When I poop, does that stuff just disappear down the toilet into oblivion?

As I promised a few posts ago, here’s what I consider to be my immortality-project.  Before  reading Luc Ferry the other day, I had no idea that my immortality-project has been around for a long time.  In fact, the Greek poets and philosophers came up with the idea probably 7,000 years ago.  It goes something like this: we are star stuff.  Every atom that makes up my body at the moment has always been around in the universe. We think of ourselves as individuals, but we’re more like a link in a process.  First we are born.  But what exactly does that mean?  Well, it means that our mommies had sex with our daddies, egg met sperm cell and voilà.  Of course, that’s just the start of it.  All the time, mommy is eating and transforming the cells of plants and other animals into cells for herself and the fetus growing inside of her. (She is also breathing, of course, another way of ingesting molecules.) In this process, organisms (a particular organization of atoms and molecules) are constantly processing matter, exchanging atoms and molecules and creating energy in the process.  When I poop, that stuff doesn’t just disappear down the toilet into oblivion.  It gets used up by other organisms as their own building blocks. (Not always as we intend, of course.) We eat, we poop, we breathe as do all other animals in one way or another. Even plants transform cellular material found in the soil into leaves, fruit, seeds and then, when they’re finished with the leaves, seeds, fruit, etc., they return them to the ground so that they can then be used themselves as building blocks for other plants. I feel a little pedantic writing this, but I don’t think many people give it a second thought.

What I’m saying here is that the ‘stuff’ that makes up my body at the moment or that’s ‘passed through’ in the last 67 years or so has always been around and always will be.  Oh, when I die, my consciousness will pass on and that’s probably not a bad thing, but the rest of ‘me’ will just get used up making other things.  So, we’re all immortal in a real sense of the word.  Of course many of us aren’t satisfied with that.  We want more.  We want it all.  We want to live on forever and we’re willing to listen to anyone or any set of cultural institutions that promise us that.