What’s Your Immortality Project?

Gain abundant motivation by pursuing a greater purpose… 

What’s Your Immortality Project?

Gain abundant motivation by pursuing a greater purpose… 

If you're struggling with motivation, it's useful to zoom out and look at a longer time horizon. 

Are you working on something that gives you meaning? 

Something that you can look back on when you're old, and be proud that you have contributed to the world? 

Something that may even live on after you die? 

The Dilemma Of Mortality 

Many of us find it difficult to come to terms with the concept of our own death. 

We often ignore it, distract ourselves from it, and avoid it to the best of our ability. 

Adventurers, scholars, alchemists, and modern scientists have all searched throughout the ages for ways to delay or escape death. 

Take for instance: 

There is no shortage of attempts to discover or manufacture immortality. 

But as of yet, we humans remain mortal. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t live on after we pass away. 

Flight From Death 

There's a psychological concept which posits that many people have what's called their "immortality project." 

For some, it's having children. For others, it's creating an artistic or technological work that will outlive them. 

Immortality projects drive efforts to create and build throughout humanity. This is referred to as "flight from death." 


"Flight From Death" (roughly) translated into French is "Vol De Mort."

Whether through our DNA or through our ideas and works, we live on – keeping the candle of consciousness lit. 

In a way, we deny death. 

The Denial Of Death 

The Denial Of Death is a Pulitzer prize winning book by cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker. 

Building on the works of Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, and others, Becker argues that a basic duality exists in human life: A physical world of objects and biology, and a symbolic world of human meaning. 

With this duality, we’re able to transcend the dilemma of mortality by shifting our focus from our physical selves to our symbolic selves. 

This symbolic self-focus takes the form of an individual's causa sui project. 

Causa Sui

Causa sui is Latin for self-caused. 

The term is used to describe something that is generated within itself, often in the context of assigning a purpose to oneself. 

This concept is commonly used as an immortality vessel, by which something can create meaning, or continue to create meaning, beyond its own life. 

A way for us to gain a sense of legacy. 

It bubbles up to the surface at different times, and takes on a different shape for each of us, but it typically boils down to one thing: 

To Benefit Others

Sometimes, after doom scrolling and being bored and unproductive for longer periods of time, I get this strong sense that I should be doing something. 

An urge – often without any specific direction – to advance in some way. 

It's a palpable feeling, sometimes accompanied by a boost in energy levels. I could be sitting on the sofa in the evening, and suddenly want to get up and go outside for a fast run or a cycle. 

It used to happen a lot, but not as much now after I started working on this website. I think it was exactly the lack of a causa sui project that drove this feeling. 

I'm very happy in my day job but I felt that I could and should be using my accumulated knowledge to help more people than just my immediate coworkers. 

The Right Project

Since committing to sharing my experience online nearly a year and a half ago, and up until now – having contributed 64 articles to the VFX community – motivation has been abundant. 

I think it's because this mission clearly aligns with my own values. Although I'm not saying it's my life's mission, I am saying it's a step in the right direction which has unlocked more meaning for me personally. 

And I would recommend it. In fact, I think everyone should have a causa sui / immortality project: a self-assigned purpose that benefits others. 

There's a Greek proverb that says: 

"A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit." 

Let’s plant more trees. 

I hope you found this article useful. For more productivity tips, see Productivity.