TED Conversations

Gerald O'brian

TEDCRED 50+

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If the cure for mortality is found within your lifetime, would you go for it and become immortal?

On the one hand, we're not made for eternal youth. And one could argue that knowing life is short (or just limited) is what makes it worth living. And perhaps death is a major spiritual part of life, whether you believe in a soul or in a metaphorical one.
On the other hand, how is aging yet not another disease? Dying at age 80 is no more a "natural" death than being eaten alive by a bear or killed by malaria. In fact, "old age" is probably the most unnatural cause of death, statistically. So all that's probably just a cultural habit : diseases are evil but aging is good. Another point is that, well, things have changed. Perhaps our new environment makes it suitable for immortal youths.
And of course, becoming immortal only means that you die when YOU chose to die.

So would you go for the injection or not, and how do you rationalize your decision?

Thanks!

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  • Nov 18 2013: God, no! I'm only 57 and already dusting with the t-shirt! Bored out of my gourd. I used to tell an elderly friend of mine when I was in my thirties how exciting it must have been to start life cooking on a wood stove and end it microwaving her dinner, from driving the horses into town to deliver the milk to driving across the state in a car. The changes she had seen, I then thought, were so dramatic. Well, I came home from the hospital in a car (no car seat, just a lap) and will go to hospice in a car (with seat belts.) I watched Ding Dong School while drinking my Bosco's and now I watch Reatime and drink bottled water. I played with my Suzy Homemaker kitchen and now I clean my Jenn-Aire kitchen. I watched the Vietnam war over dinner as a school kid and watch the Afghanistan thing (did we declare war? We never did in Vietnam but we call it one. Oh, well.) over dinner tonight. The more things change (don't have to wait a few days to see my letter to in the paper - here it is online!) the more they stay the same. Bored, I tell you! And you want to give me immortality? Are you nuts?! Plus, the world is already so stinking crowded that the animals are disappearing, either into barns or zoos, and they had to build an app to show you where the sky is dark enough to view the stars. Nope. I'll take my three score and ten (70 for those of you bad at math) and that'll do me just fine.

    Oh, basic BAD assumption - dying from old age is part of the design thus VERY natural. Telomeres and various enzymes that cease to be produced generate aging. In all things. Even the Sequoya has an expiration date (though due to outgrowing its root ball.) Yes, they may have just killed a 567 year old clam but that doesn't mean the clam wouldn't have eventually stopped growing and begun dying. Whether the FSM wrote the rules or they generated on their own, it is one of the basic rules. All forces have a balancing counterforce. Expansion and contracture, order and chaos. Life and Death.
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    Oct 28 2013: No I would not. I would want nature to choose when I die (suddenly, and as painlessly as possible).

    If I was able to prolong my life, it would mean that billions of others would also have that ability. My prolonged life would not only be burdensome for generations after me for a myriad of reasons, but would also be a massive strain on natural resources if populations also were allowed to increase. The very notion of immortality is powerfully disrespectful to young people and the generations that follow. It is effectively saying: "My life is more important than my children's" - which in my case, is simply not true.

    The notion of a cure for mortality seems to me to be as a result of our poor relationship with the prospect of death. Our intelligence means that we have the capacity for the intense, almost unbearable mourning of the loss of loved ones. But if love and wisdom exists in life, death is merely the disappearance of physical presence - a physical representation of powerful memories. - and memories of that love and wisdom is the thing that becomes immortal.

    Having a good relationship with death's inevitability doesn't have to be a religious construct, but more a respect for the beauty and essentiality of the cycle of life - which means that for life to be possible, there must also be death.
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      Oct 28 2013: I have my doubts too, but I think it is also too early to say.
      If we would be able to sustain only our brains, I have heard it wouldn't have to cost more resources than a light bulbs on energy. Ofcourse you would want our freedom in (digital) life, to maintain (most of) our (5) senses and be able to do as you like.

