Immortality

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Immortality is the concept of something existing without end. Various concepts of immortality include:

--Physical Immortality-- Unless destroyed, the physical body existing forever, sustaining the mind for those who do not believe in the existence of thought beyond physical life.

--Spiritual Immortality-- The existence of a mind/spirit/soul outside of physical existence, surviving the death of the physical body.

--Gene Immortality-- The concept of immortality through one's children carrying on some semblance of your being in their genetic makeup.

--Remembrance Immortality-- Being 'immortlized' by your great deeds, society/family's memory of you and your accomplishments and ideals.

Sourced[edit]

  • The soul secured in her existence, smiles
    At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.
    The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
    Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
    But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
    Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
    The wreck of matter, and the crash of worlds.
  • It must be so—Plato, thou reasonest well!—
    Else whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
    This longing after immortality?
    Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
    Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the soul
    Back on herself, and startles at destruction?
    'Tis the divinity that stirs within us;
    'Tis heaven itself, that points out an hereafter,
    And intimates eternity to man.
  • The stars shall fade away, the sun himself
    Grow dim with age, and nature sink in years,
    But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
    Unhurt amidst the wars of elements,
    The wrecks of matter, and the crush of worlds.
  • Clov: Do you believe in the life to come? Hamm: Mine was always that.
  • A toy which people cry for,
    And on their knees apply for,
    Dispute, contend and lie for,
    And if allowed
    Would be right proud
    Eternally to die for.
  • That which is the foundation of all our hopes and of all our fears; all our hopes and fears which are of any consideration: I mean a Future Life.
  • I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without the absurdity of speculating upon another.
    • Lord Byron, letter to Francis Hodgson, 3 September 1811.
  • All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
    The sun himself must die,
    Before this mortal shall assume
    Its immortality.
  • IMMORTAL is an ample word
    When what we need is by,
    but when it leaves us for a time,
    ’T is a necessity.
  • Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
  • No young man believes he shall ever die.
    • William Hazlitt, "On the Feeling of Immortality in Youth", Monthly Magazine, March 1827.
  • He had decided to live forever or die in the attempt.
  • Why was I born if it wasn't forever?
  • No, no, I'm sure,
    My restless spirit never could endure
    To brood so long upon one luxury,
    Unless it did, though fearfully, espy
    A hope beyond the shadow of a dream.
  • He ne'er is crowned with immortality
    Who fears to follow where airy voices lead.
  • I long to believe in immortality. I shall never be able to bid you an entire farewell. If I am destined to be happy with you here — how short is the longest life. I wish to believe in immortality — I wish to live with you forever.
    • John Keats, letter to Fanny Brawne, July 1820. H. Buxton Foreman (ed.), The Complete Works of John Keats Vol. V (1901), Letter CCII
  • Immortality is the only thing which doesn't tolerate being postponed.
  • And in the wreck of noble lives
    Something immortal still survives.
  • The fame of the brave outlives him; his portion is immortality. What more flattering homage could we pay to the manes of Paul Jones, than to swear on his tomb to live or to die free? It is the vow, it is the watch-word of every Frenchman.
    • Paul Henri Marron, officiating Protestant clergyman, discourse at the funeral of John Paul Jones, Paris, France (July 20, 1792); reported in Life and Correspondence of John Paul Jones (1830), p. 68.
  • For who would lose,
    Though full of pain, this intellectual being,
    Those thoughts that wander through eternity,
    To perish rather, swallow'd up and lost
    In the wide womb of uncreated night,
    Devoid of sense and motion?
  • They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
    Quaff immortality and joy.
  • For spirits that live throughout
    Vital in every part, not as frail man,
    In entrails, heart or head, liver or reins,
    Cannot but by annihilating die.
  • Without a belief in personal immortality, religion surely is like an arch resting on one pillar, like a bridge ending in an abyss.
    • Max Müller, Chips from a German Workshop, Volume I: Essays on the Science of Religion (1867), p. 45.
  • Death must be an evil — and the gods agree;
    for why else would they live for ever?
    • Sappho (c. 600 B.C.). Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, ed. Edgar Lobel and Denys Page. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1955, no. 201.
  • Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death:
    'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight tomorrow
    Thou must be made immortal.
  • I hold it ever,
    Virtue and cunning were endowments greater
    Than nobleness and riches: careless heirs
    May the two latter darken and expend;
    But immortality attends the former,
    Making a man a god.
  • The human mind cannot be absolutely destroyed with the body, but something of it remains which is eternal.... We feel and know by experience that we are eternal.
  • The anxiety about death is met in two ways. The reality of death is excluded from daily life to the highest possible degree. The dead are not allowed to show that they are dead; they are transformed into a mask of the living. The other and more important way of dealing with death is the belief in a continuation of life after death, called the immortality of the soul. This is not a Christian and hardly a Platonic doctrine. Christianity speaks of resurrection and eternal life, Platonism of a participation of the soul in the transtemporal sphere of essences. But the modern idea of immortality means a continuous participation in the productive process.
    • Paul Tillich, describing the American response to anxiety about death, The Courage To Be (1952), p. 110
  • Talking to a peasant one day, I suggested to him the hypothesis that there might indeed be a God who governs heaven and earth, a Consciousness or Conscience of the Universe, but that even so it would not be sufficient reason to assume that the soul of every man was immortal in the traditional and concrete sense. And he replied, "Then what good is God?"
    • Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), translated by Anthony Kerrigan, Princeton University Press, 1972, p. 7.
  • A man really and practically looking onwards to an immortal life, on whatever grounds, exhibits to us the human soul in an enobled attitude.
    • William Whewell, "Remarks on the Phaedo", Platonic Dialogues for English Readers Volume I (1859), pp. 441-2.
  • An angel's arm can't snatch me from the grave;
    Legions of angels can't confine me there.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night I, line 89.
  • 'Tis immortality, 'tis that alone,
    Amid life's pains, abasements, emptiness,
    The soul can comfort, elevate, and fill.
    That only, and that amply this performs.
    • Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VI, line 573.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 388-90.
  • No, no! The energy of life may be
    Kept on after the grave, but not begun;
    And he who flagg'd not in the earthly strife,
    From strength to strength advancing—only he
    His soul well-knit, and all his battles won,
    Mounts, and that hardly, to eternal life.
  • On the cold cheek of Death smiles and roses are blending,
    And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.
  • Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
    But is there anything Beyond?
  • There is nothing strictly immortal, but immortality. Whatever hath no beginning may be confident of no end.
  • If I stoop
    Into a dark tremendous sea of cloud,
    It is but for a time; I press God's lamp
    Close to my breast; its splendor soon or late
    Will pierce the gloom; I shall emerge one day.
  • I have been dying for twenty years, now I am going to live.
  • 'Tis immortality to die aspiring,
    As if a man were taken quick to heaven.
  • Nemo unquam sine magna spe immortalitatatis se pro patria offerret ad mortem.
    • No one could ever meet death for his country without the hope of immortality.
    • Cicero, Tusculanarum Disputationum, I. 15.
  • For I never have seen, and never shall see, that the cessation of the evidence of existence is necessarily evidence of the cessation of existence.
  • Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.
    • Ecclesiastes, XII. 7.
  • Thus God's children are immortall whiles their
    Father hath anything for them to do on earth.
    • Thomas Fuller, Church History, Book II. Century VIII. 18. On Bede's Death.
  • Yet spirit immortal, the tomb cannot bind thee,
    But like thine own eagle that soars to the sun
    Thou springest from bondage and leavest behind thee
    A name which before thee no mortal hath won.
  • 'Tis true; 'tis certain; man though dead retains
    Part of himself; the immortal mind remains.
    • Homer, The Iliad, Book XXIII, line 122. Pope's translation.
  • Dignum laude virum Musa vetat mori;
    Cœlo Musa beat.
    • The muse does not allow the praise-deserving hero to die: she enthrones him in the heavens.
    • Horace, Carmina, IV. 8. 28.
  • But all lost things are in the angels' keeping, Love;
    No past is dead for us, but only sleeping, Love;
    The years of Heaven with all earth's little pain
    Make good,
    Together there we can begin again
    In babyhood.
  • Men are immortal till their work is done.
    • David Livingstone, letter describing the death of Bishop Mackenzie in Africa (March, 1862).
  • Safe from temptation, safe from sin's pollution,
    She lives, whom we call dead.
  • I came from God, and I'm going back to God, and I won't have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.
  • Of such as he was, there be few on earth;
    Of such as he is, there are few in Heaven:
    And life is all the sweeter that he lived,
    And all he loved more sacred for his sake:
    And Death is all the brighter that he died,
    And Heaven is all the happier that he's there.
  • When the good man yields his breath
    (For the good man never dies).
  • Immortality
    Alone could teach this mortal how to die.
  • Tamque opus exegi quod nec Jovis ira necignes
    Nec poterit ferrum, nec edax abolere vetustas.
    Cum volet illa dies quæ nil nisi corporis hujus
    Jus habet, incerti spatium mihi siniut ævi;
    Parte tamen meliore mei super alta perennis
    Astra ferar, nomenque erit indelebile nostrum.
    • And now have I finished a work which neither the wrath of Jove, nor fire, nor steel, nor all-consuming time can destroy. Welcome the day which can destroy only my physical man in ending my uncertain life. In my better part I shall be raised to immortality above the lofty stars, and my name shall never die.
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, XV. 871.
  • Sunt aliquid Manes; letum non omnia finit.
    Luridaque evictos effugit umbra rogos.
    • There is something beyond the grave; death does not put an end to everything, the dark shade escapes from the consumed pile.
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegiæ, IV. 7. 1.
  • What a world were this,
    How unendurable its weight, if they
    Whom Death hath sundered did not meet again!
  • Thy lord shall never die, the whiles this verse
    Shall live, and surely it shall live for ever:
    For ever it shall live, and shall rehearse
    His worthy praise, and vertues dying never,
    Though death his soule do from his bodie sever:
    And thou thyselfe herein shalt also live;
    Such grace the heavens doe to my verses give.
  • I am restless. I am athirst for faraway things.
    My soul goes out in a longing to touch the skirt of the dim distance.
    O Great Beyond, O the keen call of thy flute!
    I forget, I ever forget, that I have no wings to fly, that I am bound in this spot evermore.
  • Ah, Christ, that it were possible,
    For one short hour to see
    The souls we loved, that they might tell us
    What and where they be.
  • It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
    And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
  • But felt through all this fleshly dresse
    Bright shootes of everlastingnesse.
  • Facte nova virtute, puer; sic itur ad astra.
    • Go on and increase in valor, O boy! this is the path to immortality.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), IX. 641.
  • Happy he whose inward ear
    Angel comfortings can hear,
    O'er the rabble's laughter;
    And, while Hatred's fagots burn,
    Glimpses through the smoke discern
    Of the good hereafter.
  • Man is immortal till his work is done.
    • James Williams, Sonnet Ethandune. Claimed for Williams in the Guardian, Nov. 17, 1911; also Nov. 24.
  • Though inland far we be,
    Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
    Which brought us hither.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)[edit]

Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • Immortality! We bow before the very term. Immortality! Before it reason staggers, calculation reclines her tired head, and imagination folds her weary pinions. Immortality! It throws open the portals of the vast forever; it puts the crown of deathless destiny upon every human brow; it cries to every uncrowned king of men, "Live forever, crowned for the empire of a deathless destiny!"
  • Earthly providence is a travesty of justice on any other theory than that it is a preliminary stage, which is to be followed by rectifications. Either there must be a future, or consummate injustice sits upon the throne of the universe. This is the verdict of humanity in all the ages.
  • Whence comes the powerful impression that is made upon us by the tomb? Are a few grains of dust deserving of our veneration? Certainly not; we respect the ashes of our ancestors for this reason only — because a secret voice whispers to us that all is not extinguished in them. It is this that confers a sacred character on the funeral ceremony among all the nations of the globe; all are alike persuaded that the sleep, even of the tomb, is not everlasting, and that death is but a glorious transfiguration.
  • See truth, love, and mercy in triumph descending,
    And nature all glowing in Eden's first bloom!
    On the cold cheek of death smiles and roses are blending,
    And beauty immortal awakes from the tomb.
  • Tell me why the caged bird nutters against its prison bars, and I will tell you why the soul sickens of earthliness. The bird has wings, and wings were made to cleave the air, and soar in freedom in the sun. The soul is immortal — it cannot feed upon husks.
  • I feel that I was made to complete things. To accomplish only a mass of beginnings and attempts would be to make a total failure of life. Perfection is the heritage with which my Creator has endowed me, and since this short life does not give completeness, I must have immortal life in which to find it.
  • It is our souls which are the everlastingness of God's purpose in this earth.
  • May we be satisfied with nothing that shall not have in it something of immortality.
  • Heaven begun is the living proof that makes the heaven to come credible. Christ in you is "the hope of glory." It is the eagle eye of faith which penetrates the grave, and sees far into the tranquil things of death. He alone can believe in immortality who feels the resurrection in him already.
  • The nearer I approach the end, the plainer I hear around me the immortal symphonies of the worlds which invite me. It is marvelous, yet simple.
  • No martyr ever went the way of duty, and felt the shadow of death upon it. The shadow of death is darkest in the valley, which men walk in easily, and is never felt at all on a steep place, like Calvary. Truth is everlasting, and so is every lover of it; and so he feels himself almost always.
  • Let a disciple live as Christ lived, and he will easily believe in living again as Christ does.

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