Yay for Impermanence!

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I used to ask my philosophy students, most of whom were Christians,  “Are you sure you want to live forever? Are you really that interested in who you are to experience being this personality for all eternity? I’m 30 and I am already tired of myself.”I would get a few looks of “Hey, that may be a good point there”. But for the most part, my question fell on deaf ears.

Impermanence is the most profound  and freeing truth there is for human existence. Yet it hovers like the emissions of a poorly working delivery truck over the concerns of many. At least one film (John Boorman’s Zardoz, 1974) explores the idea of living forever as one human life. Inside what is called the Vortex, people live forever and it is supposedly great. But the truth is there is no sex drive among anyone and many are “Apathetics”, as they no longer care at any level about being alive. Punishment in the vortex consists of being “aged” a certain number of years, so that one continues to live eternally at that age. It is Zed, the hero, who gives the GIFT of death to those in the Vortex. You can see the trailer for this classic film below.

While impermanence is not always seemingly a good thing, imagine life without it. Think: At what point would you want to become eternal? Aged 15, 30, 75? Or would you prefer to continue aging and still live forever? What would that be like? How would new experiences happen in a world without change?

It seems to me, that death is the greatest aspect of living, perhaps even better than life itself. Thoughts?

5 Comments

  1. Interesting article and posts. I personally believe there is life after death. I personally believe once on the other side we are reverted from whatever age we were when our physical body died back to our prime. But whatever happens after death I just hope I am reunited with dog – the only truly innocent and purely loving soul I have met during this journey. That is not to say I have had a bad life, or that I have not met wonderful people, but the love of a dog is so simple, so pure, so unconditional. I have yet to meet a person who measures up. It’s just the nature of the beast.

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  2. I’ve died a countless number of times and I will die again and I will be ok this time too. If you had a recollection of every single previous life think how rich this life would be. I believe it’s possible to have this same richness if we just realize we are so much more than we think we are. We are so much more than this one life. You would never hurt another sole. We are each other, we are one. This mindset can be realized and practiced in this life. I meditate on the idea that I am more universal and beyond. I am part of you and you are part of me. This life will end but it’s not really an ending. It’s not a beginning. It just is.

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    1. I love the idea of dying “countless” times. Whether it is past lives or letting go of attachments, the intent is the same…to move forward in grappling with the amazingness (is that a word?) of being alive.

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  3. Having reached an age where death is perhaps immanent and certainly near, I find the subject much on my mind. Not in an “OMG, I’m gonna die!” way but seeing that it’s close and I would be wise to consider the whole thing. Read somewhere that perhaps we’ve got the whole thing backwards–maybe birth should be mourned and death celebrated-seeing that birth means a whole lot of confusion and dukkha but death is a release and chance to go on with a fresh start. That made sense. Interested in exploring this w/other thinkers. What do *you* think?

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