      On the cycle of life, I have had the thought that if time is a dimension that lasts forever, even it is through another big bang from another universe, it seems truly statiscally inevitable in my thought, that this very universe will be once more in an unimagineable distant 'future'.
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        Oct 28 2013: Hi Vincent,

        "If we would be able to sustain only our brains"... I'm wondering if you think it would be more important to sustain your own memory of you in your own brain, or better for the memories of you to be sustained in the minds of others? Which one would better inform your personal sense of morality?
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      Oct 28 2013: PS:
      I would love ''Einstein's'' to live forever. Even if it was only for statements like:
      “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”
      :)
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      Oct 28 2013: That's a good point. I think the ability for self sacrifice comes from this kind of evolutionnary drive : life has no importance. Only genes matter.
      That's what people mean, I suppose, when they say they've had a "good life" and can die peace-minded. It means their purpose has been accomplished, either biologically or symbolically (humans have non-humans offspring sometimes). And the idea that the body is just a temporary vehicle is not exclusive to religious spirituality, but a fact about life, its origins and purpose.
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    Nov 2 2013: No, i will not take it......
    Unless if it has limits, i mean if i can grantee that i'm going to live for a certain amount , which is equel to the time i need to accomplish everything i want in life, and that i absolotly gave everything i can in life, then yes i'll take that one....
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      Nov 2 2013: I think the power to end our own life is, and always will be, in our own hands. It would be up to you to determine when you would wish die. We are not used to thinking of this in terms of a form of suicide, and there is some negativity associated with that for some people. Assisted suicide or euthanasia is another form. However you view it though, that power I believe is always in all our hands, and should be. It is an awesome responsibility.
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    Oct 26 2013: The cure was discovered 2,000 years ago and given to the world as a "free gift." The spiritual injection is 100% natural and rejuvenating, and awlays poignant. All you have to do is roll up your sleeve and believe.
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      Oct 26 2013: What's the big deal with the eating-the-fruit-of-knowledge punishment if we're still immortal, in a sense?
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    Oct 25 2013: I have come upon this stage and said my lines, I have nothing more to offer.
    Youth have ignored the dangers that I have warned,
    I have learned that each generation must make their own mistakes.
    I have watched mankind bow to the new deity of technology,
    something that I had thought was a great tool and not a focus of worship.
    I have watched the soul of mankind, his ability to be a critical thinker, usurped
    from current generations and reduced us to herds of bleating sheep, ever so anxious
    to follow uncaring shepherds to the slaughter house of total dominance.
    Immortality offers no solace.
    • Oct 25 2013: But wouldn't longer lived humans with more life experience make wiser decisions?

      Besides, the current trend is that each successive generation is actually getting smarter, not dumber. IQ tests need to keep getting progressively more difficult to maintain the 100 average score. Widespread education is probably the reason for this, as opposed to any technological shift.
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        Oct 25 2013: You would think so, but what I have found is the older and wiser one may become, the less attention is paid to their musings.

        As far as IQ goes.... you got snookered by the IQ adjustment office, it isn't politically correct to tell todays youth that they are falling behind.
        Consider a recent finding by a British University that their finding show that the average IQ.in the 1850s is 14% higher then today. If you look at history and the great minds of Greece, Rome and the middle ages as well as those in Arabia, India and China... those numbers far exceed anything today when adjusted for population numbers... Someone once said, human intelligence is a finite quantity, more people, less for each. As I look around and see some many of the young busy face booking or tweeting their moming coffee choices, I can believe that. .
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          Oct 25 2013: I do believe that, whether or not the IQ adjustment office is tricking us, humans get smarter from generation to generation.
          If you look back in history, only the great minds are remembered, which were few compared to the uneducated masses.
          Today, everything becomes a bit more average, but the average is higher than in the past.
        • Oct 26 2013: The thing is with great minds, they're statistical anomalies, and its hard to say just how clever they were. Back then, the sum of human knowledge was, shall we say, less impressive. Conceivably, someone who would just be a run of the mill scientist, engineer or doctor today could have had the intelligence to push the boundaries back then.
          Great discoveries nowadays aren't made by individuals anymore, they're mostly done by large teams of specialists, because no one person is capable of such work anymore. The people haven't gotten dumber, the subject matter just got more complicated.

