Man is finite. Yet within him resides an insatiable desire for immortality. As it was so eloquently put in the opening narration of the movie Troy, “Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity…” Could it be that a man’s pride would not permit him to imagine an existence in which he does not exist? And the fact that time, events, family, friends and life itself continue in his absence is a terrifying reality? Or, is it the uncertainty of the afterlife that presents most difficulty? The possibility of an eternity in the courts of Cerberus would make any man want to live forever, and forgo the judgment altogether. Some may say it is the fear of death that most frightens men. Whatever the cause, they, we, are driven and intent on marking time on this organic sphere for as long as we possibly can.
The gods of the olden days were characterised by supernatural feats coupled with complete submission and reverence by all mortals. Both villainous and virtuous it is truly amazing that they themselves were almost human, but for their abilities. The few that challenged these immortals were either stamped out of history, made into martyrs or became gods in their own right, with whom men would not dare contend. Our modern day deities, though they wield a different power altogether, are not too different.
Today, we worship idols made of flesh and bone. Just as Helga worshipped Arnold and built a shrine in her closet, we have lauded praise and adulation on mortals like ourselves. Our brothers and sisters have become our lords. And they have not snatched this power and subjugated us all. For what man can bring a nation to its knees with the strength of his arm? No, we the people have siphoned every bit of authority that lay within our grasp into the hands of these men. And who are these individuals that have assumed a godlike stance within our realm? They are the democratic leaders of our time, not just in politics, but entertainment, religion and any sphere of life where the electorate determines leadership and power. From Selena Gomez to Donald Trump, a great deal of their authority depends on us.
Many leaders of today hunger for immortality of some sort. Even if it is merely found in their names lasting for all of eternity, they seek to make a mark that would never decay as all things material do. However, there has been an interesting trend that has developed. The powerful no longer seek to serve the people. They no longer desire the worship of men but are solely concerned with their empires and legacies. We, the subjects who were once the jewels of these empires are now mere afterthoughts. In short, these gods forget who brought them to life. They forget that their power is only as good as the persons at their disposal to execute it.
Am I then suggesting rebellion? Perish the thought. Am I suggesting continued worship to man? Again, the answer is no. But my main drive is this. Too often do we speak of the throne, but neglect the mantle; of kingship but not of duty. There must be a shift in perspective, that to truly live forever, we must give of ourselves to the people and maybe they will love us.
While personally I subscribe to the notion that there is only one God, the idea of divinity among men is not foreign to me. I do believe that there is a touch of the empyrean within us all. But I believe even more strongly that much more can be accomplished and a man’s life will hold much more value, if we would truly seek to serve one another rather than engage in vain pursuits for a carnal immortality.