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So what you’re saying, Kate, is that you think an actual or full immortal is unlikely to make an appearance in public at all, because there could be some risk of capture / discovery / injury. However, people who simply age slowly — the so-called Hafeems – would be more like ordinary people, in that they’re willing to take risks.
Which makes sense, and is enlightening. I’ve always wondered why people are ever willing to “roll the dice” and risk their lives in dangerous activities. Up until now, I thought of this is irrational behavior, emotion trumping reason. After all, death ends everything; it’s the ultimate sacrifice, one that cannot be balanced by any personal gain. (Here I am ignoring belief in life after death, since I don’t share it.)
But now I realize that I have been thinking about it incorrectly. Let us suppose that the value of a full life is infinite. (Here I am discounting the notion of life after death, as I don’t share it.) Let us also suppose that the lifespan of a person is 100 years. Therefore, a 20 year old male who indulges in motorcycling while drunk has already lived 20% of a life and puts at risk 80% of a life. Each of these finite fractions of infinity is infinite. Infinity can be balanced against infinity, and it might be worth a person’s while to abandon the second in order to fully enjoy the first. The same is true, though with enlarged difference in percentages, for a 20 year old Hafeem with a lifespan of 1000 years: 2% vs. 98%. However, if one could potentially live forever, the situation changes. A twenty year old with an infinite life span has lived 0% of his life and risks 100% of it. There’s no way to balance that.
To put it another way, if one can live forever, the weight of “future life” is infinite, and no incentive in the present can balance against it. However, if one knows one will die eventually, then the weighting of “future life” is finite, and benefits in the present may outweigh the risk of future life lost. Or, in economics terms, infinity can’t be discounted. Ergo, it may sometimes be rational for a mortal to undertake deadly risk, but it is never rational for a “full” immortal to do so. — Stephen
To continue from my last post … several thoughts.
For one, is the person we call “The Aussie“ a “full” immortal, eg. with aging clock shut down, or is he a Hafeem, with aging clock slowed? After all, he lives in public, even if others are perhaps living in hiding somewhere.
For that matter, how would he know which group he belongs to? If one were to have a lifespan of 1000 years after maturity, it might take 100 or more years before one noticed any evidence of aging in oneself.
On the other hand, maybe for a “new” immortal (eg., someone who has just discovered he or she isn’t aging) it takes time to sink in, and only become supremely cautious over time.
In any case, we don’t that we’ve identified any “fully immortal” immortals, in the sense of those who don’t age at all. The material Glenn and I have been decoding refers to them, and I am willing to believe they exist. But we would have to have evidence of someone failing to age over centuries before we’d know. More than centuries, perhaps, if the Hafeem’s life span is, say, 5000 years, rather than infinite. — Stephen
P.S. Based on the above, I think we need to make two separate categories and subcategories for “From Their Perspective,” as the cases of “full immortal” and Hafeem are different. I’ll work on that.
PPS. The encoded material calls people in the former category “True Immortals,” which is a little inconvenient considering that it’s the name of this website (and we’re interested in Hafeems too) but I suppose we should utilize it anyway.
To look in a mirror / and see a woman who
grows old so slowly / it will be centuries before the signs appear.
Who has her own young beauty / hers to keep
Freed from the dread other women consummate.
Heads still turn as she passes by.
Her bloom of pride retained /Her hair silken, skin satin smooth.
Would centuries give time enough / to heal the sense of not enough?
Or would /a mirror always safe to look at
Withhold from her the other peace? –Kate
(about this thread)
I grieved when I imagined / the suffering
Of an elder grown sick and senile /and because Hafeem
Made to wait for centuries / for death’s relief.
But later it occurred to me / in a different context
That there is little difference /between a lifespan of 100 or a 1000 years
Putting these thoughts together / I now see
That we are alike another way.
To be old and alone / is cruelty at any age.
True Immortals do not suffer it / but an isolated, weakening Hafeem
suffers like any isolated, weakening mortal / pained past physical pain
By the loneliness.
And how can Hafeems find one other? / This is not fantasy.
There is no mark on the face / no spiritual glow.
Besides, they are practiced at hiding / and it traps them in the end.