          You also need to remember that your average Joe used to be a lot dumber than he is today. Today, I'd say the average in first world is a blue collar worker with 12 years of grade school and maybe a first degree.
          Up until recently, historically speaking, your average used to be a per-industrial subsistence farmer who couldn't even read and write, and probably never ventured further than 20 kilometers from his house in his entire life; even if he had the potential for intelligence, his lack of education squandered it.

          The average is most definitely going up, even if only because it used to be abysmal.
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        Oct 26 2013: Harald & Nadav
        Come on guys, are we tooting our horns here?

        Only the greatest minds were recorded in history, true but, also remember that there were very few of those cavemen in the calculation,
        And... Think of the Great Pyramids, the cathedrals of the middle ages... no super computers, no theodolites, no spell check... today's engineers would be had pressed to build... And Jules Verne correctly estimated our current technological advances and if we are so smart today, why are we all acting so stupid....

        PS: I recently took an 8th grade graduation test from the early 1900s... I failed miserably
        and I am pretty bright.... supposedly. We are being snookered by those feel gooders
        who don't want us to have low self esteem.
        • Oct 26 2013: Again, not smart, smarter by way of comparison. Big difference. Try taking that 8th grade final exam after studying the material for a year like an 8th grader is supposed to; you'll probably pass it with flying colors.

          To be perfectly honest, individual intelligence is less important than you'd think in getting projects off the ground.
          http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

          Individuals are getting progressively smarter, but what makes the really big difference is the improvement not in individual intelligence, but rather systems of communication, the stockpiling of knowledge, cooperation, and infrastructure.

          Today's great engineering projects and scientific research don't require large teams instead of lone geniuses like in the past because people have turned stupid. Instead, the challenges faced have grown to a point a single individual, no matter how smart, simply wouldn't be able to handle it on his own.
          This has of course de-emphasized the role of the lone genius, which may promote a false feeling they have grown rarer. They just keep a lower profile as part of a large team, is all.
  • Nov 16 2013: I would not receive this injection under any circumstance. Though many believe death is a disease, process or inevitability for me earthly immortality would be a punishment. I was born therefor I should die. A great gift of life is to look back and see how I have grown, choices I've made and those I've helped along the way. Life, though hard, is very rewarding & humbling. A commercial that sticks out is the Werthers commercial of a grand-pop giving a piece of candy to his grandson. For me the candy is the knowledge, beliefs, thoughts, stories and traditions being passed down to the grandson. Why would I want to live forever and miss the opportunity to pass my own family traditions down unto my children? Immortality, regardless how it's regulated, would be a punishment and regretful.
  • Nov 11 2013: I thought I already was immortal. In the purest sense, if matter is neither created nor destroyed, am I not piece and parcel of the world before me? Have I not been formed from the dust of kings and knaves long dead? In the vein of linage I carry the genetics of my parents and parents, parents, parent a my children carry on me. Perhaps the least enduring is the notion of my psych, me thoughts, my character but he question really is; does more time make me more memorable, more influential, more important? If I do not treat today as valuable; what would eternal life add??
    • Nov 12 2013: I honestly though you where citing a poem because it might as well be one. And I agree, what is immortality? What is immortal and what worth will it be. Immortality only lessens value.
  • Nov 11 2013: I agree with Hans. I agree with most people's reasons but I would have to say that I would go for the injection.

    Nothing would please me more than to see how our world is going to look like in the future. I am so thrilled to have been born in the digital age that I can't even imagine life without it. As a student studying electrical engineering, I'm fascinated buy how this technology is going to change in a 100, 1000 years from now. I would love to be alive to see that.

    Of course the biggest downfall would be to see your friends and family go but personally, I can adjust. I have many friends of all ages and I can control my emotions and create deep, meaningful relationships with many people.

    I don't think I could ever get bored because I too (as Hans said) am passionate about many things and the only thing stopping from me fulfilling all of them is time. I live in the moment and to the fullest, and as a very independent individual, I can say that taking that injecting will definitely be worth it for me.
  • Nov 8 2013: nope. death is life
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    Oct 29 2013: What a wonderful problem to consider. Would I want to become immortal... to be in my physical prime with no worries of degradation or illness? Of course! Imagine all that I could learn and do in that time! I could navigate the entire globe, and would be fit to endure long intergalactic journeys. I could become a master of all scientific disciplines, of countless instruments and musical styles, and a multidimensional artist. I could explore, experience, and learn enough that I would undoubtedly be a wise man by today's standards-- with the ability to see a much larger picture of the universe. I would love to have the time to transcend human greatness.

