Primarily a writing exercise, this dream journal-inspired blog is a quiet introspective sojourn into the process that we traverse in going from private dream to public art. I see our dreaming as an internalized mythmaking. As I philosophize and expressively exhibit dreams, both private and public, I encourage and delight in creative language as a way to practice experiential metaphors through a “public dreaming." Writing Theory: Creative Dream Fiction

Monday, 18 February 2013

The Immortalizing Arts: Contributions by World Music Artist Vi An Diep

Gilgamesh by Samantha from Indonesia
"We have achieved two of the three alchemists' dreams: We have transmuted the elements and learned to fly. Immortality is next." - Max More, On becoming posthuman

The search for immortality is as old as humanity itself. The earliest remnants of human history, namely, the Epic of Gilgamesh, among others, speak of the quest for immortality, to find the fruit or fount of eternal youth is part of the perennial epic that is the myth of Man. 
Anu, Bel, and Ea are whispering (wisdom) into his ear.
Ere thou earnest down from the mountain
Gilgamesh beheld thee in a dream in Uruk
Gilgamesh sought to interpret the dream;
Spoke to his mother:
'My mother, during my night
I became strong and moved about among the heroes'
Gilgamesh said...Tell me, How didst thou come to dwell (here?) and obtain eternal life among the gods?
Build a house, construct a ship; Forsake thy possessions, take heed for thy life! Abandon thy goods, save (thy) life, and bring living seed of every kind into the ship

(Epic of Gilgamesh)
Now, it is interesting the way that modern medicine has adopted the principles of "life extension" to the archaic traditions of humanity in the search for immortality. Life Extension is a medical term used to acknowledge the major advancements in modern medicine which have led to the unprecedented increase of the average human lifespan. The logic is that if the lifespan can be extended by some fifty years or so in the last hundred years, why can't we extend life to virtual permanence. 

What are the implications of human immortality on Earth? What comes to mind for me are a few major points. For one, there will be an excited advantage by the keepers of modern scientific medicine, mainly the West. In many ways, this can be seen as the furthering of an egotism that the Western World and particularly the scientific community has, where they feel they prevail over all forms of life, as the dominant form of knowledge-creation in the world today. It is often ignored how steeped in Western European history our modern science is, and that it does have its immoderate faults. Essentially, modern medicine is best in dealing with immediate physical trauma. When it comes to preventive, and long-term medicine, like "life extension" for example, there is less attention to detail. 

Outside of medicine, there is a biological component. One of the foremost proponents of "biological immortality", professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of California, Irvine, Michael R. Rose, PhD, says in the Immortality Institute documentary Exploring Life Extension, "Most people who work on aging do it from a medical standpoint, which means humans, or if not humans, then certainly mammals, and all these organisms that didn't have an aging process were far-removed from mammals." He went on to give examples in non-mammallian life forms, such as anemones, creosotes, juniper, and others that actually do not age. He continues, " can be thought of as being divided into three basic stages...that third phase, which has not really been explored by contemporary biology is what interests me now, late life." 

With regard to the biological component of immortality and life extension, and the medical egotism which counter-inuits the state of the world, it seems that if we do not co-evolve immortally with our Earthly ecology, a spiritualistic sense of medical immortality for humanity would only contribute to the degradation of every source of life that the Earth offers to Man, and which Man exploits obscenely. For example, if we innovate major advances in anti-aging and life extension, we ought to transpose that technology into the natural world, into the life that not only lives on earth (us), but is the life of earth (all forms of life and life-giving). 

Finally, my sense is that in the early epics of oral literature, such works as the Epic of Gilgamesh and Homeric works such as the Iliad, there is a lesson about the human quest for immortality, which is older than our backbone. The lesson is that only in our mortality, do we know our immortality. I would say this is also truer to Max More's reference to the alchemical tradition, where in the philosopher's stone there is a psychological mastery of the principles of physical life, yet it is in the psyche where the most enduring trial is overcome. Only in dying fully conscious and immersed in the ground of immortal intent, are we immortalized, and traditionally so in the words of the great poets, those of enduring words and pronounced voices to carry the names of certain individuals down the halls of human history. 
First step in the thousand-mile journey by Vi An
Flight over the bridge by Vi An
Enlightenment over Peace Bridge by Vi An
Full Moon City by Vi An

First Light of Dusk by Vi An

Vi An has generously agreed to contribute her musical artistry to SoJourn(al) for this exclusive post featuring original photography. This post celebrates her entry in a CBC music contest, Searchlight. Vote for Vi An!

In future posts, I will be featuring original world instrumental music by none other than the Dream Author. My idea is to feature a full-length album of original electro-acoustic improvisations on darbuka, frame drums, shakers, xaphoon, shakuhachi, guitar, harmonic, etc., then leading up to spoken word collaborations with my instrumental creativity to recollect the creative momentum from my experimental writing gallery usually featured at the end of each post. It is my intention to kick off this new paradigmatic focus of musical creativity with a contribution, and to offer space for photographers and musicians alike to contribute in the future.

Happy readings/listenings/viewings!!

Among all artists of One Love, in solidarity.

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