Tuesday, May 25, 2010

the immortal jellyfish

I guess dying scares me as much as the next person. The very act of going peacefully into death is a leap of faith. There is no proof that there’s something waiting for you when you close your eyes. Who can ever prove that we aren’t a mess of nerves and neurons, to rot and fall to dust? To you this may be blasphemy; to me, it’s just an acknowledgement of my fear.

This jellyfish, the Turritopsi nutricula, is all but immortal. Unless it dies when it’s eaten, or killed accidentally, it will never die of old age. It just keeps cycling round, young to old, old to young. Scientists are studying it to understand how this happens.

They shouldn’t. More than stem cell research and abortions and all that medical “playing God” business Christian fundamentalists get upset about, immortality is an offense against…if not God, then the natural order of things.

How wrong to live forever! Already I’m tired and to chase that into infinity? With no death, the human capability for intrigue and plotting grows boundless. How wearisome. Not to mention limited resources. How will we sustain an ever-burgeoning population?

I’m scared, but not that cowardly. Don’t sell me your fountain of youth, I know where the line is. And all you vampire fanatics can take their romantic illusions of immortality and shove ‘em. Edward Cullen’s not worth your humanity.


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