WARNING! This is a poem…
Immortality, immorality, our collective totality
Living to 1000 years. We are nearly there I’m told. The first already walks among us. But it will all end in tears. The target is 1 year prolonged per year. And we are already at 3 months. This is seemingly now science fact, but who deemed this a good idea?
Individual mortality is the key to our collective future. Nature’s way of keeping our firmware up to date, our DNA shelf life intact. Still able to download the latest life apps, model updates, our iClone contract
By three our boundaries are discovered, challenged and reset. From five our persona is shining through or cruelly being offset. We are taught what is expected in the playground and class. By our teens we push, rebel, rejoice, disregard, make anew, reflect and into adulthood pass.
By our twenties our views are solidified, we know what we hold dear. Our values, our futures, our priorities smear. Our persona and challenge now soiled and caked. Optimism or realism well mixed but partially baked. New doors open, but others firmly shut. Maybe the beginnings of getting stuck in a rut.
And so it goes, our opinions funnel, our outlooks narrow, life knocks and jostles. Gives but mostly takes. Our patience grows thin, realities set in. Expectations and standards becoming ever clearer and absolute. Our defence of what’s right, steadfast, resolute
Until one day, we’re not so fresh faced. Momentum and change look more like challenge, and an unrelenting pace. Excitement replaced with fear, distrust, scorn. A worry that this is someone else’s dawn. Ahead a stark reality, that boundaries being tested now are the ones we built anew. Our stores of hope and dreams now others plunder, it’s now our ideals that are askew.
This is everybody’s story, our shared indignity. But to hold tight an ideal, is to preserve our anchor in history. It is forever the next generation that is unbound from yesterday. As they prepare for life’s journey, we should relieve them of our luggage. Simply share your moral compass to help them find their own way.
And let the teacher be taught. Gift your experience but accept the gift of experience anew. Be open, be accepting, embrace change as privilege. Like bearing witness the dawning of a new day. Be reverent not irrelevant. Transpose, translate, transform. The day you stop learning is the day you punch your ticket home.
Live in the moment, think in the future, remember the past. And if you want a different outlook, put on a different mask. If you climb a single mountain, your journey ends with a single view. Keep climbing new mountains, find new challenge, face your fears, and seek not to live forever in the cocoon of your bygone years.
But dear science, let’s not outstay our time. Let nature be, allow others time upon the throne. When our candles are many, roots deep, we become overgrown. Our aim is to leave a legacy, not extend our loan. Advance us not to our third production stage, our diminishing return. Retire us gracefully, allow us a little oil to burn. When our work complete, a few years in the sun, when our software is obsolete.
To live beyond our means, is to extend our credit endlessly. Our overdraft looks hard to pay when interest is calculated continuously. Our negative return rate, our -2.71828, the cost of our outstayed welcome now increasing exponentially.
In our disposable world, what parts will be left at the end for our first 1000-year gene? The reboots, the upgrades, the contracts renewed. Fixed then dropped, broken, or cracked, our proteins hacked, batteries replaced, search history rephrased, old data erased.
Imagine William the Conqueror, 1000 years on. Staring, calculating, a returning gaze like Tolkien’s Sauron. Having lived through so much, forgotten more than we know. What message would he offer, what imparting knowledge bestow? A living history, a walking lament of past deeds, twenty lifetimes of sorrow. The death of so many seeds. An immortalised shell. Eye now transfixed on the time we squander or sell. Born in a time of the first paper as cash, Knut’s fight with the tide, crusades, religious genocide. Allegiances changed in the blink of Harold’s eye. Towers built, countless blood spilt. Then rule of law signed, sciences uncovered, abstract thought, mathematics, continents and planets discovered. Diseases tamed, civilisations maimed, powerhouses built, fought, elevated and shamed.
The 1000-year man. Who could live through so much, so many histories repeated. Technology advancing, human endeavour undefeated. Lesson unlearned, a planet spurned. A 1000 years to plot and scheme. Or just chill on the sofa, lol at a meme, mindless viewing on Netflix, face stuffed with ice cream. Only one Amazon is growing as our forests pack our greed. Space adventure paid by courier, greatness measured in likes, not deed.
Lowering IQ to have common denominator. Our own Will I am the conqueror, technology our subjugator. Our internet of things, the knowledge of the world. A flower for humanity, knowledge on every petal unfurled. Our library of Alexandria, present in every palm and family homestead. Packed to the rafters, an infinity of learning, yet nine in ten hits taken from the top shelf instead.
Technology advancing rapidly, but Moore’s law seemingly on the wane. Lives set on comfort, popularity our polarity, our ambition merely fame. With such time to waste, and yet in constant haste, science declared natures timeline is too soon. We will defy you with our biological boon. Swept aside, cleaned up, parts anew, our genetic nod to Trigger’s broom
So is longevity humanities gift, or just our final curse? An immortal soul aboard an ungodly hearse. And in his old age, 1000-year-old man will be stuck in his unfathomable cage. Perhaps travelling to some distant place, body re-engineered for outer space. There is time yet. We have a whole universe to explore, claim and deface.
A 1000 years, it’s not for me. Someone else can transcend the approaching singularity. No upgrades to my firmware, or artificial reboots to my health, to accompany a constant recalibration of self. The endless wonder of what life’s really for. I’ll be content with my 3 score years and ten, well maybe then just a couple more…
Warren 18th December 2019
In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.