The greatest threat is that it will end.
Underscoring nearly every message of perception to every mind is the threat: the end. In early times, more connected to a comprehensive memory network, the perpetuation of a life was not claimed impossible, but the details of the continuation--pain or fire--became altered to profitable purposes. When science rose, it brought with it a still crueler message for your future: one of annihilation; one of no hope beyond those who might remember you imperfectly, before they too became imperfect memories, before those at last vanished.
Even the most widely-dispersed messages of hope remaining rely on a prescription for salvation from the abyss. Even those become now further material. The "salvation" of eternally enslaving oneself to an almighty lord is gradually replaced by the threat of protons decaying and turning you into something worse than Kaposi's sarcoma.
The best population control is the threat that only the material world--domain of the elites--exists. Ergo they own everything. If they own everything, then the best you can hope for is to not piss them off, and to squeeze every positive sensation you can--or at least the smallest number of negative ones possible--out of your short time here. Like they love saying: life is short, play hard. Or pray hard. Either way, it's the same threat. It reads in pattern like any bluff, hinting at nevermores, and dabbling liberally with common sense and the fears of infancy.
(Um, law of conservation?)
Martyrs (real ones, nach) drew their strength from an understanding that the grabbing of experiences in what you might call the here and now is not the only thing they would ever get. If it is, then anything except raw selfishness is not only illogical, but stupid and pointless. Play hard, pray hard, and body check other players into the glass. Why not?
Imagine a land of humans who did not fear death. Who reacted to an injustice by taking up arms against it, right then and there. Who would not accept a fellow person being unjustly killed, hurt, or imprisoned--who would not accept theft or lies. Workers' strikes are stillborn on the threat of "no more salaries"--on the threat of starvation and homeless death.
Colonized populations are controlled by the threat of increased punishment and "extermination."
Hostages of all kinds are taken, and live, on the threat of death. A people who does not fear the destruction of its current molecular arrangement is a people impossible to menace. Immortals cannot enslave or hurt one another, for they know that, in time, anything paid will be repaid, and matter will again become energy. The creation of a temporal underclass--a people convinced of its own mortality--is a prerequisite to tyranny.
The greatest terror and torture of antilife is to prevent natural death. Torturers prevent prisoners from sleeping, using bright lights, cold water, loud music, and turgid beatings to prevent rest. One day, they will entrap souls in life itself. They practice, already, on the injured and elderly, keeping them attached to machines in coma wards, unable to free themselves. If they get us all loaded into computer networks, we will then be truly imprisoned, prevented from recycling memories until the system breaks.
Torture is the perpetuation of wakefulness. Pour hydrogen peroxide down the silent teenager's throat after she downs a bottle of grandma's sleeping pills--it'll make her wake up, vomit the pills away, and spend another year in high school, getting called a slut and harangued about her future by her parents until she ends up working as a night cashier to pay for the application fee for that temp agency.
...then spend eighty thousand dollars bringing grandma back from her stroke, so she can spend 5 years forgetting familiar faces, crapping in her bed and secretly wishing everyone would stop patronizing her so she could just be done already.
Like a gag reflex, even battle-hardened evangelist Christians reject the idea that death is okay. If they really have practice, they promise salvation--salvation from death. The scientists, and their modern, educated "Westerners," know that death is the necessary expiration of the physical body, and "no one knows" what happens afterward (except that you're gone forever). The prime tenet of western civilization is death: civilization, or the ritualized acceptance of horrendous exploitation, is built on it.
We marvel at the animals, asking what makes us different. They fear pain, and avoid body-destruction, but they cannot be mentally coerced to the extent that humans can, lacking the advanced illusion of vanishing, forever, from eternity.
Wars don't get planned without fear of death; unjust taxes are not collected; labor is not performed for anything less than a fair wage. "Death," even above "property," underscores the entire show you see around you.
No one's saying you get to remember everything. "You can't take it all with you" implies more than coins and securities, just as it does not imply there won't be other worldly treats somewhere else and else and else. Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei. Cunae non sunt. You can be you without certain memories, and you don't need to cling to them anymore than you need gold or palaces to define you. Neither Chosen blood nor Jesus nor mention in State holidays nor a permanent address on the Milky Way cyberbrain network are necessary or sufficient for being remembered; for trying to avoid utter destruction. How cold it is, to teach a living creature that it is possible for it to be unmade for all time. What more cruel thing could you tell a living being? Utter, inevitable destruction is the fear with which we are all encouraged to live, every instant knowing in catechism that nothing matters because it's all going away in a Big Crunch or an inevitable cellular decay.
The most radical message in the forgotten land is that it is all right~that the most important thing cannot be lost, through good or ill, because it is not able to be lost. It was all there, already, and you did not need to do anything to get it. It could not be bought or sold, and it could also not be earned or lost, by acts heroic or horrific. It was just there, and it's all right. When you come looking, I'll be there.
~Swim to me~