I wrote a few years ago about the only way I knew of to become immortal. Basically, it was the simple concept of understanding the brain well enough to transfer its characteristics to a digital form before dying. Check it out if you have a moment.
But perhaps there’s another way.
What if you could manifest within others the same passions that you have. The same interests and desires. The same undeniable force to experience beauty and wonder, and to share them with others. The desire to model and explain things. The desire for a more educated and tolerant world.
What if you could infuse a person, or 10,000 people, with enough of those attributes. Would that be like living on after death?
I think so.
Many mistakenly think this is what parenthood offers. I think this is a sad and selfish way to live. You don’t gain immortality through bringing a life into the world and trying to propagate your views into it, and through it. That’s something worse than selfish, bordering on criminal.
Children grow and become different people. You might be a philosopher and engineer, work your whole life to give this to your son, only to have him say he hates science and wants to be a poet who uses acid and paints with fecal matter. Less extreme examples of deviation from a parent’s plan are likely to be nearly as disappointing.
I think a far more effective way of doing this is to simply link up with those who share your views already. Or find those who are close to doing so, and perhaps try to imbue them with your interest. The difference is that they are free to do otherwise, where your children are not until they are 18.
Seek out those who share your passions. Share your views. Your projects. Get people to take them on. Work on some of theirs before you pass. Share enthusiasm.
If those truly are your passions in life, then they define you as a person to a significant extent. And as such, others who share those perspectives and tastes and values — they become you. You become them.
And perhaps when you pass, you’ll imagine that there are many you’s still out there being you. Then you (or some active piece, anyway) will have survived.
One could even start a community for this. Older people getting ready to die could come and pitch their identity to others. And people could either accept or pass on taking on that identity (see projects, etc.) on behalf of the other person. If they did, it would be a life-long commitment that could never be rejected or ignored.
Someone who received such a commitment from someone could then take that degree of comfort in passing, as they will now live on to that degree.
Anyway, something to think about later. Thoughts?