Gerald O'brian

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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!

  • 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.
    • 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>))
  • 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.
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    Nov 8 2013: I don't know how I would react knowing I would never die. Would I be more prone to be lazy, to think there is always a tomorrow? I do know that people who know they are dying and only have little time left seem to live life to the fullest more then people who don't (I'm aware it's yet another generalisation, but a few personal experiences tell me this). Something we all should do ofcourse :D

    You're right; I guess Beethoven would put his genius to work in other fields. I would certainly hope so, because to listen to his symphonies until eternity, even how much I appreciate them.. makes me think of A Clockwork Orange ;)

    With culture I'm more reffering to arts, music, theatre; creativity. (Sorry I'm quoting wikipedia ;) "...the range of human phenomena that cannot be attributed to genetic inheritance".

    Explaining my answer on the question really is a more practical one; if we all could have this medicine our population will grow and grow exponential (assuming most of us still have the primoral need to make children), making less and less space. more pressure on our natural resources. To say it in my simplistic way of thinking: I don't think it's a smart idea...
    Maybe (reffering to another question you started here on TED): my thought is we are not smart enough for our intelligence, that we get too intelligent too fast without being able to handle the consequenses (yet) (does that make sense? ;))

    Another thing that pops up in my mind is the way that with our technological advancements we already increasing our life expectations. I guess we slowly but surely are moving towards immortality, but I also think some of these developments just go to fast for us to handle. We also need wisdom right?

    cheers
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    Nov 8 2013: There is something enticing about being able to be immortal, but at what price. Will my friends die, and what about my family? How will I live? Where would I live? Would new transportation exist to help me as I doubt I would be fdriving at 800 or would I? Will I age the way we do now , or will medicine have advanced to keep me in better condition? What about the world's resources in terms of food, water, energy, etc., if I and others are immortal? Would our brain be able to sustain the period of time we are discussing? What services would we need for the immortal beings? Even if my brain may store a quadrillion bits of information in a lifetime, what will I need now? Will I be able to offlaod soem memories somewhere so I do not drown in sorrow or laugh myself silly? I see nothing but questions from your question...how about you? Would my phone number be 774-456-8678-9344-82676-3856-284756-7236452-82372372-000? Call me...in 3012 ...if you are still alive.
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    Nov 3 2013: Being immortal is fighting the time, but time is the most powerful thing. We are born naturally, why not die naturally?
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      Nov 3 2013: but we're not born naturally, are we?
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        Nov 4 2013: We are.
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          Nov 4 2013: Well not all of us. I wasn't supposed to exist but some industrialists messed up the environment and the climate to make this otherwise greenish hell hospitable for guys like me.
          So much for natural.
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        Nov 5 2013: Date back to the ancient time, no industry;people were born naturally, as well as us. Industry things are on the surface, in essence, we are born naturally. By nature or not, no clear boundary between them.
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    Nov 3 2013: 'And nature is smarter than people think. Little by little, we lose our friends, we lose everything. We keep losing and losing till we say, you know, "What the hell am I livin' around here for? I got no reason to go on." ' (Rocky V - Mickey)

    Immortality would only make sense if our reasons for living were also immortal. or we at least retained the motivation to periodically go out and find new ones.

    Either way Tennyson warned us of the risks involved in outliving our purpose:

    " How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
    To rust unburnish'd, not to shine in use!
    As tho' to breathe were life. "
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    Nov 3 2013: I would go for immortality if the opportunity is there... (If it would go with at least the same mental capacities and level of health)

    If many people would do so, we would need to limit our number of offspring in order to get an optimum of inhabitants on this planet until we find new places to colonize.

    It will affect your way of thinking, as you'll be going for longer term plans. And it might make us more conscious of our current problems of pollution.
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    Nov 2 2013: I'd take immortality in a heart beat, but I have found the majority of people I ask about this would decline, much to my great surprise. So I posed a very similar question about a year ago here on TED: http://www.ted.com/conversations/14514/why_do_so_few_people_want_to_l.html. After asking literally hundreds of people this question, I've categorized the reasons why I think people would choose suicide (by so-called "natural death") over immortality, given a choice. If you read through the majority of "no" responses here, you should be able to put most of them in one or several of these buckets:

    1. Religion / god / afterlife - How will you get to your preferred afterlife (the one you believe in) if you are immortal? Aren't you messing with god's plan? Or a variation, "Don't mess with (mother) nature" or you'll pay the consequences.
    2. If you're unhappy (or bored) in this life, you would not want to extend it. Or a variation on this: The world is too awful a place (or life is too hard), so why would I want to stay longer? There is only so much I can or want to do or accomplish in this life, after which I would become unhappy if I lived longer.
    3. Many of us have made some sort of peace with or perhaps even drawn strength from the concept of our own mortality and our current expected life span, and it's too upsetting or too difficult to seriously consider an alternative. A variation of this is that we either plan for and expect a limited life, or accept on faith that whatever time we have is enough to get done whatever we need to get done.
    4. Death gives life meaning - or variations of this like "live for the moment" and "it's the quality not quantity" of life that matters.
    5. Must make room for the next generation
    6. Not enough resources / over population
    7. You'd miss your friends/family that chose suicide
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      Nov 2 2013: Wow thanks! Very interesting.
      I was also very surprised of the majority's decline. It's fascinating, isn't it?
      Your use of the term "suicide" for acceptance of natural death is clever ; brings light on some of the reasons that you've so well categorized.
      Most people are samurai, it turns out :
      Your life has a purpose, and dying is part of the mission.
      There is such a thing as a good death, an agreement about what's good timing to pass away.
      Death makes your life more valuable.
      Dying will make you part of the system

      The glory comes in a different form than that of feudal Japan, but the mindset is the same. And if this is the norm, you come to wonder why a few like you would renounce the modern samurai code. I suspect it has to do with optimism, or the general idea of progress.
      1 - In a universe that allows progress, there is no divine pre-established setting or supernatural control, so no need for REASON # 1
      2 - The present is exciting because the future is unknowable, so life cannot be boring.
      3 - Even though people say so, I don't think the conscience of mortality changes the first thing of human behaviour. If it did, we wouldn't find an equivalent for the things we do in other apes.
      4 - Immortality gives life even more meaning when the future is believed to be open.
      5 - True, must make room for next generation. But dying seems a little excessive.
      6 - Technical problems such as ressources and population have been solved in the past and there is no logical reason why they shouldn't be solved in the future.
      7 - In time you'd have more friends to help you get over it.
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        Nov 2 2013: Thanks Gerald, I (obviously) love the conversation you've started and agree with what you've said. I wanted to zero in on this part of what you wrote which I think is brilliant:

        "Most people are samurai, it turns out :
        Your life has a purpose, and dying is part of the mission."

        (p.s. Love the line break you put in.)

        I think that may be why so many people are threatened by immortality, as it threatens to rob their life of meaning and purpose.

        May you have a most excellent death, and may that be far from now.
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    Nov 1 2013: No way (for so many reasons) but mostly, because I don't fear death. Not knowing when your time's up is the element of life that makes it exciting.
  • Nov 1 2013: Isn't immortality an utopian concept? How would one know what is "immortal"?
    Longevity, or indestructibe, are words that come to mind more reasonable to obtain progress into.
  • Oct 30 2013: I would not chose to be immortal, though I might choose a longer life span. I'm not sure I would want to choose the time of my own death, but cannot know how I would choose if my quality of life were so diminished as to make me desire death.
    I don't think we can define mortality as disease, though. It's more like the last symptom of disease. We can't cure mortality, but people do work toward extending life. The larger question of extended life is, of course, the question of health. I cannot imagine anyone choosing immortality without the promise of eternal health and well-being.
    Immortality would also be a disaster for the world if everyone chose it, unless we also chose sterilization. A world of immortal beings reproducing themselves would soon become unable to sustain itself.
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    Oct 29 2013: No. I agree with Lucia.
    Having said that, I think those that would do this should ask if their old age health problem would be reversed so they can live well into eternity.
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    Oct 29 2013: I wouldn't like to be inmortal, I think life is a cycle and it has to be completed.
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    Oct 29 2013: Why would you want to be immortal if this world is becoming more and more an awful place. I think that I would be sad to be immortal, because humans are getting worse, and soon we won't have a good planet to live. And by being immortal you would see humans make the same mistakes again and again, the same fights, the same moral issues that probably won't ever be solved.
    I wouldn't like to be immortal, I'm only 16 and I'm sick of this planet, I can't imagine my life if I lived forever.
    • Oct 29 2013: http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence.html

