An immortal life would hold no urgency, no need to put effort into accomplishing anything and little need for engagement and participation – but rather only patience and gentle prodding or manipulations to accomplish anything. Immortality would lack purpose as any goal can be accomplished given endless time to complete or achieve.
Aside: It occurs to me that immortality could be a function of our perception of time rather than existing minute by minute of infinite time – that by mastering our awareness of time, we alter our relationship with it, if we can manipulate time, time loses meaning and power over us. In a way, being able to like how time is presented in movies through montages, flashbacks and even flash forwards, be able to move along the timeline but not be subjected to a single timeline but rather, one that you experience in conjunction with everyone else and another that you experience alone and are able to in that solitary time line, control or manipulate the shared timeline. The idea of being immortal and having to endure awareness of days, never mind hours and minutes, seems to me to be torturous.
Immortality removes from concern or consideration the workaday world, relationships and morals and values. To an immortal subjected to the same time concepts as mortals – seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries – what mortals value becomes of little consequence because mortals would be of little consequence given their short overlap of life span. Morals and values are all a matter of perspective and relationship/context determines the perspective.
For a mortal to be subjected to a wrong where the impact lasts a period of time, even if it’s their lifetime, this is a serious wrong – but for an immortal, that same wrong becomes an inconvenience that they will spend a small portion of their existence to resolve or outlive the effect/outcome. From an immortal perspective, any mortal wrong – no matter how grave to a mortal – becomes a matter of no special consequence or significance, given the enormity of time to recoup losses or recover.
The significance of this should not be lost on any supernaturalists who believe that there is a hell or similar punitive eternal afterlife, because any immoral or even evil action, when put in the context of the grand scheme of the universe, is limited in scope and significance – making eternal punishment utterly pointless – and on the flip side, making eternal reward equally pointless – for what can any mortal in their finite time really do to merit either end of the scale?
There are three post-death possibilities: oblivion, eternal reward/punishment or reincarnation.
You’re born, you live, you die and then cease to exist.
Elegant, simple and logical. Because our lives are finite, what we do with them is of utmost importance, because it’s the only life we can know that we have, so we have to make the best of what we have, no matter what it is that we have. Whether we chose to make our lives about ourselves at the expense of others or live in a co-operative/harmonious way with other – and what we determine “others” means – is down to the individual.
We are all our own moral centre, whether we can make moral distinctions ourselves or select an external system to make them for us.
You’re born, you live and depending on how, where, when you lived, you die and go to an eternal place of reward or punishment.
The problem inherent in this system is that this requires some gatekeeper to determine your eternal destination, and some means to operate/administer the gatekeeping and the separate places where the rewarded and punished continue to exist. But it raises several questions and a certain level of bureaucratic finesse – what if you earned eternal reward, but the person you love had earned eternal punishment – it would not be rewarding for you to be without your loved one, but they are being punished – so does the reward afterlife include copies of the people in the punishment afterlife in order for the rewarded ones to be sufficiently happy?
More than that, does anyone actually deserve to be eternally rewarded when they are happy being rewarded full well knowing that others are being eternally punished? What if someone cannot be happy in the reward afterlife unless they know for certain that other individuals are being punished? And, if you cannot be happy with being rewarded knowing that others – even people known to you – are being eternally punished, how can you exist in a blissfully rewarded state? Especially when the mechanism for determining who goes where are rather murky, arbitrary, culturally/socially determined and decided based an exceptionally small data set, given our finite lifespan.
You are born, live, die and are born again in a repetitious cycle of learning and experience all that there is to experience, with successive cycles being dependant on what you experienced in the previous cycles.
Some religions have the cycles eventually end in oblivion or nirvana, and others have layovers of indeterminate time and bliss/punishment states between life cycles.
Reincarnation has the appeal of not only energy recycling but consciousness recycling – in addition to death not being an end, but only a transformation, but also a sense of cosmic justice, that life is not merely short and arbitrary, but that it is a series of experiences, and good and bad not being meaningful terms, but rather mere description of a state in the current or other cycles, to be corrected or reaffirmed according to what you are experiencing next.
The stumbling block is that reincarnation is an awful lot of energy, effort and time if it only ends in oblivion/nirvana, because each is a state of being perhaps in but not of the universe.
Ultimately, reincarnation results in being in a solitary state of either oblivion or transcendent happiness without wanting – and life is ultimately about that wanting and the struggle to strive.
Which in the end, leaves the only sensible and natural option to be oblivion to immediately follow death, since this is essentially where reincarnation cycles complete.
Occam’s Razor, not to mention the path of least resistance, leads towards one short life to experience, learn and cram in what you can and then oblivion, same as before birth so is after death.
Tip o the nib to Bhaga for inspiring me to stretch