Hathaway Mann

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Living forever?

Most of us don't want to die, but life is ultimately death. Regardless of your religious preference, given the opportunity I wager the vast majority of us, especially under duress, would do almost anything to live longer or even forever. To get your mind into perspective try not to picture an aged old man, ruthless and toothless, looking to beat death as he as beaten his business competition like so much Dickens. More like a parent who wants to be with their child longer but the cancer will not allow it. How about something a little more flippant like a man who really loves to surf but age is catching up to him and he really wants to ride mavericks. One could make up any scenario. How about Einstein? What if he continued to live and in the process actually came up with a working theory of everything? How would humanity benefit from that? Scientifically speaking we are on the cusp of extending life far beyond the limits of natural means using nano machines, advanced drugs and eventually cybergenics. Given the immensity of such a technology would we still be just as bored as ever? A second chance in this case would mean something only if you were ready to take that next step, but if everyone can do it wouldn't it be more akin having ones teeth cleaned? Should it be available to everyone? Religion always weighs in so there would be the obligatory condemnation. The opposite side of that would be perhaps you are ready to die and cannot because it would be immoral to flip the power switch on your own and besides you don't know the code because congress has been swayed by religious leaders to prevent the loss of life for any reason, sort of like abortion or assisted suicide.
I think I'm writing a book here, but I rather believe that we are indeed heading for this debate eventually. I wonder if this would not be a debate if morality was based upon secular ideals and would instead be a question of who goes first?
Bon chance.

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    Mar 24 2013: Hathaway,
    As a person who has worked with a lot of elderly folks, and people in a terminal care facility, I do not agree with your statements expressing the idea that "Most of us don't want to die"...and..."given the opportunity I wager the vast majority of us, especially under duress, would do almost anything to live longer or even forever."

    I had my own brush with death, so "to get your mind into perspective", as you say, imagine a vibrant, very active person, who, after an emergency craniotomy, is unconscious, not supposed to live, and in fact, is kept alive with life support systems. Many of us have dealt with death from many different perspectives, and many of us accept it as part of the life/death/life cycle:>)

    You ask..."Given the immensity of... technology would we still be just as bored as ever?"
    If you are bored with life my friend, I suggest you take action to change that perception.

    I'm not sure if you are "writing a book here", as you say, or not. It does appear, however that you are exploring many questions in yourself.
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      Mar 25 2013: You assume to much or perhaps too little of me, but thank you my friend for your point of view.
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        Mar 25 2013: Hathaway,
        I am not assuming anything. I responded to what you wrote. What do you feel is an assumption?
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          Mar 25 2013: I assume that I will never respond to you again.
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        Mar 25 2013: OK....always a choice:>)
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    Gail .

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    Mar 23 2013: Let me make this clear. I do not want this particular physical life to be unending. Nor do you want everyone born to become eternal because we are already too many people on this planet that can no longer support all of us in spite of technological advances, and that population is growing. I would like the body of a 20 year old when I die of natural causes at an age that is appropriate to the culture that I live in, but I don't want to die a horrible death caused by starvation, polluted water, acid air, lack of energy, and other resource scarcity that our economic paradigm is bringing into our reality while global warming continues to reduce available food and water.

    If we could ever reach the point of non-aging bodies after 20, I would have no problem going to a center where my death is made pleasant and comfortable at a mandated time. Death by appointment. Gives me time to tie up the loose ends and reminds me to use my time here more efficiently.

    Ultimately, the idea of a finite time here (death) gives me great satisfaction. I believe in reincarnation, so I can experience and do much more over the long term if I am right. Extract what learning I can from this reality before assimilating it and then going on to another arena of learning. Ultimately, we are one (in my worldview) so it makes no difference. This worldview makes us eternal anyhow. So my ideal would have us all with developed psychic abilities so that we could recognize old comrades.

    I think of all the talents I have that could not be developed in this life. For example, I really wanted to be a concert pianist, but I was 1 of 9 children in a small house. I wasn't allowed to practice for more than one half hour & not every day. Given our culture with its love of money as a social glue, starting such a career later in life would require me to have enough $$$ to support myself as I put in 20 years preparing for a risky new career. Those risks sound more scary to me than death.
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    Mar 24 2013: living forever? no thank you very much.I will move on leaving space for someone else to experience this journey we call life.
  • Mar 24 2013: Here's a good one on Death......

