I was having a great discussion in the LRS Discord and I thought the topic would be perfect for a blog post for the LRS website, so I took some of what I wrote in the discussion and reformatted it for here. If you are interested in joining the LRS Discord live chat, you can check it out at: https://discord.gg/zDvgXv4
The Lich and the Vampire
A lich in fantasy lore is an interesting concept. If you're not familiar with it, it's essentially a dark sorcerer who has figured out how to continue animating their body long after it would normally be considered dead. If they do it long enough they're eventually just a walking skeleton with clothes. It reminds me of one of the types of vampire you encounter in folklore and esoteric theory. The type I'm talking about is where a person dies and is buried, but their disembodied soul/ghost sticks around the material plane. During the day the ghost inhabits their own corpse and then ventures out at night in astral form to collect vital energy from the living, often by inducing intense emotions in them. Then they return back to their corpse. This type of vampire is said to reduce the decay of the corpse through all the vital energy it brings back after feeding each night. The difference being that the corpse of the vampire doesn't actually become animated. It's more like a spot to rest during the day and to store vital energy. A lich in fantasy lore actually walks around in their own animated, slowly rotting corpse.
This particular version of a vampire is why in some cultures you're supposed to try and avoid excessively emotional mourning for an extended period of time because it can lead to the soul sticking around for too long feeding off this energy. In those cultures you're supposed to mourn for a certain amount of time and try not to do it with extreme emotions, and then try to move on with your life. In contrast, other cultures and traditions engage in respectful ancestor veneration in order to intentionally feed the soul of their dearly departed intentionally. The vampire precautions are born out of fear and the ancestor veneration is born out of respect.
Hedging Your Bets
Something that I've spoken about elsewhere is storing crystallized fragments of your soul in alternate physical vehicles which have a lot more chance of lasting for a long time in the world compared to the mortal physical body. Once your physical body stops working it stops being an effective vehicle for your soul to exert influence in the world. Some exceptions to this would be if your bones or other preserved body parts become relics, such as with the Catholic saints or with the mummified bodies of ancient Egypt. In one sense you could think of an Egyptian mummy as a type of lich. It isn't animated but it does still continue to exert influence in the world. The alternative vehicles I referenced above could be a person's handwritten journal, for example. It is a repository of certain parts of the soul and can directly influence people who come into contact with it, especially if they read the contents.
Another artefact (that's my preferred term for these alternative physical vehicles of crystallized soul fragments) could be a copy of a published book. While less personal in some ways than a handwritten journal (you may have never physically come into contact with a copy of a book you've gotten written) it can be even more effective in other ways, in that you are more likely to have intentionally crafted it to have a specific influence on those who read it, and there can be several copies, perhaps even thousands of copies being promulgated throughout the globe influencing a much larger number of individuals and if half of the copies get damaged or destroyed, there are still plenty of intact copies around and more can always be made if there is demand for it.
An artefact doesn't have to be in the form of the written word, although we have seen that this can be a very powerful way to crystallize influence for potentially even thousands of years, such as with clay tablets, stone rune carvings and Egyptian hieroglyphs. It could also be a sculpture, a painting, an album of music, a building, etc... We even have digital artefacts nowadays, although I feel these are more ephemeral as they are more vulnerable to being lost due to perhaps the medium becoming obsolete or the loss of technology in general, say in terms of a global catastrophe. If we somehow had an issue where the earth became bathed in electromagnetic interference, say from intense solar activity for a prolonged period of time, or nuclear war with regular atmospheric detonations causing massive EMP bursts, or even just an energy crunch like we might experience if an ash cloud blocked out the sun or if we went into another ice age forcing us to focus on survival uses, like using 90% of our electricity generation to produce heat and/or light, then these things could be lost. These possibilities may seem remote from our limited perspective but things can change very rapidly. But for now, digital artefacts can be very powerful because of the massive potential to reach so many people in a relatively short period of time.
For example, I have more than 150 videos published on YouTube. Each of these can be thought of as a digital artefact and collectively they have been viewed over 325,000 times. This isn't even very impressive when compared to other channels but that being said it would be difficult to get even that level of reach with a printed book in the same amount of time in our modern era. Given the potential longevity of a printed book, over an extended period of time a book could possibly have an overall greater reach if copies (both digital and physical) remained in existence for long enough. If my YouTube channel got shut down, which is an ever present threat, then that could destroy some of those digital artefacts, and even the ones that were not lost would experience a massive reducion in their potential influence. I have 58 of those videos also available on Bitchute, which is less likely to delete my channel but more likely to go under as a platform in general. Also, the number of viewers on that platform is a tiny fraction of what a person could receive on YouTube.
Legacy vs. Literal Immortality
Establishing a legacy through the promulgation of artefacts isn't as exciting as the prospect of attaining literal immortality (either physical immortality or the survival of sentience on more subtle planes) but the two concepts aren't mutually exclusive. One could establish a legacy and still become an Ascended Master or a Taoist Immortal, for example. In fact, if we look at the example of the vampire as described above, having artefacts in the world would logically support your non-corporeal form. Instead of being forced to hunt for vital energy like a vampire, if you have established a legacy you would be receiving a passive income of vital energy from those who are reading your books, being emotionally inspired by your artwork, by people voluntarily "feeding" you through ancestor veneration or hero worship, etc... Therefor establishing a legacy would support your bid for immortality in more than one way.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you believe that Alexander the Great achieved Apotheosis, for example?
If you'd like to explore the topic more, you might be interested in reading this article on my website: http://www.jeremycrow.com/death.html