The Two-And-A-Half Ways To Immortality

So where do we go when we die?

Admit it, you think more and more about that the more and more birthdays you have. And why not? As you age, you can't help but ask yourself that old barroom ballad question: "Is this all there is?" For some reason, most of us have this hope for immortality. What we expect in such as afterlife is never quite clear, but apparently we prefer its possible unknowns to the grind of our everyday known's. Thus the patented cemetery comfort: "They're in a better place."

I read there are two sure ways and one kinda way to immortality. (1) The Christian or Islamic afterlife promising us the reward of our own Heaven or Paradise; (2) The Jewish vision which promises it even without a Heaven or a Paradise; (3) Scientific innovation ~

* The Christian/Islamic version of immortality rests on earning this reward by the kind of life we lead here on Earth. The Bible and the Koran are rich with references to this journey with its many do's and don't's

* The Judaic version is sometimes a matter of how we are remembered and revered by the loved ones who live after us. It is in their enduring memories that we achieve a kind of immortality

* The half-way way is the still on-going work by scientists who envision life beyond the current maximum of 125. Their research includes lower caloric intake [skinnies live longer]...replacing aging organs with stem-cell replacements...genetic manipulation of how our DNA ages

As of this writing, no one -- Christian, Jew or Scientist -- has been able to confirm their respective ideas on immortality. But lets suppose that third one eventually succeeds. What might we expect? Well, for one thing a lot of very old people crowding the planet. Also less inclination for marriage, for who can tolerate the same spouse forever. Also maybe less reason for a God if we ourselves become eternal.

With all due respect to all three approaches, I still see life like a big shiny coin. You can spend it any way you wish, only you can spend it just once.

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