    "Die before you die, there is no chance after."

    C.S. Lewis
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    Mar 24 2013: I can't speak for the religious folks but I think the longer the better. Of course that's easy for me to say because I'm 27 and I have no idea what it feels like to have lived a full life.

    My grandparents have lost much of their ability to do the things they enjoy and many of their friends have died. They don't try to show it but I notice the difference in them each year. Perhaps there is a perfect age to die. My Grandmother says that once she turns 82 she's going to stop taking her medication. Her opinion is, "If I keep living I must not have needed them; and if I die ...well... I guess I shouldn't have lived that long in the first place."

    Maybe it's not the length of life but rather the quality. I've seen some people live more in a year than others do in a decade. In the end I think it boils down to personal choice. If our right to life goes hand in hand with our right to die than who besides the individual has the right to decide how long they'll live?

    Besides, do any of us really have control over how long we'll live?
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      Mar 24 2013: I really enjoyed reading your input.

      My mom is in her 80's and has practically lost all her ability to walk.
      But trust me when I say that if she had her two good knees, she would be up and ready to enjoy life.

      The fact she can no longer do things like before affects her deeply.

      I think quality of life has alot to do with when we want to die.

      I know a 96 year old spit-fire-of-an-old-lady who does all the cooking and cleaning for her 70 something daughter. She always has candy in her purse and hugs the life right out of you each time you greet her.
      She's not ready to die....she wants to keep on going.

      If the quality of life were good, many people would not want to die, but would want to continue enjoying life on this beautiful planet of ours.

      It's like eternity is written in our hearts.
  • Mar 28 2013: Living forever with perpetual youth seems like a wonderful idea from the physical point of view.

    I am not so sure that the mental and cultural aspects are so appealing.

    When my grandmother died at the age of 101 she had become so out of touch with modern values that she had absolutely no desire to continue living in the modern world. If we start living much longer, 150+ years, I suspect this will become a common experience. There are few people who stay so emotionally and mentally flexible that they can easily adapt to rapidly changing values. Imagine someone who was born 200 years ago. At that time most people were brought up very strictly in families with well defined values; right was right and wrong was wrong and there was very little gray area. It is hard to imagine that those folks would easily adapt to modern values. Society is changing at an accelerated pace, so people born today would find that challenge many times more difficult.

    Try to imagine living in a culture that has completely rejected your most important values. You would forever be an outsider, always on the losing end of issues and arguments, and not understanding how so many people can be so wrong and not realize it. Many elderly people experience this already, and it will surely get worse and more widespread as longevity increases.

    Personally, living forever has no appeal for me.
  • Mar 24 2013: when we are young,we intend to think we are always living forever.death is a far word which sounds not relate to us.
    when we start to think about'what do I live for in this world' questions.It is natural for us to think about death,fear...

    I sometimes do ask myself the question:If I have no choice but die tomorrow,how should I deal with it?when I think of it,I feel upset:I think of how beautiful the world it is,it is painful for me to say goodbye.Meanwhile I feel sorry,because I think my parents,my child,my honey,my sis,my brother... they would feel upset absolutely.
    Anyway the question I ask myself which reminds me what I should do to cherish all what I have in my life the most.
  • Mar 24 2013: The Hayfleck limit for humans is 25. I read someplace that that suggests a human life expectancy of 110 years. So get over it. How can you be human without cells? Beyond that look at Religion or some naive belief that a program of some sort is you.
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    Mar 24 2013: .
    If we can live forever, our happiness will disappear!

    Who likes it?

  • Mar 23 2013: Existence of need for any food in man’s stomach is the clearest evidence to the existence of that food, and need for infinite life in our souls is the powerful evidence to the existence of an eternal life. When a simple seed decays under ground, but yields nice, green, lively herbs to the ground surface, is it possible a human being decaying under ground will be fruitless?
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      Mar 24 2013: So you believe in the immortality of the soul......you feel we continue to live on in something else once we go back to the ground?