    But my choice is not so simple. I.. I.. I.. Selfishness is abundant. Are we all offered eternity? Is it given, or bought? What of my friends and family? What of the 7 billion strangers in this world? Could our planet handle the strain? Of course not. Overpopulation is an enormous concern even now, with roundabout 50 year lives. Inequity in resources and education allows some to ponder immortality while others struggle to secure basic necessities for themselves and their loved ones. Who has the time to observe the patterns of our unsustainable birthrate? This is clear, if we became immortal, we would have to drastically reduce our creation of offspring.

    Does that act defile nature and taint our souls, or would we no longer view children as necessary numbers... but rather as incredibly rare and cherished members of society? Is it better to uncontrollably pump out generation after generation of creatures who die with insufficient time to understand their environment and purpose-- who pass on fragments of their incomplete information to the malleable youth... or would it be better to have a smaller, more intelligent family of lifeforms?

    This proposition is a chance for a type of evolution that we may not be prepared to handle, but one I argue is necessary for the advancement of quality of life and universal importance.
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    Oct 29 2013: I think immortality is as scary as death itself.

    Knowing I have all the time in my life will hurt someone mentally. What would inspire people to do stuff? Productivity will decrease by thousands percent, and people will have no reason to live their life to the fullest.

    I will not take the cure, and I think I will be against it. Not that I don't respect the advancement of science, but knowing "Death" exists is what triggers the advancement of science, IMO.
    • MR T

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      Oct 29 2013: I fail to see how life ending has any more meaning to it than life not ending (unless your religious). Do you genuinely act only because you know you will die?
  • Oct 26 2013: Seems like the question assumes some rules that . . . . change the question -- such as, "and of course, becoming immortal only means that you die when YOU chose to die."

    Really?? THAT'S what immortality means? I didn't think so. I'd prefer to answer the simple, "would you like to be Superman" type of question -- and really never die, even if you step in front of a train immediately after swallowing ten vials of some secret substance.

    And my answer would be, 'no' -- mainly because I'm already past the point when living forever (here on earth) would be really fun. Getting up every day for eternity with these aches and pains, thinking seriously about taking a nap in the early afternoon, and all the accompanying conditions of 'maturity . . . . I think not. Now, if you'd asked that question 40 years ago . . . .

    Personally, I'm preferring to look to the eternal life where we don't have to worry about all these aches and pains, and glad that it's coming.
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    Oct 26 2013: 10 yeas ago, I uttered, "i will be content to live til 50 as long as I know I've made my full contribution to this world. But lately, I thought it would be great to live forever, if only for the sole purpose of helping others. Not for any selfish reason.
  • Oct 26 2013: Some will want to live on to see what happens next. For myself, I have lived a full life and seen two children grow and turn out well. So similar to George VI put in his will, "let no one shed a tear, I have lived a full life. I am tired and am curious what comes next."
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      Oct 26 2013: Ha, but he believed in immortality after death...
      • Oct 26 2013: not sure if he did but if there is one i will be very surprised - 8>))
  • Gord G 50+

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    Oct 25 2013: My top ten reasons why I think negligible senescence would be a problem…

    - Life insurance premiums would be exorbitant.

    - A lifetime guarantee would bankrupt a company

    - The old boys network would be impenetrable

    - Family gatherings would require a stadium.

    - Life savings wouldn't last

    - Childhood would be too short

    - Spousal homicide would probably be legal after three hundred years of marriage

    - Too many birthdays to remember

    - Grandma would be followed by an exponent.