      Actually, for the lot of human history since the dawn of civilization, the general trend is for length and quality of life to go up, and violence to go down.
      Its not exactly monotonous, there have been downturns along the way, but the general trend is quite obviously for the better.
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      Oct 29 2013: I agree with Nadav.
      Perhaps you think Steve Jobs is an asshole and Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath sucks. But the fact is that the past was a lot crappier than the present.
      I'm mean, come on, you're a woman and you're 16. If you look at history, this means any other time than the present sucks bad for you.
    • Nov 1 2013: Ana, this is very depressing - you're 16 and sick of the planet, you say? Portugal has big problems, but they will pass in time. If you were a 'street child', as millions are around the globe, living rough and unwanted, in mortal danger, with no money, no health care, no education, no parents, no love, no clothing, no food, no home or shelter or proper bed, sleeping at the roadside, used as a mere object, forced into child prostitution, with no defender or human rights or hope, perhaps fleeing persecution, maybe drowning in the sea near Lampedusa - you'd have something to complain about. But mostly the street kids don't. The more a person has, the more a person wants. An unending lifetime thinking that humans are getting worse would be terribly unpleasant. But my question is, is it just all the other humans who are getting worse? And are you some kind of exception? I believe humans are no worse than ever they were, and that immortality would be selfish with our limited resources.
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        Nov 1 2013: Very true Dale..."the more a person has, the more a person wants".....sometimes. If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we'd be happy with more?
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      Nov 21 2013: Ana, see it this way, if immortal you'd have more time to make the world a better place ;-)
  • Oct 29 2013: Immortality is a sad and lonely path, and unless there is a fictional immortality 2.0 version, you don't get the chance to choose your day of death, immortality by definition is life forever...and that to me is an awful prospect. Side-thought - the actual truth behind dying of old age, is a biological mystery. Do we die because we have used up our multi-celled body, or is it just the nature of our species and embedded into our dna?
  • Oct 29 2013: on what scale are you measuring whether it is messed up or not? God or not there is a cycle from Asteroids to ice age... it is all a cycle. The same atoms on earth are still turning round and round... in so many forms and shapes... and it is just working perfect.. it created us as we are, and we are helplessly trying to change that cycle!
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    Oct 28 2013: I live in a society which believes in the concept of life after death. If that is true and factually correct, I am no one to deny the fact that all that is born, is born to die one day. A flower that blossoms today, is sure of dying tomorrow. If the governing body is the universe, the nature then they have their own laws or rules. To which whether or not you wish to, you have no other obligation but agreeing. Even if you turn out to be agnostic or even worse, an atheist then how do you justify the fact that you're but at last nothing but a soul resting in peace in a hard cage of minerals. Even if a person is given a chance to take up immortality and as you said, he will die only when he wishes to, there must be some reason for extending our lifetime. Isn't it? What i tend to state is that not every time can you keep on challenging the governing power and even if you do, what do you achieve? When you'll be immortal how do you wish to stay alive for hundreds of years without your family, because it's your choice of immortality not theirs. They wont be there to see you laugh or cry or anything, then who do you wish to live extra for when you'll be having no support for your life? I believe any decision of our life should be supported by a strong reason to prove our decision. If at all I choose to be immortal then what is my backing to that? To prove my supremacy over other human beings alive, then I believe supremacy is proved by deeds. Take for example, Swami Vivekananda, who lived for just 39 years but achieved supremacy over many who lived a longer life. So rather than going for an injection that provides me with a disease, I would rather go for an injection that cures my disease. So when sooner or later we are bound to the arms of death, then why not live a satisfactory life governed by the natural rules than living an extended life to which no one cares for governed by us, of course physically!
  • Oct 28 2013: i could live forever only if my penis still works
    • Oct 28 2013: How about your brain?
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      Oct 28 2013: How about if the deal was that sex was all virtual from then on ; people would stay young but their genitals would wither like Dorian Gray's picture, and the only way to successfully enjoy copulation would be through computer simulators. You'd have an eternal, fully functionnal penis in the variety of available programms.
      Would you go for that? Or do you fear there is there something about the feel of youth, of carnal eroticism that the best virtual reality generators will never render?
      • Nov 1 2013: What about the reverse? We wither away, but retain perfect genitalia - which, of course, nobody shows the slightest interest in. :)
  • Oct 28 2013: I would choose immortality only if I was able to commit suicide. There always needs to be a plan b.
  • Oct 27 2013: No I would not go for that cure because I have had the privilege to observe a small part of what is behind death. And I like what I have observed. As result I have lost all fear of death. Death is like birth, a passage to a higher state of existence.
    Once you are dead, you know everything you want to know and you can go where you want to go in zero time.
    When my heart was severely damaged by an event, I had to undergo an 8 hour operation. The nurses were astonished: "But you are enjoying yourself here!". Severals days later there was a complication and my heart stopped pumping. Knowing that I had only a few seconds of consciousness left, a made a joke about it. I'm old, but I have a better physical condition than most people older than 20 years. Over 30 years ago I made a date for my century birthday and I'm looking forward to that day.

    Also I have selected a religion that fits my experiences and have become Christian.
    • Oct 28 2013: Hello Jan, agree with you all the way. Swedenborg, from experience, also says that dying is like going from one room to another.

      Talking about death.. you may like this page on Facebook, HeavenandHellSwedenborg.

      Personally I believe we are immortal already. We are our spirit, not our body, and our spirit is immortal.
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        Oct 28 2013: No, you are your brain, that is part of your body, that is playing a persevering trick on you.
        When you are hungry, cold or sick you think, act and react differently then when you are not.
        You are your body.

        Or as Schrodinger said:
        "All the events in space and time within the spatial boundary of a living organism
        can be accounted for by physics and chemistry"

        http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1611/20120248.full.pdf
        When you have read it, check the references on the bottom, I can recommend it to everyone,
        not only academics.
        • Oct 29 2013: Hi Vincent
          Once upon a time there was in Greece a man named Plato, who was convinced that all wisdom and science could and should be developed by thinking only. He was wrong. Today we develop an idea and the next step is testing if the idea is correct. You have to invent valid tests to convert your opinion into solid proof.
          I have seen solid proof for my opinion that could not have been a persevering trick of my brain.
          Please keep in mind that you may have a problem if you discover after your death that you are wrong. It is your problem, not mine.
        • Oct 29 2013: Dear Vincent, then how come we can detect and monitor anything pertaining to our body, even that we think and feel. THAT we think, not WHAT we think. That we have emotions, but not why.
          What we love cannot be shown on a screen or in a tube because it is on a different level of existence. Those two levels, or realms, are 'connected' by correspondence. You cannot proof to your wife (if you have one) that you love her, except through consistent actions and movements of your body. Just words don't do it.

          It always amazes me how people use their free will without realizing it. Could a lion decide to become a vegetarian? Can a flower turn away from the sun? Come on, become human..
        • Nov 6 2013: Hi Vincent. Most of the documents you refer to contain opinions, which is something else than verifiable facts. A biologists, Ben Hobrink, wrote a book titled "Modern Science in the Bible" that is full of verifiable facts. The Bible contains over 600 rules what to do or not to do. Please read the book and try to explain how the writer, Moses, could have known the medical facts on which these rules are based. Medical facts that were only slowly discovered during the last three centuries.
          Please let me know if you have an explanation.
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        Oct 31 2013: Dear Adriaan and Jan,
        I think that if there is anyone we can explain this to you it is Daniel Dennett, please watch this full explanation:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Nj_rEqkyQ

        On what he mention "Nanolevel / proteinlevel":
        http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology.html
        http://www.molecularmovies.com/showcase/

        If you're hungry for more:
        http://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink/search?query=consciousness

        Accepting that you are an purely reactive, but wondrous machine doesn't make it any less wondrous or worth living for. It is about the journey, not the end.
        Come on, become transhuman ;)

        @"Please keep in mind that you may have a problem if you discover after your death that you are wrong. It is your problem, not mine."
        I know God exists, if you define him properly. You see him in the 'pattern of everything around you'. Such as in the "law of large numbers', probability theory, chaos theory, butterfly effect, central limit theorem. God is good to have if you are grateful, but do not know who to thank. Or if you are angry or sad, for example, by injustice and suffering, but you do not know who to blame. To the question 'how come that' is always a scientific answer -> see theories -> Wikipedia (!).
        You would be judged on what you do for the world, not on what you claim and not for an afterlife. That is a story humans made up (from the church).
        • Nov 1 2013: Hi Vince, Mr. Dennett only compares a believe in a spiritual environment with the "Indian, climbing a rope" trick. There is no explanation whatsoever. He is only ridiculing a belief beyond the body. Nothing else, including his constant referral to magic.

          I really enjoyed your links to the scientific animations of the cellular activities and molecules and the workings and looks of our DNA double-helix environment. One thing that I cannot pull myself away from is that when these miracles are seen, how can anyone think these were started in a big bang of nothing.. by accident.. with no purpose at all.
          You may have seen that my favourite talk is about how a fetus starts and develops in a womb. And the same idea comes to mind.. from nothing? by accident?
          Also, do any of the cells or particles decide how we are going to react when someone cuts us off in traffic??

          After what you said above, is this how you really think?
          --"I know God exists, if you define him properly."--
          If so, I'm really appreciative because there is someone who had a 29 year long visit in the spiritual realm our spirit is in now, and wrote things down..
          My major point is that we already ARE immortal because we are not our body. We do not have to take any shots or become vegetarian :) to become immortal.

          The following link explains who and what God is and that immortality is because we are in His image and likeness. The last is also the reason for our consciousness and freewill. See what you think,
          http://www.swedenborg.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DLW_port-web.pdf
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        Nov 4 2013: Thanks a lot for your comments and sharing that text!
        Really appreciate it.

        I think it is a beatifull text and I have a hard time reflecting upon it.
        But I will try..
        I have real difficulty with the text in [69] 'Divinity fills all space in the universe nonspatially'. You can be a materialist and yet see the beauty of 'all that is' and the interconnectivity of everything. Materialism is not a bad view upon the world and has room for a God, such as mentioned in my definition. It is how you act upon the world that is important, not of how you think or what the church makes up with nice words.
        • Nov 5 2013: This can indeed be difficult to see, yes. But it is 'explaining that God is everywhere, causing reality and material to 'connect' and remain together. Just as metal is really a cloud of particles held together through energy.

          Another way of putting this is to say, the spiritual God is in space without being limited/attached to space. As Rob Bell says, God is not an old man with a long beard sitting on a throne on a cloud. :)

          Same as also saying God is in time, apart from time. He is in the past, present and future.

          But totally agree with what you're saying. This material existence is important, very important because without it we could not start a life, learn and change our life.

          However, I'm sure that, just like 99% of those that had a NDE and did not want to come back to this world, I see no advantage in becoming immortal and 'having to stay' on this planet to eternity. That would keep us "attached' to time and space, and the limits of the body.
          "How you act upon the world that is important" Precisely!! thanks Vincent.

          BTW the link above is to the book DLW (about God) and if you just change those 3 letters to DP you get the book about us.
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        Nov 5 2013: Thanks a lot, really interesting stuff.

        "If we sensed and felt the working of divine providence, we
        would not act freely and rationally, and nothing would seem
        to be really ours. The same would hold true if we knew what
        was going to happen"

        I still keep on to my conviction that we are reactive machines and don't have much (say none) free will at all.
        It is just a persistent illusion, because you live in the moment.
        Again, this doesn't make the journey any less worth it at all or mean that you can go crazy upon the world, because you would have no free will. The non free thought and your observations in the environment makes your actions I would argue.
        Nothing really seems to be ours really to me, everything is interconnected and dependent on coincidences. The butterfly effect is everywhere. And your decisions are also dependent on what you have eaten, how you are feeling and who you meet, hear and see in life, what time you go to bed, to work etc. etc.
        I'm sure we will all acknowledge all that some day.
        Free will is overrated.

        I sensed and felt the working of divine providence ^^ Maybe.. :P
        • Nov 5 2013: "And your decisions are also dependent on what you have eaten, how you are feeling and who you meet, hear and see in life, what time you go to bed, to work etc. etc."

          I would rather say our decisions 'are also influenced by what we've eaten, how well we slept etc.' because we do have the spiritual freedom to think "I had a lousy night and feel horrible, but I want to be nice to my partner or child or pet, because it is not their fault, and I love them." We have no control over what happens to us, but we do have the freedom to decide how to react. We do have the option to decide how much we let our feelings determine our reactions.

