TED Conversations

Gerald O'brian


This conversation is closed.

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?



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    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.
    • thumb
      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:>)
      • thumb
        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.
        • thumb
          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!!! :>)
      • thumb
        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.
        • thumb
          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:>)
      • thumb
        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.
        • thumb
          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:>)
      • thumb
        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
        • thumb
          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:>)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.