In The Case Against Mortality, Leon Kass argues that mortality is fundamentally a blessing.

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In The Case Against Mortality, Leon Kass argues that mortality is fundamentally a blessing. He draws on three main arguments: that eternal life would be tedious, it would not be taken seriously, and it would lack beauty. Moreover, he claims that humans long for completeness, rather than immortality. However, such completion cannot be achieved in the earthly life. Throughout this essay, I will argue that Leon Kass was correct on The Case Against Immortality to claim that mortality is fundamentally a blessing. Although I will resort to the arguments that eternal life would be filled with tedium, and would lack seriousness and beauty, they will have different grounds from Kass. I will also explore why one desires- or believes to desire- to live forever. Nevertheless, I will attempt to assume a more secular approach than Kass.

Kass defines immortality as an indefinite prolongation of life. He posits that such extension of human lifespan would make life tedious because the pleasures of life would not increase accordingly and that a tennis player, for instance, would not enjoy playing tennis for twenty-five more years. He asserts that this problem is aggravated by the modern concept of boredom that the world has forsaken one, whereas ,in the middle age, boredom was viewed as one deserting the world. Kass proceeds to argue that were life eternal, it would be frivolous, because most activities require finitude as a stimulus. Furthermore, dr Kass draws on Wallace Stevens' "death is the mother of beauty," and elaborates that mortality augments one's admiration of beauty. He directs his explanation at beauty of character, which is acting virtuously, vanquishing one's needs, and being noble, which only happens because of mortality. Finally, he concludes that humans do not desire immortality, rather they long for a certain completeness that cannot be achieved in earthly life.

Firstly, I do not believe that an eternal life would be boring for there are an infinitude of interesting activities activities in which one could partake; there are endless books to read and profuse subjects to study. Hence, I suppose that the problem experieced in eternal life is best described by the expression tædium vitæ, which comes from the latin, tædium meaning weariness and vitæ meaning life. This tedium vitae is unavoidable because as pleasant as life may be, an exaustion of this everlasting life would eventually befall one, begetting an ennui, a tædium vitæ. Lars Svendsen uses the term deep boredom to convey the idea of tædium vitæ, and claims that "[it] is related, phenomenologically speaking, to insomnia, where the I looses its identity in the dark, caught apparently in indefinite void."  Christine Overall also makes this correlation between insomnia and tædium vitae. She argues that "one feels tired of being aware and exhausted by being oneself and wants only the nothingness of unconsciousness that is afforded, temporarily, by sleep.”   It might be the case that if we can live forever, in the same fashion, our tædium vitæ will be so great that the I will loose its identity, we will find ourselves in a void, become weary of being aware and being ourselves for such a long time, and we will long for nothing but oblivion, presented by death. As Homer wrote, "there is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep."

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The second argument against mortality is that only mortal beings can have serious lives. By serious life, I mean a leading a life that fulfils its telos. From this statement, one might raise the nihilistic counterargument that life may be purposeless. Hence, in this case, leading a serious life would mean embracing such purposelessness. I will not attempt to determine whether or not life has telos and if so, what it is. Thus, I will consider both situations: that life is purposeful and that it is purposeless. Firstly, assuming arguendo that life has a certain telos, is death a part of such ...

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