When I was a kid, I spent my summers living with my father in Montana. Often, his two brothers would come down and see us, their families in tow, and at some point we would all go out to dinner. When the check came, my dad and his brothers would fight over it, sometimes with quite a bit of fervor. Each of them was dying to pay it. People fight over the check because by doing so they showcase their value to theorized gods who watch our every move. But he believed that man had on some subconscious level, come to act as if he believed in them.
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When I was a kid, I spent my summers living with my father in Montana. Often, his two brothers would come down and see us, their families in tow, and at some point we would all go out to dinner. When the check came, my dad and his brothers would fight over it, sometimes with quite a bit of fervor.
Each of them was dying to pay it. People fight over the check because by doing so they showcase their value to theorized gods who watch our every move. But he believed that man had on some subconscious level, come to act as if he believed in them.
To circumvent this grim truth we have created a series of lies for ourselves, lies that promise immortality. Many of the lies, as defined by Harrington, are familiar ones: religions promising eternal life, or spiritual philosophies arguing we can achieve oneness with the universe or reincarnation.
But other lies are more ambigous, not so much concrete concepts but nagging suspicions, subconscious beliefs that if we behave a certain way or make our presence obvious to the world, then we will somehow outlast our physical forms. It sounds crazy and indeed when I recently perused The Immortalist I found myself wondering whether the book was some kind of big joke. A disco.
Alan Harrington is not an author familiar to many. He worked as a journalist but much of his writing career was spent writing novels, most of which were favorably reviewed and then sank from sight.
He died of leukemia in That probably tells you more about him than anything else. It simply reads like the condensed version of a lifetime of thoughts; it screams of a man mixing his passion and intellect into a vat and releasing the resulting sticky mess out on the world. At its core, The Immortalist is a call to action.
Harrington argues that the evolved man has recognized his greatest enemy is death and that he should declare war upon it. Keep in mind this was written more than 40 years ago. Towards the end of the book Harrington even surveys the state of anti-death science, then largely consisting of cryonics. For example, consider the race riots of the late 60s. Most cultural critics would argue these acts of violence were driven by the rage of the oppressed. But Harrington goes deeper, claiming a need for rebirth is what fundamentally drove the rioters.
But as Harrington makes his case the argument assembles a certain kind of logic. In later sections of the book he argues that by seeking attention through acts of wartime heroism, we seek to bring our names to lips of Gods, and to their scrolls listing those deserving of the gift of eternity.
This is why an anonymous death is such a thing to be feared. Also of anonymous or unattended death: leaving corpses unclaimed after battle. Jerry Howell of Alameda, Calif. And yet it makes no sensewhy risk the living for the dead? We can certainly look to the notion of celebrity to see further evidence. Many people seem overwhelmed by the need to be known and have their exploits known by others.
I was certainly guilty of this when younger and have far from washed this yearning from my mind. Celebrity is usually fleeting and far more people waste their lives seeking it than ever achieve it.
But the gamble is worth it, Harrington argues, if the real goal is immortality. We have a merciless obsession with accomplishment.
Millions are now caught up in the neurotic new faith that man must succeed or die. For such individuals, it is not enough to enjoy life or simply to do a good job or be a good person. No, the main project, pushing all other concerns into the background, is to make a name the gods will recognize. Many spend practically all of their time doing this. The only way to make sense out of the immortalists in the crowd to a varying degree, nearly everyone is to understand that they are trying to posts scores on an imaginary record.
In B. Herostratus burned down the temple of Artemis in Ephesus in order to make his name immortal. Recently an accused mass murderer in Arizona explained why he had gunned down a roomful of women.
As long as you have committed a memorableeven if also horribleact, the gods will not let you sink into nothingness. It is along these lines that The Immortalist makes its case that man has been driven mad by his fear of death. Harrington argues that by recognizing our primal need to live forever, we can understand and change our neurotic behavior and put our energy into the scientific quest for immortality.
ALAN HARRINGTON THE IMMORTALIST PDF
Samubei They are very exciting and have a magnetic appeal immortapist transcending the limitations of the body. The ideas put forth in this book were often more than powerful enough to stop me mid-sentence. It is a wonderful concept, and turns the book into a model giant essay, providing an excuse for examining the key role that death plays in human civilization. Brown write passionately, with intimidating erudition, about the unimportance of erudition. There is so much more to say and discuss about this immorfalist content. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web.
His first order of business was to demonstrate that our ideas of life after death are delusional. He made the usual sorts of arguments against resurrection and reincarnation, heaven and hell, ghostly haunting and surfing the astral plane. But of course such fantasies are pure imagination, because we simply will not exist. Whether people weep over our grave or dance, will be nothing to us, when we are ourselves nothing.
This is a provocative but half-cocked meditation on death, by a novelist The Ordeal of Dr. Modesto; The Secret Swinger who Modesto; The Secret Swinger who dares humanity to assert its will to eternal life by attaining complete scientific mastery over decay. Such a program, he states, is already under way: witness developments like organ transplants, artificial body parts, and ""cyrenics,""--the process of freezing bodies for later resurrection. He asserts that the actual achievement of immortality only awaits several generations of determined research, plus the abandonment of age-old fears inculcated by religion, which teaches that freedom from death is the prerogative of gods alone, and philosophy, which instructs that finitude must be accepted as part of the human condition.