Immortality

In this post, I’ll be talking about immortality. No, not biological immortality — but something I believe to be just as good, if not better.

[Listen to a summary of this article here]

As the owner of a longevity startup, you might expect me to believe that immortality is possible — that we can really live an infinitely long time. But I think that as a practical matter, immortality like that is impossible. Moreover, I don’t think anyone really wants to live that long anyway. 

But what about other forms of immortality? Take Julius Caesar, for instance. Caesar was born around 100 BCE, yet we’re still talking about him around 2,100 years later. His books and depictions and appearance is still well known to us to this day. Can that be considered a form of immortality — living in the culture of humanity?

Skeptics would argue that the heat death of the universe means that all things are impermanent, yadda yadda… but I think this viewpoint misses the more simple reality of our nature. We want to be remembered by other human beings. We want to leave a legacy — preferably a good one — and we want to be ingrained into the culture for years to come.

But consider this caveat. We know Julius Caesar, but do we really know him? That is, can we assume that our depictions of Julius Caesar now match up to how Julius Caesar really lived?

Anyone who’s ever played a game of Telephone knows how scrambled a message can get when relayed through a group of ten or so people. Now imagine the same message going through billions of people, over the course of thousands of years. It’s likely that, even with our close attention to history, the Julius Caesar we know is not even close to the Julius Caesar he was. 

So, if we brought Julius Caesar to the modern day, it’s likely that he’d look around and be very frustrated with any inaccuracies people might portray of him. And, it’s likely you would be too, if you’re given immortality like him. But that’s the rule — all things eventually decay, no matter how hard you try to stop it.

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