Vampires, Death, and Immortality
Who wants to be a vampire? Seriously. The vampire craze is so prevalent, I must ask the question: if you could, would you want to be a vampire? What’s the plus side to a positive answer? Immortality, I suppose. Us mortal creatures have a natural tendency to fear death. Some of us believe in a better life after this one, but tales of heaven and nirvana could just as well be fictions for all we know. Perhaps death is simply oblivion. There’s really no way to prove it otherwise. Given that, it is quite natural to fear death and to seek some way of avoiding it, no matter the cost.
So, the greatest and most obvious advantage to becoming a vampire is not ever having to die. A bite, followed by some sort of transformation, then one is all set to ride the tides of time walking the earth for century upon century.
That, to me, is somewhat tempting but for a number of ancillary reasons besides the obvious. Don’t get me wrong, living forever is a grand idea from the get go. Death? Who needs it? But I am also drawn to the natural expansion of experience that comes with such immortality. Wouldn’t it be wild to have seen Egypt in its heyday? Or to have been there when Columbus changed the world forever by discovering America? To know with certainty what life was like in the 1600’s because you had been there and lived it? Such a wealth of experience and knowledge is certainly one of the stronger draws the vampire has on the modern reader. Plus, think of all the things you could study and learn. I was a philosophy geek in college, so I was naturally drawn to all things intellectual. It would be fantastic, I think, to study quantum physics, transfinite math, and a host of other subjects that just beg looking into.
But alas, there are a few drawbacks to becoming a vampire. There is that whole needing to drink blood thing they got going, for one. I mean, I’m not squeamish around blood, but I don’t think I want to depend upon it as my only source of food. Then, there’s that whole notion that vampires are cursed, shunned by God and forever damned. Perhaps the being damned bit is just another way of saying “cursed” to wander the world forever. But since immortality might not be a bad thing (as discussed above), calling it cursed or damned might be doing it a dreadful disservice, unless there really is a God from whom the vampire is forever cut off. Then, you truly are cursed. There are ways for a vampire to die, and if upon extinction your soul is sent to hell, then none of that extended experience and gloriously long life would really be worth it. Finally, the traditional vampire is generally seen to be an enemy of humans. I mean, vampires regard humans much like humans regard cows (unless you go that “Twilight” route). I, for one, do not want to pit myself against the interests of all humanity. That’s just me.
There is also an issue with boredom. The notion of immortality might be appealing now, but four or five centuries from now? Would I feel the same way? I’m not sure. Sure, I would know physics, and high-level math, and a host of other esoteric subjects, but after a while it all just disintegrates into intellectual sludge, I’m sure.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there are the people we care about. Unless all the people you know become immortal as well, the yawning expanse of time would become quite lonely and sorrowful. And if that’s the case, it’s not worth it.