The Lifetime of an Idea

In the film of “V for Vendetta” there is one particular phrase that always irked me:

“…ideas are bulletproof.”

This line goes right along with the concept of people seeking immortality through the written word, or art of any kind really. From a philosophical viewpoint that includes a belief in eternal life this is understandable. This is actually the sort of religion and philosophy I ascribe to, but it’s often not the sort of many who espouse the concept of immortality through art and information prefer. My point is that if humans can truly die, then so too can our knowledge and art be destroyed.

Through time and death ideas can die. This is largely an unprovable belief. After all, by its nature there can be no examples of any ideas that died out. A truly dead idea is not one that people know about. Ideas are mortal, just extremely long-lived.

However, I must also note that ideas are definitely resilient. In essence defeating fascist states in World War II did not destroy the concept of fascism. Theoretically ideas are also capable of being rejuvenated or reanimated by minds that dredge up original thought.

If all those who know an idea pass away that idea ceases to exist except in texts of all kinds and mediums. Destroy all those texts as well and the idea is dead. Some ideas once discovered will likely last as long as the human race. But without beings like us, that is humans or intelligent aliens who might have the same form of information building and transference, there are no ideas. Life ends, and information only exists as long as there is life to interpret it. A dog that cannot read is unable to make use of a lot of information that humans make and use.

What is immortality?

If it is it really life eternal is that possible? I would say life eternal is not physically possible, regardless of technology. After all, no technology is perfect. Technology is mortal. It wears out and is destroyed by forces and time. Time makes wormfood of life, and eventually, dust of everything.

In this regard what is the point of physical philosophy? Though it could be read mockingly I mean this question earnestly. One of the most popular beliefs of modern philosophers is of physical reductionism, and it leaves me baffled to this day. Reducing a world to dust seems pointless to me, and few reductionists clam to be taking their beliefs that far. Entropy, however, seems to argue that sooner or later that’s all the physical reality will become.

These thoughts have been on my mind for some years now. I felt the need to get them off my chest. Thank you for reading.


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