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Passions in Poetry

Immortality

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Jason Lyle
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0 posted 07-09-2003 02:33 PM       View Profile for Jason Lyle   Email Jason Lyle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jason Lyle

Pursuing an idea for a book...If you where offered immortality(and I mean physical), would you take it? Why or why not?

Jason
Stephanos
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1 posted 07-09-2003 08:25 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Sounds like "Tuck Everlasting" doesn't it?

Just make sure you're original.


Stephen
Jason Lyle
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2 posted 07-09-2003 08:54 PM       View Profile for Jason Lyle   Email Jason Lyle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jason Lyle

http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Oracle/1720/wjfaq.htm
Ron
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3 posted 07-10-2003 07:05 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

The popularity of the soft focus lens dates back to Alfred Stiegltiz, circa 1890, and was one of the defining points of Pictorialism. Since sharp focus suggested the use of photography as a scientific recording device, soft focus initially became the sign of poetic artistry and the pursuit of beauty. Soft focus lenses are still a common tool of the amateur photographer, especially in portraiture or glamour photography, because they diffuse light in such a way as to ease the harshness of reality. Zits, begone!

The concept of immortality, in my opinion, is such a lens.

Within our reality, or any reality dominated by a time-line, no one lives forever. The giant sequoias haven't really lived for 2,400 years. Bristlecone pines haven't really lived for 4,500 years. Even our sun, which lives only in the metaphorical sense, hasn't really lived for five million years.

Whether animal, plant or star, we all live one day at a time, a harsh reality that is diffused and ultimately distorted by any concept of immortality. It is our perceived quality of those days, not the number of them, that determines our zest for life. How we have experienced each of those days gives rise to our dreams and expectations, which in turn, gives rise to our desire for whatever a future might hold for us. For child, teen, adult, octogenarian or Wandering Jew, the will to live will always be a direct reflection of hope. Immortality is neither good nor bad, because Life is neither good nor bad. Immortality is a recurring theme in myth in literature, but the validity and Truth of that theme depends on recognizing immortality as a metaphor for life. One day at a time.

Do you want to live forever? Bad question. Ask instead, Do you want to live tomorrow? An honest answer to either question will always be the same.
Essorant
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4 posted 07-10-2003 08:17 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't agree with the suggestion we are not immortal already!
Just because we forget about things and change shape and location now and now, doesn't mean we are not immortal--we are just not mortal to one state of being, we need to become to others--- mortal in one, immortal in many.
Thus we are mortal and immortal.  
I believe If one were just immortal, a pain and pleasure be both at the same time, eternal. and equal but a dryasdust existance...mortality is what ensures  surprises--  who wants to be able to expect everything; Not me.  I think it is what is unexpected that affects us the most in life;  we just can't always know what expect, but yet I would presume to expect something--existing still.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (07-10-2003 08:39 AM).]

Ringo
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5 posted 07-10-2003 12:45 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

I remember a series of "dime novels" from my youth about the Centurian that got Christ's robe after the Crucifixion... The Casca series...
That individual was doomed to walk for eternity.
Then there was the Twilight Zone episode where a man was granted immortality, and then promptly sentanced to life without parole.
Honestly, Jason, not a subject I wuld be willing to be a part of. Maybe the first 2 or 300 years would be cool, however, there has got to be a time when you get tired.
Just my thoughts... Good luck with the writing.

We see the light of those
Who find the world has passed them by
Too late to save a dream from growing cold...

Stephanos
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6 posted 07-10-2003 01:02 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

I think a better question than "Do you want to live forever?" is, "Would you prefer to live forever or to die forever?".  I believe the most accurate view of things is that we are immortal, in the sense that there is a future day of ressurrection, and all will be raised up, "Some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt".  Of course, as Ron hinted at, this can only be when reality itself is made over, and time is transcended.  But seeing that Biblically such an event is foretold, I see no reason to reject immortality in the sense of "forever".  

In the ressurrection accounts of the New Testament, we do have a historical account of one man (Jesus) who was raised up in the body, a very different kind of body and yet in many ways the same.  If it happened to one man, why is it unreasonable to think that it could happen again?  I don't think that a desire to "live forever" in this sense is a bad one at all.

