homo inmortalis – (en)

After digging through deep layers of goat dung, a new fossil was unearthed by a young Russian archaeologist in the Altay Mountains of southern Siberia. As usual it was hailed in headlines as revealing the elusive transitional step, the moment when an ape-like creature gave way to a hunched, primitive man who in the following frames becomes taller and bolder until finally he looks like a Premier League football player minus the shorts [in other words, the descent of Man from the Higher Animals]. The fossil revealed a mysterious new species of human being who lived alongside our ancestors 30,000 years ago. The finding means there were at least three distinct members of the muddled and a little more crowded human tree alive at the time —Modern Humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans [not to mention the 3 ft tall human called the Hobbit, dismissed by many researchers claiming the bones came from a Modern Human with a growth disorder].
That is the latest chapter of the ever unfinished history of our human ancestors that supposedly left Africa between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago.
But what is going on today with our dear fellow-men?
Another mysterious new species of humans is surfacing, I believe, and it appears to be a “sister group” of you and me. Let’s call it “Homo Inmortalis”. They are not physically different from us and they also walk upright two legs. So how can we recognize them?
Before I answer this question, let’s take a look to some definitions. Man, in his search for a soul, as Jung would put it, has passed through major changes in the underlying ways he thinks —especially the way he views truth and reality. The pre-modern era was one in which religion was the source of truth and reality. In the modern era, on other hand, science became the predominate source for truth and reality. During this period, religion and morality were arbitrarily demoted to the subjective realm. In the present, post-modern era, there is no single defining source for truth and reality beyond the individual.
In other words, pre-modernity was instinctive, modernity was confident; post-modernity is anxious. Pre-modernity had no questions and no answers, modernity had all the answers; post-modernity is full of questions. Pre-modernity reveled in natural tendencies and faith, modernity reveled in reason, science and human ability; post-modernity wallows (with apparent contentment or nihilistic angst) in mysticism, relativism, and the incapacity to know anything with certainty. And what is more important, relativism and individualism are today radicalized and applied to all spheres of knowledge —even science. In a post-modern world, truth and reality are individually shaped by personal history, social class, gender, culture, and religion. These factors, according to postmodern thinking, combine to shape the narratives and meanings of our lives as culturally embedded, localized social constructions without any universal application.
And it’s one of those localized social constructions, the Homo Inmortalis, what I’m speaking about, the one that wonders whether immortality might well be a good alternative, and focus on extreme longevity —billions and billions of years of longevity. They also walk upright two legs, but nevertheless they could afford to become immortal … while you and I couldn’t. They consider themselves the pinnacle of creation, the bold, brilliant branch that is the final growth of the evolutionary tree of life. They finally begin to understand the first part of the reflection of Cioran: “Useless to subject the Universe and to appropriate it: until we have triumphed over time, we will remain slaves.”
Since forever, human beings have wanted immortality. It literally goes back to the first epic that’s ever been written, the Epic of Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh lost his friend Enkidu, who died, and Gilgamesh went on a quest for the secret to immortality. We’ve always wanted it. But there’s also been a counter-narrative, that it’s overreaching, that it’s asking for too much, it’s not reasonable.
One part of the necessary reflection on immortality is the realization that it’s not really feasible for everyone to have it, because if everyone had it there would be overpopulation. If everyone were immortal and their children were immortal there would be no resources left, there would be overcrowding. You can tell stories about colonies on other planets but, short of that, it seems like there would be constraints toward just having an elite or small group of immortal people. And that raises questions about equity and fairness and class. About justice, in a metaphorical way.
I look at a genre like the vampire genre as bringing this out because the vampires are achieving immortality at the expense of others. They’re exploiting others to get immortality. And the elite, necessarily here, also miss the second part of Cioran’s reflection: “However, that victory over time would be only won thanks to the waiver, pursuant to which our achievements make us particularly inept, so that, while more numerous, more intensified our tying. Civilization teaches us how to seize things when it should initiate us into the art of shed them, because there is no freedom or “real life” if you don’t learn to renounce.
Just as a matter of fact there are a lot of billionaires from Texas who want cryogenics. Dmitry Itskov also wants to live forever. The 32-year-old Russian billionaire thinks he can do this by building himself an android body by the year 2045. Futurists like Ray Kurzweil believe we will have achieved immortality —or at least super-long term longevity— in about 40 years. Meanwhile the herd in the inner cities or the slums of Mumbai or in the project towers in Brooklyn, is not going to be able to afford all that’s required for immortality. They will be statistical casualties to whose lives no grandiose purpose or meaning could be attributed.
But there’s another thing: The rich and powerful Homo Inmortalis believe they have lives that they really want to continue. They think that they are automatically entitled to something, and that is when they start walking all over others to get it. The poor should take refuge in a different kind of idea, and that is the afterlife. Best viewed as religious shoppers [shopping for religions and churches that suit their needs best] religion is still useful among them —it helps their orderly conduct as nothing else could. The crude human animal is ineradicably superstitious, and there is every biological reason why they should be. Take away his gods and saints, and he will worship something else. With Christianity, that’s been one of the great things about it as an institution: given hope to the downtrodden. The hope is not to live forever and not die. The hope is to have an afterlife in which justice is achieved. For the latter, spirit gives meaning to their life, and the possibility of its greatest development; but for the former, life is essential to the spirit, because its truth is nothing if it can not be lived.
So, while elite is investing heavily to achieve immortality without dying, the rest must seek immortality [and justice] through death itself, and after being favorably judged by a god.
Most people over forty begin to question the nature and consequence of death. So I do. Some become obsessed with it. Sometimes I think man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is. Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants, and as Bertrand Russell put it, “we are just tiny lumps of impure carbon and water dividing our time between labor to postpone our normal dissolution and frantic struggle to hasten it for others.” On other hand I’m not a religious man. In that sense I just hope my extinction, whenever it will come, is final and complete.
Homo Inmortalis – By Dugutigui


