IMMORTALITY: Would Indefinite Life redefine who we are and what we believe?

Throughout history, Humanity has often searched for the elixir of immortality, the Tree of life, the Holy Grail…etc. Our ancestors wished for immortality. We still search for it today. We still wish for it and strive for it somehow and in some way. How many ads do we see everyday that talk about products that make us look younger, supplements that make you “feel” younger, exercise methods, strength boosters, and diet pills to keep “healthy”? We are obsessed with youth. For most of us, death is a frightening phenomenon. Ceasing to exist so suddenly makes our lives seem fleeting and meaningless. We ask ourselves what will happen after death? What is death? Why must we die? Will our existence only end completely? I often hear: “If only I was younger” or “if only I had a little more time” or “if only I hadn’t done this in my life” more times than I can count. Many of us want “more time” or to extend our seemingly short lives to do what we wish. Although we have not achieved immortality, scientific development and technological progress brings us closer and closer to the answer. If such a thing became reality in the near future, then perhaps we should now ask ourselves what it means to be immortal. How would it affect us? How would humanity handle such a fulfillment?

HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY AND VALUES:

One approach I often use is remembering the time before I had any concept or notion of death. As a child, I never knew that people could die. Death was an alien concept. I could not understand why people would appear to be “asleep” and never wake up again. No movement, no breath, no sound, just silence. I did not do things just to “save time” as a kid, but rather did things because I wanted to at that time and in that moment. In that sense, time for me was quite steady and slow. It was only later when I grew older that my concept of time began to shape into what it is now: precious, fleeting moments, minutes, hours, days, years… Perhaps the idea of “wasting time” would be something strange for an immortal being since (for an immortal) time will be so abundant and seemingly limitless like the very air we breathe. Would we be so impatient as we are now if time was infinite for us? If achieved, immortality most likely would affect us on a very deep, psychological level. Our values and priorities would be rearranged. Would some of us feel threatened by immortality for inner change it brings? Some would say that life would only become boring if we lived forever, but I would say that change is the only thing that is constant in life. If we had all the time in the world, wouldn’t we strive to become more creative beings? Wouldn’t immortality lead us to have a great desire to become more creative if death is no longer a force of change? Or is death a limiting factor? Is death making us rush living life? We live our lives thinking of Death. Our lives revolve around Death and we define our lives with the idea that our time is limited. If we eliminate death, then what makes us human?
RELIGION:
As said before, Mankind has always sought for immortality. Although there are some people truly and deeply believe an a religion, I find that most people aren’t truly religious folks. Most would only turn to religion for the promise of everlasting life. Of course there are probably many other reasons why people believe in religion, but transcending death is a theme that many religions seem to follow. If most people only turn to religion just for the promise of everlasting life, then what purpose will it have if human beings are already immortal? Would immortal beings still turn do the same? Would immortal beings need religion? Immortality could have the power to render religion obsolete. So, religion and immortality might not be compatible with one another. Could these two things co-exist?

SOCIAL/ECONOMIC CHANGE:
To be honest, I have no clue what will happen to this aspect of our lives in the future. The changes that may occur will probably be things that we can’t even imagine in regards to social and economic aspects human civilization. All I know is that it would all be profound. Perhaps we might pass laws against certain things. Perhaps immortality will be banned or there will be some who are immortal and some who are not. This part is quite open ended. I would like to know what you guys think.

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“IRON SKY”: HAVEN’T SEEN SUCH A GREAT MOVIE IN A LONG TIME

There are very few movies out there that I would watch since I find that a lot of movies that are being released are just not worth watching these days. Despite many bad reviews, I actually find this movie very enjoyable to watch. A lot of people say that it lacks “gusto” that many political satires have, but come on…Moon Nazis! A movie about Moon Nazis! How hilariously absurd is that? Classic. It’s funny and I find a lot of things in the movie that pretty much show how politics is around the world particularly in America towards the very end of the movie. Not only does it address the state of world politics, it has a deeper philosophical layer in terms of how to approach another civilization to it if you pay attention carefully enough. What really pulled me in the end was the female voice that was narrating while everything was blowing up in space. I don’t know who it was narrating, but what she said really got to me. I don’t know what is it about those three sentences, but it really resonated with me.

