We each live in the shadow of a personal apocalypse: the knowledge that — someday, somehow — we will die. It’s a terrifying thought, and so we look for a way out. In my talk from TEDxBratislava (and in my book Immortality)[ted_talkteaser id=1891], I walk through four stories that people have told throughout cultures and time, as a way to manage this very real fear. Here, some of the myths, books, movies and articles where you can see each of these stories reflected. I’ll end with a fifth story — I call it the “wisdom narrative” — an alternative to these oft-repeated tales.
1. The Elixir story
Almost every known culture has legends of a magic pill or potion that can ward off ageing and disease. Alchemists in both East and West, for example, believed they could brew an elixir of life, while the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León believed…
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