Yesterday, my father let me know that he was having cataract surgery. Is it even a ‘surgery’ anymore? “Surgery” the word/meaning/experience doesn’t even have the same morbid weight it used to carry. He’s having a normalize procedure that removes the entire lens of his eye and replaces it with an artificial lens. Ideally, after the surgery his vision will be more powerful than it has been in years. ‘Hell… why not keep going?’ I thought. I asked him if he would continue to replace his worn out body parts if he could. Why not? New mind? New limbs? Sign me up! Perhaps that’s my 30’s speaking. My father wasn’t so sure. He said he didn’t want to go back to work. Fair enough.
I’m super interested in all the worlds that collide today. Is it still artificial if its inside your body, working intimately with your other organs? Blurring the lines between the artificial and the organic, the material and symbolic, the machine and the human are absolutely fundamental to living in the contemporary order of secular-salvific opportunities.
I prodded my father a bit further when I asked him if he might be interested in living forever. Many thinkers have outright said that to live for eternity would be absolute tyranny. Who wants heaven forever? Wouldn’t that get boring? Granted, it was the Existentialists whose disenchantment with all things “here-after” offered us the perspective that in the end we have to imagine Sisyphus happy – the myth of his eternal state rolling and re-rolling his rock up the hill he finds the essence of life in the absolute mundane… the smell and touch of the rock, its closeness, the weight of it on his shoulder, each breath an offering to the only thing worth contemplating – life itself.
The space where the absolute mundane becomes the incomprehensible sacrament, where all that was drudgery becomes utterly sacred…this is the heart of religion and the goal of spirituality.
That my father is getting new eyes… that’s a miracle and its good medicine.