Another concept of immortality can be called creative immortality, or
evolutionary immortality. This uniquely human motive underlies, probably, all major
creative feats of human history. The idea is that mortal humans contribute,
through their creative acts, to the ongoing universal and eternal process
--- call it Evolution, or History, or God --- thus surviving their physical
destruction. I call it Evolution, because
contemporary science tells us that human history is but a small
part of the universal cosmic process.
The theory of evolution is the cornerstone of the contemporary scientific worldview. Evolution is a constant emergence of
higher and higher levels of cybernetic control. This process
provides a material means for the manifestation of the mysterious
something that we call freedom, or will, or free will. Evolution
proceeds by metasystem transitions, in which a number of pre viously uncoordinated systems become controled by a metasystem,
which thereby vastly expands the effects of its free choices.
Hierarchical levels of control created by evolution are, essentially,amplifiers of freedom.
The evolutionary growth of the control hierarchy is a natural law, to which we refer as the Law of Evolution, or the Plan
of Evolution. Like every law of nature, the Plan of Evolution
does not determine uniquely and in detail how things will
develop. It only sets the boundaries between the possible and the
impossible. But it introduces a new dimension into the world,
which provides a basis for distinguishing between good and evil.
No one has proved, and hardly will ever prove, that the existence
of life, and specifically, highly organized life, is inevitable.
We have not yet had any sign that life exists outside Earth; as
for humankind, it can destroy itself, and possibly the whole of
life, if it chooses to do so. Continuing constructive evolution
is a possibility but not a necessity. Acts of will can contribute
to evolution or counter it. Because of the natureof evolution,
there is a fundamental difference between constructive and
The fate of the world is not predetermined, it depends,
among other things, on what I and you are doing. The contribution
to the Evolution made by an individual can be of critical importance. It can also be everlasting. For example, the contribution
made by Aristotle or Newton is written down into the history of
mankind and will stay there forever, even though there are only
very few people who read Aristotle or Newton now. But each next
stage of evolution is dependent on the preceding stages. The acts
contributing to evolution create structures which will outlive
the actors and determine the structures that follow. In this way,
they are eternal. Those acts which go against the plan of
evolution will be drowned in chaos and erased from the memory of
the world. Evolutionary immortality is the immortality of deed.
The deeds of mortal men may be immortal.
You can say that this evolutionary immortality is rather
pale, not real. But it is quite real, especially for imaginative
and creative people. The reason why we appreciate creative per
sons -- sometimes even deify them -- is that we understand the
eternal nature of their contributions. For creative persons it is
important that their achievements are known and used, i.e. that
they make a difference, and in this way stay forever. It may
become more imortant than life itself. You know the famous story
about Archimedes who said to the Roman soldier: you can kill me
but please do not destroy my drawings. Even if this story is
invented, which is quite possible, it still is very telling.