Immortality. The holy grail of existence. Many strive for it. Some attain immortality in the memory of others. I restrict my thoughts to biological immortality. Living forever. What if you could live forever?
Some would opine that living forever is a curse. You live on while those around you fade away. I feel that beyond a point, either one would become used to relations being transitionary or you remain detached from personal bonds. Since it is logical that the brain cannot contain an infinite amount of memories, older ones would start fading away as new ones take their place. Of course, special memories would take longer to fade away, and some may never fade away. It makes you wonder how a person’s perspectives on various aspects of life, change with time.
Love. How would love change with time? Let us assume that your partner is not immortal. How long would you live alone in the memory of someone who has passed on and will never come back again? I believe you would love again. Not that your former love(s) would be forgotten, but her/their memories wouldn’t/shouldn’t stop you from loving again. Now,what if your partner is immortal as well? Would the love the two of you have, fade with time? If the love was strong enough to survive and flourish for an ordinary person’s lifetime, why would it not endure forever? Of course, social institutes like marriage would become meaningless as our lives traverse the rise and fall of many civilizations. Having someone who stands with you always, as the world around you keeps on changing, would provide valuable companionship and relief in an everchanging existence. The relation would transcend all other bonds formed. The two would understand and know each other almost as well as they know themselves. They say that love is immortal, and I believe in that.
Power. Immortality is inevitably linked with power. “The power to rule the world”, so to speak. A day-to-day profession or the like, would soon become meaningless, prolly after a century or so. Once there is enough material wealth to sustain oneself comfortably or even luxuriously, then the need for work fades away. Believe me, you would have to be really dump if you don’t figure out how to become “rich” even after a few centuries. Thus material wealth would become of less importance. Depending on the psychological makeup of the person, they would probably pursue either knowledge or power (or other possibilities, these being the highest probable ones). I am fighting hard to supress any influences by fictional characters on my thoughts (notably Vandal Savage). If the person is possessed of sufficient intellect and cunningness, then it would only be a matter of time before he succeeds atleast partially, to rule the world. And time is something he would never run out of. However, this train of thought is severely affected by factors beyond biological immortality. If physical harm can still threaten the immortal’s life, then the future would be a lot bleaker, with people on power being under a crosshair almost perpetually. However, with sufficient cunningness, one can circumvent such weaknesses. One literary character that I can’t avoid thinking about in this context is that of Professor Moriarty. His “empire” was large and powerful, yet no one, except for Sherlock Holmes, figured out it was him at the center, controlling this vast empire of crime and curroption. Now imagine someone who has had centuries, or even millenia, to plan such an operation. No one would ever guess who the centre figure is until its too late. The web would extend globally, securing power through organizations and proxies until the time is ripe for the “King” to step in. Of course, this is just one of the possibilities and many more would present themselves depending on the intellect of the immortal.
Knowledge. The ocean. Knowledge would never exhaust, for the rate of new knowledge/information being formed, is much greater than the rate at which an immortal can intake them, atleast a Homo Sapien immortal. Having survived for ages and seen the rise and fall of civilizations, he would be uniquely placed in helping and providing information for the progress of science. Eventually, however, our quest would be for metaphysical knowledge. The secret of life. The existence of God. The meaning of existence. The pursuit of these, would easily take a lifetime, even the lifetime of an immortal. One day maybe these questions would be answered. If there is an answer, and if there is a chance of finding it, then given infinite time at your disposal, someday you would hit on the answer. The pursuit of knowledge alone can keep one occupied for eternity. All other wordly pleasures and pursuits would eventually fade away.
At some point or the other, possibly, we would feel the monotony and loneliness in living forever. However, most would find it in them to live on. The reason to live on? Varies with people. Love. Knowledge. Curiosity. Transient pursuits.
When I was small, I thought a psychopath was someone who was insane (obviously I confused it with psychotic). I still find many people making the same mistake – referring to someone as a ‘psychopath’ when they mean ‘psychotic’. However, psychopaths are not easy to identify, precisely because they are typically endowed with above average intelligence and they ability to make themselves appear normal.
“The Silence of the Lambs” movie introduced me to the true meaning of the term psychopath. I still get chills down my spine whenever I remember those eyes, those piercing eyes that make me want to run far away and hide. Perhaps, the reason psychopaths scare me more than the insane, is that we know that the insane are, well, insane. They are not thinking straight. However, not only is a psychopath thinking straight, he is quite intelligent too. He is hiding. He is hiding behind a facade of feigned politness and emotions. Where the insane is not thinking straight, the psychopath is cunning and manipulative, pretending to be normal, biding his time.
I still remember my heart skipping a beat and a slow panic build up, when Valerie’s expression changes and she admits she’s a psychopath (in Remorse, an episode of House). The scariest villains are not the raving lunatics, who scream at you, threatening to pull your entrails out and wrap it around your neck. The scariest villains are the ones we don’t even perceive as villains, the ones who manipulate us into thinking they are the good guys, while framing others for their crimes.
A clean slate. Another attempt.