          I think every post on TED is started, and worded, the way that person chooses to do it, on the subject he/she chooses to respond to.
          Even the very question at the top assumes we have a choice: "Would you go for it and become immortal?"
          So you managed to download Divine Providence? Great to talk with you!
  • Oct 27 2013: I am in my late twenties. I may say no to the cure now. My answer may certainly change when I am staring at death, probably after 20-30 years. With all the responsibilities, so much more to do, eat, places to visit etc., I might be tempted to say yes I want to live some more.
    But, before I take any such cure, I will ask a question to myself, if this life is worth extending? If I was helpful / inspirational to someone? If the answer is no. I have no right to take the cure but to kick the bucket :)

    “We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life.”
    ― Nikos Kazantzakis (Zorba the Greek)
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    Oct 27 2013: You know that old saying" If I knew I was going to live this long I would have taken better care of myself " would really ring true .
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      Oct 27 2013: Jeff,
      And if we take as good care of our self as possible all the time, there might be no regrets?
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        Oct 27 2013: That is something a grown up responsible person would say , I am trying to be that kind of person , I do try to maintain that responsible way of thinking .

        I have taught my three kids to be that way , or at least try to be .
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          Oct 28 2013: Are you suggesting Jeff, that I might be a "grown up responsible person?" Yikes!!! Well, I am in some respect...AND....I like to recognize the child-like curious, playful, joyful parts of my "self" as well:>)

          You make a good point....I wonder if all those who accept the magic injection, which guarantees immortality, would be willing to maintain lifestyles which might support good health? We have a lot of people now (especially in western cultures, where obesity is rampant) who apparently are not thinking about taking care of their body/mind.

          I wonder if this magic injection of immortality would encourage MORE responsibility for taking good care of the body/mind? Or LESS responsibility? The magic injection sounds like another "quick fix" WITHOUT taking responsibility for oneself.
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        Oct 28 2013: Self-body relationship... Very interesting
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          Oct 28 2013: Well Gerald, if we're going to be immortal, we better start paying attention to our body/mind.....don't you think?
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        Oct 28 2013: That's kind of counter-intuitive, but you're right. If you're more than a mere vehicle, life and the body you occupy has more value!
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          Oct 28 2013: I am a very practical person Gerald, and I perceive my body as a vehicle. Regardless of any other beliefs, the body carries us from point A, to point B in this life experience....does it not?

          It walks, talks and has operating systems.....just like my Ford Ranger....except my ranger rolls, rather than walks, and it doesn't talk much:>)

          Just like the ranger, I put good fuel in the body/mind, maintain it, get it inspected every once in awhile, and make sure it's in good running order.....as healthy as possible:>)
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        Oct 28 2013: my point is that you'd have an ever more special relationship with the Ford if it was eternal.. not just a vehicle.
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          Oct 28 2013: There is proof, Gerald, that the ford ranger is not eternal....especially in Vermont.....where substances (including salt) are used on the road to control icy conditions. I have a great relationship with the ford ranger....I maintain it well, and it works pretty well for me. I also have a great relationship with my body/mind, which I maintain well.....here....and now:>)
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    Oct 27 2013: i will go for a cure which can assure good health till my last breath but not immortality.
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    Oct 27 2013: I just checked .... it is not covered under Obamacare.

    I am 70 years young and it is natural for things to wear out. When G'Pa died at 106 he told me a year or so before that he was lonely. His wife was dead, friends all dead, some of his children, there were few who he could talk to about the past and have shared experiences.

    Many people on this site complain that the earth is to crowded and that the food sources have dried up and we are facing many problems related to this. I think it would be funny if we matched their past objections to overpopulation etc ... to their answer here.

    I, for one, believe in the natural deterioration of the body and somewhat to the mind. I think I would pass. I have a living will and do not wish to be kept alive by machine and become a financial and mental burden to my family. I think that is the most selfish thing a person could wish on their family. Under race put ... vegetable.

    But that is just one persons opinion.

    Be well. Bob.
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      Oct 27 2013: With a Grandpa who lived until 106, you can indeed consider yourself young! I too would not want to be a burden to my loved ones.
  • Oct 27 2013: The dead only know one thing, it is better to be alive. Imagine how skilled you could become at any craft. Look at what masters can do in one lifetime, imagine ten lifetimes. The only thing is unless we make it of this rock we get to go when our mother earth does, that is if she's even here for it.
  • Oct 26 2013: What if?

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • Oct 26 2013: Would that be an injection just against dying but not against getting older? :) I'm more interested in getting one for my car.

    Too bad that there are many people that do think they are their car/body
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    Oct 26 2013: Christians fully expect to live forever in bodies built for that purpose. Living forever in the bodies we now have would be a pretty painful experience. Roll on eternity.

    :-)
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      Oct 26 2013: "bodies built for that purpose"
      What do you mean ? What kind of body would that be ?
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        Oct 27 2013: "Philippians 3:20-21 NIV
        [20] But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, [21] who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body."
        When Jesus rose from the dead his body was transformed. It could pass through walls, & eventually levitated out of sight. Our new bodies will not grow old, get sick, feel pain, or die. Our present bodies are constantly updating, but there is a malfunction.

        :-)
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          Oct 28 2013: Good luck with that Peter, let me know when you accomplished that goal. ;-)
  • Oct 26 2013: if it would be real, it would be a real paradox, it would set everything upside down. If you do, Will your relatives do? Will I try them to take it? And if don´t Will I not take just because of being nonsense being aside my deared people?
    It is a good dilemma.
    Can anyone picture a social system in which everyone could take the possibility of being alive as long as you want (with or without committing suicide). Then possibly killers would be highly awarded.
    or a social system in which you can see what previous generations have done wrongly and have to face the consequences. leaving really time to correct your actions, and more often to see the consequences of some actions.
    How would be the contribution to the better in group, as it is called the Government of a nation, financially, emotionally, socially. What about seniors that want to live longer and adults (their children) that don´t?

    It seems a good hyppothetical future to loose our thoughts, unless it could be physical possible someday, which has romantically called the fountain of ethernal youth in our imaginary.
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    Oct 26 2013: nope.

    tax and death are the only certainties in life so that would leave an eternity of taxes.

    dying of boredom would eventually negate the injection I reckon..
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    Oct 25 2013: I'm O.K with having one life-time at a time, sequentially. In this way I can enjoy my immortality and get a fresh start each time to put right the mistakes and misunderstandings I had the previous time around.
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      Oct 25 2013: At least if you are wrong (which is more than likely), you are not going to have any chance to regret your decision once you are gone.
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        Oct 26 2013: Not only in eastern religions, but re-incarnation used to be accepted as normal/obvious even in the emerging christian churches, up until about the year CE.350 when "official doctrine" decided you had only one crack at it to get it right. This was useful for the purpose of control and domination via religion as a political tool to keep people in fear.
        However, either way, I've got plenty of material to work from in the current life-time.
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          Oct 26 2013: Joshua, in a technical sense we keep re incarnating for eternity because they basic building block we are made of are not lost with our death. They only get recycled.
          It's just a question how one interprets reincarnation.
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        Oct 27 2013: I agree that 'nothing is lost' when we die, or rather 'nothing that is real is lost'.
        To what extent we remain conscious of some sort of individuality and to what extent we go back into some cosmic 'melting pot', before then being reconstituted in a different form, is a big question; and as you say - a matter of interpretation.
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          Oct 28 2013: Until somebody can prove otherwise, I have to believe that with our death, consciousness will be gone as well.
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        Oct 28 2013: What would you accept as proof?
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          Oct 28 2013: Any proof obtained using the scientific method. For example, somebody could prove that consciousness exists disembodied. Or,perhaps one could show that the source of consciousness is not the brain but something else.
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        Oct 29 2013: There are plenty of stories by people who have experienced OOBs (Out Of Body experiences), and been aware that their consciousness is existing somewhere other than in their body. I'm not sure if you would accept their testimonies as adequate proof.
        Where on earth did you get the idea that consciousness resides in the brain? By what authority is such a statement made? And why would you trust/believe that authority? And why should that "authority's opinion" be taken as the one to be disproved? To say that consciousness resides in the brain is like saying the film you are watching is happening inside the T.V.
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          Oct 29 2013: No, stories are stories and not scientific proof. Some people tell stories about alien abductions, Bigfoot, monster of Loch Ness and other funny things. Just telling a story doesn't make it true.
          So, you don't think that consciousness originates in the brain ? Cool, so perhaps you can tell me where it resides then, where it comes from and where it eventually goes after death.
          By what authority ? The human body is a closed system. We don't have features floating outside of our body, whether that is a soul a mind or consciousness. This is basic science you can easily find in countless text books.
          If you don't believe it feel free to come up with your own (scientific) theory, publish it in recognized scientific media, get it peer reviewed and then we continue talking.
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        Oct 30 2013: Well, given that the history of science is the history of failed theories, I'm sure we'll soon see science refuting the idea that consciousness resides in the brain - though of course brain activity and consciousness happen together.
        In fact, cutting edge scientists who have retained the ability to think originally and keep an open mind, already are thinking differently. For example, Margaret Newman in her book "Health as expanding consciousness". Also see the biologist Rupert Sheldrake in "7 experiments that could change the world"; and the work of Isthak Bentov, the later work of David Bohm (physicist), and Bruce Lipton (biologist).
        Of course, any discussion about consciousness needs an agreement and a careful definition of what is meant by it.
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          Oct 30 2013: Joshua, you didn't answer me. Where do you think is consciousness located if you think it's not a product of brain activity ?
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        Oct 30 2013: I'm with the mystics (Meister Eckard, Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Rumi, etc); consciousness is the stuff of the universe, and we are essentially made of the same "stuff". Consciousness is what we are.
        In as much as it makes any sense in 3D language, we are in it. The brain reflects conscious activity, rather than causes it. Like the TV example I gave, the action you see on the TV (paralleled as neuron activity in your brain) took place elsewhere (in the film studio); likewise individual consciousness tuning into part of "collective consciousness" to use Jung's terminology.
  • Oct 25 2013: I wouldn't mind this provided it was more of the Tolkien-sense of immortality, not invincibility, where the Elves would live forever but could be killed. This always leaves the option open to reverse the process whenever, as well as continue the risk of deadly behavior such as war, skydiving, etc. It may foster a more healthy lifestyle in that as long as you keep yourself healthy you can live indefinitely, but things like drugs, smoking, etc could bring about an eventual end.
  • Oct 25 2013: I'd take it without thinking twice.
    If I ever regret it, its not like reversing the process is difficult.

