Does death make life more meaningful? More important? Many people would like to think so. The idea of your time in this being limited drives you into action mode, it keeps you from delaying or procrastinating things, gives you that push to move ahead. The ticking clock gives you a target, a deadline, so to speak, bestows an urgency upon your life that immortality would take away.

And yet, there are those of us, for whom death isn’t the driving force, but life is the force itself. Sometimes, the fullness of life is achieved not through the fear of it being taken away from you, not through the fear of missing your ‘chance’ or missing out to someone else. Sometimes life is loved just because it’s worth loving. There is so much in it that’s worth discovering, worth exploring and worth being joyful about. The universe that envelops us in itself is so vast, so miraculous and unfathomable that every inch of it holds secrets for us to unlock. Nature holds boundless treasures waiting to be uncovered. From the flora and the fauna to weather phenomenon and everything else in between — what we do know about the world around us isn’t even a fraction of a fraction of all that there is.  The pursuit of knowledge, the pursuit of the hidden meanings in the universe and its elements is a never ending journey with pleasures galore. You don’t necessarily need the threat of death to revel in the partaking of these pleasures.

And truth be told, these alone are not the only pleasures that earthly life offers. The pleasures of human life are infinite. Ever newer horizons beckon to the traveller; ever newer wonders remain to be explored. Hundreds of thousands of books tantalise the reader; more words than can ever be touched in a lifetime — more ideas milling about you than your mind could absorb in the span of one life. The world abounds in art and beauty — far more than your senses can take in. Your gaze can’t take in the towering edifice of human endeavour and achievement — nor can one lifespan ever be enough for the mind that’s a canvas overflowing with ideas. People who are in love with life don’t need the sword of death hanging over their heads to know how truly precious their existence is.

But just for argument’s sake, let us assume that one knew the secret to immortality. What then? Would you grow bored of your endless life? Would you put off things forever? Would you live any differently from how you lived now? Is it possible that you’d have travelled to every spot on the earth, uncovered each treasure present in Nature and be left with nowhere to explore? Hardly likely—for the cosmos is an expanding Neverland; it is the land of the forever young, stretching beyond your wildest imaginations. Is it possible that you’d have read every book, unearthed every speck of knowledge and produced and exhausted all the brilliant ideas that there could possibly be? Hardly likely, again—for the mind is a microcosm of the universe outside— its form may not be limitless but its capacities remain unfathomed.

Immortality, therefore, is perhaps only for those that explore. It is only for those who live in a state of perpetual rapture, revelling in the brilliance of the world around them, marvelling at each tiny wonder. It is for those who seek to be thrilled, and are willing to be thrilled by it all. The finish line becomes inconsequential — but only to those for whom life is not a race, but a voyage of discovery.

Zehra Naqvi