Bourroughs’s writing on immortality reminded me of two cinematic adventure, “The Highlander” and “Braveheart”. Both have nothing to do with the piece and in fact have nothing in common with each other besides kilts.
However, all three pieces call into question the idea of immortality in their own way. I was reminded of the literal immortality of the characters in “The Highlander” and their tagline that is repeated ad nauseam, “There can only be one” while reading about Mr. Rich Parts. I envisioned Mr. Rich Parts and his friends gobbling up resources around them, too scared to do anything but throwing money to abate their fears. With the constant gobbling of resources, soon enough, there can only be one Mr. Rich Parts. Can there even be one at the rate they are going?
I was reminded of “Braveheart” and the figurative immortality achieved by William Wallace through his battle cry “Alba gu bràth” as he rides into battle and ensures freedom for generations to come. What is the legacy of Mr. Rich Parts besides leaving others maimed and broken?
The two movies portray the other side of immortality, immortality through bravery, which is in opposition to Bourroughs immortality through cowardice. Does immortality have value if the time one gains is spent only ensuring future self-preservation?
Man has wanted to go beyond himself since the dawn of civilization. There are plenty of examples of our attempts like The Pyramids and the Taj Mahal. One built to immortalize and emperor and the other to immortalize an emperors love. Given our technological evolution, space is the next frontier for our impetus for immortality. However, if history is any indicator, it begs the question, is immortality really immortal? Can it ever truly be achieved?
The remnants of our existence may survive us but nothing that makes us the individuals we are will exist a few years after our demise. We have managed to scorch the earth in many ways, bombs, nuclear testing, landfills and worse. Some of those effects are starting to wear off and others will be lost to time soon enough after we are.
Yet we tenaciously continue to push that boulder up the hill in hopes of reaching the top only to discover our limitations when we get there, never stopping to truly ask why.