Monday, December 12, 2005

Escape Clause.

I couldn't sleep last night, so I flipped on the SciFi channel. They run Twilight Zone episodes late, and I've always been a fan. Checked the program guide, and "Escape Clause" is the episode playing. Classic.

In it, a hypochondriac is met by Satan who offers him a simple exchange. His soul, for not twenty, not fifty, not a thousand or two years, but immortality. Of course, the usual amenities are thrown in- agelessness, freedom from illness and injury- and the man accepts. There is, as expected, one escape clause. At any point, his demise will be swift and painless, if he wants it to be.

So, our ageless man begins to play with his newfound invincibility. Jumping in front of buses, lying on train tracks, talking a long walk off a small apartment building roof, all the things he was afraid of. In true TZ fashion, though, he abuses it. Kills his nagging wife, gets put in prison for life, and invokes his escape clause.

That leads me to thought. Would I, even if I could have it for a lesser price than my soul, take immortality? The freedom from fear and worry, the safe and sure knowledge that I will see glaciers advance and recede, diseases plague the Earth and armies rage, all without fear?

No.

Never.

As is said in "The Green Mile", "We all owe a death. There are no exceptions." Taking the immortal route would assure me an out, but what of those I love? Losing those would be a fate worse than death.

So, no. No thank you, I'll take the ravages of age and time, the grayed hair and the creaky joints, and the flame of a crematory fire that awaits when it's all over. I've an oak at Miakonda and a river in the hills waiting.

5 Comments:

Blogger Bainwen Gilrana said...

I don’t believe I could accept physical immortality if it were offered, even so simply as in “Tuck Everlasting.” (All that was required was a drink of water from a particular magical spring.) I would be unable to accept the idea of taking myself outside the cycle of life and death like that. At some point in the evolution of the soul, it becomes necessary to let go of the body and go on without it. It is impossible to reach the Source of Creation while still “living” in the physical sense.

Or, if we want to look at it in terms of what can be scientifically proven, life is supposed to be finite. Those bits of carbon which make up me, breaking down to protons and neutrons and electrons and quarks and even smaller particles too amazing to contemplate, all of those were once parts of ancient stars, dust in the vacuum of space. They’re only mine for a little while, and then they go on to become something else. It is the way things are and the way things should be, this dance of creation and life.

I am afraid of many things, full of strange fears! But, surprisingly, I am not afraid of death. I seem to be on a children’s literature kick lately, so in that vein, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

12/13/2005 8:41 AM  
Blogger naive-no-more said...

Well I had a comment formulated, but it certainly wont compare to Bainwen's eloquent posting, so....

Ditto.

12/13/2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger Tirithien said...

We are odd people, it seems. :-) Most I know would take the immortality.

12/13/2005 11:13 AM  
Blogger martie said...

I wouldn't want to live forever! Especially without those I love who would have or have gone on before me.

I'm not afraid of dying, I'm just not ready quite yet!

12/13/2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger clew said...

I love the Green Mile. :)

And I love the Twilight Zone. :D

Everybody else already said everything else. ;]

Hope you're enjoying the season!

12/14/2005 7:38 AM  

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