Stephen Cave


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There is a cloud-capped peak where gods and immortals while away their infinite days, and since the dawn of humanity everyone – whether they know it or not – has been trying to climb that mountain. But there are only four paths up its treacherous slope. Throughout history, people have wagered everything on their choice and fought wars against those who've decided differently. Each of these four paths – simply staying alive indefinitely, through magic or medicine; being resurrected; persisting as a soul; or living on through one's legacy – is revealed to us by a historical figure who serves as our guide. It is through these diverse individuals – such as the Egyptian queen Nefertiti; vitamin-obsessed Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling; author Mary Shelley; and Alexander the Great – that we come to understand how many of civilisation's greatest achievements have been born of our need to see our essence endure. As optimistic about the human condition as it is insightful, Immortality takes the reader on an eye-opening journey from the beginnings of civilisation to the present day. Bringing together history and philosophy, this fascinating book both enlightens and entertains, investigating whether it just might be possible to live forever, and whether that's something we should actually aspire to. But its most powerful and arresting argument is this – that it is our very preoccupation with defying mortality that has made our civilisation what it is.
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383 printed pages
Original publication


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