Dugutigui - I Like This Post

Acerca de Dugutigui

In the “Diula” language in Mali, the term « dugutigui » (chief of the village), literally translated, means: «owner of the village»; «dugu» means village and «tigui», owner. Probably the term is the result of the contraction of «dugu kuntigui» (literally: chief of the village).
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25 respuestas a homo inmortalis – (en)

  1. smilecalm dijo:

    so many questions
    but only one answer
    do I seek;
    will I return
    in the next breath
    or no longer exist
    or neither
    return or exist? 🙂

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      As I said before [for me] all three answers —eternal life, reincarnation, and nothingness— are descriptions of the same reality, so you could pick the one that suit your needs best 🙂 Sorry if I’m not of much help …
      Thank you very much for your comment!

  2. Maybe our spirits will just float around in the universe eternally? Who knows.

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      To fly away to explore the stars and planets … I don’t know … what I know is we don’t know what to do with this short life, yet we want another which will be eternal…
      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Dalo 2013 dijo:

    Wonderful post… I do dream for immortality. I like the thought of Dmitry Itskov, even though it really sounds a bit twisted. However, taking the natural route of being recycled into something new is where I am most excited 🙂

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      Many people dream of immortality: Dmitry and his Android, the crowd with their religions. Definitely I wish you luck with your dream!
      But for me all three explanations —eternal life, reincarnation, and nothingness— are descriptions of the same reality.
      Thanks for your comment!

  4. kaldina dijo:

    La inmortalidad está sobrevalorada a mi parecer 😀

  5. I liked your post a lot. There are a lot of questions and fears that humans have and face, and most certainly death is number 1! Warmth and gentleness, Sheri

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. On other hand, I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it 🙂
      Thanks for your comment and all the best!

  6. puzzleblume dijo:

    What if immortality exists, but not individually to be felt?
    Most people would refuse. Fear of losing an ego by death, not to be personally reunited with the beloved-ones and not to be rewarded for anything well-behaved done is the secret of all religions’ success.
    Man is avaricious and won’t share neither the stuff he is used to own named as his own body nor soul, he feels having in use while leading one of his lifes. 😉

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      You are probably right, provided protons give an atom its identity and electrons its personality 🙂 🙂 On other hand, as said above, I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience, so I will be willing to do it again [if strictly necessary]. If I were told that I had to spend millennia contemplating the furry growth on a rock in the woods, I’m sure I would lose the will to go on. The problem is we used to build civilizations. Now we build shopping malls, and actual elite realized they can buy only certain number of Ferraris, and they can’t drive them in the religious afterworld, so now they are looking to buy immortality by not dying. To buy what? One reason we enjoy things is that we know intimately they won’t last. I think of Dorian Gray’s constant ennui. Proust writes a lot about the dissatisfaction in love that comes right after one possesses the object of his desire. Would we even enjoy immortality after a while? What would be next? What happen if there is no next? I don’t know what to do with myself on a rainy Sunday afternoon, one plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn’t even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day. For me the only immortality can be found in the children, even knowing sperm doesn’t contain my consciousness.
      Thanks for your thoughts!

  7. ane dijo:

    Do not know anything concrete, are hypotheses issued ! too complicated :), there are many parallel universes…we to be healthy and happy 🙂

    • Dugutigui dijo:

      There are many questions without answers … What year did Jesus think he was?

      • ane dijo:

        not sure,emit opinions. We must keep the balance between reality and illusion in order to live. 🙂

      • Dugutigui dijo:

        In this I am absolutely agreed with you. So I say; live and let live, that’s my motto, live and let live. And if anyone disagrees, take him out and shoot the motherfucker. It’s a simple philosophy, but it has always worked for my family.

      • ane dijo:

        I like your thinking, freedom means being able to do what you want, without being restricted …

      • Dugutigui dijo:

        I think that freedom means to have unlimited rights, or have no rights at all, for instance, I have the right to do anything I please. But, if I do something you don’t like, I think you have the right to kill me 🙂 🙂 Today every shit has rights … “I have a right to my opinion,” you say, “Oh yeah? Well, I have a right to my opinion, and my opinion is that you have no right to your opinion.” …

      • ane dijo:

        right to an opinion .. 🙂 Freedom means responsibility assumed.

  8. Kev dijo:

    I had to laugh. We do seem to go to extreme lengths sometimes. I love the way you took us from a primates to neanderthal and onwards towards a striving for immortality. Great article. I really enjoyed it. I like a fresh approach to things.

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