But this raises questions.  The value of immortality depends upon one's state of soul.  Biblically, a  renewed world is promised to some, and not to others.  Would immortality in this present state of affairs be a good thing or a bad thing?  Would immortality in Hell be a good thing, just because endless duration might be involved?  Maybe that's why the book of Revelation describes men who sought death, but were disappointed because it "fled from them".  Likewise the booting out of the garden in Genesis can be seen as a mercy.  "Then the Lord God said, 'Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil, and now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever' ... So He drove out the man.  And he placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life."  Can you imagine what the treachery of sinful humankind would become without mitigation ... without the restraining mercy of death?


Anyway, I know you didn't want to go into all the philosophical and religious implications of immortality.  You were talking about writing a fiction book, so you may go any direction you wish.  But some of these thoughts and considerations might be of use to you.  I think that "Tuck Everlasting" involves some of these themes.  If I can remember correctly, the Tucks' goal was to teach Winnie that death has some value, and immortality (in such a present state of things) is not all it's cracked up to be.  Though not done from a distinctly Christian view of things, some of the similar themes are seen.  


Here's a question to ask that might help regarding your book ideas ... "Why wouldn't I want to live forever"?      



Stephen.  
Jason Lyle
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7 posted 07-10-2003 05:15 PM       View Profile for Jason Lyle   Email Jason Lyle   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jason Lyle

Some very good answers, and Stephen, thats exactly what I was looking for.Do I personnally want to live forever? I have to say yes, but admit that I probably answer that way out of fear.
I am thinking hard, if I write a story about the wandering Jew.Is he bitter?, cynical? repentant?
I agree with Ringo, the first 2 or 300 years would be cool.But after that?
So do I have him searching for forgiveness?
or bitter about his lot in life, cursed by a man he thought a heritic?

Jason
Stephanos
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8 posted 07-10-2003 11:10 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

"if I write a story about the wandering Jew.Is he bitter?, cynical? repentant?
I agree with Ringo, the first 2 or 300 years would be cool.But after that?
So do I have him searching for forgiveness?
or bitter about his lot in life, cursed by a man he thought a heritic?
"


It depends upon how you are going to define this wandering Jew, and how you are going to define Jesus.  If, as the legend does, you are going to portray this Jew as one who believes Jesus to be a heretic, then certainly he would be bitter and cynical about his curse.  If you choose to portray the Jew as repentant, then one would have to ask why the repentant attitude?  Wishing for an end to one's own curse cannot be equated with repentance.  Many who want to get out of prison are not repentant of their crimes.  True to the term, it must represent a change of heart toward the man he offended.  

So did he change his attitude and come to realize that Jesus was a good man?  But if so, the question must have come to him, why would a good man curse him to walk the earth, for a single offense?  (Remember that the historical Gospel narratives portray quite a different attitude ... Jesus prayed from the cross, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do").

Another consideration is that Jesus was being crucified for claiming equality with God, and to be the Messiah.  Would someone who is merely a "good man" claim such things?  As C.S. Lewis is famous for pointing out, if Jesus was not the Son of God in a unique sense, then he was either a liar or deranged.  For a mere man to say the things he did, would be megalomania.  So it's hard to conceive the wandering Jew coming to the conclusion that Jesus was just a good man that he shouldn't have offended, based on some ethos of brotherhood.  Because we all get offended, but don't all have the power to confer such a horrible judgement (thankfully).

Another choice is to portray Jesus as the Son of God, or as God in the flesh.  But if he curses a man about a personal offense on the way to the cross, (yet was willing to forgive those who crucified him) then we have inconsistency in character.  A capricious man with God-like powers which is scary.  If he cursed this man, and was not willing to forgive anyone else either, then we have an angry God offering no mercy ... even more scary!  

Of course having said all of this, I think there is a danger in portraying Christ in a fictive role, simply because if it is inaccurate, some may believe it either wholly or in portions.  Of course, that's because being a Christian, I believe that the views people adopt about Jesus Christ are of utmost importance to their salvation.

This "Wandering Jew" is an interesting legend anway.  I had never heard of it until this thread.

There two similar things I want to mention.

