05 Apr The Gift of Mortality
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"The Gift of Mortality"Written by
Estimated reading time — 4 minutes
For many, it is a concept to be feared, to be respected. It is the ender of relationships, of knowledge, of everything that you were and will have ever been. They see it as nothing but a monster, the blades ready at a moment’s notice to cut clean through the fragile string you call your life.
For others, it is but the next great step in the journey of existence. When it is time for them to shed their physical bond with the world, they do so gladly and without hesitation. They know not what waits beyond, but hope that there is yet more to discover, to experience, to explore. They are happy to go on.
Some simply consider it an escape; a way to flee from the pain of living, the hurt that comes from simply being alive. When life becomes too much to bear, they welcome the embrace of death regardless of what may follow after. For them, they do not care about meeting it prematurely, or if there is more. They only desire for their suffering to cease.
The one thing that all agree upon is that death is a universal truth; just as every being has a beginning, there must also come an end. Everyone prepares for it in different ways, but the result is always the same. No matter the person, no matter the status, no matter your wealth, riches, family, friends, everyone finds themselves in the ground one day.
But what if that weren’t true?
Let us consider the fantastic; if we were to delve into the realm of imagination, and say perhaps that you were undying, what would the ramifications be? Well, there are two aspects to consider, physical and mental.
Let us assume for a moment that even if you weren’t to die, your body would still be susceptible to aging, to disease, to lacerations. If you were to continue aging far beyond the limits of our programmed destruction, life would quickly become a living hell.
Your body would degrade, becoming weaker and weaker with each passing day. Eventually, if it hadn’t happened already, you’d no longer be able to walk, as your muscles and bones would have become far too fragile to support your weight. Soon, you wouldn’t be able to move at all lest you tear your body apart. And once your eyes were used up and dry, the world would turn black to them, as well as the rest of your senses in due time.
Imagine a fate such as that; paralyzed, blind and deaf to reality … but alive. A mass of disintegrated bone and flesh, maybe no more than a puddle of soupy tissue, but yes, alive.
Not so extravagant a thought, is it?
Or maybe, earlier on in your eternal life, you found yourself struck down with a disease of some kind. Maybe cancer? While many others have failed to beat it, you wouldn’t. However, perhaps you wouldn’t quite succeed, either. It is possible to assume that without proper and timely treatment, you’d simply be stuck in a stalemate with it for the rest of your life- which in your case, is a long while.
Imagine the pain that others go through in those last few months of their life, where many people are ever eager for their death to arrive, for an end to their suffering, a torture so great it forces people to beg for the sweet release of life leaving their bodies.
But that isn’t an available option to you, is it?
No, you’ll simply be left to your torment as the tumors continually grow, pressing hard against your bones, your nerves, your muscles, enveloping everything inside you. Who knows what will happen given enough time? No one before you has lived long enough to see.
And finally, what if you were wounded? What if you were tortured? If they cut your limbs apart and left you there, because they have a guarantee you won’t die? What if they removed your skin, inch by inch, until you were nothing but bloody muscle and tendon underneath? Where even the lightest of touches would send cascading waves of pain throughout your vessel, but not kill you?
That is what you face on the physical aspect, if you were to become invulnerable to death. But now we must move onto the mental consequences.
Let us ignore all of what has been stated above, and imagine that you’re a perfectly healthy individual, no sickness and no aging. For fifty years or so, you might feel very confident about your choice. But what happens when your family starts to die? Your parents may be expected, but your siblings? What of your best friends? Having to watch each one’s last breath, clasp each hand as their strength leaves them. How many funerals would you have to attend, when everyone you’ve ever known and loved has died?
How would you maintain a family? If you were to bear children with your wife or husband, how would that impact your relationship? As they continued to age and grow older as you stayed the same, a single moment of your life frozen in time forever? Eventually your children would surpass you, and not only would you witness the death of your significant other, but it would be your children whose hands you must hold as they travel into the next realm. And then your grandchildren, and their children, and so forth.
It’s alright, you’ll start over. In a few decades, you’ll be able to move on, to leave and start a different bloodline than the one you’ve now abandoned. And then you’ll have to undergo the same process again; losing your love, then your children, over and over with each new glimmer of hope you gain to lead a normal life.
They say that there’s no greater punishment than having to bury one of your own children. Well, you’ll have to bury all of them.
Maybe you grow wise, and distance yourself from humanity before you go insane from the mental stress that simply existing places on your mind. That’s only a temporary solution, unfortunately; everything is when you can’t die.
When the Earth falls into the sun in billions of years, and the sun burns itself out of existence, what then is left? You’d still be there, the one constant in the entirety of the universe. Floating through dust and ghosts of your solar system throughout the dark void of space. No oxygen, no heat, and no company. Completely alone for the rest of eternity.
When the universe finally dies, will that be the end of you? Will it finally be your time, or will you be forced to still linger on, witnessing reality as it was never meant to be seen?
Such is the gift of mortality. Everyone, at some point in their life asks themselves, what would it be like to live forever?
That’s not the question they should be asking. The true question you should ask yourself is this:
What happens when an immortal wants to die?