What's it to be? Fishing or walking?

Immortality means more than a long life.

WHAT'S ON YOUR "to do" list today? I need to go to the office, pick up the dry cleaning, catch up on my correspondence, think about immortality, buy some carrots for supper, and . . . . Yes, it's sort of like those multiple choice questions where you're asked, "Which one doesn't fit on this list?"

Think about immortality? Why would anyone seriously do that? Yet, it is surprising the number of people who do; though some people may not talk about it and others may not use that word. Lots of people never admit to being older than thirty-nine. Some people feel driven to have children, not so much out of love for children but for posterity, to keep the family name alive. Some swear by the life-lengthening virtues of yogurt. Then we read those semi-science fiction articles on cryogenics, where people have their bodies frozen in the hope that they can be thawed and restored in the future. And it's hard to realize that it's not really science fiction anymore.

The idea of cloning human beings is still science fiction, but barely. And then recently someone sent me an article from the November 1999 issue of Scientific American that discusses the possibility of eternal life. It blithely makes this observation: "While futuristic, the idea of shedding our bodies presents no fundamental difficulties. It presumes only that consciousness is not tied to a particular set of organic molecules but rather can be embodied in a multitude of different forms, from cyborgs to sentient interstellar clouds" ("The Fate of Life in the Universe," pp. 62–63).

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Finally, I feel at home
April 10, 2000

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.