have forever to achieve it? Would it hinder progress and create a culture of no work all play? When death leaves the equation, it is easier to become less compassionate and more basic in our natural instinct. Yes we would still be civilized but there is no longer this fear of not being able to mend what's broken in a timely way, the immediate action drifts away with death. Marriage is a valued practice that arises in many cultures whether by choice or arranged. Love is a huge driving force behind human life but if we were to have "forever" could we love someone for that long of a period? Would marriage and dating become obsolete? Would a casual hook up culture fill the void where love would have previously gone? There are so many layers to the human mind and so many driving forces many of which Freud attempted to dig under the surface of. All his research could be applicable to a forever future because the more developed parts of ourselves could be eliminated with the lingering fatality complex ruled out while out underlying instinctual motives may be brought to the surface as Freud says would construct true happiness in a society. Isn't that what the ultimate goal of forever would be?
People often wonder, if we gain eternity then will we also be able to gain superpowers? It is believed that if we live forever research may lead to unlocking technologies and hidden power of the brain. The closest thing we have to humans with super powers are those who we collectively admire such as our troops. The Yellow Birds proves that even our troops who we believe are a special class citizen have their downfalls just like every comic book, or ancient hero has their weak link. Although physically extraordinary they suffer mental abuse. The PTSD and depression providing a daily struggle for the individual and the loved ones around them. In the Yellow Birds Bartle says, "I didn't want to smile and say thanks. Didn't want to pretend I'd done anything except survive." In the midst of all the human weakness manifesting itself in our greatest look at heroes, we still put them above ourselves, with a regard and respect much greater than the average man or woman. Sometimes to much access to our own thoughts can be as detrimental as a physical wound. As much as we would like to believe they are immune to death they succumb to it just as we all do at this stage of humanity and are essentially positioned to knock on death's door. Powers says about the war, "We were not destined to survive. The fact is, we were not destined at all. The war would take what it could get." Removing death from the lives of all humans but especially our "heroes" would cause a considerable impact. Throughout The Yellow Birds many of the characters lose a desire for life. If in forever we find we all have the ability of superpower then do we have heroes anymore? Would superpowers change war? Would war even exist in the way it does today or will medical advancements eradicate the possibility of war casualties? The people who we call on to swoop in and protect us, those who we mentally bestow superpower upon, may become equals with us on a level of ability we can't fathom. The mind can become a prison or the mind can become an endless expanse and the key to supernatural ability lies within the mind. The mind is what sets humans apart from many other life forms. Isolation, feeling misunderstood, and feeling a lack of identity is unhealthy and these are mental states that are often manifested in soldiers but these soldiers, with their weaknesses, are what we accept as our closest superpower, our inspiration and our signal of hope.
Memories make up a large part of who we are and creates individuality through experience. Memories are our framework. Death creates a special urge to keep memories safe and secure and to continue making new, magnificent ones. Many people strive to live their lives so that they leave behind a legacy or live based on how they would like to be remembered and spoken of after they're gone. Kafka's work written to his father exemplifies the importance of human interaction and how memories are such an ingrained portion of ourselves. He writes to his father, "...for you, without any respect for my feelings or judgment, to weigh in with insults, slander and humiliation." The letter goes on to describe unpleasant memories of his father stemming from his childhood to early adolescence. The fact that he wrote in such detail all these experiences over the years shows his fathers actions obviously made quite the impact on his personality and the way he lived out the remainder of his life. The whole letter is not an assassination to his fathers character, he also talks about the way he kept his body and how he was a hard worker. These things only small details of the writing, provide a small point of positivity in the large picture of his father. Without death there is no legacy, there is no "memory will live on". You have to continually prove yourself for the rest of your life if you plan on having an impact which will be a very long time. People as we know from tabloids can be unforgiving so is it really desirable to have to live your whole life trying to make good memories for others to hold onto when it will become an endless process. Will we even be able to retain a "forever" worth of memories? All the great legendary people of the world got the gift of figuratively living forever but had they actually had to live physically forever would they uphold the legendary title or would they have a short lived blur of history only to be replaced by the next in line?. The thought of forever devalues the work, lives and memories of all the great people and things that are created. What about the people and memories we would like to rid ourselves of? On the other hand this can be a good thing because when you do slip up, you have forever to fix it and because the world will be overflowing with people and new things happening the permanence of each action could be small and technology could improve our memory as a whole. Memories and legacies and those who strive to be legendary will have a large competition in the time of forever if at that point it doesn't cease to matter. For people like Kafka, the memories of his dad were the center of his life and forever, may have just eaten him alive. Right now we cease to exist and our essence through others has the opportunity to live on but eternity on earth in relation to memory and time can either be positive or negative. It will be solely dependent on the particular individual. Memories will hopefully not become a devalued layer of humanity if forever is the reality. The era in which we live has created easy ways to store innumerable amounts of experience and memory through video and images. Kafka wouldn't have wanted any extra reminders of his childhood or the ability to replay portions of his life. His memories affected his adult character in a sizable way and humans are highly dependent on experience and memory as a pensive look into the past to learn and prevent future mistakes. The future of memory and experience is unpredictable but until we get there it is important to live the way legends are made.
“Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God.” (Freud) This is one of my favorite Freud quotes and probably one of his most directly applicable and simply stated. As humans we have flaws and one is dealing in the realm of superiority and authority. Some of us love the idea of "God" and others despise it. So many people are hell bent on controlling their own lives and having no authority figure dangling over their heads. This could realistically work out in their favor with the idea of trans humanism. This ties into immortality because life and all its components would be heavily reliant on computer systems which don't have an expiration date. The big question here is will forever create millions of "gods"? Society would become omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent and that would make us gods. Some question can we truly know everything, and is it good for us to have so much power. Freud uses this quote to reference civilization and newer technologies of the time but his point is more relevant now than ever. This god complex that society goes back and forth on seems to be at a heightened sensitivity as the technology becomes available. Immortality and all it has to offer us does in some part make us like God. For some this idea is a horrifying coming reality, for others it is the fulfillment of a dream. The power hungry, the atheists, will be in full support among others. The idea would hardly sit well in the ideals mentioned in the Daodejing of Laozi, especially the principle of wu-wei, working without effort, accomplishing without concern for reward or results. Achieving the goals of trans humanism would be an exact contradiction to this as we would never be peaceful. The world would be buzzing at a furious speed. This new technological advancement virtually creates large scale controversy touching on religion and most certainly trust for the people who would be putting this system in place. What the future of forever has in store could abandon humanity as we know it in its entirety through this new technology. We already have the capacity to create life and prevent death in some circumstances and we have the power of running the physical world. The power becomes greater, we become gods, and earth will basically become a new age Mount Olympus. Is humanity crossing a fine line or is this what the bible meant when it said God created us to be in his image? What will life in a world full of gods be like? Will only the strong, adept be allowed to enter this world? What will a world full of gods be like?
In thinking about forever there is much to consider. Is it what we're destined for or were we made "for such a time as this"? There is so much unexplored territory that immortality encounters and I don't think humans could ever mentally grasp all it's complexities. Life is a beautiful thing to be cherished but death gives our lives meaning, value, and a motivation to be productive and go out, fulfilling whatever it is we would like to do or see on this earth. Forever is going to take trial and error to become a flawless way of life. What if at first not all people have the ability to become immortal? This would be devastating to those who have already taken the step towards forever now having to watch as loved ones age and fade away. Of course this could potentially never become a situation but the fact of the matter is there's still so much uncertainty in the realm of eternity and how it will effect humanity. Do we really want to live forever or will we want to revert back to the life that is only temporary. Life is certainly not expendable but in the current worldly conditions we have been provided, by either God or natural occurrence, are we equipped, intrinsically to sustain forever? Our mental processes can only withstand so much in a lifetime but when the lifetime becomes an eternity will we be able to function as productive citizens? We may become engulfed by the idea of forever, consumed in the reality of its possibility, but we must remain vigilant in fact, stringent in who we allow power to enforce these weighted decisions, and grounded in our individual beliefs and moral codes. If all these things can be upheld I believe a shot at forever could be productive and enlightening. If these things are abandoned, the evil, brutality, and shortcomings of the world currently in play could just be magnified. Eternal life is usually spoken of as being fulfilled in an alternate realm after physical death and that is not parallel to a life forever on earth as we know it now. Gilgamesh was lost in his identity and to fulfill his hunger for power and access the key that would make him whole he sought immortality and came to realize that it was not the answer. The quest ended and his focus shifted. The soldiers in The Yellow Birds lived in a reality where every day felt like an eternity in a microcosm filled with fear and anxiety at all hours, in all places. Freud in order to be happy believes we would have to revert to our basic instinct and if we did in fact turn back to being primal beings we would live in a destructive eternity, both physically and emotionally. Kafka would not be able to endure an eternal life based on the relationship with his father and the way it altered his entire world for the worst. His internal battles are ones that would take long to mend and he might not want to spend his eternity trying to fix himself. The Daodezing of Laozi would disapprove as the wholeness and peace would be compromised by the many advancements necessary for forever. The lifestyle forever would predictably produce would not be one in harmony with the ways of the Dao. It is apparent that there are many different takes and explanations both for and against immortality as the ultimate way the world turns. It is an issue of personal desire and belief but people need to begin preparing their stance because the arguments will likely begin sooner than we think. Eternity doesn't necessarily equate happiness.
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