Unless someone finds them out / overwhelms their defences
And kidnaps them into the comfort of their kind. — Kate
Kate’s intuition is again borne out.
There are websites that detail the reputed talents and preferences of bounty hunters and other such professional agents available for hire. Listed among the assignments our Bounty Hunter is reputed to perform with a high degree of skill is this: “Abductions, specializing in minimizing risk to abductee.” There is this additional comment, “Adamantly refuses tasks involve intentional or high risk collateral harm to any but those convicted by proper judicial process of capital crimes.”
Such a professional criminal with morals might very well be a perfect choice if a younger Hafeem wished to undertake the involuntary rescue of others of his kind. And involuntary rescue might be the only option. We have already noted a defining characteristic that non-mortals fear discovery by anyone. Would not they tend to take it as a ruse if someone who found them out claimed similar non-mortal status By habit, they might fight or flee before proofs could be offered. Storming the castle might be the best option, if done by one skilled at minimizing risk to the stormed. – Stephen
Just how long have you lived, exactly?
Or approximately, for that matter. — Stephen
That answer wasn’t at all helpful, at least not directly. The only consistent mathematical interpretation of his reply would involve non-constant, non-linear time units.
However, I would imagine that’s not the point. Rather, I receive it as a commentary on the inconstancy of psychological time. One could only imagine that time takes on rather different characteristics for people who live decades as compared to those who live centuries, or for millennia. — Stephen
Yeah, that part’s interesting, I guess, especially for a scientific dude like you. But I was talking about what came next. I’ll paste the text in here, like you did, because, yes it’s hard to point to a forum post.
This is Oxadrenals writing on the forums at hiddenimmortals.info. First he says something, then he quotes someone, then he speaks as himself again. I use italics for the guy he’s quoting.
“On the other hand, I know a Hafeem who’s so compassionate and noble it makes me want to cry … Part of what made him that way is that he’s so often known himself to be wrong. I’m going to quote him here. (If he sounds like a sourpuss, please read my comment at the end.)
‘I have never possessed the gift of easy pleasure, a quality I recognize as unfortunate in a man destined to live several thousand years. My character is such that it requires a focus, a goal, a sense that my effort further some worthwhile purpose. Alas, I have by now outlived too many purposes to believe in any.
In the second century AD, I studied medicine with Galen, believing it a noble profession. However, during a later interval of apprenticeship with physicians in China, I learned to view the accumulated medical wisdom of my previous period as no more than miserable superstition. I suffered still another revolution of this kind when, in the 18th century, medicine became (as was supposed) scientific, and I learned to discard worthless herbal remedies in favor of mercury and arsenic. Yet, as I now know, this last phase was worst of all, for with my mercury and arsenic I killed many, many people, and helped not one.
All my other efforts to pursue good works turned out to be equally mistaken. In the 17th century, I risked my life among “savages” in an idealistic quest to provide them the benefits of Christianity. History now characterizes my efforts as the arrogant, colonialist oppression of primal peoples, and I agree.
I think with even greater disgust of my fourth century moralistic phase, when I whipped women for adultery, stoned men for homosexuality, and slaughtered Mithraists and Manicheans for their heresy. At the time, I’d seen my actions as just, even merciful; I’d meant only to serve God. But as subsequent centuries passed and my moral compass grew, I came to view that epoch of my life with profound loathing.
I now knew beyond a doubt that I lack sufficient wisdom to properly construe a higher purpose, much less serve one. Only, lacking higher purpose, what is there to live for?
I know he sounds like a depressing downer guy, but he’s not, at all: All his disappointments have turned him into the loveliest soul you could ever want to meet.”
This has my thoughts all churned up. I can imagine trying to do good and having it backfire. And that’s what the guy’s saying in the first part, about medicine. There’s nothing so special there. But the rest of what he says is horrifying: that something he thought was good at the time now looks like evil. And that this has happened to him a lot!
What a petrifying thought. How can you even try to be a good person if you suspect that pretty soon (like in a century or so) you’ll hate yourself for what you even wanted to do? — Flyss
[NOTE: Oxadrenals is now posting a full version of this story here.]