Human mortality, ultimately the cruelest joke played on the human race since the beginning of mankind. Many schools of religion and philosophy have explored this phenomenon. Genesis, the first book of the Bible gives a detailed account of why people must die. Aside from the fact that in the same story we also see a snake walking around and talking, it offers a bit of insight into the mindset of the person who wrote the story.
People must die, the book explains, because they entered into the dualistic knowledge of good and evil. Initially, the human immortality was gained from a tree of fruit in the paradise, the Garden of Eden. Ah, but there was another tree in the garden as well: the tree of knowledge. This tree didn’t have just any knowledge; it had the knowledge of good and evil-dualism. People were strictly forbidden to eat of the fruit of knowledge, for if they did, they would certainly die.
Then along comes the snake. The snake in this story plays the people for the schmucks that they turned out to be. “No, no, no, you won’t die,” said the snake, “You will be like gods and know good from evil!” Oh well, what did the snake know-as it turned out, not only did people start dying, but women were cursed with mad crazy pain during childbirth, man was cursed with having to work to earn his keep, and even the snake was cursed by having to slither on his belly. At some point the snake quit talking too, but that’s beyond the scope of this essay.
What a fascinating story. One you might expect to hear by the fireside as cavemen and women look at the stars and begin to wonder about things. But, as with all the rest of the stories in the various religions, if you peel the layers off, you begin to notice something. There may really be a moral to the story-or should we say, mortal to the story.
Actually, this wild hypothesis has been brewing in my mind for decades-but come to find out, I’m not the first to notice such things. Deepak Chopra has an entire series on the subject of immortality titled, “Ageless Mind, Timeless Body.” Linda Goodman made the same argument in her series on astrology, “Star Signs,” and among the many works out there on the topic, there is another series on the “Masters of the Far East,” that is a rather interesting read as well. To bring the point a little closer to home, Rabbi Yeshua, if you take his words literally, was recorded on several occasions to have said, “And you shall not die.” Wow! Of course, Linda Goodman passed away from diabetes, Rabbi Yeshua was murdered, and we see people dropping like flies all around us every day. I did get an opportunity to ask Swami G (a disciple of Gandhi’s) once, if it was true that there is an actual person in the Far East who lived to be 500. I almost fell out of my chair when he said that he knew someone who was 300 years old-still alive at the time of my question.
Joseph Campbell defined eternity as being in the moment. Campbell has since passed away too-but his theory was that it was now a minute ago, it was now 10,000 years ago, it will be now 10,000 years from now-so the only reality that we truly have is the eternal now, and if we live in the now, then we already have eternity-immortality.
So, as it were, life set in, gray hairs started growing, and I accepted my own fragile state of existence in a “This is it, one shot,” mentality. In a way, it is in fact rather comforting to think that we must die, as long as everyone else must die too, that is. It adds meaning to each moment of each day to know how precious that moment really is. To think that in the constructs of eternity, I only get 100 years, makes a hundred years seem like only a moment-with no second chances what-so-ever. In a way, that seems comforting, Carpe Deum! Until my 100th birthday that is.
Many years later, my ideations of immortality put aside, I have recently devoted much of my time to the study of how people learn and what happens physically to the brain when people do learn. Searching through the manuals, reading the case studies, checking my notes, and one simple fact almost eluded me. When a person learns something, the chemistry in the brain actually changes. The synapses in the brain actually change. The very structures of the genes which make up the cells in the brain actually change. I skimmed right over it the first several times, and went right on to Latent Learning, Incidental Learning, Reinforced Learning, repetitions, timed tests of rats finding the end of a maze, and so forth.
D’oh! Wait a minute! Did they just say that the very genetic makeup of the brain cells change to accommodate the learning?! Yup, as you will see in future articles when my research on the subject is finished, the protein acids in the genes actually change when someone learns something.
Boing! The lights came on connecting the dots. We know that people who are very sick can “Will” themselves to get better. We know that there is some evidence that people who believe that they will go into remission actually do, at times, go into remission. We know that the proponents of human immortality talk about visualization and meditation. We also know that in the brain’s mind, there is no difference between imagining something and actually seeing it in real life-adding credibility to the visualization theory.
So, humor me for a moment and let’s rethink this position on human mortality versus human immortality. If a person can change his or her own genetic makeup simply by learning something, then why couldn’t a person change their genetic makeup by visualizing it?
If it is possible, as the evidence suggests, to actually change the genetic proteins by changing the mind, then it stands to reason that it is also possible to do this throughout the body and not just in the brain chemistry. Who needs stem cells when you have brain cells?
Now, let’s revisit that snake story in the garden again. People were immortal while they were innocent. They ate of the tree of knowledge and oops! There went that. So, what happened when they ate of the tree of knowledge (other than the fact that G-d told them not to, of course), in the story of (get this) Genes-is?
But again, it wasn’t just any knowledge that they gained, it was the knowledge of dualism, the knowledge of good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, up vs. down, you vs. me, and so forth, that caused them to die. Could it possibly be that they changed their own genetic makeup by their very own thoughts, which in turn caused them to die? Could it be that we were immortal all along, and simply forgot how to be? Because we became so distracted when we varied from G-d’s original purpose of putting us here; instead of trying to perfect the earth, we set about trying to destroy it-each other, and ultimately ourselves along with it?
What would happen if we embraced our birthright, took hold of our charge to perfect the earth, visualized a planet of love, peace and happiness-not just for ourselves, but for everyone around us? What if we realized that the universe is an infinite sphere with infinite degrees of angles between up and down; with infinite exceptions and maybes to the notion of right and wrong; with infinite shades of gray between the extremes of black and white? What would happen if we quit worrying about what everyone else was doing, and focused on our own development and improvement-if we realized that it is vital to our own prosperity to ensure that everyone and everything around us prospered too? Would our genetic makeup actually change back to its original structure? Would we in fact become immortal once again? Or, would we simply be happier with the 100 years that we have? And, if that turned out to be the case, is it really such a bad thing to die after living a long, healthy and happy life with a world full of other happy people? Isn’t that what immortality is all about anyway?
Just a thought…