Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest blog with Carol A. Strickland!!!

In the end…

I don't want to achieve immortality by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. I want to achieve immortality by not dying.

—William De Morgan

Who hasn’t had a bad night worrying about death? Lately I’ve been dealing with aging parents, and it’s focused my own thoughts on death.

And immortality.

The thought of immortality has spawned so many religions. Novels and movies, too. The fear of death is huge, right there after “speaking in public.”

But I think that the idea of endlessly living while aging is kinda gross, so I vote for the always-beautiful, always-youthful kind. Where’s the voting machine?

Books like Lost Horizon gave us civilizations where immortality exists…as long as you stayed within city limits. Even Wonder Woman drank from the fountain of eternal life while she was home on Paradise Island. It was only when she ventured out to Man’s World that she found herself facing mortality.

Some people have to slice heads off to ensure their own life, like Connor MacLeod up there. That’s too messy for me!

The current vampire craze also ties into all this. Get bitten and be eternally beautiful and youthful. That’s assuming you were youthful and beautiful to begin with. Downside: all that biting, blood, drama-queen conflicts, and wooden stakes.

Science fiction gives us computers whose memories can have human personalities uploaded to them, creating immortality of a sort. If that computer lies within an android body, there’s your immortal semi-human beauty right there. Well, at least until you start to rust or hit 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of reincarnation, an immortality that we all are supposedly born with, no strings attached. When I was in high school I owned a recording of the first of the famous Bridey Murphy hypnosis sessions that revealed that an ordinary housewife had lived in Ireland during the 1800s. Though those sessions weren’t produced in a very scientific atmosphere and thus were somewhat debunked, there have been many, many others done through the years with more stringent standards, which has led to a fair amount of data that can be analyzed.

Recently I read Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives, by Michael Newton. It’s a fascinating book that takes his career of hypnosis cases and organizes typical reports of pre-life experiences, from death to a decision to be born again.

According to this, death is momentary; many people jump out of their body before dying can hurt too much. You find your freedom of movement (flying!) and energy again. Immaterial Elders give you a life review, you see friends you haven’t seen in years, and then you go off to rejoin a close-knit, playful and loving family that you were born into and will stay with for… well, forever. The entire universe is comprised of entities like you who are learning and growing, twining together as they evolve to help the Source make a great cosmos even better and more interesting.

As you consider your various lives, you determine areas in your personality that need strengthening, or perhaps things that you need to do in the physical world. You consult with Elders, your friends, and people you’ll be living with, and work out a plan of action. Then you jump down to Earth and are born.

According to all this, death is not to be feared. But don’t try to tell most folks that. Cosmetic surgeries abound as people attempt to regain their youth. We reach for drugs to make us feel healthier and stave off that hooded guy with the scythe and chessboard.

My latest book, Applesauce and Moonbeams, contains a sci fi society in which cosmetic surgeries are everyday procedures. People try to improve their “make,” or natural body-type, until they are deemed perfect by society’s standards. Which tend to change. Which lead to more surgeries.

Beyond a certain age even cosmetic surgery can’t help. At this point the people go in for a complete Rejuvenation, in which their bodies are taken apart, pieces grown and replaced as needed, and then they are sent on their merry way, young again.

Of course privileged pets get the treatment as well. On the cover is Jonathan, a 20-something cat who’s just regained his youth. And man, does he decide to take advantage not only of being agile and energetic, but of living on the moon, where he can jump six times as high and far as he could on Earth!

Only thing is, some human telepathic psychotherapist got his mind blasted into Jonathan’s body, so now there’s two of them in there. Not a pretty way to face immortality, is it?

If you had a chance at physical immortality, how do you think it would be achieved? Vampire or surgeon’s knife? Drugs? Mutation? Computerization? Magic? What would you do differently if you were immortal? (I’d immediately start a really good savings program.)

I’ll take the list of everyone who comments and draw a name for a free ebook.

Carol A. Strickland (remember that middle initial!) is the author of 4 published books and has a small handful more waiting on her hard drive to be polished and published. In addition to writing about strong women and strange worlds, she’s an award-winning arteest, and tries to make time for both endeavors after her regular 9-5 job is over. Needless to say, her house is a wreck.

Come check out her website at www.CarolAStrickland.com , where you can find more info, another contest, novel excerpts, artwork, and one of the Internet’s largest and most opinionated sites concerning Wonder Woman.


Daenira said...

Does immortality have to be an actual physical trait? I would hope that whatever imprint I leave on this world would make me live on forever. It may sound like cheese, but I hope that my children's children remember me in a fond light. I hope that "when" I get published my life will live on in the imaginations of anyone else who picks up my books. However if you mean immortal literally then I guess I would like to go the Highlander route and walk around wielding a sword chopping off other immortal heads. I would not look while I did it though. Not a fan of blood and gore. I would just lop that head off and walk away. There can be only one!

Carol A. Strickland said...

LOL! But have you ever hefted a longsword? For some strange reason I owned a claymore years ago and that sucker was HEAVY!!! Hard to life, much less swing it through the air.

Carol A. Strickland said...

lift, I mean

Tina Donahue said...

Great blog, Carol - a few years back, I saw a movie where the people couldn't die. Can't recall the title, but their friends/relatives, etc. had died, the world had changed and they just couldn't leave it. Creepy stuff. I think if we lived forever, we'd be bored out of our heads. There wouldn't be any reason to achieve anything. Time limits do give one a sense of urgency. :)

John said...

You're book sounds great. I've always had a curiosity about immortality, especially reincarnation and the idea of past lives. Good luck with your book, Carol!

Carol A. Strickland said...

Thanks for inviting me, Tina! I agree with your assessment of lack of urgency linked to immortality. And John, thanks for the good words.

It's 7 PM and about time to draw a name. Let's see... Okay, Daenira gets a free ebook! Congratulations, and I'll be in touch with you!

Fiona McGier said...

Back in the 70s there was a book published called "The Denial of Death", and it looked at how entire societies and religions have grown based on teaching us how to deal with our fears of dying...of disappearing. Some fear it so much they have to comfort themselves with ideas of after-life, and of the rewards they will get there, for having such a crappy deal here on earth...so in many ways, religions are the opiates of the poor, keeping them from staging an uprising against their oppressors, whom they believe will be punished in the after-life. But if there is no after-life, what then?

In "Lestat", Anne Rice posed the question, "If you could live forever, would you improve? Would you become a better person? Or would you just become more of what you already are?" So if you are a selfish, stupid oaf, would you just get dumber and more selfish? Then what is the point to eternal life, when the planet is already too crowded?

Interesting blog. Sorry I'm late in replying, but working 2 jobs leaves little time for going on-line.

Carol A. Strickland said...

I'm still glad you could join us, and with such interesting commentary, too! Imho, religion's there to indoctrinate people so they can be more easily controlled and manipulated. If religion happens to come with a Good Message, that's a definite plus. If it doesn't...

I'm glad we live in an era in which real study is going into what actually happens to us after death and before we're born.