    - Childbirth would be redundant

    :-)
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      Oct 26 2013: Makes total sense to me. The only point I disagree with is the point of life savings. If you live longer, you'd have to work more years....sorry.....which means that you make more money over time and hence (hopefully) save more money.
      Did you really believe that being immortal they let you retire at age 60 ?
      • Oct 26 2013: I may make more money but... all the jobs would have been filled hundreds of years ago so there would be generations of unemployed family members living under my roof.
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          Oct 26 2013: In any case and for many reasons, immortality would be impractical (although it's nice to fantasize about it). If nothing less our tiny planet would be overcrowded in no time, which would make our lives pretty miserable I suppose.
          So for the time being, I'm probably fine with a life span of let's ay 150 years.
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        Oct 26 2013: But let's fantasize a little more and imagine immortals are less pressured to get everything done before they hit 35. And perhaps we can imagine an eternal couple eternally delaying the having-kids question, cautiously keeping in mind that as soon as they screw it up, their eternal life changes dramatically and irreversibly. If you can wait a century before you have kids, then why not?
        Then, sure, have kids and die a few decades after.
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          Oct 26 2013: You probably end up with the same pressure anyway because if you live longer, expectations as to what you should accomplish will also increase.
          As to having kids, there might be a chance that after 100 years waiting you don't want anymore kids.
          But the main problem I see with immortality is the logistics part. Where do you put all those people ? How do you feed them ? Our resources are limited.
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        Oct 27 2013: For starters, the death care industry represents 12 billion dollars a year in the US alone... But old people cost us a hell of a lot more than that. Enough to build underwater cities... on half of Jupiter's moons.
        No, you have a point. And you raise new questions.
        But if technology has no answer, and if immortality is inevitable (and it is), how do you propose to regulate demography?
        There are no rules in free countries about birth control. Would you have this changed?
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    Oct 25 2013: In some way we are already immortal anyway.
    If you think about, the whole universe is made of the same stuff, regardless of what we will eventually figure out this stuff is.
    What changes constantly is the configuration of that stuff and those configurations are probably based on our perceptions. I always imagine things (including us) like whirls in a river. You can distinguish them, but they are not actually separated from the water in the river.
    Since we know that the total amount of energy can neither increase nor decrease we can safely assume that everything that happens in the universe are only the ever changing whirls in the river.

    But back to the practical side: Immortal sounds probably too long to me, but being alive as long as I'm well would be a good thing I guess.
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      Oct 25 2013: I agree Harald....in some way we are already immortal. It depends on how we want to identify our "self"!

      "What changes constantly is the configuration of the stuff", and I believe that to be energy, which, as you say, does not increase or decrease....it changes form. I like your analogy with the ever changing whirls in the river:>)

      If we identify ourselves totally with the body, then everything is all over when the body dies:>)
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        Oct 25 2013: Yes, after we die everything will be over. It's like those whirls in the water I mentioned. They come and go, but the water is always there.
        This is the poetic version, but for all practical purpose, once we are dead it's like pulling the plug. Everything will be gone. That's why I think, prolonging our life, always will be of interest to people, surprisingly even to those that believe in an afterlife or reincarnation of some sort.
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          Oct 25 2013: I don't totally agree then.....what you write now, seems a little different from your previous comment.

          My perception, is that "if we identify ourselves totally with the body, then everything is all over when the body dies"

          I equated the "whirls in the water" you were speaking of, to the energy which flows through the body, and I believe that changes form....like you said....neither increasing or decreasing.....simply changing form.

          I have no desire to prolong my life past what is "normal".....whatever normal is!!! :>)
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        Oct 25 2013: Yes we're an interesting animal. Other animals' genes are immortal, but none of their personnal experience (other than reproductive success) survives them. We, on the other hand, tell stories.

        That aside, it's hard to let go of eternal youth of the body when your drive is mad curiosity. And the world is becoming exponencially more interesting, making any moment in the future a worse moment to part!
        Or perhaps our children need us to exit the stage, for the sake of character distribution. Then I gladly lie down in my casket... but if a century from now some great grandchild were so kind as to wake me up for 24 hours, no more, and show me around... or just slip into my tomb the day's newspaper and a flashlight...
        Knowing that would put a smile on my dead face the way little else would.
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          Oct 25 2013: Yes indeed Gerald, we are very interesting animals:>)

          I don't personally find it difficult to let go of youth. In fact I am enjoying the aging process, just as I have enjoyed all other stages of the life adventure. I am still VERY curious about what is happening here....and....now:>)
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        Oct 25 2013: No Colleen, I didn't talk about it from a spiritual point of view but pure physics. What I meant is that the whole universe is energy and everything there is, are just different configurations (the whirls) of said energy (the river of water). These configurations are ever changing. Some fast and some take billions of years, but at the end, the most basic ingredient is the same for everything.

