BY DR. AGONSON
When considering death, nothing useful can be said until the perimeter of man’s purpose is defined, until it is clear for what he is, and is not, meant, for it is the death of man with which the discussion is concerned, the termination of man’s journey. What can be said about the end without first knowing the path meant to be taken?
So, the immortal man is imagined, and should any age discover him, the most dangerously suited seems our present world of scientific miracles. What is man then, when, whether by machine or chemicals or the reorganizing of our own genetics, he no longer dies? Is he still man, or has he left the path which is now tread?
A wooden table is not a tree, yet is from a tree, and in the same way this everlasting man would be something new, hewn from material which would, as the tree, be no more, save in its remembrances, in the pattern of the woodwork. This is no judgment passed upon the new, for it is inevitable that man should one day be transformed: for language is the like, passed from parent to child, yet changing, becoming something that is not the old, and what of our own bodies which also, built of cells, regenerates only to create something different, a baby morphing into an adult, or an even closer parallel, a story slowly refined in the telling.
There is the nub, refining. These processes should be working toward something, building upon what stands. It is seen in the micro: even in writing this, I’ve deleted, I’ve killed, sentences, reworked phrases, added and removed commas, all in a drive toward the truth. In the macro: ideas come and go, sometimes burned up, but sometimes reforged in the fires of criticism and chaos. Or consider the rising and falling of great nations; is this western culture not the offspring of Jerusalem and Athens?
So, two modes, two faces, of death emerge: the first destroys what is not true, what misses the mark, and the second incorporates, revitalizes, recreates, a new generation from the old. The Truth, our King in purple robes, faces ignoble execution among thieves and murderers, the lies and distortions of reality which have fallen short of the way. Stripped and scourged, the skin even torn from the body, bare Truth is crucified. Then declaring, “It is finished,” Truth dies. But Truth is a seed, which buried, emerges on the third day.
This is part of an interwoven pattern, the way that bodies, thoughts, ideas, and civilizations evolve, and separated from this grand fractal, what would man be? How can man be born again unless he perish? Let it not be thought that man could make himself immortal and thereby rise above what God stooped to face. Such a race of men has fallen below the problem of death, and is less for the change.
Not running from, but meeting death is the solution, picking up our crosses and treading the way of Truth, for then what dies is refined, given new life.
Listen to my beautiful voice: