Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To know the exact hour of your death

If you were to somehow gain the knowledge of the exact hour of your death, and if that knowledge was absolutely accurate and immutable, what would you do ? Since the prediction was absolutely accurate and immutable, this prevents you from changing your time of death in any way. In such a scenario, what most people would do is probably to plan out their lives to make the most of such knowledge. I have other ideas.

The important thing to note is that the prediction (or prophecy) fixes the hour of death. It is true that one cannot live past that hour, but more importantly, one cannot die before that hour! In essence, the prophecy renders one immortal until the predicted hour of death.

Hence, if I were to gain such knowledge, I would undertake many extreme tasks which would otherwise take any human's life. I could easily beat all the survival stunts of famous magicians, such as holding my breath for months, or fasting for a year.

Of course, there are many possible pitfalls, The most important is to never participate in acts which could result in non-fatal injuries. For example, even with practical immortality, diving with hungry sharks is unadvised! The prophecy ensures that you will survive the swim, but survival does not equal immunity to harm! It is perfectly possible that you survive, but limbless. Hence, we should only choose acts which have two outcomes, death or perfect survival without any physical harm.

A major problem with this theory is that perhaps the prediction does not grant you temporary immortality, but rather, merely ensures that somehow, someone or something will happen to save you. For example, you may try to suffocate yourself with a shopping bag, but it will then be fated that someone will pass by and save you. Or, a gust of wind happens to blow the bag away before you carry out your plans.

In any case, being able to know the hour of your death is macabre, but useful.

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