    Being physically unable to die in a more absolute sense (immunity to a violent death alongside the "never age or get sick" package) is quite another thing, as its only a matter of time until you find yourself trapped someplace where you'd really want to die instead.
    The more realistic version that only includes never aging or disease on the other hand, sounds wonderful.
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    Nov 24 2013: Everyone is answering this question within the confines of the idea of life. It is interesting to note that we do not so much care to include 'death' within the idea of life whereas 'birth' is tacitly assumed as included. Immortality, IMHO, does not ensure life (the idea with which we are accustomed).
    I do not want to be immortal to see my son getting old, infirm and die. That will be hardly any 'life' for me. If we all are immortal somehow, I want all memories of past erased so that we all are perfectly ageless. That would mean all stories, history, traditions, culture and relationships gone. I am very unwilling to embrace such an immortal existence.
    • Nov 24 2013: I am a little confused by your argument for a couple of reasons. First, you draw a correlation between birth and death both being a part of life, but it might be a bit more helpful if you explained what you mean. The way I see it, birth is simply a location-based change during the course of our natural development where we move from inside the mother's body to the outside world. However, this is simply a part of the natural processes which allow us to be alive, using our senses and doing things, whereas death by any means is the complete breakdown of those processes. The point of achieving immortality is to maintain or supplement those natural processes so that they don't stop (i.e. cause us to die), allowing people to continue living (sensing and acting) throughout the world.

      Secondly, if you were able to achieve immortality, the presupposition here is that your son could as well, so you would not need to experience such an unfortunate turn of events.

      Lastly, you say that you "want all memories of past erased so that we all are perfectly ageless," if people were immortal, but then you say you are "unwilling to embrace such an immortal existence." Could you explain because I am having trouble understanding and these statements seem contradictory to me.
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    Nov 24 2013: I like to romanticize in the notion we are in a sense already immortal, everything in the universe is one unit and that what we sense as physical is in reality constructed from non-material waves.

    With this notion aside I can see why people would be against the idea of immortality. Why prolong life if the quality of life depreciates as you get older. Watch ‘Festival of Dangerous Idea 2013: Satyajit Das.” Das’ talks about prosperity built on the wealth trinity – a well-paying job, a nice house and comfortable retirement finance by superannuation is just an illusion. As we get older, the more difficult it becomes to fund the lifestyle we are accustomed to. In addition to this, the world would not be able to sustain life if populations were to increase immensely as the natural resources would be strained.

    Despite this bleak picture painted, I would still opt for immortality. I share the same opinion as Thom Spanos in which immortality “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”. I think of beautiful people like Jacque Fresco who is 97 and continues to strive for improving society through engineering sustainable cities. It’s inspirational to find those individuals that persist on endeavouring despite the end product of their efforts will not happen within their lifetime.

    I would opt for immortality so I could devote my life to contributing to the positive progression of our evolution. I do believe if we were to reach the new evolutionary paradigm it would eliminate poverty, crime, corruption and war because traits such as truth, loyalty, justice and freedom would override our negative traits which are the cause of our problems. We would finally have evolved to have the mental capacity to fully understand the quantum and the astro and everything in between and I believe this can be achieved through scientific discovery.
  • Nov 22 2013: This notion is in conflict with the organic nature and processes that define and characterize life.

    I fully understand wanting to live a long full healthy life. To a large extent what makes life so precious is that it is periousabile. Also life is a consequence of natural history which means that it is developmental, best described as a life cycle with all that implies.

    I presume immortality would involve retaining our organic construction and so what value is there in extending life if one's mental health deteriorates, along with one's senses, mobility, etc, etc.? We are constructed of renewable cell units that weather over time. Just meeting the definition of being alive may best be described as hell on earth, not just for the individual, but others as well.

    Isn't it best to be daily thankful for our miraculous existence and seek to enrich this personal gift of life, despite the fact that some day life on earth will end for each of us and become history, which in turn is subject to its own fleeting life in the evolution of the cosmos, or would this creative idea imortality transend this consequene as well?
  • Nov 21 2013: Immortality does not presume infinite consciousness. The answer depends on the specifics.

    In this question's case, the only rule is that you die when you choose to die. However, any practical eternal life likely includes more or less eternal youth.
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    Nov 21 2013: The day, and if, human beings become immortal, our world will become more mortal. The only way to become mortal is keep being mortal and allow the cycles of life and change to keep running.

    Nobody likes to die and I do not think many, including myself, will escape the temptation to go for it, if it happens but I just hope that such a day never comes.
  • Nov 20 2013: Well, given my religious views (Christian) I can't say I would be too keen on the idea of not ever dying, but I could see the appeal. Imagine the advances that could be made with all that time.
  • Nov 20 2013: If I could live for a thousand years with my body and mind in its youth along with my friends and family _ I might choose the injection but immortality is forever with no hope of change. how many billion years would pass before insanity took over.

    I am happy with the current arrangement
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    Nov 20 2013: Although it's appealing to prefer immortality over mortality, I honestly think that I would prefer mortality, unless of course the quality of life (health, socioeconomic well-being, social/love life, etc.) could be guaranteed with choosing immortality.

    Hypothetically speaking, with choosing immortality, are we going to visibly age? What is our quality of life? Are our friends, family, and romantic partners also choosing immortality? Are we going to be able to afford the socioeconomic costs associated with immortality?

    Immortality essentially could be downright depressing. Seriously, would anyone want to live alone, forever as a homeless, jobless, wheelchair-bound immortal who looks like a California raisin (with a slew of incurable health problems)?
  • Nov 20 2013: To say that death is natural or that it is a final experience is to rationalize that which you must reconcile with your mind. All of our romanticised ideas about death result from the need we feel to get over that primal fear of the void.

    I don't prescribe to the view that a rationalized belief can be a surrogate for the truth. Death is most likely an end, a nothing, and nothing more than nothing. I fear it, for it can rob me of everything good.
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    Nov 20 2013: I would if and only if I also have the option of being injected to death. I have no fear of living nor dying. I have a pretty good idea of what my life is but I have nothing on death except my own personal belief. So death can wait. I have nothing to loose either way, although I am inclined to say that I have more to loose living, in a materialistic point of view that is.
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    Nov 20 2013: My belief based on eternal truth says that I am immortal. Death is but a dropping of the flower, so that the fruit may grow. It is just a turn of the wheel. At present am living a very satisfied life based on the above truths. If some one comes up with a cure for mortality and results show, and I am around at that time - will see. :))
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      Nov 20 2013: Don't be so modest. It's not a belief if it's based on eternal truth, it's absolute irrefutable knowledge.
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    Nov 20 2013: Things come into being, forming from something else; and things cease to be, transforming into other things. Dead things change more slowly than living things.

    This grasp for immortality is a vain attempt to stop things from changing instead of embracing the change. It's a strange, self-refuting idea.
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    Nov 20 2013: I'd still like to have the option of dying if I got really fed up by life at some point... other then that, yes I'd accept!
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    Nov 20 2013: Love this point:

    "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."

    "Natural" appears to be just another nonsense word.
    • Nov 20 2013: I'm curious about your proof for this position? The universe as a whole experiences "birth" and "death", stars are "born" and stars "die" when they run out of fuel. It is known that our own star will die. How is death not natural and normal?
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        Nov 20 2013: You slightly misunderstand me. I made another comment somewhere above saying, pretty much, what you say.

        My point here is that "natural" and "normal" are meaningless words. After watching this video, I cannot say for sure what to call "natural" or "normal" :-).

        http://www.ted.com/talks/kees_moeliker_how_a_dead_duck_changed_my_life.html

        I simply try to avoid these words in my language.
        • Nov 20 2013: Yeah I read your above comment after I read this one and almost deleted the one I made :) I wasn't sure if I was missing something or not. Thanks for the reply.
  • Nov 20 2013: I remember reading about a myth (I think it was Greek, it was a long time ago!) when I was back in high school. Someone asked for and was granted eternal life but forgot to ask for eternal youth. He shriveled up into what is now known as a grasshopper. As the saying goes: Be careful what you wish for. There may be consequences that we could not possibly foresee. Many movies and plays have explored the idea of immortality and a darker picture starts to emerge after awhile. Having to watch loved ones die one after the other and situations (history) constantly repeat themselves would most likely negatively affect ones mental health. Some may call me a fool but I believe that there is a reason that we are not immortal. According to scientists and religious types alike, not even the universe is immortal.
  • Nov 19 2013: No I would not.

    Life is experience based. If you are immortal, how many unique experiences can you really have? Would you repeat the same experiences over (variations of the same experience)?

    Death is the final experience and is not to be feared. The only reason for choosing not to die is based on fear: Fear of dying itself, OR fear of missing out on something, OR fear of leaving someone behind, OR fear of causing someone grief , OR fear of retribution in an afterlife, etc etc.

    Socrates said (via Plato):

    Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is great reason to hope that death is a good, for one of two things: - either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another.

    Now if you suppose that there is no consciousness, but a sleep like the sleep of him who is undisturbed even by the sight of dreams, death will be an unspeakable gain. For if a person were to select the night in which his sleep was undisturbed even by dreams, and were to compare with this the other days and nights of his life, and then were to tell us how many days and nights he had passed in the course of his life better and more pleasantly than this one, I think that any man, I will not say a private man, but even the great king, will not find many such days or nights, when compared with the others.

    Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night.

    But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead are, what good, O my friends and judges, can be greater than this? If indeed when the pilgrim arrives in the world below, he is delivered from the professors of justice in this world, and finds the true judges...
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    Nov 19 2013: An eternal life on this earth has to be extremely painful. I don't think anyone can bear so many wars, injustices and misery.

    Thanks but one life-time on this planet in enough.

    I believe if my good deeds are more than my evil deeds I shall be granted an eternal life in gardens of heaven(Insha'Allah: God willing). Where no evils shall remain- that is what I'd love to get.
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    Nov 19 2013: I'm 15 and I think I might take it. That is if I felt healthy and not like my bones were decaying inside of me. It depends on a lot of factors overall. How does this effect a person physically and physiologically? I feel like 80-100 years on Earth is not enough time. Sometimes I feel sad about how short life is and how I won't be able to see or do as much as I would like to. Either way I feel like it would be both good and bad. We couldn't have just anyone living forever, oh god no. Although, maybe it would be nice. Depends on how other people find it. I wouldn't be the first to try, but I definitely wouldn't be the first to reject.
  • Nov 18 2013: Wouldn't the mortality cure have to handle senescence, and thus entail eternal youth?
    • Nov 24 2013: The specific "cure" for mortality, regarding senescence at least, would be telomerase.

