Hey everyone, our old friend Draconus Major is back to be snarky and look down on everyone. 🙂 This time, they come with a question regarding my post about the sacredness of death. Since there is a bit of something of note though, I figured I would respond to it on the main page as present a good jumping off point.
So as one who lauds Death and is the self proclaimed Husband of Hel I have to wonder how you feel about mankinds ultimate goal of ending Death. There are entire industries devoted to your ‘low necromancies’, to the end of superficial aging and the medical field strives to prolong life by even a few minutes if not years. Cryogenics is a field that grows by the day. So it makes me wonder what the Gods of Death and the Reaper shall do if in some far flung future mankind puts an end to death in all forms, whether by disease or age or by injury and accidental chance. What part will ‘sacred death’ play in mankinds future if we stop death?
I’m going to break this down by question here.
“How you feel about mankinds ultimate goal of ending Death.”
Frankly…I think it’s useless and stupid.
Now I get that there’s a bit of a pedantic thing here. At best humanity is not trying to end all death in all its forms, they’re really just selfishly trying to end human death (and maybe that of pets, not sure). Which, while I’m not exactly one who worries about planetary overpopulation, does seem like the best way to cause not only overpopulation of the planet, but the complete stagnation of humanity as a species.
I mean think about it, what if humans had stopped dying and aging (because that’s always part of it) in say prior to 1950’s. They’d conquered death, the pinnacle of human achievement. Any time up through then, the ability to cease death’s tracks would have been kept only to a certain group of people. Culture would have remained much as it was at that time because as we get older we get set in our ways, which creates a stagnation of life, culture, and thought. New life is needed, growing to replace the old, so that life can evolve.
There’s also the very real psychological cost of living forever. Even if say you were to keep everyone from dying by everything except murder, suicide, or grievous accident…you’re still going to loose the people you love. Because statistically, everyone would eventually still die. It might take longer, but something would happen. Look at the Elves from Lord of the Rings. They’re immortal, cannot die of natural causes, but one good war and they drop like flies, same as everyone else.
Plus, look at the toll divorce has on people. In your average life, you might get married about four times at most, but with immortality? If the repeated emotional trauma didn’t make you kill yourself, the alimony payments would.
There’s a wealth of fiction that goes into what happens to people when they become immortal and most of it…well, it isn’t as pretty as most people think it would be.
There are entire industries devoted to your ‘low necromancies’, to the end of superficial aging and the medical field strives to prolong life by even a few minutes if not years.
As I said in the original post, there are many paths in which these “low necromancies” are fine. The paths of Freya and Venus, for example. But no matter who much you advance, how much you spend, and how much you use….you cannot deny the inevitable.
You will age. You will die.
And yes, the medical field strives to prolong life by however much it can. The Children of Eir are often at odds with Hela’s ways. They think life is the most precious thing in the world and even a moment more of it is worth any price.
My grandmother lived to be nearly one hundred. This is a great improvement from the average human lifespan was perhaps sixty years. There is so much more she got to see, to watch happen as civilization marched on.
But she spent much of the last twenty years barely able to walk, requiring the aid of others to do the simplest of tasks. Doctors after doctors, pills beyond counting to fight the aging process, and then even more pills to counter the bad side effects of the original pills. And she was in better health than most people her age. Most people her age are either all but bedridden or require so much medical aid to hold their bodies together that I’m not sure how much you could call it being alive and how much you could call it frankensteinian blasphemy.
We have added years to life…but when you look at most people in their eighties and nineties…can you really say that’s the kind of life you would want to live? Now imagine if science and medicine keep managing to add years to life…but they have no success in adding actual youth and vitality.
Horray kids, great, great, great grandpa lived to be 200 years old! I mean sure, he hasn’t left the bed in 60 years, hasn’t really walked on his own for 100, and hasn’t had an erection in 130, but hey, he’s alive!!!!!
At that point I would say that death was not the enemy you wanted to avoid.
Cryogenics is a field that grows by the day.
I’m not sure how this one fits in here. You’re not adding years to life, you’re just kinda…putting it on pause. You’re missing out on everything that’s happening because you wanted to be a Popsicle in the hopes that someday, somewhere down the line you wake up and it’s like Futurama?
Don’t get me wrong, that’s one of my favorite shows of all time, but unlike say the Dresden Files, I’m not sure I’d want to live there. And given the issues on the table at present of Islamic fundamentalism, global warming, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something else disastrous (microaggressions, maybe?), the odds are that if there is a world to de-thaw too…it’s not going to be any pretty or better than this one. But you’re a block of ice. you’re not living…you’re just hoping for a better rest of your life somewhere down the line.
