Revised Midterm Fall 2012

Blog » Revised Midterm Fall 2012

Posted on 25 May 2013 03:35

Through Dying, We Live

Dear Diary,

If you had asked me no more than a month ago, I would have said that I was proud to be a member of the human race. We were the race that was too good to fail. With the aid of modern technology, the human lifespan had extended dramatically to the point where we were no longer dying from natural causes. Each of us had our own personalized robotic doctor that could detect disease at the molecular level instantaneously, and it had become commonplace for even the most basic of human senses to be enhanced by prosthetic devices. However, in spite of all of this, I had always felt that there was something missing in my life, something I could never quite put my finger on. It is not to say that I was not pleased with my life, quite the contrary actually. It was as if my life had become almost too comfortable and stress-free, like certain edge to living had been taken away.

As a child, I remember my parents telling me stories of the days when men struggled for survival. I remember myself being filled with fear and awe as I heard the stories of how starvation and war were very real threats at one point in human history. My parents always assured me, of course, that these were all things of the past. In fact, death itself had almost become a thing of past, something that we were now only able to experience through the art and literature of past civilizations. With the exception of those in the third world countries, humans were just not dying anymore. Technology provided us with just too many ways to navigate around it.

Ever since the radical shift in science toward the creation of human immortality, humans had begun placing an increasingly reliant, almost religious, faith in science. After all, all other religions had been deemed illogical by this point, and science was yielding concrete results. Accompanying this new religion came the belief that humanity, when assisted through science, could become invincible. Likewise, the human population density began growing almost exponentially, and overcrowding became a very serious concern. Realizing the potential threat that this problem was posing, it was decided that humans living in designated “third world countries” were to be cut off from all technological advancements, and thus remain mortal and weak. In order to maintain the idealization of the perfect race, the well-being of some had to be sacrificed in the process. As time progressed, those living in the first world began to look down upon those in the third world as an inferior race. Those in the third world represented the weakness of humanity in the absence of scientific progress, while those in the first world began to picture themselves as demi-gods of their own religion.

Looking back, I can now see that we as a society were ripe for a disaster such as the breakout. Our “immortal” mindset had accustomed us to trivializing anything with serious potential to harm us. In fact, we in the first world were not even notified of the virus’s virulence in the third world. It was as if the scientific community wanted to have fun with the matter and let the virus take a few lives here and there, completely disregarding the fact that it could present a legitimate threat. It was as if life was a game and they were playing God.

I can remember the events that transpired with crystal clarity. When news of the first documented death in a first world country as a result of the virus reached the news, we were all confronted with a frightening new reality – mortality. I feel that I speak for all when I say that we had never had to address the possibility of us not existing. For the first day or two the majority of the population lived in denial. They could not come to terms with the fact that such a highly advanced civilization, one almost resembling that of gods, could possibly fall. However, in the next few days, the speed at which the virus was taking lives required us as a people to come to terms with our own humanity and accept the reality of death as being fundamental to our existence as humans.

Originally, my mother and father had the utmost of faith in the scientific community and their pursuit of procuring an antidote. As engineers themselves, they believed wholeheartedly that science could solve all of the world’s problems. They felt that faith in science could not fail. When the first round of vaccine was produced and dispersed, my parents seemed neither elated nor concerned. Rather, they just seemed to accept it as a fact that science would be able to put an end to the problem in a timely manner. However, this virus was a retrovirus that mutated with unprecedented speed, and within one day the vaccine was no longer working and more people were dying. This was when I was first able to see a change in my parents’ demeanor. The subtle air of confidence that had always accompanied their presence was gone, and with it left the sense of security and comfort that had been with me for my entire life up until this point. We had never had to concern ourselves with any real sense of danger before. Technology had taken care of all of our problems for us. However, at this moment we were left vulnerable.

Then the unthinkable happened. The disease struck both of my parents, and reality hit me square in the face. Within hours, my parents, the rocks of strength and stability in my life, had been reduced to nothing more than lifeless matter. I sat by the side of my parents through their final hours. Never before had I witnessed anything as emotionally powerful as a human death. I found myself experiencing emotions from fear to sympathy and sorrow to even excitement. In fact, during the moments in which the life force left my parents’ bodies, I felt myself truly living for the first time in my life. Experiencing this loss of life made me burn with a desire to live, knowing that at a moment’s notice I too could be dead. In fact, it was only through losing that sense of security that I was able to truly value what it means to have life. Yet strangely enough, above all else I found experiencing death to be a very humbling experience. Seeing how easily a human life can be taken away made me realize how small we all are in the grand scheme of things. No matter how scientifically advanced we become as a civilization, we will always be human at heart, and that means accepting our own mortality.

After the death of my parents I sat awaiting my own death, yet it never came. The disease rampaged on, claiming all of my family and friends as victims, while I still remained. By the end of the epidemic less than one percent of the human population remained, myself being one of the few. It turns out that we are the select few who possessed natural genetic immunity to the disease. I am writing this entry approximately one month after the death of my parents. If humanity ever does rebound from this tragedy and reach the same level of advancement that we once had, I would like this journal entry to remind them not lose track of what it means to be human. Not only does over-confidence in technology cause us to let our guard down, but it also makes us lose sight of some of the most fundamental and beautiful aspects of being human, including the reality of death and the value of life. On this note I will end this entry. I can only hope that humanity will learn from the mistakes of its past.

Leave a comment

Add a New Comment
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License