      (Just some background info):
      Every time one of our cells replicates itself, a bit of our DNA gets chopped of from the end, from a section of molecules called a telomere. Telomeres are mainly just meaningless DNA, but serve an important function as an aglet - a sort of protective cap that keeps any meaningful DNA from chopped off and also keep the entire strand from unraveling. Unfortunately, telomeres get worn away after about 50 cell divisions, so our cells stop replicating after ~49 divisions to avoid complete telomere erosion.
      That is senescence, the aging of our bodies as more and more cells stop replicating.

      (The "cure")
      Telomerase is an enzyme found naturally in some of our cells (stem and sex cells) that reconstructs our telomeres as they wear down, making those cells biologically immortal and overcoming senescence. The gene for manufacturing it is in all of our cells, but is simply deactivated in all but those aforementioned.

      (The catch)
      So, if we were to activate that enzyme in all of our cells, we would become - in theory - biologically immortal. In reality, if we were biological immortal, death by cancer would be inevitable simply because there's constant probability of developing cancer every moment of our lives in every one of our cells. The chances are, most people would develop cancer before they turn 120, or around that age.

      In conclusion, biological immortality is attainable, yet true immortality is likely unattainable; if not cancer, then a simpler, more physical cause would end your life, such as a car accident.
      • Nov 24 2013: Oh, I knew all that. I simply wanted to remind all other commenters that any sort of relative immortality would of necessity include relatively eternal youth.

        For any more functional immortality, we'd require some sort of "cure" for cancer, regardless.

        True immortality is completely impossible, however, thanks to heat death and entropy.
  • Nov 18 2013: Tempting proposition but I think I'll pass. What if you lose your job ? Again who will go out with a 200 year old man? What if I change my mind? And most frightening what if none of my friends and family can afford this cure ? Finally would you wear bell bottoms when they come around again, I am sure they will if you are around long enough.
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    Nov 18 2013: I would not take it. I imagine how stagnant people would become, me included, thinking they had forever to do something. This is not to say that I don't want a long life. Also, there's the well known argument that without death, there would be no reason to live, that I agree with. On a spiritual level.. I believe in God and life after death. I look at death as liberation of this form, of this type of intelligence. Furthermore, even if there wasn't any life (or sentience) after death you wouldn't really be missing anything.
  • Nov 17 2013: Of course, statistically we would all eventually be killed by lightening strike. Well, perhaps not one of us. So, what you are really asking is would we rather live our lives in health and youth or grow old before we die. For me, youth wins every time because I can make so much better use of my time.
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    Nov 16 2013: If I and all others could live in a world that did not fall prey to the notion that strongest survive and all others are baggage, yes, I would stay awhile longer. As i sit here, I have absolutely no faith in the moral conduct of our human race. When and if we ever realize we are all one, all connected and when one suffers we all suffer, I'll give thought to a return trip.
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      Nov 17 2013: One way of being optmisitic about the future is reading how much pessimists look forward to die.
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        Nov 17 2013: Or Gerald we never die. immortality is not an option it is a given.
        using the term pessimism is an assumption on your part.
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          Nov 17 2013: Yes it's an assumption based on your happy comment : "I have absolutely no faith in the moral conduct of our human race".

          That aside, I think you and I need to agree on the definition of "death".
  • Nov 16 2013: Remember, before you read my comments, they are my personal views for me only. I am not converting anyone to these views. I do not wish to argue anyone about the views just chime in what another person feels about the conversation material content only.

    The hospitals and doctors offices are always full of people seeking to get better from whatever health ailment is plaguing them.

    The various religions that teach an eternal life after this mortal life are usually full of believers generation after generation.

    The stories you hear how grateful people are that survive cancer, other health issues, disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.

    81% of surveyed Americans believe in life after death.

    What is the point of these comments I have written above? The point being that most of us do not want sickness, death or ageing in our lives. We simply do not need or want these to happen to us. Most of us no matter how worn out and tired we are of life would still choose to live instead of die.

    We still do not know despite all the great scientific, theistic and philosophic theories and purported answers to the basic questions of why and how life and the universe exists, exactly why and how the universe and life exists to our complete satisfaction. This leaves open the possibility that just maybe there could be an answer out in outer space somewhere that will tell us whether immortality is for real when we leave this body.

    I was never given a choice whether I wanted to die (which I do not want to, ever) and as a result feel cheated that this choice was never on the table sort of speak as an option for me to choose from. It simply is a given that I will die sometime and this is not acceptable to me.

    Outer Space is so big that it could easily accommodate all the people that ever lived or died whether we colonize it by human technology or there is a super natural way to do it.

    I would gladly take the immortal cure simply because I want to exist forever.
  • Nov 16 2013: If that injection make me young again and the live for about...1000 years...I will welcome that immortality!
  • Nov 15 2013: I would choose to live an immortal life if the Mortality cure is found withen my lifetime. I mean really
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    Nov 15 2013: Precious metals wouldn't be worth anything if there was an endless supply, I think the same applies here. Obviously what you accomplished would count, but life itself might lose its luster.
  • Nov 15 2013: While immortality may seem like a good idea it is filled with problems. First, immortality means you never die from sickness. Second, depending on the volume of immortals, the strain on the planet's resources would create wars, famine, migration and climate change that would be a burden on both the immortal elite and the mortal poor. By creating this meritocracy of the wealthy immortal elite we create a class that has the power to suck all the money and power unto themselves. At some point there would have to be population control placed on any immortal because their ability to reproduce would exponentially increase the world's population and related problems associated with it.

    On the other hand, what impact does immortality have on the human psyche? Would this person abuse his or her uniqueness and become a tyrant, or would the strain of such a long life make them a madman? One thing is sure, they will for certain make use of their superiority over everyone else.
    • Nov 18 2013: In the Methuselah Long books, Heinlein addresses all these excesses when only some possess eternal life. Pretty ugly future.
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    Nov 14 2013: If it were the type of immorality where I could still choose to die at some point, yes, I would probably go for it. Especially since I would most likely not be the only one, and so I wouldn't necessarily have to see every person I ever meet die. While we're not necessarily geared towards living forever, I think that we have enough flexibility through cultural change to deal with the effects, but who knows.
  • Nov 14 2013: wow that would be awesome"""""" but if we immortal then having children will be illegal, bcz the gov.... will not no wut 2 do with with all the people, so u will go 2 jail just 4 making babies, bcz this planet is not that big, there will not be any space to walk............... so (NO THANX) ill pass
  • Nov 14 2013: I would not go for immortality mainly because at a certain point the sun will expire and the earth will cease to be habitable. If I was immortal, presumably I would continue to live on even without nourishment, sunlight, or anything. I prefer to spare myself from such a miserable experience and accept the reality of mortality.
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    Nov 14 2013: I agree, immortality is a humanistic concept.

    As for Hitler, he would one of the few in history that I would want to be immortal, on the condition that his immortal life was confined to one of the squalid cellars he created without any contact to the world that survived him.
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      Nov 14 2013: Damn, you're less of a Christian than the God of the Old Testament! An eye for an eye, uh?
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        Nov 14 2013: The concept of immortality would be the ultimate punishment.
  • Nov 14 2013: Sure,why not. Anything goes wrong, I would just kill myself then.

    The real problem is as time limited being,no one is able to understand nor imgine the cure as a possiblity that can be "if".

    BTW,I'm learning English.I will appreciate correcting my grammar from anyone.
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    Nov 14 2013: So only accidental or intentional death? It's simplistic to think that human life could be immortal here on earth. What's the use? Frivolous pursuit.

    Science would be better spent on enriching our natural healthy life span.

    Yes, I suppose we could devise a way to recharge/renew/replace the human being so that it remains alive... But I would think a more humane thing to pursue would be a way to die with dignity.

    If Einstein was alive today so, too, would be Hitler. A pandora's box should be buried unopened.
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    Nov 14 2013: So only accidental or intentional death? It's simplistic to think that human life could be immortal here on earth. What's the use? Frivolous pursuit.

    Science would be better spent on enriching our natural healthy life span.

    Yes, I suppose we could devise a way to recharge/renew/replace the human being so that it remains alive... But I would think a more humane thing to pursue would be a way to die with dignity.

    If Einstein were alive today so, too, would be Hitler. A pandora's box should be buried unopened.
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      Nov 14 2013: I think Hitler would still be in jail. Another twenty years and then, he'd be out for good conduct, thus abbreviating his one-century sentence. He'd have a hard time getting a job and convincing people that 90 years behind bars can change a man completely. He'd have written sixty eight books, none of which would have been authorized to be published. It's a shame because his last, "Mein stupid Kampf", is not the best prose but is an intelligent and courageous hindsight on how ideology led to horror.
      There's something surprisingly humanistic about immortality, in fact : with time, everybody might change. Only fascism can then justify death penalty, or refuse 2033 Hitler a job in WallMart.
  • Nov 14 2013: When bored with what you have to do and dislike your environment and people and things around you,immortality is prison from which you want to escape to a fresh set of existence transisting through death.
  • Nov 13 2013: IF THE IMMORTALITY WILL CURE THE EVIL IN MEN I WILL EMBRACE IT
  • Nov 12 2013: Well on the plus side it would make it easier to get a mortgage.
    On the other hand it would seem to stop human evolution in it's tracks; we might never discover what it is we were meant to be. ( That is until we have pukkah space travel, at which time everybody welcome to live as long as their oxygen holds out.)
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      Nov 12 2013: Isn't the next step of human evolution changing your DNA while still alive as an organism?
      And our purpose? To embody knowledge in ever smaller SD cards.
      • Nov 13 2013: Certainly we'll have the power to do it, but the wisdom?
        We seem to be in the midst of a very fast natural evolution/mutation; maybe autism, aspergers etc. give us a clue as to where that mutation is leading. Trying to take control of that process in our state of ignorance is dangerous, we may never get wise enough to even realise what we're missing.
        I could make a similar point about the whole debate; we don't know what happens to our conciousness after death, we could spend a thousand years avoiding it then find out it's the best bit; we don't know, I admit I don't relish the idea of finding out but maybe we just need to take it on the chin and give the youth a run.

