Skip to main content

To Infinity, and Beyond....

There's an episode of the old-time radio series Lights Out Everybody, from the pen of creative luminary Arch Oboler. The plot of The Immortal Gentleman rather startled me when, as a kid, I first listened to it, alone upstairs in my darkened bedroom.

It is the future. Or, at least, we think it is. A man from the present day falls asleep in an auditorium during a boring lecture, and "wakes up" to find himself in the remnants of the very same auditorium. He is soon tagging-along with a band of people who are on a mission. In the future --- in their time --- people live forever. And they're seeking to end that, by any means necessary.

The moral of Immortal Gentleman --- that humanity should live and then die, making way for newer, younger people --- has always stuck with me. When we're young, we rarely seem to think about death. If we do, it's typically something we don't look favorably upon. The idea of living forever is an inviting one. But at what cost? Is an infinite lifespan really all it's cracked up to be? Let's think about it for a moment.

If humanity were to find a way to exponentially increase its lifespan, then presumably we'd have conquered aging. That would seem to be the only way to avoid death. So then what happens? Do we continue to procreate? If so, where would everyone fit? Would the Earth's resources be stretched to the breaking point? Would the reality of economic sustainability require folks to work all their lives? If there is no death, there would be no retirement, surely? And people would have to work all their lives in order to maintain a prosperous and productive financial environment.

What would happen to hierarchy? What opportunities would there be for the "young" to supplant the "older?" What endeavors would people undertake? Would we become bored with life? Would progress in various fields slow down? Humans have improved upon the theories and practices of those who came before them. If no one dies, would the once-creative begin to develop narrow minds as they grew older, and older, and older? Would the "younger" generations have a chance to bring fresh ideas to the table?

Of course, most everyone is afraid of death. Even many religious folk, who believe in some sort of wonderful afterlife, aren't too crazy about the notion of dying. But isn't the point of Heaven (or whatever it is that the various religions throughout history have termed their positive afterlife) that people's fears of non-existence are assuaged by the promise of immortality, provided you repent your sins?  It can be argued, however, that immortality is a curse, not a blessing. Would everlasting life be something we'd really want? I can't even comprehend.


Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.