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Immortality

Part of the Science and Fiction book series (SCIFICT)

Abstract

I’d guess the dream of immortality appears in all human cultures. The Greeks had their list of immortal gods, demons, and minor deities; mortals such as Sisyphus who dreamed of immortality were made to suffer. Early followers of Taoism believed in an elixir of life, and thought the ingestion of cinnabar or gold would lead to immortality; in an attempt to stave off death Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, ate so much cinnabar he died of mercury poisoning. In ancient Sumer, the immortal Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that longevity can be obtained by eating a special plant; Gilgamesh finds the plant but promptly loses it to a snake and so doesn’t find out whether it would have worked. In Hindu belief, eating a nectar called amrita confers immortality; in Norse mythology it’s the eating of golden applies; in Japanese mythology it’s the eating of a fish called ningyo. Christianity, of course, is replete with characters who gain immortality, including Sir Galahad (who touches the Holy Grail), the Wandering Jew (who taunted Jesus while he was en route to his crucifixion), and the Three Nephites (who were granted immortality so they could continue their ministry until the second coming of Christ).

Keywords

  • Caloric Restriction
  • Maximum Lifespan
  • Maximum Life Span
  • Human Lifespan
  • Wiring Diagram

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Immortality isn’t living forever. That isn’t what it feels like. Immortality is everybody else dying.

Dr Who, “The Girl Who Died”

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Webb, S. (2017). Immortality. In: All the Wonder that Would Be. Science and Fiction. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51759-9_10

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