        Nice insight re the SD cards, comforting. Also backed by evidence, which should make the Vatican uneasy.
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          Nov 13 2013: If we define consciousness as a thought process, I think we both know what being dead feels like.
          Or if you've watched a Christopher Nolan movie recently.
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      Nov 12 2013: when will we able to control evolution, and tune our genes as we want? 100 years? 1000? does not matter if we live forever, does it? so evolution only stops to take a breath.
      • Nov 13 2013: On a small planet it matters because if death rate is near zero then birth rate has to be near zero also.
        No evolution.
      • Nov 13 2013: Yes sir we can, but we can only change them randomly or to a human design. We know less than one percent of nothing about the deep mysteries of life, conciousness and evolution; we may turn ourselves into super-humans and never realise that human was only temporary.
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        Nov 13 2013: You kind of imagine that technology and knowledge are going to change but humans will always face the same existential problems. But that just isn't true. Life/death, person/programm, real/virtual... and so on. None of our current philosophy will be of any worth in a few centuries. I just love the thought of that.
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        Nov 13 2013: Who is the "You", you mean? It's a general you. I just had these thoughts after reading your comment about not needing babies... Just a thought.
  • Nov 12 2013: No. I would choose to stay mortal. I find that it's important to die. When it's my time, it's my time and I should accept that and welcome death with a smile. That is why I'm making sure I leave no regrets in life.

    In my opinion it's important to die, you have consumed of nature and now it's nature's turn to consume you and give chance to another soul to experience life(recycle of life). If you do not die, another will not life. I cannot explain it, but the cycle of (human) life will stop. And this will have huge consequences. Especially considering only our childeren can suprass us, so humans will stop evolving (physically and mentally). Also progress in every field would slow down because only childeren(or child-like/open mind) can break out of the box thinking and be innovative, And for progress you need innovation and new ways of thinking.

    This is how I see the consequences and to me the right thing to do is, to die when times comes, because it's nature. And you can't defy nature because it will have consquences beyond measures(we are part of it).
    • Nov 18 2013: I was kinda with you until you hit the 'only children can' thing. Actually, humans kind of 'evolve' in spurts. We are not in a big push right now, we are fine tuning what we have. Last big push was probably from 1860-1906. Everything we have today grew out of things developed then. Heck, one of the reasons I am so bored is that there hasn't been any really 'new' music in about thirty years, no really 'new' literary or visual outputs.

      Human phenotype hasn't changed in thousands of years, we are just better at keeping healthy what was healthy and preventing what isn't healthy so we are taller and live longer. Better diet, medicine. You could say the average person is more intelligent but 17th century man had access in his lifetime to the amount of data you consume in a day. Access to more of anything does not equal evolution.
  • Nov 12 2013: Not sure if this was said yet, but no because the carbon footprint would be huge and, overall, bad for humanity.
  • Nov 12 2013: David,
    I think you about covered it all.
    I agree entirely.

    I'm off to the great beyond soon...
    This has been a great life.
  • Nov 12 2013: How could you not take the injection?
    If you could say no to immortality should you not also say no to getting a flu shot?
    or taking any sort of meds.
    i would take immortality in a second.
    i enjoy life and i would love to learn what other humans may not because life
    is SHORT.
    • Nov 15 2013: Very old people will have better end life without flu injections and avoiding lot of medicine.
  • Nov 12 2013: Nah, Why bother.
    Time is a time for living and a time for dying.
    I am old, I don't want to live forever.
    Been there, done that.
    Done too much of a lot of things.
    Ask the NSA, they know.

    Like not knowing the sex of your next child.
    Great to be surprised at the birth.

    But dream on.
    People like yourself need irrational hope.
    That's why someone created religions.
    I gives you a wall to learn on.*

    *I was going to correct this last sentence but
    it is so funny, I decided to leave it alone.

    Consider this.
    What if you got a placebo instead...?
    • Nov 12 2013: Having rationalised that there is no existence beyond this, but respecting how religion gives so many people joy that there is, I do wonder if that self deception possibly gives them a better life now. I prefer to delight in the absolute privilege to have known conscious thought for a time, to be able to share that learning with my friends and loved ones, and then one day be ready to move on, most importantly making room and leaving a better place, I hope, for my successors and others to follow.
      Religion is so basically selfish. Mortality and its acceptance as final creates a far greater feeling of doing for others, whereas religion encourages us to be good, but for a selfish immortal reward in 'heaven' so wanting immortality is pure selfishness. I prefer to live a mortal life caring about those alongside me.
  • Nov 12 2013: i wouldnt because you would live for ever, and if you live fore ever, you live for nothing
  • Nov 11 2013: Of course - you would have the time to master every art possible, experience everything, and when you finally get infinitely tired of your infinite existence, you can choose to end it. All the injection would do is expand your choices and remove restrictions - which is never a bad thing.
    • Nov 11 2013: An excellent reason Tom! However, I couldn't help, but think of two questions. Now we know that you as an individual won't have any angst to finish mastery given an unlimited amount of time, but resource-wise their will be a limit, my question is then, wouldn't then there be some limitation to what you pursue? Also, would birth defects, genetic-diseases still be present in this world where no one dies?
      • Nov 15 2013: Immortality does not assure continued mental health.
      • Nov 15 2013: A fair point with the resources, however I'd argue that there'd be enough time to regenerate those resources, assuming you had the patience.

        I think, however, i would still take the choice. I wouldn't find it entirely difficult to decide either - there is still no downside to which i can see, you can still just perform 'the ultimate cop-out' and end it all. I think I'd be more troubled if the question was changed so that i could never die.
  • Nov 11 2013: No. Here is the problem no one seems to get. With enough time you could master every discipline that even remotely interested you. But only age brings wisdom. A race of immortal children will act exactly like that. Children. What makes you think a long life span would make anyone anything but a really good slacker? Where is the root of empathy if not in our shared suffering? Make no mistake, our mortality, our frailties, are as integral to our humanity as our intellect and genetic structure. All of this is without considering the issue of consciousness and the soul.
    Also imagine laboring for centuries as a barista at Starbucks`
    • Nov 12 2013: "Make no mistake, our mortality, our frailties, are as integral to our humanity as our intellect and genetic structure. "- I agree and like that. Because we are mortal and fragile, our lifes are more valued.

      And btw, you can --never-- master a discipline, let alone multiple or every. An individual cannot move further than it's race. A good film to bring out more perspective on this is "Man from Earth". The guy lived 10k years but still could not master even 1 field, because of time and overall progress. It's also beautifuly explained in the movie itself.
  • Nov 11 2013: I would choose to live eternally because there is no limit to the progress i could make as a person. I live for self development because of the contribution that allows me to make for the world, living forever would make my personal growth exponential. I could truly master every art. on top of that, i would fill every desire imaginable
  • Nov 10 2013: May i ask you what kind of immortality you think? Because I think that is better question than anything else. You have to ask your what kind of life would you like to live in your future and what would you need for it and in what kind of form of being you would like to reach it.
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    Nov 10 2013: Mortality isn't necessarily an illness or a natural conclusion to our earthly existence; it may simply be a lack of imagination, a deference to the status quo, the acceptance of the mantra "What goes around, comes around".

    Perhaps we don't have to' shuffle off the mortal coil', that we do so because we believe that we must.
  • Nov 10 2013: no i would never go for the injection.i prefer God decides for me because he knows better when is the best time for me to die of course if i'm religious and i trust him.
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      Nov 10 2013: Do you take medecine when you're struck by illness?
      • Nov 11 2013: Thanks for ur comment.
        Of course, if u dont take medicine, it means that u r going to suicide which is a mortal and deadly and unforgivable sin! i suppose u didnt get what i mean.maybe i must explain more ab my answer!
        but unfortunately i dont have enough time.later. v soon
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      Nov 11 2013: Does your god decide who gets hit by a truck or which children die from cancer?
      • Nov 11 2013: firstly thanks for ur attention and ur comment.
        secondly it's a long discussion.now i dont have enough time but i'll tell u later.v soon.
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    Nov 9 2013: I'm tired of this game already. I would be miserable if I knew no end was in sight. Death is merely a transition not an end. We value our current state entirely too much.
  • Nov 9 2013: lol,it would be the biggest disaster on the earth.
  • Nov 9 2013: I am old-fashioned I guess ... no injection for me.
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      Nov 9 2013: hello ,I am a chinese .I want to learn englishi 我是中国人
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    Nov 8 2013: Gerald. In reality an injection of anything cannot make your body to last for more than 200 years.
    It simply is not in the DNA program.

    But the interesting thing is that your Soul, will travel to the Astral Field, where you can be as you want, creating anything
    and being as you would like to be.... Eventually, you will be tired of that, and will decide to go back to the Physical Realm or World, wher you will suffer and experience freedom and what you live today.

    So, it is a long way home, since you have to trascend such Physical, Astral, and Causal Worlds, to return to the Origin, The One, or God.

    Thanks for your theme.
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      Nov 9 2013: good , I agree with you
    • Nov 9 2013: There is no "DNA program that specifies aging. There are non-genetic factors associated with DNA that contribute to aging, but those factors such as oxidative damage and deleterious epigenomic alterations are environmental in origin, and they can, in theory, thus be reversed. A greater mystery is the degeneration of telomeres, but there is evidence that this may have either an environmental or protein basis, and either of those would, therefore, be amenable to being halted or even reversed. There is no automatic mortality imperative built into life. Instead, it seems there is a build-up over time of subcellular damage that the body cannot keep up with.
  • Nov 8 2013: Well, I know what I would take right off the bat, especially when being reassured when I can choose to die.

    What would I do? Now thats a different conversation altogether. Of course, as soon as you get the injection, you'll feel like you'll be able to achieve anything in the world. More realistically, however, you'll soon get the mentality that there's always tomorrow to achieve something, so there is no need to do it at the moment. Then you'll never accomplish anything. So the fact that I get to choose when I die, that is probably the deciding factor in my decision, for me to take the injection.
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      Nov 8 2013: People doing stuff don't race death; they race other people, right?
    • Nov 9 2013: I would not "get" the mañana spirit, I already have it! I still get things done. I just have learned to not zip around in desperation like all the other Anglos do.
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    Nov 8 2013: Very interesting perspective. Still leaves me with some questions. One thing that I can't really relate to is that this nurturing of the environment is unnatural. Our sense of empathy, love, beauty, culture are emotions that are (more or less) unique to our species, aren't these qualities formed through many years of evolution. So even the culture we developed and our human emotions like caring for our environment, shouldn't these also be considered as 'natural'?

    And maybe my emotion of wanting to live in a clean and safe environment is purely an instinct to survive, just aswell as taking resources to feed ourselves is the same sort of natural instinct to survive?

