Religions are preoccupied with what happens to us after we die and the religious ideas of heaven, hell, paradise, judgment, resurrections and eternal life are all rooted in a belief that there is more to human life than just life and death. Even after death, religions remind us that human life survives in some capacity or dimension. Besides, religions for thousands of years have sustained human desire for everlasting life and as an important cultural artifact religion still maintains this hope for millions of people.
Fear of death is perhaps the greatest emotion, all of us human beings share together and this fear has also generated a hope for eternal life in human beings. In our eastern religions, for example, we have a concept that drinking somaras (divine nectar) makes us forever young and immortal. In the past, people have also experimented with alchemy and magic to remain alive for ever.
Moreover, in a secular society now this hope for everlasting life has shifted from religious imaginations to science. However, modern treatment of religious quest for after-life seems bizarre. Just as in the ancient world, where Egyptians were desperate to preserve their bodies for after life, in their search for immortality extremely wealthy people around the world are also prepared to spend their life’s income to protect their dead bodies so that science in future will regenerate life in their dead bodies and restore them again.
Many people are ready to keep their dead bodies deep-frozen until science sufficiently develops technologies to restore life back unto to them. Sci-fi fantasies for after-life death seem bizarre, but the progress in scientific research for bringing back extinct species to life through altering genes and creations of artificial organs that prolong life has at least given us a hope for immortality. Our desire for survival and fear of death pushes us human beings to find cultural artifacts that give us hope for immortality.
Compared to different views on immortality that are both symbolic and literal, my own view on search for immortality is rather realistic. I acknowledge all the progress science has made regarding artificial intelligence, creating artificial organs for curing diseasing and introducing technologies that prolong life. It has been hypothesised that human beings with the life span of 150 years are living right now.
However, I find it bizarre to keep dead bodies in frozen state for years in our quest for personal immortality. It’s too selfish. I think of immortality more as a social, natural and ecological phenomenon. My own search for immortality focus not on surviving after death rather than becoming part of this universe by giving my body back to the earth after I die and more importantly by becoming part of the past, as an ancestor for the future generation to progress.