Practical Immortality

It is a little bit disturbing when you go back to places that you knew in your youth and find that all traces of them have been erased. It makes me wonder how long it will take after I die before all traces of my existence have been similarly eradicated. One of the reasons that I write is to attempt to capture pieces of myself so that they may live on beyond me.

It would be better to live indefinitely myself but that is a possibility that may not manifest during my life if in fact at all. My mother used to call realization of ones immortality “Seeing the elephant”. I recently researched the phrase and found it had a somewhat different meaning. It had become a macro for realizing one’s mortality in my family lexicon so it is still the phrase that comes to mind when I contemplate my mortality.

There have been many developments in recent years that hold forth the potential for what is often called practical immortality. The meaning of the label is that death due to old age and known sicknesses will become extremely rare if not nonexistent. Death from accidents and murder will still happen but human life expectancy will rise exponentially.

Another potential avenue for achieving functional immortality is through uploading yourself into a digital storage facility for later restoration to a physical body. Other variations on that scenario include merging with a computer such that when the organic portion of yourself expires you remain as a wholly digital entity.

Another interesting possibility is that as we develop the ability to merge with computers we will simultaneously develop high fidelity digital communications facilities such that we can share our thoughts with each other, a digital telepathy so to speak. A possible evolution from that might be a merging of all minds into a massive ubermind.

Such a development might not suit all people. There might be rugged individualists that choose to maintain their individuality. That leaves us to ponder the question of what it might be like to be an individualist in a society comprised largely of a single mind.

The other question that arises from the possibility of practical immortality is how would our perception of time change? Would we have enough memory to remember our whole life or would we only remember the recent things that have happened to us or the most important things that happened in our life?

I have many books I want to read, movies and tv shows I want to watch, places I want to travel to, people I want to meet, things I want to do, and there is so little time in the course of what we now consider a normal life time to do them all. I wonder if practical immortality would be a blessing or a curse.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.

Highfalootin Musing on Art

All artists are saying look at me. Look at what I’ve done. And beyond that, in the best of cases, they are telling a story that illuminates a particular aspect of human experience. Sometimes it is superficial and at others profound. Every artist that is honest with themselves wants to be relevant. It takes work to craft something that is both aesthetically appealing and at the same time meaningful.

Those that attempt to deconstruct art and tease deep philosophical meaning from it are on a fools errand. It is not wrong per se but it is like dissecting an animal to try to discover how it works. Art stands or falls on the basis of how well it hangs together as a whole. You can discuss how it affected you and theorize about how the artist achieved their effect but I seriously doubt that you can ever truly understand a piece completely by intellectual analysis.

Good art works on different levels. It is like a many faceted gem. You can hold it in your hand and examine it. You can see it from one perspective. You can turn it around and see it from another but there is always the other side that you can’t see preventing you from grasping it in its entirety all at once. Art has an intellectual dimension, an emotional dimension, and a philosophical dimension.

I’m not even sure you should try to analyze it. Perhaps from the perspective of an artist wanting to riff of of it but not as a critic wanting to explain it. Art is ultimately inexplicable.

On many occasions I have reexamined art after years and I usually find that it has new meaning that comes from the experiences that I have had in the intervening time. This suggests to me that the art is dependent on that which it stirs up in the observer. This is part of the intangible aspect of art that makes it defy analysis.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.