Monday, November 8, 2010

Immortality...

Cell structure, function, division, and replication... Metosis, Meiosis, DNA, genes, and variety...

Do you realize that most of this stuff was not even discovered when my grandma went to college? Weirdness... Anyway.

The last biology lecture I had was on cancer...
lovely, eh? No.

Diabolical was what the professor called it.

Did you know that when a cancerous cell starts dividing, it creates a channel of red blood cells directly to it, bringing as many nutrients as it needs to grow as big as possible? It also loses the blocking mechanism that prevents cells clumping together, the proteins that control when divisions happen, and the proteins that stop tumor growth.


The thing that got me though, was that telomerase is reactivated - something kind of complicated that basically means that the cell never stops dividing. It does not die off after a certain number of divisions as it should.

The cells will (theoretically) live forever.




Which brings me to something else I've been thinking of lately.

Some time last summer or so, I picked up Tuck Everlasting and flipped through it. It's a small book, and it didn't take me long to read. But I put it down somewhat confused.
Why was death glorified as a part of life and immortality turned into a unbearable burden, (and here I'm talking from the movie, of which I've seen parts), even when shared with someone who would love you forever?


Winnie Foster chooses death rather than everlasting life with Jesse Tuck, because, after all, it is not death that should be feared, "but rather the unlived life. You don't have to live forever. You just have to live. And she did."


Fast-forward a scant 30 years...


I notice waterfalls are still big, but other things have changed.



Now we have Bella Swan, not only begging for immortality, but cheerfully willing to risk damnation if it will allow her to live forever with Edward Cullen.


Winnie Foster now seems to be regarded as an absolute idiot for not taking love and immortality when she the chance, and Bella's choice seems to be the one millions of young women would make in a heartbeat, based on Twilight sales.


This change simply mirrors to me what has happened to our culture over the past 30 years. First it was evolution and atheism - you don't have to live forever. Just live. God was taken from the classrooms, from courtrooms, from our culture. We didn't need to live forever - as long as we were living now.

But we are immortal beings. Living now was not enough for us. Enter wizards, witches, warlocks, werewolves, vampires, and - the ability to live forever with benefits far outweighing any negative side effects. It offers the best of both worlds - live now and live forever. God is still not needed; there are other ways to fulfill your desire for immortality. (Without it becoming something unnaturally horrible.)

Did you know that paganism was the 10th largest religion in the United States 10 years ago? And some studies indicate that every 30 months the number of Wiccans doubles? Have you read this article about Twilight? It gave me a whole 'nuther reason why not to read the books or watch the movies. (Not that I really needed another one... :)

I do not believe atheism can hold people's hearts. There is nothing there - and we know there must be something. Atheism merely created a vacuum that must be filled - and there is plenty waiting to fill it.

Are you ready to stand against that plenty? Are you watching the signs of the times? Can you tell those who are searching how they can live forever - without giving in to the dark promise of immortality without God? Are you able to explain to them that there truly is nothing but horror behind that promise?




Seeking Him, that I may be able to withstand in the evil day,





6 thoughts shared:

emilia. said...

WOW! that was a great post. so true. the twilight movies (haven't read the books... the movies were enough for me) bug me in that she doesn't care if she's damned to hell (if she dies). i think it's utterly depressing and sad.. even more so when rosalie tries to explain! ugh.
well anyways don't mean to write a novel on here. :P but we def need to get the word out.
have a great week! :)

Rebekah H. said...

Very insightful, Katherine Sophia, and I believe you were spot on with the Twilight phenomenon. Trying to live forever, on our own terms and no one else's, is the new biggest thing now, with the anti-aging treatments, "be young again" ads, and whatnot.

However, I think you misunderstood the point of Tuck Everlasting. It wasn't against immortality, per se, but against immortality in THIS world. You pointed that we aren't meant to live long in this world, and we're not. That's WHY Winnie made the choice that she did, even with the bonus that she would be young forever too. To sit there and forever watch the world go by, humanity making the same mistakes over and over again, would be just plain depressing. We are meant to live in a particular way, with a beginning, middle, and end. That was the whole point with Miles Tuck, whose wife and children grew old and died without him. This world is only a temporary stop, and when we try to stall it, we upset the balance that's meant to be in our lives. We inherently DON'T want to die (like our cells, for instance), but since it's also inherent in us TO die, it implies that there must be more to death than what meets the eye.

