Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al (livredor) wrote,
Not sheepish, but individ-ewe-al


It occurred to me the other day that I don't really care about immortality. This may be a common theme to quite a few of my quirks.

Woody Allen is supposed to have said I don't want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality through not dying. It's meaningless to ask the question whether I would choose to live forever if I had the option; a world where literally not dying was a possibility would be so different from this world that it's impossible to guess who I'd be or predict what decisions I would make. But the point is that none of the usual consolations proposed impress me very much.

I'm not interested in an afterlife. I find it unlikely that personness, the soul if you don't mind religious language, could persist after the death of the body. I'm prepared to be surprised, but it's not a big factor in how I think or in my religious approach. I suppose this fits in with the cliched view of Judaism that Judaism focuses on this life (in contrast to Christianity which is perceived as being obsessed with reward and punishment after death). That's an over-simplification of both religions, but the bit about focusing on this life is definitely true of my own religious approach.

I'm not too interested in the metaphorical kinds of immortality either. I'm not expecting that anything I have done or created will continue to have much impact after my death. I would hope that my friends will cherish good memories of me, but that's only going to last for a short while after I die. As for my work, well, I've chosen a very fast-moving field where any contribution is likely to be ephemeral. OK, it's part of the mythology of science that everything builds on what has gone before, but I suspect the extent that my experiments will matter in a hundred years will be so small that it might as well be random chance. It won't measurably matter whether I existed or not. And that doesn't bother me.

This possibly also explains why I'm not a creative person. I am quite resigned to the fact that my life will be irrelevant to the world within, at best, a few decades of my death. So I'm not attempting to make any art that might "live on" after I'm gone.

And I'm childfree, very. I have no interest in passing on my genes. I feel I'll still be just as dead with descendents as without, so I might as well devote my life to my own interests, rather than nurturing random people who share some of my genes.

I'm not of course arguing that all creative people, or all parents, are trying to cheat death. But I wonder if I might take a different path through life if some shot at immortality were a motivation.

Unrelatedly, pir_anha has some inspiration for people who are bogged down by paperwork, which is a fair proportion of us.

I will resist the temptation to go through my entire journal adding location data. I will. I have far more important things to do. But ee, location data!
Tags: discussion, linkies, lj

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