TED Conversations

David Fuchs

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If physical immortality was perfected and happened tomorrow, and people could become young again, what would be the ramifications?



Since we are only a few years (10-20) away from this happening. I thought now would be a good time to discuss this.

How would physical immortality affect society, government, industry, relationships, war, funding for research, investments and investing, birth rates, the law, people psyches, what sort of people would become immortal if it was low cost and available to everyone, what sort of people would not become immortal, will there be a war between mortals and immortals. Would politicians continue down the same short sighted path, or would they take a longer view, and in the end would that be better or worse for the population at large.

We do not need to discuss population growth, exponential and exponential minus some (n) growth, leads to the planets "people limit" being exceeded within the same 5 year time period. We do how ever have to discuss how to slow down the birth rate through smart policies, education, and lifting people out of poverty,

I am giving a very short period to discussing immortality ... one month. Does anyone think we can get eternity right in that amount of time?


Closing Statement from David Fuchs

We live in an age that has linear growth in some areas and exponential growth in others. Growth of knowledge in biology is exponential. We have citizen scientists doing great science in back rooms and garages, adding to this growth of knowledge, and this trend towards more people doing biology and genetics will only grow as tools that are easier to use or more game like (http://fold.it) are developed. Robotic tools are also being developed, which will also accelerate our knowledge of biology and genetics, by allowing one person to do the work that would have required hundreds in the past.

Many of the points made here were valid, many were off topic, and many were a result of belief systems being threatened.

The good ...

Exponential population growth and exponential minus the death rate not being roughly equal long term (John Smith). That immortality could be a driving factor pushing us into space, colonizing the solar system and beyond (Dr Sivaram Hariharan). That some people might try to centralize power and control the rest of humanity. That perhaps people would grow up and begin taking the long view (online observer).

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  • Dec 30 2012: The question I have is what do you all think is going to happen that's not happening now that will make living forever possible within whatever time frame you think is likely? If you have a mortal mindset and are not open to the possibility that the belief that "death is inevitable" is wrong, then of course living forever is impossible. If you think living forever may become possible through medical, scientific or technological advances, then you're a victim to whatever their rate of progress might be. To the mortal mind living forever and physical immortality don't make sense, you're not going to be able to think your way there or believe your way there. As Leonard Orr, father of rebirthing, says: "We are all physically immortal until we prove otherwise". No one HAS to die, people kill themselves by not taking responsibility for their lives and either consciously or unconsciously doing stupid stuff or not doing the intelligent stuff. If you don't want to die from an accident, don't be a person who creates a fatal accident. If you want to live forever, start taking action to be FULLY alive on a daily basis. As long as you're fully alive, you're not dying. The overriding issue though is that unless you have a passion for people to fully live - not just the people you love or your family, but all human life - and are willing to end all discrimination - including race, belief, physical condition, economic or social status and behaviors - there won't be the collective desire, courage or incentive to pursue creating an environment conducive to living forever. It comes back to having to break the habits and structure of a mortal mindset in order to imagine a world without death. If the idea of creating such a world is of interest, you might want to check out People Unlimited Inc, the only community I know of dedicated to living physical immortality. Live long enough and we'll solve every future life issue we face, but we'll have to first value life above everything else.
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      Dec 30 2012: Good lord, you sound like a seminar I need a purple sheet and sneakers for. Thank you no, I will not be checking out People Unlimited Inc ...

      okay I did. creepy picture, and the line

      "We're not a commune. We're not a start-up religion. We're a community of people self-selected by our commitment to deathless living that have come together to support one another"

      That says run the frak away and contact the authorities jones town is about to happen again.

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