I am fascinated by the concept of immortality in fiction. The idea of a man who can not die, who lives for ages and ages and is, by all human reason, unstoppable, relentless, familiar with many cultures and many great minds and has, by some mysterious power, outlived them all.
Duncan MacLeod, Casca, Ahauseurus or The Wandering Jew, Vandal Savage, and others -they are our attempt to explore what living forever would be like. But in these cases, it is a singular advantage they and they alone possess. They watch all the people they know and love die as age catches up with them.
Have you ever heard the saying "Death is part of life?"
It is not.
Oh, I know the wisdom they are espousing - in this world, you have to accept that what you love will die and go away - and it can even nourish the next life to come.
Sure. Got it. Thanks for the info. But strictly speaking, death is NOT 'part of' life - it is the ENDING of a life. Of a good life or a bad life, it matters not - it is the end. So it is not 'part of' being alive - as a NECESSARY element - it is the cessation of an organism. If it weren't there, I think we would be glad it were gone indeed.
Unless it ALSO meant suffering would never end. OK, I can see that. Who want's to be an immortal crawling on the ground his body wracked with cancer for eternity? Not me! Disfigured, disgustingly diseased and damaged, but unable to die? No. Too awful to think about.
But all of these concepts are wonderfully and horrifyingly played out in an old made-for-TV movie entitled Frankenstein: The True Story. A movie I saw re-played in 1976 or so, but stuck with me for over 30 years - I got to watch the entire 3-hour film on DVD last night. While it is actually a re-imagining of Mary Shelley's masterpiece, it does a great job of bridging several Frankenstein movies into a cohesive story that is a bit richer IMHO that Shelley's original work.
I thought the acting was superb - especially Michael Sarrazin as 'The Creature' - I truly felt the child-like pathos of the monster and could actually 'hear' the different personalities embedded in him [I missed this as a child], saw the anger and blasphemy that brought Dr. Frankenstein and his bride to their doom - IMHO, its a damn fine cautionary tale, well-played and inescapably tragic.
Does anyone know how Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, a 19 year old girl, came up with such a fantastic horrifying tale that outlasted her literary betters in print for so many years? I'm going to go out on a limb, here.
She knew her Bible and the God revealed there, like so many of her age. She had read the account of Adam and Eve and knew that if any man dared to replace God, only evil and death would come of it. I'm NOT saying she was a devout believer, but those who know the origin of evil know that God gave us humans a death sentence as a form of severe mercy to SAVE us. Just imagine if Hitler were immortal, or Stalin, or Jim Jones, or... well, you get the idea.
You see, God made everything Good - and it was GOOD. The Tree we were not supposed to eat of was the Tree of Knowledge of Good AND EVIL.
We got what we wanted. We got the "AND EVIL" part - and shame followed immediately. It has been passed down from generation to generation since. The First Adam failed. So the Last Adam came to bring us back.
Thus Christ was sent to save us - from our sins, from our own willful decisions, from our own greed, pettiness and spite, and yes, from death - but I am afraid what we want is not repentance and a resurrection but more time to HERE to do what WE want.
We want to live forever - without God's approval. We are already working on it in several life-extension programs.
And I think, if we are not careful, Frankenstein WILL become a TRUE STORY.
Because, this morning, I read Revelations 13 about the Beast who was wounded yet lived, and guys, I think that the Anti-Christ will be an unkillable man.
An immortal, if you wish. With the power to emulate life.
And if that is true, we would love him - and be damned by doing so.
[more next post]