Jason Silva tweeted a link to his video “Mortality” and I watched it. Jason is a brilliant man, and often enjoy his videos. This one though, I had a little trouble with:
I understand how he feels. I get it, I really do, and share similar feelings. The problem is that his lens is so far removed from his subject — the automobile lights create red and white lines that thread through streets, a man looks out on a seemingly majestic cityscape — that we cannot really see the humans he is discussing. The pretty tail lights and tall buildings that look so awe inspiring on film are actually alarm bells. Like idiot lights on a car dashboard, they are the warning signs of a world in crisis.
Our attempts to just to stay alive for our optimal one hundred years have been a disaster for all of the other species on spaceship Earth. How destructive will our attempts at immortality be? Are we going to have time to achieve immortality before our world is too hot to live on? What good is immortality if there is no place to live an eternal life?
Jason can’t accept mortality. But I say we can’t transcend mortality until we accept and understand it. Mortality is one of the fundamental forces of Nature, and our attempts to overcome Nature have been, and will continue to be, the cause of millions of acres of destroyed habitat and hundreds of extinctions every year.
Should our quest for immortality be at the expense of other species’ attempts to do the same? Shouldn’t whales, elephants, tigers, and gorillas have a shot at evolving toward immortality too? Aren’t we saying in essence, “We humans aspire to immortality. But you guys are going extinct. Tough break, but that’s how it goes.” Is that the kind of species we want to be?
Sure, I want to be immortal. But not until I can be sure that I won’t be immortalizing hubris, greed, and selfishness. And I want to be immortal on a healthy, beautiful planet, not an uninhabitable wasteland.