Overall, I think it’s a great movie even if others don’t agree. It’s not too slow, not too serious, and it’s not too fast-paced. I’d watch it again and I recommend it to anyone who is remotely aware of what’s going on with governments around the world.

INFO: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1034314/
WATCH HERE: http://www.watchfreemovies.ch/watch-movies/2012/watch-iron-sky-220811/

All a dream…


As much as I like being positive, my mind soaks up everything like a sponge. Most of the things that are happening in the world right are the dark things. I’ve learned much more this year about what happened to the people I’m close to and it saddens me to know how much they suffered when they didn’t need to. The News these days aren’t particulary positive. By the time I graduate from University, there might not be any jobs left here. We are only as free as the money we have in this world and we watch those who have more than enough money squander it. The knowledge that could save millions of lives around the world is kept secret by very few. Watching the news can depress me. There is a kind of freedom (and sadness) in just giving up all hope for yourself. As a kid, I had expected life to be much more than this.  I truly believed that if I did everything I was asked to do, I could be rewarded with freedom later in life. A lot of us never really had carefree, happy lives growing up. When do we get a piece of the pie? Hope sometimes feels like a piece of cheese cruelly dangled in front of a mouse.

When I see all of these rules and regulations between governments and countries, I sometimes wonder if I should just let go of it all. Let go of all of the dreams I have, all the aspirations, relationships, and ambitions. I don’t know if I’m just living in a dreamworld when I think of actually achieving my goals. Maybe I’m just rejecting the reality in front of me. It is like going through hell again when I realized that I couldn’t afford to go to an art school. No matter how much I rejected reality, no matter what I did or how much I tried or how much I worked, I couldn’t afford to go to art school. I wonder if I’m just going through the same damn thing again. Sometimes I wonder if I should just settle with just being here for the rest of my life. But if it all comes to that, I’d sooner put a bullet through my head than settle for life unlived, a dead life of doing things that I don’t believe in, living a life that is dictated by money or the system. I’m not joking when I say it. They tell you in schools in America that you can achieve anything, that it is  the land of opportunity. America, one of the richest countries in the world, yet more than half of the population cannot afford to go to school without falling to the trap of accumulating massive amounts of debt in the end.

I often say that I’m not alone in how I feel, but I feel alone. There are days when I feel unsettled by it and days when I feel at peace with it. The fact is, there is no savior. No one to hold your hand and pick you up when you can’t see the end of the tunnel. A vast majority of us feel the same thing, yet we all are really alone and divided in struggling for our lives.

There are times when I have a masochistic death wish of self destruction to destroy myself so I can be someone else. Or a desire to curl up somewhere and wish the world to pass me by until I fall asleep and never wake up. The dreamworld seems so much better. I can’t help but think that if I want to change my life, I’d really have to do something drastic. It’s probably something that I can’t even imagine myself doing, something that I am scared of doing, but if that’s what it takes, than that’s probably what I’m going to have to do.

DEVIANTART

After much contemplation, I opened a Deviantart account. Hopefully I’ll be able to reach some viewers. I was actually quite hesitant at first about it because my first experiences with Deviantart wasn’t very pleasant. It seemed to me that everyone was trying to one-up people. Competition is okay, but it’s not cool to the point where you have to degrade someone’s art and someone’s thoughts to make yourself look good. I like a good critique as well regardless if it’s negative or positive, but I didn’t get any on that site. After a few years, I think I should give it another try. Maybe the people who used to be there aren’t there anymore. I know a lot of good artists have actually moved on from Deviantart or left because of the terrible community there, but I’ll give it a go and see what happens.

link: http://elysianrage.deviantart.com/

The Age-Old Debate: What is Human Nature?

A while back when I was having dinner with relatives, they started talking and arguing about politics as usual, the economy, and how wars are fueled by corporate and political interests. My dad states that the government is after the wealth and resources from other countries. My uncle then replies, “They’re greedy. It’s human nature…”

When we see all the horrible things that we do to each other, many people would often say “it’s because it’s human nature.” But when asked what exactly is human nature, I’ve gotten different answers. Why do many people blame our bad behavior on something that we know very little about? What exactly is “Human Nature”? It is blamed for pretty much every wrongdoing in the world, but is it really a valid explanation to bad behavior or is it a vague excuse for the way we act?