        Btw, what do you consider a normal life span ? Life expectancy is constantly increasing (numbers vary from country to country but the trend is the same).
        By 1850, life expectancy was around 40 years. Today we are at over 80 and counting.
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          Oct 25 2013: That is how I was speaking of it as well Harald...physics. I agree that the whole universe is energy and everything is different configurations of said energy, which is ever changing.

          I consider the "normal life span" for me is whatever age I die:>)
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        Oct 27 2013: what about the thought that we come back in another life to complete the things we didn't finish the life before . I F WE never finish this life now how can we come back in another life / body and finish our journey .

        it seems that we would be in constant flux
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          Oct 27 2013: Hi Jeff,
          Right now, as I know life, I know that death is part of that cycle. No matter what one's beliefs are, it is a fact that we live, and then we die. I do not perceive death as a disease, therefor I have no burning desire to "cure" it. I am content with the aging process, just as I have been content with all the other stages of the life adventure.

          I like being "here"......"now"......as I am....in the moment. When the death stage comes for me, I will embrace it with all the consciousness and love that I can muster at that moment, and I will still be exploring the life adventure until I take my last breath:>)

          I believe that a desire and search for immortality is often based on a fear of aging, death, the dying process, and the question regarding what comes next. I am content with here and now:>)
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    Nov 24 2013: One point of wisdom I find helpful in making decisions such as this is a simple question... What would happen if everybody did it?
    The answer is clear. Over population would result in chaos and suffering beyond imagination.
    • Nov 24 2013: This is addressed by the 2045 initiative (www.2045.com). Furthermore we do not necessarily know the technologies that will become available to us and whether "everyone" will or can choose to do it.
  • Nov 24 2013: I would absolutely opt for immortality and I actually want to build on that and say that I am hoping that the goal of achieving immortality is reached within my lifetime!

    While everyone has an opinion on religion, my personal opinion is that once we die that's it, and that's sad really. Think about all the knowledge we've built, the relationships we've formed, the hard work we've done, the memories inside of us; all for it to get erased?

    I personally wouldn't want to continue to age and become weak in body and mind, but to be immortal, that process could not just continue. Furthermore the research that is being done by life extensionists is pointing toward technologies to keep us young forever or even evolve us into a much more powerful being. For example, do you think overpopulation is a problem? Do you worry that we will run out of experiences on earth? Do you worry that people around you will die while you remain alive? Then you should definitely refer to the website www.2045.com and it's related site www.gf2045.com. Their vision is that you essentially become a hologram like being made up of trillions of organic nano-robots. You have the power to create your own image and an infinitely expanding mind to create any experience you want. They have already successfully reached milestone 1 in the avatar project of the 2045 initiative and there are 3 more to go. They plan to have the technology in place by 2045. While my thoughts on here are brief and don't answer so many questions one could put to my idea, I encourage you to visit these websites, do some research (especially into the videos of some of the speakers at their conference) and tell me that this isn't an exciting opportunity for the next step in human evolution!
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    Nov 21 2013: I would choose immortal without a single doubt and use my life for the others. There are way too many people who need help.
  • Nov 19 2013: Being that the planet only has so long before it goes pop i can't imagine the immortal ones would like floating around in space for eternity with no sound or company. Why not make the most of the time we are all given and try to help others around you, crazy i know but hey i'm a dreamer.
  • Nov 16 2013: I would prefer to choose the time style of death myself. Assuming ailments are gone, desired memories preserved and the problems of over-population and resources solved, change still cannot be stopped, nor would stopping change be anything but death. While a prolonged continuity of self might be an advantage, what I was in the long past would be long gone.
  • Nov 16 2013: Although the possibility of immortality is tempting at first glance, it nevertheless is not something I would choose to embrace. The sheer reality that natural life inevitably dies is enough rationale for me not to somehow make myself immortal, as the very notion that we aren't inherently born immortal tells me that we as individuals were not 'designed' (however you may interpret that), to live forever. Granted, not everyone dies in the same way, but it is still important to recognize that irrespective of how we expire, our bodies will, one way or another, stop functioning. Some may die from old age, and others from cancer, but the fact remains that in both cases, our heart will naturally stop beating. Regardless of what you may consider your religious and/or scientific beliefs to be, our bodies are clearly intended to survive for a certain period of time, and although the process of death may be slowed utilizing today's standards of technology, our bodies are intrinsically intended to cease functioning after a certain period of time. For that matter, even if we could somehow discover immortality, is eternal life desirable? Eventually, the population would grow out of control, and if we don't have the natural resources to sustain ourselves, even the prospect of living forever won't be enough of an incentive to convince us to live comfortably in an overpopulated world.
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    Nov 15 2013: An interesting thought, but I don't see mortality being cured.
    Our goal is not to live forever, at least not in my beliefs.

