Going back to the theme of the last post but one, the questions of mortality and immortality have still to be discussed.
If we are indeed immortal, why do we need mortality? My thoughts on the subject, in no particular order, can be summed up as follows:
- If eternity is endless time, then the biggest problem is going to be boredom. Repeating the same things again and again is going to be mind-numbingly dreary. What better way to relieve the monotony than to enter time with amnesia? We have no idea that we have performed these actions before, and can enjoy them for their novelty and uniqueness. Of course, once we return to eternity, boredom sets in again, in which case …
- If eternity is timeless and nothing occurs, living in time will be a way of experiencing existence. Things happen!
- On the other hand, if eternity is timeless and everything happens simultaneously, with action following automatically on conception, living in time will be a way of experiencing change.
- Having a life with a definite beginning and end allows us to parcel our experiences together. Each life has a particular theme, which carries with it its relevant experiences. The next life could then perhaps contain a mirror image or counterpoint to the previous one. For example, if you are a cook in one life, being a gourmet in another life allows you to experience the same things from a different point of view. Of course, if you commit murder, it might be necessary to experience what it is to be murdered! For me, this could very well be the underlying reason behind Karma.
- To my mind, the very brevity of our lives, when compared to eternity (in either form), is the core of their advantage. Having only a limited time to accomplish something makes us bundle our experiences together into intense packages. If we knew we had unlimited time to do things, we would take our time doing them, and our experiences would be stretched out and thin.
- There are many who believe that this is a temporary existence, and that the eternal life is the important one. They rush through their lives, working towards being accepted into their idea of Heaven, whilst avoiding their concept of Hell. They don’t experience the rich intensity of the world. I feel sorry for these people, because they are missing out on so much.
- Even worse, they might return to eternity, only to discover that they actually disregarded what it was they were supposed to experience. It would be like being told that they had to repeat a year at school, because they failed the exams and assessments along the way.
- What if the whole purpose of existence is to incarnate, experience the joys, woes and emotions of existence, and then return to eternity to assimilate all that has happened and plan the next lot of experiences? As Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
- And finally, there is the concept of evolution. On the one hand, if we had physical immortality, there would be no evolution of the species. We would all still be single-celled creatures living in a primordial soup. Human beings, and whatever comes after us, would be impossible. On the other hand, if there is only one life to live, there would also be no mental/spiritual evolution. We would be stuck doing the same things over and over again, which was my first point. Only this time, there would be no chance of escaping the boredom!