The Merriam Webster dictionary states that “Human Nature” is “: the nature of humans; especially : the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans.”   <== [ such a descriptive, informative, and enlightening definition of Human Nature, dontcha think? :p ]

Since I find the dictionary definition to be incredibly vague in my opinion, I decided to try a different approach. People often say that human nature cannot be changed. Refering to the dictionary definition above, what are the fundamental dispositions and traits of humans? Is it all set in stone or is it more malleable than we give it credit for? Is human nature dictated by genes or is there other factors that we must consider?

Do genes ultimately determine behavior? To attempt in answering that question, one has to look into Epigenetics, which is defined loosely as the study of the effects of the environment on gene expression. All organisms are products of the environment in which they live in. Environmental factors trigger biochemical reactions that influence which genes will be active or inactive. Environment can determine whether or not one will have different genetic diseases, disorders, and even certain human behaviors. For example, if someone has a gene that codes for violence or increased aggressiveness, it depends on the environmental factors in play that would activate that gene. Even though that person may have a predisposition to become an extremely aggressive individual, it does not mean that the person is destined to be aggressive as long as they did not grow up with abuse or violence at an early age. Knowing this, then the argument of Nature vs. Nurture is moot since epigenetics shows that it may be both Nature and Nurture that shapes an individual. We have the genes that code for certain behaviors, but it greatly depends on whether or not the environment in which we live in triggers those genes.

In the social sciences, “human behavior” is termed as the range of behaviors displayed by human beings, which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion, and/or genetics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_behavior). Perhaps then, to understand why we behave the way we do, we have to understand the environment. How we behave is largely influenced by society and our interactions with other people. If a child grew up in a poor neighborhood witnessing gunfights on a daily basis and nothing else, then we cannot expect him or her to become any better than what he or she has grown up with.

To conclude, perhaps “human nature” is not how we understand it to be. Perhaps human nature is simply the very basic biological functions of human beings – the need to reproduce, to eat, to sleep, to survive…etc, while our behaviors are changable. We simply do not know enough about “Human Nature” to point it out as the cause of all bad behavior in the world. To blame human nature for all the wrongdoings suggests that we are not placing enough responsibility on ourselves to govern our actions. We must be careful not use “human nature” to justify horrific actions. If we can change our behaviors, then wouldn’t it be our responsibility to help prevent terrible things from happening? After all, it is as Edmund Burke had said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Is “Human Nature” dictated by our genes or are our behaviors conditioned by our environment? Or is it both? What do you think?

(source: http://ipowerproject.com/forum/topics/the-age-old-debate-what-is-human-nature)

Interesting Links:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/275332/human-behaviour

http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2005/08/68468

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111007161636.htm

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/epigenetics.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36HquPzdxf4

 

THE GIRL AND THE MACHINE


I painted this years ago. I used to be very proud of it, but now I see all the flaws and mistakes. This is painted on a wooden board I found at a local supply store with acrylic paint. I don’t exactly know what went through my mind when I was painting this. To be honest, I find it a bit scary to look at sometimes. I don’t know why. One of the parental units wanted to throw it away because it was taking space in my messy room despite knowing how much effort I put into this so I gave it to my cousin who still loves this painting. The story behind this painting is about a world where the old civilizations have all crumbled to dust. The remaining members of humanity found a way to transfer their consciousness into machines or they become biosynthetic beings as a way to survive through a turbulent transition. The girl is one of the  few remaining authentic human beings that woke up from cryostasis in a state of amnesia. She explores the world as if she were a child who is experiencing touch, smell, sight, and sound for the first time. The machines and the biosynthetic humans exist as part of the natural world. They are beings who are keepers of vast knowledge and  would seem as if they have always been there since the very beginning. All of the old buildings and cities of the past have been taken over by forests and war-torn lands became places where life thrives. In her eyes, the world isn’t a dying or broken world. It is a world that is in constant state of emergence.