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Immortality quote

Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key
That opes the palace of Eternity.


The question of immortality is of its nature not a scholarly question. It is a question welling up from the interior which the subject must put to itself as it becomes conscious of itself.

SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Concluding Unscientific Postscript

It's immortality we crave ... that museum of ten thousand things stockpiled beyond our fleeting earthly hours.

ROBERT CORDING, "Reading Donne"

People always live for ever when there is an annuity to be paid them.

JANE AUSTEN, Sense and Sensibility

Immortality no longer interests the weary old man at all.

MILAN KUNDERA, Immortality

You have in you intuitions of immortality, trust them; they are right. Follow them; they will lead you to your Father's house.

REUEN THOMAS, Thoughts for the Thoughtful

Do not believe yourself healthy. Immortality is health; this life is a long sickness.


There's one form of immortality I like to think about. It's that all those who from the very first have given anything to the world are living in the world to-day.


Most children feel immortal--they have no sense that they're ever going to die. For a child, even growing up is something that's barely comprehensible.

JOHN SAUL, Shadows

All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
Its immortality.


If there be one truth that we need more than another, to steady us and keep us cheerful in the midst of accidents, dangers, fears, and deaths, it is this truth of immortality. God cannot work out His plan for us on this narrow platform, and in these few years. The stage is much too small for the drama of life.... So much begins here--the lives of babes, of little children--with such promise in them, and no room for performance. And what are we all but children of a larger growth--infants crying for a light, and with no language but a cry? The one imperious necessity seems to be immortality.

REUEN THOMAS, Thoughts for the Thoughtful

We must be laid like a brand in the fire ... if we would gain immortal youth.

AUSTIN O'MALLEY, Keystones of Thought

We conceive of immortality as having a beginning, but no end; but we conceive of eternity as having neither beginning nor end. Hence it is proper to speak of eternity as the attribute of God, but of immortality as the attribute of man.


Were the life of man prolonged, he would become such a proficient in villainy, that it would become necessary again to drown or to burn the world. Earth would become an hell; for future rewards when put off to a great distance, would cease to encourage, and future punishments to alarm.


He ne'er is crown'd
With immortality, who fears to follow
Where airy voices lead.

JOHN KEATS, Endymion

This life is one link in that golden chain of immortality.

M. D. CHATTERTON, Immortality of Man

Immortality quote

Life-span extension has now become a respectable (if modest) goal of the drug discovery process, and the search is not limited to longevity genes. William Andrews, who left Geron when the company shifted its focus from aging to cancer research, started a new company called Sierra Sciences in Reno, Nevada, and has been trying to harness the power of telomerase to rejuvenate cells, and bodies. The company claims to have discovered molecules that might transiently allow the telomerase gene to be turned on, so that people could periodically take a pill that would lengthen their telomeres, theoretically resetting the clock of cellular aging. While highly speculative and preliminary, this suggests that there may be a number of paths to the molecular fountain of youth.

STEPHEN S. HALL, Merchants of Immortality

Immortality is a ridiculous illusion, an empty word, a butterfly net chasing the wind.

MILAN KUNDERA, Immortality

Immortality is the birth-right of mankind.

SUSUNAGA WEERAPERUMA, The Essential Swami Ramdas

The woe of mortality makes humans God-like. It is because we know that we must die that we are so busy making life. It is because we are aware of mortality that we preserve the past and create the future. Mortality is ours without asking--but immortality is something we must build ourselves. Immortality is not a mere absence of death; it is defiance and denial of death. It is 'meaningful' only because there is death, that implacable reality which is to be defied.

ZYGMUNT BAUMAN, Mortality, Immortality and Other Life Strategies

Each one of us is inhabited. With what wonderful respect we would look upon every human being, if we thought of that invisible Psyche who dwells within him and who causes him to be what he is, and who will endure longer than the world, endure always, after these poor bones are reduced to dust! How can our eyes contemplate any human person without seeking anxiously after the eternal mystery which is living in him? The first Christians kissed the breasts of their children with awe and veneration, thinking of that eternal presence within them. They had some idea, some awareness, less fickle than ours, of the immortality of the human soul.

JACQUES MARITAIN, "The Immortality of Man"

We are chained to this life by a chain of gold, and we dare not sever it for fear of what lies beyond the drop.

CASSANDRA CLARE, Clockwork Prince

I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

CARL SAGAN, Billions and Billions

Do you not know that a man is not dead while his name is still spoken?


One plays at being immortal and after a few weeks one doesn't even know whether or not one can hang on till the next day.


The ignorant man, the savage, felt intuitively that he was immortal. The learned man, the philosopher, reasons that he is immortal because only thus does life make sense. The Christian theologian believes in immortality because Jesus of Nazareth taught it and proved it, and because without it the goodness and justice of God can be called into question. Injustice, he points out, is so obvious in this world that if there is not another world in which redress is possible, God cannot be either just or moral; either that or God is not good, in which case the true divine arbiter is Satan. So men at all levels of cultural development from savagery to modern times have believed in life after death. They have felt that it was so, they have reasoned that it ought to be so, they have had faith that it was so. But does that make it so?

ALSON J. SMITH, Immortality: The Scientific Evidence

The belief in immortality is not excluded from a legitimate place in human thought, because it does not admit of an absolute demonstration. It is a future event, and as such, cannot be proved. Human immortality is incapable of demonstration--that absolute logical justification upon such a subject is impossible and inconceivable. The problem is the permanence of the human personality--the continuance of the soul after the death of the body, in the possession of memory, reason, and a self-conscious life. This means the ultimate reasonableness or unreasonableness, of the intelligence or brutality, of the Power that is responsible for our existence. Immortality is one of the greatest spiritual needs of man.

M. D. CHATTERTON, Immortality of Man

The futurologists of immortality like to imagine that life extension will be accompanied by the kind of medical wisdom and skill that will keep everyone vigorous and healthy during their extended lifetimes--certainly a laudable goal, lest we all end up like Jonathan Swift's decrepit and crabby Struldbruggs, who had "not only all the Follies and Infirmities of other old Men, but many more which arose from the dreadful Prospect of never dying." But that exceedingly improbable scenario would essentially require the simultaneous medical cure of virtually every age-related ailment that we know about. What good is curing heart attacks with stem cells, for example, if it merely preserves more elderly brains for Alzheimer's disease to steal? What good is the ability to bioengineer organs like livers and bladders if we implant them in bodies chronically incapacitated by arthritis and osteoporosis?

STEPHEN S. HALL, Merchants of Immortality

We are immortal, if we form a link in the great chain of life. It is this unbroken continuity of life, ever rising to nobler levels from the ashes of apparent death that is so beautifully typified by the Phoenix.

M. D. CHATTERTON, Immortality of Man

Life is the root of Eden's loftiest tree
Whose ripened fruit is immortality.


The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. They may even discover the germ of old age.

THOMAS EDISON, "Wizard Edison," The Newark Advocate, Jan. 2, 1903

If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture--that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.

EDWARD ABBEY, Desert Solitaire

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Read Ambrose Bierce's essay on Immortality

Read T. Troward's essay: Death and Immortality


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