There are countless stories about Immortal humanlike beings living amongst us mortal humans, but these immortals usually have some sort of weakness that could eventually destroy them. Then there are those who simply live forever and struggle the concept of everyone around them growing old and dying. But, what if everyone is immortal? And not immortal as in they are immortal until something happens and they start dying off; immortal as in no one dies ever. The show Torchwood tried to do something like this, but not really. There may have been a few books written about this stuff. And, of course, there have been many discussions about what it might be like. So, I got to thinking about what would it be like. And what kind of stories could come out of it.
First off, I thought of the rules. Is it fair if only humans get to live forever and no other beings? Maybe in a spiritual sense, but that kind of limits the possibility for an explanation as to why this is happening. So every living being becomes immortal, from humans to leaves to bacteria. Things can bend and move, but they never break or rip. That includes body parts and insides.
This is not a regenerative type of immortality. Instead, everything that is part of a living being exists and continues to exist as it is. That means that there is no aging or injury, but also no strengthening. Surely, though, there are parts of the body that automatically get destroyed and regenerate; that is most likely going to be the source of much initial discomfort for many during the first few months, which is only compounded by the fact that eating and drinking has become a rather unpleasant (nothing gets broken down) and unfulfilling (the body absorbs and accepts nothing) habit that must eventually be jettisoned. If every living being is immortal, what does that say about everything in general? Can energy be converted? Can fuel be used? Can electricity still work? Perhaps the answer should be yes, but what if the answer is no? Does that mean that climate change is officially not happening?
Do people feel pain or pleasure? Well, maybe, but since physical feelings often rely on a change in the body and stuff being created or destroyed as a coping method, I would say that they will manifest themselves differently. A lot of it may be psychological or based on muscle memory.
What about people who are sick or dying? Well, I had thought about this and decided to completely sidestep this issue and other issues through the context by which mass immortality occurs. It occurs at the perfect time. Everyone who was about to be born is born. Everyone who was about to die has died. Everyone who was sick has recovered or died. Everyone who was injured has either healed, died, or stabilized. Everyone is in a perfect state of status quo. And then, suddenly, everyone is immortal.
Ironically, the main sign of everything becoming immortal is everything seeming to completely shut down. Thousands almost die, and everyone is too busy freaking out about nothing working that it takes a while for it to catch on that no one has even gotten injured. Before the revelation, there were those who tried to take advantage of the electricity breakdown to doâ€¦whateverâ€¦while others struggled to maintain their daily lives. Then, it became more and more apparent that this was more than just a power failure. Nothing hurts anymore, but there is some severe discomfort when trying to perform what had previously been basic everyday tasks. Tiredness, sleepiness, and exhaustion are no longer. There is no longer hunger or thirst, which is good because it has become pretty much impossible to chew foods or swallow liquids without something getting stuck. And the animals have been acting up like crazy.
As scientists and others try in vain to figure out what is going on, society in its current state starts coming apart. What does one do with all of the time in the world? First off, so many jobs have been rendered useless. Those that involved the use of burning fuel have to adapt to going without most of it. Those jobs that involve fixing things, maintaining things, breaking things, burning things, killing things, or blowing things up are rendered useless. The food industry and the medical industry might stick around as people make use of such stuff out of habit, but they the old methods are too difficult to continue and people eventually realize that food and medicine is of no use to them anymore. Most of the laws that are meant to protect life and prevent bodily harm are rendered irrelevant, as are those related to death, illness, aging, and injury.
In fact, what is a job? A job is what you do for money and for society. But society is coming apart, so it is for the money. And why do you need money? To maintain a good life, maybe provide for your family, and get things that you like. But your life needs no real maintaining and some of the necessities are now either not so necessary or just plain impossible.
What of the family? No one is ever going to grow old. Kids no longer have to worry about their parents dying. Parents never have to worry about protecting their kids from danger. Kids will never grow into adults. Babies will never not be babies. The elderly will never pass. There is no inheritance upon death. The generation gap will never seem smaller with time. Maturity will never come simply through brain development. How does one raise a child if that child never rises? How can a dynamic like that remain static for years, decades, centuries? Eventually, that will fall away.
What does one want out of life? What are oneâ€™s dreams? What are oneâ€™s little enjoyments? What is the point of it all? Why go to work? Why live like you might die? Why live life on the edge when falling over means nothing? What is the purpose of all of this?
And this is where the story comes in. Well, not so much story, but episodes. How do you tell a story about eternity? I guess that we just drop in every so often for a ten-part series. We start with the first day where everyone freaks out. Then we come back with the tenth day, when things are even crazier. Then we are come back three months after that. Then two-and-half-years later, then twenty-four years after that, then two-hundred-forty-three years after that. And so on up to a billion days. Nothing changes, but everything changes. Everyone changes while not changing at all. People may technically still be the same person from day one that they are at day ten-thousand, but they go through so many changes. And we just drop in to see how things are. Who is acting out? Which people are â€œkillingâ€ themselves? Who has been meditating for the past five years? Who has been swimming across the oceans? Who has become extremely philosophical? Who has set up new cults? Who has discovered new technological alternative to electricity? Who has finally emerged from the ground after having been abducted and buried for two centuries? Who is in charge? At some point, everyone. At other points, no one. What happens to society? What happens to the family? What happens to people? What happens to humanity? What happens to nature? What happens to the world? What happens to memories of loved ones lost? What happens to the thoughts of the dead and death? What happens to ritual? What happens to the notion of the generation gap? What happens to the concept of time? What is thought as being possible? What happens to the concept of self? How would I make a story out of this?
Well, I wouldnâ€™t, because I have no idea how to work this out. There is way too much stuff to make a story about. It would be a ten-part series that features characters from various ages and backgrounds. It starts out manic and crazy, and just gets slower and more alienating. By the time we hit part four (Day 1,000), the motivations and actions of the various characters become extremely difficult for most people to relate to.
As you can see, this concept has spun way out of hand. Maybe some of you could get a handle on it or figure out a way to restrict the concept itself. Maybe there are a dozenÂ writers who already have. I certainly cannot. I could not create nuance out of a regular storyline, but something like this? No. And that is why I donâ€™t write stories.