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…