Be born, live long and do well in life but be sure that death will usurp it all. Either we will not be alive to see the sun rising again or the sun will age and stop shining while we are still alive.
Both ways it is we who will cease to be. All successes, all failures, all stories, all glories, all achievements, all rich, all poor, all beauties, all bodies, all celebrities, all commoners, all upper-class and all under-class will meet the same end. Death as we know is the biggest equaliser.
After doing a lot of mathematics and cell science, the equation of death remains as consistent as ever. Death is programmed into the cells of our body. Achieving immortality will therefore mean solving numerous problems of different degree of complexity, all at the same time.
Even if we manage to do that, we don’t know what new medical conditions may arise in future and whether we will be able to cope up with them. In that context, covid is a recent experience.
Therefore, instead of immortality, we can better aim at improving the quality of life. Living longer, having better physical and mental health, and abolishing all political, economic, and cultural tenets that limit the personal development and social progress, would be something well worth aiming at.
Most scientists are hardline realists about death which is also due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. There is an arrow of time in our Universe that leads to increased disorder and the wearing down and eventual death of all systems, from stars to the people.
Despite the inexplicable grandeur of the Universe, we know of many atheists throughout the course of humanity who defied God with great confidence. They must have their reasons which I will not debate now.
But what is pertinent to mention is that there was none among them who could be atheistic to deity of death. Death is a sure shot. It is irreversible and irresistible. We have seen it happening without fail, with everyone and everything.
However, death is neither a threatening nor a warning. Death is more about going away than getting lost. It should not stop us from pursuing our passion and achieving our goals. It is but an endless end of all those accomplishments. It marks the bibliography of a pamphlet called ‘Life’. Frequently recalling death would be the wisest thing we can do. It can make us more generous, more flexible and less rigid about our ego. We will be less proud of our feats and less sorry about our failures. It can distance us from stress, depression and anxiety. It will be easy for us to be easy going about things that are temporary and short-living, no matter how glamorous or how gloomy.
Physicists can further make the mortality more bearable. In our investigations we keep confronting infinity and eternity. The equations of physics describe particles being pushed and pulled by impersonal forces. We have hands on experience with unseen and intangible.
There is no concrete explanation to understand why a single electron should make multiple impressions on screen or how can it simultaneously pass through two slits while it is still wholesome.
The human conscience itself is an essential component of reality rather than a mere epiphenomenon of matter. Physicists, like John Wheeler and Eugene Wigner, have speculated that our individual consciousness might not endure, but consciousness of some kind will last for as long as the universe does.
Similarly, among the conservation laws in Physics, the most consoling is the conservation of information, according to which everything that happens leaves a permanent imprint on the universe somewhere.
It may sound philosophical but it has a scientific basis. Therefore, even eons after we die and after the earth and the sun have expired, every minute detail of our life will endure in some form.
There is another fancy of physicists called multiverse theories inspired by quantum mechanics and string theory, which stipulate that our universe is just one among multitudes. This is a speculative theory of cosmic creation. The multiverse, like God, is eternal. It had no beginning; it will have no end. Aiming eternity is an aim worth to be. Let us long for the long lasting. Let us make hard core attempts to discover and be a part of that eternal living, if at all it exists. What if it takes death to enter that eternity.
Dr. Qudsia Gani, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physics, Govt. College for Women, Srinagar
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.