    Thank you for your examples. It broadens my view on these personal (and maybe naive) 'questions of life' ;)
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    Nov 7 2013: Mother nature is built do survive and pass on genes.. To evolve... so we should be programmed to keep things in balance.. strangely we're the only species who take things totally OUT of balance (by talking about immortality medicine, building nukes and gasstations for example). We CAN use technology to save our planet, but we don't! So maybe we only conciously 'worry' ,but in practice we're the ones fucking things up by building gasstations (and not only in Andorra.) and utilizing that great technology in other 'amazing' ways.

    The reason why I mention permaculture is, that the whole concept behind it is to leave mother nature doing her thing; not giving a fuck. Let organism die, turn into compost so the next new trees, animals and plants have a chance to grow and live and evolve. I think that's beautifull. The whole cycle of life is beautifull to me. I believe by making ourselves immortal we will break that cycle. No more new Beethovens and Shakespeares to inspire us. And I'm pretty sure if Beethoven was immortal eventually he would be even more boring then Andorra ;) And there I agree too: we humans are the only species that have a concept like culture. One of the good things about 'us'...

    And yes mammoths were wiped out by us humans, things haven't particularly improved i.m.h.o. I don't think we should bring them back, I think we should take care of the last few elephants...

    And good to hear that you agree with me that even building gasstations is fucking up a country. Another sparkle of hope.

    I don't live in Andorra, my girlfriend does. It is a beautifull place, great skiing, beautifull hikes, great (local) food, despite those gasstations (yes one of these things people make) and the fact the only shitty city is one big shoppingmall, it's pretty clean here too... but in the end boring as hell. Back to Barcelona soon, happy to have a beer there!

    ps I'm sorry Gerald, but I don't believe they had asteroids in mind when they developed the nuclear bomb ;)

    Salut
    • Nov 8 2013: We are not the only species to take things out of this mythological "balance". We are part of this mythological "balance". Photosynthetic plants destroyed Earth's first ecosystem. It is natural for all species to expand to a region's physical capacity, which is always beyond sustainability, and to consume all resources possible without any sort of self-imposed limit or consideration for "balance". We are just better at it than all the others seem to be, but nothing within a species constrains it. They make no choices and try to grab as much as they can. It is natural to exploit and despoil. What is unnatural is to exercise voluntary restraint, to husband, and to nurture an "environment", "ecosystem", or world as a whole.

      In some cases, natural can turn out to be bad and unnatural turn out to be good.
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      Nov 8 2013: Hey mike, I think you're overestimating humans if you think the idea of life's shortness influences our daily choices.
      I believe beethoven loved music and I believe he would've continued. Perhaps he would've found interest in other things that would eventually replace music. But knowing he was never going to die would not have prevented him from writing his symphonies.

      " And there I agree too: we humans are the only species that have a concept like culture. One of the good things about 'us'..."

      but that's not true. Bees learn from the previous generation how to produce honey. And other apes have cultural tool use, even cultural behaviour.
  • Nov 7 2013: I would not say that we are not made for eternal youth. Our cells reproduce and fix themselves so that we technically have a new body every seven years. Doesn't this seem like the best habitat for eternal youth? I, personally, would not go for it. As with most cures, this one would likely only be available to those who could afford it and I imagine it would be a costly sum. This also means that I would likely watch many that I love die, while I lived. I do not see myself as being in control of when I did either way. Just because old age is out of the equation does not mean that other "unnatural" causes could not take my life. Also, I could never chose when my end would be because I would always second guess myself.
  • Nov 6 2013: Hell No, I want to fly like an eagle, I want to think faster than I can, I want to visit all my friends on other planets in other galaxies, I want to be inside your mind and to travel at the speed of black, I want to open the book of knowledge and quench my thirst, I want to be in as many places as I choose at the same time and mostly I want to not want. Therefore I will leave when waiting is filled.
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    Nov 6 2013: Thinking from a purely individualistic and egocentric perspective: yes I want to see more, yes I want to learn everything there is to learn, I don't want to lose my loved ones, I don't want my loved ones to feel loss, this poor planet will be such a crap place without me. Me, me, me. But I want to have children, and I want to give my children and their children space to breathe.

    This question is to me an illustration how far we are disconnected with the 'us' and put too much emphasis on the 'me'. And browsing quickly through the comments the answers illustrate the same...

    How things are now, the planet will be beyond its limits within 50 years. So put more pressure on our planet? Less space? Kill more animals and screw up more pristine nature to feed an ever increasing population full of individualistic immortals? Watching the daily news forever and see how pathetic and parasitic the human race really is?

    So my answer is a 100% NO!. Ask me the question: will you want to live 10 years less in order to give my children's children the chance to enjoy a cleaner, lusher, healthier, more abundant and beautifull earth I would say YES! Plus, personally (individualistic/egocentric ;) ) I would probably be more prone to live life more 'like there's no tomorrow' instead of 'I can always do it tomorrow because, pff, I'm immortal anyway'...
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      Nov 6 2013: I don't think the planet will be beyond its limits within 50 years, given that global well-being and technology is increasing. And I definitely believe people should not watch daily news, it'll depress you and make you say things like "how pathetic and parasitic the human race really is."
      I agree that our children need psychological if not physical space to develop, and dying is a clean exit. But perhaps with the appropriate rite of passage parents could symbolically die and become ghosts ever after, once the kids are 40 years old.
      The ghost status allows you to give awesome advice, but only when it's summoned.
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        Nov 6 2013: When I hear about the sorry state of the oceans, and almost half the fish species are to be avoided to be eaten, whether by fishing-methods, alarming mercury-levels (this is now and not in 50 years), when I hear this year the amount of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere has increased once again. When our world population is still growing, and our resources getting less and less. When I see that today Monsanto has a full 'go' in Europe to sell their GM mais. When I see that big coorporations (we all know the big boys) even after what's happening today (ecologically, economically etc) still continue doing what they do and every year more and harder: exploiting and ruining our natural resources, exploiting the masses (and laughing their asses off).

        I'm 40 years old, my mom's still alive so no need for her immortality medicine ;)

        Global wellbeing is only increasing for a very few, and their wellbeing is mostly increasing because the rest are paying for it. Even this increase is not infinite.
        Technology is advancing, but drones don't make the world a more peaceful place, pharmaceutical giants keep prices up so the poor still can't enjoy their 'advancements'. I'm sorry, i don't see an upward spiral here. Ofcourse I have sparkles of hope when I see initiatives like perma-culture or open-source systems, and I sincerely hope I will be alive to see the 'global' upward spiral, but my opinion is that our species in general isn't particular keeping things in balance for the rest of the inhabitants of this planet.

        In my opinion killing other people because of religious or cultural differences is pathetic. And sucking a planet dry of resources which are essential for us and our children's wellbeing is parasitic AND pathetic. I will still feel that way if I wouldn't pick up the newspaper.
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          Nov 6 2013: Damn you're a cheerful bastard.
          So you've described the horrors of our times. If that's the best you can do, I can't help feeling blessed and grateful of the state of the world and of humanity.
          A little greenhouse, a little mercury, less fish?
          What else?
          GM food, expensive medecine?
          Ok. Oh and a handful of religious nuts blowing each other up.

          Is that it? The world is an even better place than what I thought it was, then. No WWW 3, no big brother dictatorship, no nuclear wastelands, no plague, no famine?
          You do realize that we're 7 billion, right? And you're telling me that the major inconvenience is that people have access to healthcare, but it's costing them money they'd otherwise use on cellphones?
          It's not heaven, sure. But it's the best time in our history.
          And I won't even mention how relatively awesome it is for Black people, gays and women.
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      Nov 6 2013: Oh and you can't ask ghosts for a loan.
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        Nov 6 2013: Still don't need immortality-medicine: I ask nobody for a loan. Credit is what allows the banks to continue their perverse practices.
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        Nov 6 2013: I can do even better. But maybe we can discuss that with a beer (I'm in St Julia, so if you're really in Andorra we can meet in person and brainstorm about immortality (And I'm a fun guy, really ;))
        The point is I just don't see an upward spiral.
        You're positive about the current state of our planet? You really think it's healthier and cleaner since our industrial revolution began? And it's even getting better?

        Yes freedom and equality came a long way, I agree to the fullest, and that's is one upward spiral.

        And when I hear stories about perma-culture, people getting more critical to what they want to eat, and more and more communities coming together to take care of each other, small scale agriculture etc etc gives me that little sparkle of hope. But it's not a majority (yet)

        If our ecosystem is ruined, and there is no denying that the pressure on our mother nature can't be maintained forever, all this in vain. I truly believe we as a species should change our mentality towards a more responsable, collective and empathic one. I believe denying it and yelling it's better and even getting better is no solution. Increasing our world population with a medicine for immortality neither. Calling people 'bastards' neither. Beer? On me!;)
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          Nov 7 2013: Mother nature doesn't give a fuck. Strangely, we're the only animal that does worry about the environment. Every other thing alive doesn't even care about its own species.
          Now I know the place looks like shit... but maybe that's what it's supposed to look like when some of its creatures have developped the technology to nuke the next wandering asteroid.
          And on the other hand, for every mountain that's been ruined, there's a Beethoven symphony or a Shakespear play to balance the global beauty of the planet.
          And mammoths. Our mother-nature loving ancestors wiped them out. Now it's a white blouse's job to bring 'em back... and to protect them and the rest of this ungrateful biological scum from the next cosmic threat.

          I don't know where St Julia is, because I don't live in Andorra! I wouldn't see the point in that. Talk about a shitty place to live in. Leave it to them to build a gas station every two hundred yards and totally fuck up one of the most beautiful places of Europe.
          Cheers
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    Nov 6 2013: On topic short film in the making, check it here:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1956082973/the-last-generation-to-die-a-short-film
  • Nov 6 2013: You know, I've always wondered what I'd do if I had the chance to live, well, 'forever'. Thing is, what if this hypothetical cure we talk about comes out when we're like, I don't know, 60-70 years old? Would you choose that? Unless of course it goes all Benjamin-Button-like adn you'll go back to youth and all. In that case, I don't see why most of folks wouldn't choose that.
    Maybe if we talk religious for a bit-- God did make us to live forever, then Adam and Eve screwed up and were thrown out of Eden and made mortal. So that'd totally explain why we're always seeking for ways to, well, live forever- because it's in our nature.

    However, being real honest in this, personally I don't think I'd take that chance. I mean, what's the point of life, if you're never going to die? Okay, maybe not 'never', being this hypothetically immortal doesn't mean we can't be killed. So we're going to live forever in fear of being killed any day? Seems like an awful long time for fear, unlike the average what? 70 years?