    I hope and pray for a much better world when I leave here.
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      Nov 15 2013: We're supposed to die because of the snake's misguidance, I know, I know. But haven't we paid the debt already? Look at all the good done by people who don't even expect to be rewarded in an afterlife, look how morally superior we are to our abrahamic ancestry.
      What do you believe is our goal?
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        Nov 15 2013: never in history rulers said: you were ruled long enough. i will rule no longer.
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          Nov 16 2013: Cincinnatus and George Washington are noteworthy exceptions. Though I suspect they did it because of how cool it made them look.
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        Nov 20 2013: Re: "What do you believe is our goal?"
        Our goal is what we believe our goal is, I believe.
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        Nov 20 2013: You made an interesting post. Religion does not make anyone morally superior, I know, I know. But neither does rejection thereof.

        Re: "We're supposed to die because of the snake's misguidance, I know, I know. But haven't we paid the debt already?"

        If you read the story, the misguidance started with questioning that we have an obligation (debt) - exactly what you do in your second sentence. By the way, according to the Christian doctrine, we did not pay any debt. It was paid for us. A minor detail.

        Re: "Look at all the good done by people who don't even expect to be rewarded in an afterlife, look how morally superior we are to our abrahamic ancestry."

        "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector." - Luke 18. Self-righteousness. Also warned against.

        I don't mean to preach, but I find Christianity fascinating because it is self-refuting. Speaking against it is speaking against self.
  • Nov 14 2013: I understand that some people may disagree, but I believe that immortality is essentially what life is striving for through the process of natural selection, we simply happen to be quite bad at it. Whenever an organism mutates around an obstacle that would normally weaken/kill one of its species, it has simply trumped death that normally might have occurred. Continuing with this, the further generations of the organism will continue to be better and better at 'living.'

    Unfortunately, we are constrained by the natural limitations of this process (i.e. the determination of natural selection is only made at the moment of passing on one's genes to the next generation). However, I don't believe that should change our natural inclination to work to overcome the causes of death. We have reached a point of self-determination via our ability to think critically and problem-solve whereby we can work beyond those natural limitations. It is up to us to make that effort, however, and we need the willpower to do so.

    I personally would be glad to achieve immortality because I think that it would increase the rate of scientific discovery. Great thinkers would be able to pursue their passions without their work being left for others who have to spend so much time catching up. To the individual who stated that Hitler would still be around, I can only say: especially in a society with immortality, any death would be an atrocity. If only we could strive for such a view regardless.
  • Nov 14 2013: Entertain just the wee smallest dose of doubt in your belief that you are a body....that you are a mind. In fact, doubt all beliefs. And then investigate them thoroughly. How is it that we are so very very certain of Who we are? Simply looking at the fact that 'you' are a mass of trillions of tiny robots (cells) working more or less together alongside a numerically large number of bacterial cells upon which you are entirely dependent should case a shadow of doubt on this belief of mortality.

    If you are a wave, clearly you are mortal.
    If you are the ocean, clearly you are immortal.
    Based on the current 'state' of the Earth, it should be clear which is the prevailing belief.

    We once believed the Earth to be flat.
    We once believed the Earth to be the center of the Universe.

