Immortality is not a new concept and been around from ancient times. Katha Upanishad from India, written in 5th century BCE talks about it where Yama taught young Nachiketa how humans can achieve immortality.
Around the same time in ancient Greece, Plato was thinking about immortality and believed that ‘soul’ cannot be destroyed. Little later, Aristotle claimed that ‘reason’ or ‘intellect’ is immortal.
If you look at ancient religions, they talk about life that is beyond physical self. Concept of rebirth in Hinduism, Heaven and hell in Christianity..
Both ancient philosophy and religious scriptures have a common line – immortality of physical self is probably impossible, but longevity of our ‘soul’ (thoughts, reason..) is a possibility.
‘Soul’ has multiple definitions in ancient philosophy. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says soul (Atman) is a collection of our intellect and desires to put it in simple terms.
I personally don’t believe in life after death. So far, we don’t exactly know if ‘soul’ exists or we’re just a collection of atoms and molecules that gets dismantled after death and takes a different form thus destroying our thoughts and desires.
May be in the future, with advancements in science, we might slow down or stop ageing thus achieving physical immortality. Until then, only possibility of immortality is of the soul – our thoughts and desires. Soul, not in literal sense as defined in ancient philosophy or religious scriptures but defining it as a ledger of our thoughts and desires.
This ledger can be immortal if captured, stored and displayed.
Though human beings have been around for ~200k years, we started capturing our thoughts in the form of drawings in caves few thousand years ago. It was only 5000yrs ago when we started writing our thoughts – as found in ancient Mesopotamia
About 4000 BCE in Egypt, invention of papyrus helped us document thoughts and desires – limited to some that had the privilege to put down their thoughts (emperors, scholars..). Out of that, very few survived for us to read today.
We had our first printed book, The Diamond Sutra in China around 868 AD during Tang dynasty. With Gutenberg press invented in the 15th century Europe, this expanded the reach for more people to capture their thoughts. We saw books in science, philosophy, religion, etc. written by authors across the globe – capturing their thoughts for future generations to read.
Fast forward to 20th century, internet helped many more to capture their thoughts through blogs and emails lowering the bar before which only authors with support from a publishing house could publish a book.
Something incredible happened in the 21st century: Web2 which gave us Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, Tiktok, etc.. and the birth of smartphones with camera.
For the first time in human history, every person on earth has the possibility to capture their thoughts, desires and moments that probably can outlive their mortal self.
If ‘soul’ is collection of our thoughts and desires, we are almost about to achieve immortality of our soul.
Life is much shorter than we think it is. Use the available tools to capture your thoughts and desires:
- Tweet your thoughts, write blogs
- Take pictures of important moments and post them on instagram, facebook etc..
- Make videos on youtube, tiktok etc.. so that your thoughts including your voice and animated version of your self would outlive your mortal self
Here is a good tweet thread on how short life is:
Data that we capture on Web2 is mutable. With Web3, we probably have a solution where our thoughts live as it is, till internet and blockchain will be around. Though it is still early, it is a big step forward for longevity of thoughts.
Now that you are here, rethink your privacy walls setup for your social media profiles. Here is the problem. Take a facebook profile with images, videos and thoughts of yours that is set to private – aka only visible for your connected friends.
After your time on earth, only your first level friends would have access to your thoughts and moments. But, what happens when they all perish over time? Your profile would become a black box. Except for a ledger record that you existed, your thoughts and desires (’soul’), though would outlive your mortal self, would become inaccessible after say 70 – 100years.
A good approach would be to categorise thoughts and moments so that a part of it is made public so that it lives till internet is around – which probably would atleast be till the time human species is around.
Let our souls be immortal!
Cover image: Photo by Bruno Aguirre on Unsplash