“All that is subject to arising is subject to ceasing.”
Actually Damian your premises are incorrect.
Consider – it seems beyond reasonable doubt that everything alive today is part of an unbroken chain of life going back some 4 billion years. So it seems that life had a beginning, and it does not seem to be a requirement that it end.
As to the forms of life, yes certainly, some forms change, others stay much the same. Some varieties of Archea found today seem to be much like those that were around over 3 billion years ago.
I have changed a lot in the 60 years I have been on this planet, I expect that there will be substantial change in the future, and it seems that there is a finite possibility that I might be able to outlast our sun and perhaps even outlast our galaxy, and perhaps not (I was declared terminal melanoma 5 years ago, which was a little too close for comfort).
The past is not always a good predictor of the future, often yes, and not always – novelty does in fact happen sometimes. Creativity exists.
That kinda seems like a straw man argument.
We are not the same ever, at so many different levels.
We get the illusion of identity from continuity of memories.
So in the sense that we are only ever a contiguous line of memory, the indefinite life seems distinctly possible.
The idea that there is any sort of essential soul that is us has been disproven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt.
It seems beyond any reasonable doubt that we are continuously changing entities, and that sometimes there are step changes in our abilities to perceive or perform new classes of things; and all such abilities take time and practice to become habits within our neural networks.
We always have been, and always will be, a becoming – a chooser of potentials and possibilities, a performer of patterns and habits.
And novelty always has a certain indefinable risk, and what most don’t get, is that just because most risk is (necessarily) unknown, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
But I cannot recall a time ever, since the age of 3 (my earliest recollections at present), that I have wanted to somehow stay exactly what I was.
That has never been my understanding of this thing called life.
Life has been about a process of becoming for as long as I can recall thinking.
At three it was about growing up to be like my dad.
Death has never been about the end of any particular instantiation – which is why I called your definition of death a “Straw man”.
Death has always been to me an end to the process of becoming.
That is the only real meaning that the term death has to me.
That sort of death seems highly likely, and not absolutely certain.
I hate that thing that lawyers and judges do, of taking a word with a common understanding and redefining it to something almost the opposite. Please don’t do that.
But what you say is our deaths are inevitable.
And that isn’t true.
Then you set up this idea that we were supposed to think that we were forever the same, and I can’t recall ever thinking that way, or having any evidence to think about thinking that way.
Which is why the idea of immortal soul- which seems to be what you are actually arguing against, rather than death, never made any sense to me.
Yes – we are always becoming.
No – that is not the same as death – not even close.
I just fail to see how you are equating those words.
Remove death from the title, and I will have no disagreement.
The word death doesn’t belong in the conversation – it refers to something else altogether.
For something to end, it had to exist.
What if the thing you posit never existed?
What if the idea of being a defined thing is illusion in that sense?
What if we have a physical form, and the quantum mechanics that control the deep substructure of physical form support the illusion of existence at the scales of normal human perception.
What if within that physical form is a set of software systems that take quantum effects to a whole new set of recursive levels?
What if the very notion that there ever was a fixed “thing” to end is all illusion?
What if we are far more accurately characterised as process, and the process continues?
What if it really is nothing at all like death?
What if life really is a becoming (until it no longer is, at which point the process has ended and it is dead)?
Do you get now a hint of why your idea might not seem even a little bit sensible to me?
Then it seems most people are even more deeply mired in illusion than I thought.
I grew up on farms.
I learned to be both a hunter, and a carer of flocks and pastures and land.
I spent 17 years making my living as a professional fisherman.
My dad was president of the Returned Servicemen’s Association for many years.
So I grew up knowing what death is, seeing it in practice with animals, both those I cared for and those I hunted, and hearing first hand accounts of the horrors of world wars 1 and 2, and the many other conflicts between and since.
As a hunter and fishermen I have killed millions of animals and fish (quite literally – I was very good at my job).
So I have a very strong, idea what death is.
I have also studied, as an ecologist, as a biochemist, as a logician, as a computer systems analyst and developer (my profession for the last 29 years).
It seems the universe is very complex, far beyond even our best models today I suspect, yet I see no evidence to count it as a single organism – that seems to be going too far.