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.



5 thoughts on “When I poop, does that stuff just disappear down the toilet into oblivion?

  1. You acknowledge that your consciousness will pass on? I find that interesting, because that is what the Bible teaches, except to names it your spirit and soul. Spirit and soul in New Wave beliefs are one and the same, but the Bible teaches that they are not the same thing. The soul is made up of our minds (intellect) emotions. The spirit is the component of our being that can be awakened to the presence of the creator. It is the component though which was “talk to God” and “listen to God” (in other words mediate and pray) in the Christian tradition.According to Christian teachings our bodies are simply the packaging for our souls and spirits, not to mean they are not important. Without bodies, how could we help our families, friends, neighbours. How could we communicate with out our mouths and tongues? How could we see the beautify of nature? How could we enjoy music. Without eyes and ears, we would be at worst unable to and at best, only partially able to enjoy good things around us. How could we hug, kiss, and otherwise express love and care for others? And without our bodies, we would not be able to express sexual love to our spouses (ideally). The only thing is that Bible teaches that believers will receive a “new body” after the resurrection.

    I would like to make it clear here that I live a rich emotional life, and enjoy most days. Looking back on my life, I would say it has been a full one – a lot of love and good stuff and a lot of pain and tears, and stress as well. It makes for a well-rounded, and hopefully, more understanding person.

    We are blessed to live in one of the very best countries in the world.

    When I decided that the teachings I had as a girl at home and in church really started to make sense after my Christian (RCMP) father died. I really noticed the void left after he died. My compass was gone. So I started to search his favourite book – The Bible, which he studied daily and lived daily. I felt free and accepted by God once I got to know the Bible.

    As for evolution, in part, there is some truth to the adaptations animals have made, but who is to say there is no creator behind these changes? I hope this gives perhaps a slightly different viewpoint.


    1. I wrote, Marilyn, that my consciousness will die, disappear, absolutely, irrevocably, never to return. It’s tied inextricably to my body and cannot exist independently of it. I just don’t buy the idea of the soul, spirit or any other such ‘thing.’ I do understand the need to create meaning in our lives and that’s hard to conceive of in a body that just melts away into the biosphere. That’s why people down through the ages have created parallel spiritual worlds that don’t die thereby calming our fears of the degeneration of our bodies and death. They are mystifications, however. I’m interested in leading a ‘good life’ without the mystification of religion. I could never be a Christian again. I tried very sincerely as a young man but it just never worked out for me. I was told, just believe, it’s all about faith. Faith will get you a date with God for eternity. Too many other religions could promise me exactly the same thing…which one is the ‘right’ one? Maybe we should just leave this conversation where it is. I don’t expect you to change your mind and I’m hoping that you don’t expect me to change mine. We could carry on discussing fine points of belief, but I’m not sure that would get us anywhere. Any thoughts?


  2. The idea of immortality in one form or another interests me. I have read about scientists who claimed they could extend human existence for eternity using stem cells and so on. I wonder if such immortality would be a good thing for an already addled human nation! Anyway, I do think like you do, we will go on, by the fact we are physical matter (biodegradable).This of course if natures way. Thanks for the post, Bex


    1. I sincerely hope scientists don’t come up with a formula for extending our lives eternally. What a drag that would be for someone working in a fast food joint. Would we create a new class society, the immortals and the mortals, their slaves? And what about sex, we wouldn’t need that anymore. Or rather, if we kept having babies and they were all immortal, well, that would just be impossible! No, death is necessary for life and any ‘scientist’ who fails to acknowledge this is a fool.


      1. Yes, I thought of that too. Great if you are some rich billionaire living the high life, but not for us mere mortals of the world!!! I think it would indeed create a new class of people, as only the rich really could afford to be immortal. It would be a crazy world and one filled with a lesser gene pool too, which would, I think, be the death of civilisation anyway!!!


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