Maybe if you were going to colonize Mars or something.
So it makes me wonder what the Gods of Death and the Reaper shall do if in some far flung future mankind puts an end to death in all forms, whether by disease or age or by injury and accidental chance.
We’d grab the popcorn, sit back on the various sofas (sofi?) and watch the show. Because humans are capable of wonderful things…but they’re also petty little shits too. And if you think immortality would change that, well….Draconus I thought you were studying psychology, you telling me they stopped going over this stuff in your classes? They went over it when I was in psychology.
Of course, I went to school when departments like psychology and sociology still actually taught real classes about real science, rather than spending all their time talking about “privilege”, “microagressions”, and “the problems with whiteness.” But hey, who am I to judge if they wanna teach re-skinned nazi rhetoric instead of objective science and let people have their doctoral thesis be about self proclaimed apothiothic gods upon the interwebs? My student debts are paid, and I’m not the poor sob who’s gonna have to find a career with a degree that has taught them nothing of value.
But let’s say that some far flung mankind manages to perfect immortality.
Would they even still be human? I mean, a good portion of what defines humanity is our mortality and our ability to rise above it. Take that away and…what’s left? Hardly a reason to eat, or have shelters, or most of our daily existences, which rely so much on our attempts to stay alive because if we don’t, we would die. This is more passing into the realms of science fiction rather than pagan theology, but there’s a lot of scifi books about this idea and most of them be not the utopia.
But hey, if humanity manages to do it…there’s still plenty of work out there for Death Gods and Reapers. There’s all the souls that have come before still need tending. There’s still every other organic organism out there that will need to die outside of humans. And hey, it would only be a matter of time before some human figured out how to kill immortal humans and then boom, right back where we started. People dying, Gods of Death taken their souls.
Death is inevitable.
And that’s where we’d be, right there at the end, even if it was the end of everything. That’s where sacred death is, at the end of life, waiting. No amount of immortality will change that.
Or at least, that would be the hope of the living. We might just let you keep your hubris, alive and trapped on worlds without air, without light, without heat, without any way to pass on. I believe there’s a name for that…
Joe Bloch said:
At the risk of sounding pedantic, it’s “cryonics”, not “cryogenics”. I should know, I’m an Alcor member. 🙂
Lucius Svartwulf Helsen said:
really? I always thought it was the latter, thanks for the info! 🙂
As the poet wrote, “Death, a necessary evil, will come when it will come.” And John Donne does remind us not to go ask for whom the bell tolls,because it also tolls for us as well. This is what makes our lives sweeter and also more poignant — we know that it will end one day. I believe in taking care of myself. I do not deliberately hurry towards Death’s waiting arms. I have never smoked, I do not go “tanning,” I drink moderately, I am not obese. Yet, I am still hypertensive and hyperlipidemic (familial), becoming so at a fairly young age. I have other chronic conditions for which I have to take medications. However, in spite of my chronological age being 65 I feel 35 and in “good” health. Therefore, when Thanatos, Hermes, and Hekate finally come to me at my end to take my breath and guide me to Charon’s boat, I will smile at Them as They do the will of the Fates.
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For all that you seem to scorn the fields of Psychology and Sociology you speak quite a lot to those fields in most of your posts over the last year, especially in the areas of the Sociological ideas of Social Justice and Racism. I have an associate who is doing his dissertation on Social Justice throughout the ages. I may have to point him to your blog as a potential source. To answer your question, yes, we did cover the psychological effects of immortality. But as is the case most often its not always about the classroom or the discussion therein, I asked not to be snarky or to look down on anyone, Although you seem to be allowed to be as snarky as you wish, double standard or just an inability to see in yourself what you so readily point out in others. I asked because as a Self Proclaimed God and the proclaimed ‘Husband of Hel’ you would have a unique point of view on it. You may not be representative of a large portion of the population but you have a unique perspective if only in your own mind.
Death is a subject that comes up frequently in my Masters class, it is one of the most frequently dealt with occurrences for many therapists as we often see our patients after a tragic loss of a loved one. That many cultures and peoples see death as sacred can be of great comfort to those grieving.