Cain in the book of Genesis 4:9-16, was cursed for killing his brother Abel.  His curse was to be a vagabond and a roamer ... He was sent into the land of "Nod" which means wandering.  Although immortality was not involved, I saw a striking similarity.  


Another is concerning Jesus speaking to Peter in John 21:20-23.

When Peter asked Jesus about John, Jesus' reply was "If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?  Follow me."   The text goes on to say that because Jesus said this, the saying went out that this disciple would not die, and then affirms that Jesus never said that John wouldn't die.  

Interestingly enough, Mormon doctrine teaches that the apostle John is still alive based upon this scripture.  I guess they didn't read verse 23 very closely.  

Anyway I thought these examples would be interesting to you.


Stephen  

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-10-2003 11:20 PM).]

River
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9 posted 11-22-2003 06:25 PM       View Profile for River   Email River   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for River

No...I would not exept physical immortality. I might exept a longer life if it where offered, but never dying would be...torture. of coarse, there are some of you, if i knew what your future was, i would strongly advise you to accept immortality simply because death would only bring pain and suffering. go ahead and scoff at me, but i really believe in heaven as well as hell, and i believe that a majority of people on this earth are going to hell. I belive that I and a very small amount of people are promised a better life after death wich is why i do not want to be immortal. For the most part, I am happy with the time I have because whatever amount it is, it was carefully thought out and planned by my God. I know he has my best interest in mind and has already decided how many days i have. I will trust that he will give me life to it's fullest in whatever amount of time. If I died tomarrow, i would be happy. If i die a hundred years from now...I will probably be happy even then. anyways...hope you get a good book written =).

            - River

Love hurts as bad as it feels good.

berengar
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10 posted 01-09-2004 11:11 PM       View Profile for berengar   Email berengar   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for berengar

i believe that a majority of people on this earth are going to hell. I belive that I and a very small amount of people are promised a better life after death wich is why i do not want to be immortal.

First of all, why do you believe the majority of people are destined for hell?  And how does this believe influence your desire to be immortal (or otherwise)?  There is something a little disturbing about your omniscience.
I believe that hell is a state of being. If we remain ourselves for an infinite duration of time, then I suspect that would fit a description of hell rather well - a finite entity existing for an infinite duration. Heaven, of course, makes eternity something desirable because we are not merely ourselves, but in God's fellowship, Who is an infinite bounty of joy and variation.
So, would I want to be immortal?  Not as I am, or anything remotely egoistical.
Ron
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11 posted 01-10-2004 01:02 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I always find it a bit ironic. No one wants to be immortal, and most people at one time or another have said something akin to "I wouldn't want to live like that."

No one wants to live forever or beyond what they perceive as an acceptable quality of life. Yet, having watched far too many people die over the years, I can categorically state none of them wanted it to end when it did. One has to wonder at what point life suddenly gains all its value?
Michelle_loves_Mike
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12 posted 01-10-2004 03:31 AM       View Profile for Michelle_loves_Mike   Email Michelle_loves_Mike   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Michelle_loves_Mike

All the ideals of spiritual immortality aside,,,,,,it is hard to say if id want to live imortal,,,,,,as Ringo says,,,it would get tired,,,,,,living for ever in physical body that gets weak,,,,to be bed ridden,,,,while the mind stays sharp,,,,a scarey thought indeed....maybe,,,to live a feww hundred years would be ok,,,,after all, it takes that long to figure out a rubix cube,,,w/o cheating,,,
Michelle

I wish all could find the true happiness I have found,,in the eyes of Mike

KristieSue
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13 posted 01-10-2004 07:43 AM       View Profile for KristieSue   Email KristieSue   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit KristieSue's Home Page   View IP for KristieSue

heck no!  if you can't figure out your purpose in life in the time you're given, then you really aren't trying hard enough!  And, I am going to live forever...just not on this earth :-)

Failure isn't failure if a lesson from it is learned ~ KS

Opeth
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14 posted 01-19-2004 12:28 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Overall, the human race desires to be immortal. That is one reason why religions were created - in the hope of living eternally. Through that hope, mankind refuses to accept the inevitable - non-existence of the self. Why is non-existence of a self such a terrible fate?
 
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