I just finished watching the first episode of “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman on NatGeo Channel. This episode explored what different religions from the past and now believe happens when we die.
There were a lot of moments that had me going “Huh” or “Wow” or “That’s really fascinating.” One such moment was learning that the ancient Egyptians believed that the afterlife of their Pharaoh was crucial, as it ensured the sun would rise each morning. All I could think is that yes, after both of my parents passed on, the thought that they are continuing on just on the other side of the veil, that’s pretty much the only reason I was able to get up with the sun each day. Any thoughts otherwise and I would have given up. It was an interesting connection with this ancient civilization for me to think about.
It was, however, the story towards the end, that blew me away. A couple have designed a robot (head and shoulders only for now) that will be a storage unit for memories, beliefs, and values of someone who has passed. Morgan Freeman met the android which replicated one of the creators. It was eerie, listening to her speak (the android, not the person). The idea is that this will allow people and their thoughts, stories, and memories, to live on forever.
I was not able to choose the time and day that each of my parents ceased existing as they had before and left this world. I am thankful it was not my responsibility to do so. Imagine, though, that we had had the opportunity, prior to their passing, to create such an android? How long would we want them to hang around? Let’s say my children have one such robot made of “me.” Who would be the person to turn me off and let me go? Finally? (Actually, I can practically hear my children, “Somebody go in there and turn Mama off. She’s making me crazier than she did when she was really alive.”) Seriously though, I cannot imagine making that choice about someone I love, robot or no. And I mean, you figure, enough generations will pass, and then the robot would be someone no one really knows anymore…..someone’s going to have to turn G’Ma off eventually. And let her go forever.
I shudder at the thought of all this.
I appreciate technology and all of its life-saving and life-protecting ways. But life-preserving? Like this? I really hope this doesn’t become a thing. I cannot imagine what it would be like–all the discussions and arguments about who gets “custody” or has to take “custody” and yes, in reality, when does the whole thing become mundane, and someone has to literally flip a switch and turn the robot, the “essence” of their loved one, OFF. Or refuse to pay to have him or her “repaired.”
Tonight I’m thankful for the mystery of life and the mystery of death, and I give thanks for the beautiful conversations Mr. Freeman had that, with the exception of the robot, brought my soul hope and peace and joy.
Love to all.