Armies march. Authors write. Artists craft. Scientists puzzle. Every profession lures practitioners to the pinnacle of achievement with an unspoken promise: The opportunity to make one’s mark on the world. To be remembered. To live forever.
We say we want money. We claim to seek love and long for peace. We really just want our names carved with diamond pen into the stone tablets of immortal memory. It doesn’t matter if we have to buy it, woo it, or fight for it. Eternal life has always been what it’s all about.
In less enlightened times, humankind turned to encantations for the power to live forever. Now we turn to prescriptions. Or, to the anticipated advances in technology. That’s the hope expressed in a new documentary called The Transcendent Man:
There’s something almost comical about the seriousness Ray Kurzweil (the subject of the film) brings to bear in his quest. That pang of humorous sadness comes from the jaring disconnect between the hope that technology can grant us immortality and the centuries-long experience we as a race have that tells us nothing lasts forever.
At least on this earth.
Despite our scientific advances, philosophical inquiries, and theological treatises, we humans still haven’t outgrown the notion that death is an unwelcome intruder into life. We somehow understand that what it means to be human is somehow not defined by our ending. This intuition persists despite the fact that death is an experience every person shares.
Death happens to everyone. So why do we still think we can somehow cheat it? Where to we keep coming up with this crazy idea?
It’s an incongruity that makes perfect sense if this world really isn’t all there is…if there’s more to us than just a bundle of molecules that generate electrical impulses…If eternity really is the foundation for hope and meaning.
So, maybe eternal life is what it’s all about. Maybe “the transcendent man” is a dream we all should share. But, maybe we’re looking for the right thing in all the wrong places.
Immortality can’t be conquered. It can’t be found in a novel, on a canvas, or at a lab.
Eternal life is a gift and it only has one Source.