Collective Immortality

In the first chapter of Celebrations of Life, Norman Cousins begins to define immortality as a collective, interdependent existence.  A person’s immortality is not defined as the self existing as self but rather as being part of greater humanity.  He argues that the soul is not the self but part of a collective existence as well. 

I began thinking about the concept that one has an element of the soul of someone greater than oneself.  If we take Cousins’ premise, then it makes sense, for each of us is the composite of humanity and as such has a piece of everyone’s “soul.”

A second aspect of this immortality is from the perspective of the Medieval concept of an active intellect.  Maimonides thus argues in his Guide for the Perplexed that individual divine providence and individual immortality is based on growth in knowledge, which allows one to connect this active intellect.  For Maimonides, it would be the ability to transcend the self to grasp the Divine world which would be the composite of all humanity.


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