I recently read “The Immortalists” by Chloe Benjamin. This is not a review of the book, but rather a look at it’s main hypothesis. I don’t consider anything I am about to write in the spoiler category, be forewarned.
The basic premise of this book revolves around knowing the exact date that you will die. So my question is: if you knew when you were going to die, would you live your life differently?
I have given this a lot of thought since reading the book. How would I live my life?
I have a tremendous fear of heights, but mainly it revolves around falling. If I am in an observatory, I am fine looking down as long as the environment is enclosed. If it’s open, well, I’m twenty feet away from the edge. Some of you remember my summer lighthouse adventure, when I was felled by the 15 steps I had to climb down, and I actually considered moving into the top of the lighthouse. But really, I’m afraid of falling because I’m afraid of dying. If I knew that I was not going to die the day of the lighthouse visit, would I descend the stairs more calmly because I knew this was not to be my day?
Then you have the other side. One of the reasons I exercise is to keep healthy. I think exercise is good for the heart, the muscles and the brain. I think it helps you live longer. But what if i found out my demise would be early? Would I spend my time doing something I enjoy more, like laying on the couch reading? Would I spend my time being less healthy because trying to be healthy doesn’t really matter because it’s not going to actually effect my life?
Though I usually overthink everything, including trips to the dry cleaner, I am amazed that I have never thought about this idea. I guess the rational part of my brain knows that this kind of knowledge is not logical. This is not something even computers can predict with any great accuracy, and I don’t believe a Buzzfeed quiz would be helpful either. So rationally, I’m out.
I like to think I am open minded. I like to think that everything is possible until proven otherwise. But is it possible to predict the day of demise? And does it matter?
What do you all think? Is it possible to know? Do you want to know? Would you live your life differently?