    I dig your broad thinking. Great day!
  • Nov 14 2013: I used to think there was something wrong with wanting to live forever, as if it was form of selfishness. But I really see that sort of thinking now as a form of political correctness, and/or misplaced humility.

    Also, being biologically immortal does not mean you stop learning, changing or growing as a person. So unless you are actually bored of life and its possibilities I see no "applicable to all" reason that makes a case for immortality being something we should as a rule shy away from.

    Being immortal does not mean "indestructible" or some other form of "impossible to kill necessarily. So, to those who still enjoy the experience of consciousness, living will still be a precious experience to be considered sacred and precious. Being immortal may devalue each others time in some way, but not their lives as a whole. As far as we know "life" is still a singular experience.

    Life is precious, and not something to be surrendered lightly or apathetically. Before you were born there was an eternity of time without you, and after you die there will be eternity without you. No matter how long you live in between, its the merest tiny window, a butterflies wing flap of time. Such a small window bound by eternity on both sides will always be precious.

    So, with regards to myself, I would definitely want to be immortal.

    But how would this affect society? Well, having a demographic of immortals will definitely change and affect society in profound ways, and it would have to change to adapt to immortal citizens. Remember, immortality is not specifically invulnerability or immunity to disease. Unless coupled with equivalent advances in basic healthcare and anti aging, immortality would indeed be a curse. But if it did, you could retain your usefulness and ability to learn.

    Also, it would certainly drive the need for us to colonise space. And once that happened, the scope of experience, learning and development within the life experience would expand again.
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      Nov 14 2013: Thanks for this well-written, poetic contribution. An ode to life and to our humble pursuit of infinity
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    Nov 13 2013: Naw, I've seen enough foolishness in 68 years; more would be anticlimactic.
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      Nov 13 2013: Goddamn Babyboomers.
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        Nov 13 2013: Yes, if you're a young man you're now helping to carry the load. On the other hand, you should be thankful that we baby-boomers aren't going to live forever.
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          Nov 13 2013: You'll be remembered for your passion for individual transportation.
  • Nov 11 2013: In a way, I already have access to a variant of this injection because I have access to medical advances that are not available to the majority of people in the world. Modern medicine has already saved my life once and I am only in my 40's. I have travelled to countries where the average age of death is 59. If I was born in these countries, I would likely die in less than 20 years. This seems unfair to me that some people are able to live and others will die (of often the same medical conditions) just because of where one happens to be living on the planet. Yet, when I was sick, I did not refuse the privilege of having surgery that saved my life. I hope that I will have the courage to not make extraordinary efforts to extend my life in the future ... I hope that I can refuse the next injection. But when one is sick and can be reasonably saved, it is difficult to not do what one can to survive. So, if I live another decade or so and if I take the next (inevitable?) injection, I only feel that it is right for me if I am meeting my responsibility and commitment to helping others. It is so hard to know how we will respond when faced with pain, suffering and death. But to live forever?? No, this is not for me ... I would rather embrace death in a natural manner. How could one choose the perfect moment to die?
  • Nov 10 2013: I would take the injection as I would love to live forever doing what I love to do now. It does not matter to me whether I would ever experience boredom or not as the alternative, not existing forever, is not a choice I want.

    I would continue working and learning as I do now as well as helping better my fellow eternal beings as I do now.

    Eternity would not make me lazy as I am the type that no matter what situation I am in now, I try to find something productive to do anyway even if this is just reading a technical book on my computer.

    One proof that most people favor living as opposed to death, is the filled hospital and doctors offices on a daily basis. If death was so welcome and needed why are most sick people looking to doctors to try and save themselves?

    Most of us would be very happy living forever.
  • Nov 10 2013: I personally would find the choice difficult. On the one hand, i wish i could be around to see a time where we visit the stars... But i also wouldn't want to contribute to the other problems immortality would bring. Extreme increases in population growth & the divide between wealthy and poor growing even bigger(cause obviously it would be expensive)
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      Nov 10 2013: But how would "the divide between wealthy and poor" grow bigger if the poor just disapear after a generation, by your logic?
      • Nov 10 2013: What do you mean? Why would the poor disappear? They would still be breeding... In fact they would be the only ones breeding, because mortal or immortal, women would still hit menopause when they run out of eggs.