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Danger Lampost

Futurist & Technology Consultant,

TEDCRED 20+

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Why do so few people want to live significantly longer and healthier than a so-called natural life span?

As I have discussed the concept of immortality with people over the years, something has consistently surprised me. I ask people, "If you could live a much longer but still vital and healthy life, would you want to live, say, 200 years? 500 years?

Most people do not want to live that long - even if they could remain healthy and vital all that time. It seems what most people are saying, is that they actually *want* to grow old and die.

Yet we all supposedly want to be healthy and strong, and of course we would naturally want to heal ourselves if we got sick or injured - we seek health. Then why this death wish among most people I poll?

I'm obviously in the "Hell yeah, give me healthy immortality" camp, so I'm looking for help from other people in explaining the other side of this please.

Is that a coping mechanism to help accept our own mortality? Would you really turn down an opportunity to live much longer, along with your friends, and healthy?

Or is my own personal polling off? I guess we'll see!

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    Oct 22 2012: Health and happiness are not synonymous.

    Part of the reason is religion. People have been taught that we are sinners and are suffering in this life for our sin. They think that the hereafter is much to be desired, so to extend this life would be to forestall the heaven that they seek.

    Another part is the pessimism that many people feel apart from religion. A person can be lonely in a crowd. A person can be miserable in wealth. When you have the vitality of life, but lack the resources or opportunity to do what you would like to do, it's like being in jail. You feel trapped in your circumstances.
    Many people have watched the quality of life grow dimmer with time. Less and less people can afford to own a home. Less and less people can afford the vacation dreams that they once sought after. People have watched their income fall short of their needs with increasing rate. They are being asked to do more with less. They are having to work longer hours with less job satisfaction. They have seen their benefits decline. They don't see this as changing. Only those who don't care what others feel are not affected by this.

    A third reason is that many do not feel that they are their body. They feel that they are a spirit confined in a body. As the cycles of life go on, life evolves to higher dimensions. We see children learning much faster than we did when we were young. We want that for ourselves. To watch the world around us accelerate to new horizons while we remain fixed in our present understanding (its hard to teach old dogs new tricks), would become increasingly more mundane. Those who feel that the body is just a vessel that we cast off at death, are hopeful for what is yet to come.

    A fourth reason is that they don't believe it is possible to live longer and still be healthy. They called old age the golden years to spice it up. No one is bragging about it.

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