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Immortality

  • ... I feel the flame of eternity in my soul.

  • I believe in the immortality of the soul because I have within me immortal longings.

  • Souls live on in perpetual echoes.

  • The hunger of the spirit for eternity — as fierce as a starving man's for bread — is much less a craving to go on living than a craving for redemption. Oh, and a protest against absurdity.

  • We do not take much warning of our own mortality in seeing others die, nor of our own weakness in seeing others break down: we think we feel the springs of life stronger in us.

  • Do I think there's life after death? No, I think my books are my life after death.

  • If, every day, I dare to remember that I am here on loan, that this house, this hillside, these minutes are all leased to me, not given, I will never despair. Despair is for those who expect to live forever. I no longer do.

  • I think immortality is the passing of a soul thro many lives or experiences, & such as are truly lived, used & learned help on to the next, each growing richer, higher, happier, carrying with it only the real memories of what has gone before.

    • Louisa May Alcott,
    • letter (1884), in Elizabeth Keyser, The Portable Louisa May Alcott ()
  • Sleep that no pain shall wake, / Night that no morn shall break.

  • One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever.

  • Sound waves do not die out. They travel forever and forever. All our sentences are immortal. Our useless bleatings circle the universe for all eternity.

  • ... the soul's fierce cry for immortality is this, — only this: — Return to me after death the thing as it was before. Leave me in the Hereafter the being I am to-day. Rob me of the thoughts, the feelings, the desires that are my life, and you have left nothing to take. Your immortality is annihilation, your Hereafter is a lie.

  • There are about as many ways to be dead as there are to be alive. People linger in different ways, both publicly and privately.

  • Someone has somewhere commented on the fact that millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

  • Inequalities of Fate very curious. Should like, on this account, to believe in Reincarnation.

  • ... I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end.

  • ... immortality is a terrible curse.

  • Whether you think of it as heavenly or as earthly, if you love life, immortality is no consolation for death.

  • I had never been able to believe that God would give us poor frail humans only one chance at making it — that we would be assigned to some kind of hell because we failed during one experience of mortal life. ... So the concepts of karma and reincarnation made logical sense to me.

    • Jane Goodall,
    • in Jane Goodall with Phillip Berman, Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey
  • ... I came then to a conviction that has never left me: that there is too much for me to attend to in this mortal life without overspeculation on the immortal, that it is not necessary to my peace of mind or to my effort to be a decent and useful person, to have a definite assurance about the affairs of the next world.

  • ... with my singing I can make / A refuge for my spirit's sake, / A house of shining words, to be / My fragile immortality.

  • ... death, this inescapable mark of human finitude, is in fact the experience that raises all the questions about infinity.

  • We all think we're too important to be snuffed out like candles, and probably that's how the idea of immortality originated.

  • I believe in the immortality of the soul because I cannot conceive of an intelligent First Cause creating human beings through long process of evolution in this world only to destroy them.

  • The outrage was on the scale of God. My younger brother was immortal and they hadn't noticed. Immortality had been concealed in my brother's body while he was alive, and we hadn't noticed that it dwelt there. Now my brother's body was dead, and immortality with it. ... And the error, the outrage, filled the whole universe.

  • Immortality alone could teach this mortal how to die.

  • Our current obsession with creativity is the result of our continued striving for immortality in an era when most people no longer believe in an afterlife.

  • [On immortality:] Pride indeed makes man claim it for himself, but deny it to others ...

  • I cannot bear to think of being no more — of losing myself — though existence is often but a painful consciousness of misery; nay, it appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should only be organized dust — ready to fly abroad the moment the spring snaps, or the spark goes out, which kept it together. Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable — and life is more than a dream.

  • Like most people, most Westerners anyway, I have a sneaking suspicion I am immortal.

  • Cut down that there maple tree outside the lean-to door, burn the trunk to ashes, and Ma'll up and leach the ashes for lye. Scatter the leaves and they'll make winter mulchin'. Seeds that have been shook off will come up. No, sir, if you can't kill that old maple you ain't goin' to be able to kill me. I'll be in somethin' a hundred years from now, even if it's just the prairie grass or the wind in the timber or the wild geese ridin' out the storm.

  • Biggest affirmative argument I know in favor of 'If a man die, shall he live again?' is just the way you feel inside you that nothin' can stop you from livin' on.

  • There is no life that / couldn't be immortal, / if only for a split second.

    • Wisława Szymborska,
    • "On Death, Without Exaggeration," in Joanna Trzeciak, trans., Selected Poems ()
  • To me the Muses truly gave / An envied and a happy lot: / E'en when I lie within the grave, / I cannot, shall not, be forgot.

    • Sappho,
    • 6th c. BCE, in C.R. Haines, ed., Sappho: The Poems and Fragments ()
  • The fact that everyone emotionally believes this [their own survival of death] is totally independent of any view on the matter which they may openly profess. It is clear that everyone is behaving as though they are going to live forever. This is the only way in which their lack of any sense of urgency can be made comprehensible. And, furthermore, they do not believe that ageing is an irreversible process. Emotionally they regard it as a temporary episode.

  • This transitory existence cannot be all; it does not satisfy our reason or our aspirations.