Today, the Christian world celebrates one man’s bodily resurrection, an occurrence which modern science has firmly put the quash on. Still, narratives of immortality infuse our culture. From an eternal soul to living forever through our works, some philosophers point to death as the great motivator of everything we do, all in a futile attempt to overcome the inevitable. More amazing still, we are incapable of comprehending death until the moment it arrives—the very same moment at which we depart. “Awareness of one’s mortality focuses the mind to create and produce to avoid the terror that comes from confronting the mortality paradox.”
What’s the Big Idea?
Evolutionary biologists say there may be a greater motivating force behind our actions: Sex. Rather than avoid death directly, we create works of art and science to attract mating partners. “As well argued by evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller in The Mating Mind, those that do so most effectively leave behind more offspring and thus pass on their creative genes to future generations.” In our quest for immortality, that ever-receding horizon, it may be the legacy of what we impart on the world, our vision and advice for future generations, which bring us closest to our impossible dream.