I know you're not catholic, but just to give you an example of what I'm talking about: forty days before Easter, on Ash Wednesday, catholics go to church and the priest rubs ashes on our foreheads in the form of a cross. While he's doing it, he says to each person, "From dust you were made, and to dust you shall return." Forget death, and you'll forget the whole point of eternal life.


http://andasweetsound.blogspot.com/

De Facto said...

Maybe I'm just missing the point, but I thought Winnie Foster was an idiot for not taking immortality. Perhaps because I see the story as analogous to our walk with Christ... Are we going to choose the unknown and follow Him into eternity, or live a short and full (yet strangely hollow) life in the world?

And now on to Twilight... Oh yes, I have a great many thoughts on this...

First off, Twilight is not worth reading. I have found that it is better to share with people why Twilight is not worth reading from the stance that it is wholly unoriginal, and ultimately ends quite weakly. Telling people that Twilight is evil because it has vampires in it is a lot harder to sell. I'm not going to argue the "Do Hard Things" approach simply because I think we do more damage in the long-run by stiff-arming people with the truth. Sometimes we have to be crafty and cunning to achieve what we want. Just like with children, we may not tell them why they are not to do something, but we tell them something else that is just as easily convincing so that they won't do it.

The same is true for Twilight. I have read all four of the Twilight series, seen the first film, and read up on a few things about Stephenie Meyer. At the time of reading them, I was doing it for all the wrong reasons and had a very closed mind, but I think God has used that in His favor because now I can talk about Twilight and explain to people why the series just isn't worth getting into from the standpoint of a person who loves books and loves dark stories.

Vampires actually go back further than the 1800's, contrary to the article you linked to. The legends surrounding vampires arose in the 1800's because in earlier times than that there were communities of hemophiliacs (and others with similar blood conditions) who would keep to themselves and not much was known about them. Often times they were outcasts of their home towns because of their strange condition and traveled by night to avoid being seen. Well, legends usually are based on a small fraction of truth, but thanks to the superstitious; vampires were born and the hemophiliac community was branded demon-possessed, blood-sucking creatures of the night.

I am a big fan of Bram Stoker's Dracula and always recommend that to people who have or haven't read Twilight and are searching for something else to read. Not only is Dracula a literary classic of high caliber quality, but it actually makes vampires out for what they really are: evil things. Bram Stoker doesn't mince words or make Dracula to be anything other than a villain.

Katherine Sophia said...

Thanks Emily! :) haha, and you ended up with the shortest comment here, so that's fine. :D But I hope you have a good week too! And I'm glad you liked it!

Thank you for your comment Rebekah! I think I saw that aspect a little (of course, who would want to live here forever when they could go to heaven?) but the story seemed to me to be more about living a "normal" existence than about choosing true everlasting life.
And I focused on what I did because I guess I've never really seen death as a part of life, but rather as the ultimate ruin caused by sin and evil.
Maybe it's just me, but the book seemed like it was kind of glorifying something that I've always seen (at least since watching someone die) as something so absolutely wrong that even the very cells in our bodies fight against it. Does that make sense?
But I agree that without death, how could we really value and understand the great gift of eternal life that we've been given? Which is perhaps an answer to the "problem of pain" etc... And of course, if we do attempt to bypass death, we will end up a mess, so I see what you're saying there too. :)

That's kind of what I thought about Winnie Foster, too, De Facto... I guess her reasons for not taking immortality just were not convincing to me (as I kind of stated above).
ha, I've heard that the Twilight books are poorly written so many times I'm beginning to wonder how bad they are... :) That was very interesting what you said about hemophiliacs, though; where did you learn that? I've never heard that before, and I always find the origins of legends fascinating. :)
And what you said about Dracula was exactly what I discovered when I was thinking about writing a paper on cultural trends - vampires stories and similar things have been around a loong time, but only recently have the dark things become good as well. It's interesting...


haha, and writing this long comment, I'm looking at what I posted and laughing at how dramatic I sound... :) I know, they're just books, but books have ideas behind them, and when ideas capture imaginations and hearts, they can change lives... and I was thinking about the end of the world and just the direction our society is headed. But hopefully I didn't come across too dramatic to make my point. :) Hope you all have a great week!

Jessica said...

I really love everything you said here. SO TRUE!
Jessica

Katherine Sophia said...

Thank you Jessica! Glad you liked it!

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