You see, you only see me through the lens of my scientific curiosity, I am working on my dissertation after. But my dissertation is a specific area of interest to me, and it does not reflect my goal of being a good therapist to those who come to me looking for help. You see me only through the distortion of your outrage but do not seek to look further than the words you chose to read which stand against your point of view. I am an Intern at a Therapeutic office at the moment. I perform a modest amount of therapy under the guidance of a more experienced Doctor. I listen mostly to those who are hurting or confused and as they speak I try to work out what best to say to them.
A patient lost her mother and is grieving. She doesn’t understand why her mother ‘was taken so young’. These words struck a cord in me, and I heard them again when I read your post about death. Your perspective is valuable not in that it holds any great truths or is particularly accurate but in that it allows me a window into a different part of the human mind. A different perspective on Death. It allows me to fit the puzzle another way and offer words of solace and advice to a woman grieving.
Taken so young? That’s the big problem. No one is entitled to a certain number of days. But people think they should be. And they get very upset when they are denied those number of days, when they find they are mortal after all even when being blessed with far beyond those certain number of days. I work in health care, I have worked in a rehab facility and my husband works in hospice. It’s positively grotesquely perverted the lengths people (or their families) will go in their denial of the inevitable. Sometimes prolonging the inevitable is worse than death itself. I know, I’ve seen the suffering.
You need to spend a certain amount of time with EMS people, or with hospice workers, or even those in primary care if you want more of this “different view” of death. Believe me, Lucius is not by any means unique.
Modern medicine has done no favors to modern humanity by allowing them to believe that medicine has all the answers and immortality is possible – and consequences for poor decisions resulting in poor health status don’t have to be faced. Once upon a time, all religions had meditations on death, allowing humanity to ponder their own death and to make it a dignified and sacred affair, and offering comfort to those left behind.
http://thetinfoilhatsociety.com/2014/02/09/life-is-terminal/ This is a post I made some time ago regarding death. My perspective is not so different than that of Lucius’ and definitely not so different from my coworkers’.
If you are referring by calling Lucius a god to the concept of apotheosis, I would suggest you look more deeply into that as well. It’s not what I suspect you think.
And I suspect you both, Lucius AND you, are reading a lot more into your comments to each other than exists in reality. Just my take. Take it with a large grain of salt, and maybe a margarita if that tickles your fancy.
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I agree. My husband and I had to make that most heart-breaking of choices when we had life-support terminated on our 8-day old daughter. She was dying. It would just have taken longer with the life support — along with suffering. Then 14 years ago we did the same for my Mother whose brain waves were flat lined. Sure, the machine kept her heart beating; but, it couldn’t stop her death. Why prolong it? I really, really doubt cyro will ever work and I don’t want to spend time on my opinion right now.
Lucius Svartwulf Helsen said:
I do not scorn the fields of psychology or sociology. They have proven fonts of great wisdom in the past, when they focused on the mechanics of people’s minds and how society functions. I scorn them for what they have been becoming, not things which objectively study, but rather things which now work subjectively to support sexism, racism, and so forth.
And perhaps you question this time was not to be snarky, but you have been highly snarky and insulting of not just myself, by more importantly of my readers. I’ve had to call you on that before and that is what I was referring too. I am well aware of my snark, and have little problem with yours. It is your lack of respect towards my readers with which I have taken issue. My view of you is less “distorted from my outrage” (of which I have little regarding you personally) and more from your own actions in my comments section towards other people. You see me as a mentally unbalanced individual with delusions of divinity and matrimony, a distortion brought about by your perspective. You and I shall never see the world the same, and thus shall always lack a the ability to relate to each other. More is the pity.
As Tinfoil points out, my perspective is not that unique, just one held more often by those closer to death and its mercy rather than those clinging to life. Now, this perspective may not “hold any great truths or accuracy” to you, but there it is. And really, that whole line encapsulates so much of mine and others issue with your attitude. You look down upon such different views, they are lacking in your perspective. It is such passive aggressive behaviors which dishonors your character and makes you less someone with whom to discuss ideas and more someone whose chair I would very much like to kick out from under them. You want an opinion, and then you demean it once it is given. This is a common thread with all your comments and interactions. Now, you can say that is a view “distorted by outrage” but it is no distortion to see how you act upon a high horse. The simple fact though is that you ask people to share their different perspective so as to “gain a different view” and then you look down your nose at it. You feel that yours is the superior perspective and knowledge.
But that’s, like, your opinion, man.
Black Metal Valkyrie said:
Cyronics is pseudoscience, you’re wasting your money pal. Might as well spend it on a nice alt/home/natural funeral. So many potential options.
Son of Hel, what is the path of Achelous like? I have had a connection with fresh water for a long time.