    I think most of us would take the chance out of curiosity. I mean, yeah, who wouldn't like the chance to fly to Mars or stuff? I can think of many things, since we're always complaining of how little time we have. Yet, I don't know, WORK forever? Because if you're NEVER going to age, you won't stop working either. You can plan your life all you want but when it comes to decide when you want to die, I don't think you'll be THAT willing to die. We're always finding excuses, aren't we?

    So, out of dignity, I'd say no. I'd rather live 60 years to the fullest than twice thinking 'oh, well, I can always live more if I want'.
  • Nov 6 2013: I would not want to be immortal because it would make life as we know it meaningless and too tiring. There is a limit to everything in the physical universe.
  • Nov 5 2013: I would do it, because of how my mind works. There is always something new out there to learn, no matter what it might be. In an infinite universe, there is always something new. I will continue to change and evolve as an individual. Thus, a few centuries down the pike, people who knew me as a mere centegenarian would probably not recognize me as a hemi-millenerian. I would not see my own personal immortality as a static affair, where I tried to find some perfect "now" and cling to it "forever". Perhaps it is because I have finally relinquished the illusion of permanence in any part of existence.
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    Nov 5 2013: That's an extraordinary concept and a great philosophical question...

    The idea of immortal life is something most people look at as a way to avoid the uncertainty and apprehension of death. Because, let's face it, no one has factual evidence that proves what (if anything) happens once the human body dies and the stream of consciousness ends. That alone is enough to scare anyone from wanting their life to end. Immortality offers an escape from that fear by allowing eternal life.

    While that sounds amazing, the consequences of living forever are sometimes overlooked. Having to go on living while everyone around you dies and seeing the world change dramatically would be traumatizing experiences, making the people endowed with this eternal life want to end their life as an escape. Unless these people removed their valuing of human life, they would feel as though their lives were being immortalized for no reason other than to experience pain. Their very existence would be consisted of depression and desolation.

    Personally, the idea of immortality eases fear of dying for me, but the thought of living my life without anyone of value to me, having to repeatedly recreate close connections with new people, would be tiring and feel unnecessary. The overwhelming amount of sadness from constantly losing everyone around me would drive my conscious mind to the point of insanity. That said, unless immortality would be possible for everyone, I would not take the chance.
    • Nov 5 2013: I value human life greatly, but I have lost loved ones already. I will lose more loved ones. I could live with it, because there is always someone else to learn to love--and I expect the same of those who might love me. If I check out, mourning for an appropriate time would be okay, but then get up and forget me, enshrine me, archive me, whatever works for you, and find someone else who can be loved. There is no bottom to the barrel for love, after all.
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        Nov 7 2013: That is true. I too have lost loved ones and agree with your opinion on mourning for an appropriate time. But I have also found that creating close connections with people takes time, and if you are immortal, time is no object. You can recreate these close social bonds with people, but when these bonds break due to their deaths, and you constantly connect new bonds with new people after an appropriate period of mourning, are you living a life with the quality you intended? Is constant rejuvenation of social connections with new people truly valuing the lives of those who have passed?
        • Nov 8 2013: Provide the specific unit of "true value" of another's life. Show me the instrument that measures it. I could make an argument that any widow or widower who remarries must be giving insufficient value to their previous spouse. I've seen the argument made--give me the objective standard whereby to accept or reject that argument. Such "constant rejuvenation" has nothing at all to do with the "true value" of those who have passed. It is called "life", and life is about homeostasis. Homeostasis is a dynamic balance that is the result of constant change. Stasis = death. Homeostasis = life. Real relationships are about life. Embalming and permanent preservation is what one does with a corpse or a museum relic, and those only have "value" when you want to learn from the past. I've lost enough people in my life and moved on enough times to realize that this is also part of a healthy life. Only children with their heads stuffed with fairy-tale nonsense still strongly cling to the idea of "one true" whatever that must be clung to relentlessly and never "replaced" by anything else, no matter what.

          I would not say that this means two immortals could not have a "permanent" relationship, or even that such a "permanent" relationship could not be romantic, conjugal, and monogamous. It could be possible, but aside from those three points, through the span of "eternity", the relationship, itself, would flow, adjust, and live. I'm not who I was 10 years ago. I am who I was 10 years ago. Both of these things are true.
  • Nov 5 2013: we're not made for eternal youth? or our bodies are not made for eternal youth? when we say we are 180cm tall for example, what we really mean is our body is 180cm tall. we don't really die, what happens is our body dies and takes us with it.

    i would take it and i hope most people would. the big downside of death (not one's won death, but the death of others) is all that is lost. the world can never again benefit from that person's wisdom or experience. some might argue that if people never died, there'd never be any space for people just born to shine, bringing new ideas, but old artists are just as capable of creating new art as new artists. think any band you like, their old stuff is always different from their new stuff.

    there also would be much greater potential for human progress. think of how 'stupid' we all were in our youth! not because we weren't intelligent but because we didn't have all the knowledge and experience that we now have to draw conclusions and base our decisions on. where would we be now if einstein hadn't died?
  • Nov 4 2013: I think most people imagine "immortality" to mean physical immortality.
    After a dream I had many years ago, I think it's more likely that, when I die, the "contents" of my brain would be "uploaded" to a computer or something like it.
    In other words, I believe that immortality does not implicitly require the negation of mortality. Instead, immortality would be a transcendence of mortality.

    So with that said, my answer to the original question is that yes, I expect that I will.
  • Nov 4 2013: Errrr Noooooo, not unless I could retain immortality at my peak of fitness and youth, it's an interesting question though !

    However, as said, at what age would this come into place, I wouldn't want to be a baby forever !!!

    The ladies i'm sure, would be queuing, in their droves, in their teens and twenties, but, come fourty/fifty, would they ???

    Vanity would dictate many peoples choices, on this matter, NOT, rational thought, i'd suggest.

    The natural course of things is to age and die, if you're lucky !!!
    it is what it is, and people, especially scientists, should stop trying to change what nature provides, as the natural circle of life.
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    Nov 4 2013: Good OP, but no thanks. I will prefer to remain mortal. I am not keen to die but accept it as part of a natural cycle. Immortality, in literal sense, for a person or a species is absolutely incompatible with that cycle.
  • Nov 4 2013: that would be the ultimate power ever to be given to man.we do not know when or how we would die yet most humans live recklessly,wickedly abusing others and the environment in the process.it would be a beautiful thing to ascertain when to die but not in a world full of wickedness.the injection would not be for free i guess?but i prefer to look the other way,its a wonderful idea.
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      Nov 4 2013: Free? Well not for the first one, obviously. But as always, the first of anything is destined for dumb billionaires and they'll take pride, a million years from now for being the first immortal, whatever the hell that means.
  • Nov 4 2013: how is that related to our topic at hand?
  • Nov 4 2013: I wrote a huge response to this which was well thought out and have some good arguments, but I accidentally refreshed the page and lost it, so I will just posit a thought experiment instead.

    Several hundreds of years ago the majority of people feared God. They feared hell. Today this fear holds no reality for most people and the idea of hell had been dispelled.

    Fast-forward 500 years where some people are now 550 years old.
  • Nov 3 2013: Is it a disease? I mean, everything comes to an end. Trees, virus, bacteria, humans. It seems to be a part of a cycle, the death.

    I believe it is part of the universe, that we someday die to all of our organic matter become, once again, inorganic matter. The immortality is no more than a concept made by the human being. As equally, trying to find a "sense" on everything, and hardly accepting that "sense" is no more than a human concept.
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      Nov 3 2013: smallpox is also part of the universe, and we cured it anyway.
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        Nov 3 2013: How do you know smallpox was only on this planet?
      • Nov 4 2013: Well, you might have an interpretation like that, but we may think of that as a struggle to survive. A lifeform that we fought against to survive, like, I don't know, buffalos?

        Everytime we have to cure a disease, is it a healing of our organism or is it a killing of the parasite organism? Or both?
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      Nov 3 2013: So what's stopping you from throwing yourself into the flames right now?
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        Lejan .

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        Nov 3 2013: A simple neuronal sub-routine, just like within all of us.
      • Nov 4 2013: Well, why would I do such thing?

        We are the only animals in this world with the capacity of abstract thinking. In my opinion, I should live my life remebering that I am mortal, and not provoking my own death.
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          Nov 4 2013: So you believe death should not be self-provoked. What are your reasons for that?
      • Nov 5 2013: I think in this way: we are matter. Sometime, the inorganic matter became organic, and we evolved to what we are today. So, this life is an experience. It is the atoms that compose me feeling what life is. We are not certain if there is life again, so, given that this might be a unique experience, there is no reason for me to dispose of the experience of life.

        Of course, cultural meanings may have a strong position on the human being's life. I'm sorry if that is not related to the topic.
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    Nov 3 2013: Imagine the world where youth are rare to see, and old are all over around? The world where the population of humans is that numerous,with no place to live? Imagine that your grandchildren are 100, and you are 160....

    That's what came on my mind when you asked about possibility to be immortal.

    Old age is not bad, but it would be bad, if you turn it to infinity. Why would somebody ruined natural perfect homeostasis? Mortals are fighting with diseases. It's not just, sick-die-the end. In between is fight.
    Do you think that immortality would make your life better? One of mine favorite quotes is "I'm not afraid of dying, I'm afraid I haven't being alive enough". So, I prefer quality, not quantity in life.

    And if I got chance to be immortal, I'll cede it someone else.
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    Nov 3 2013: Life is about experiencing as much as we can get in while we are here. We must appreciate each opportunity and every moment that we are blessed with. This is no dress rehearsal . We get one chance to get it right and because we are mortal, it encourages us to make careful decisions.

    I wrote a little analogy that explains what the end of life will feel to me. I compare it to a wedding.

    The Wedding
    The Wedding is an event that we are all familiar with. We get dressed up, attend a beautiful and emotional ceremony, then on to the reception where we mix and mingle with old friends, lots of family, and maybe even meet some fun people. We bring a gift, we eat and drink and chat, then we dance and act silly, and then we sit and socialize some more with coffee and lots of desserts. But eventually, the party winds down and its time to go……. Not because this is not fun…..but because it’s enough.
    I have attended “Life’s wedding”. I have worn the pretty clothes, I have eaten all the delicious food, I have laughed, danced, and drank. But I am full - I am tired - my feet hurt - my head aches - and I want to go home.
    Please understand that I enjoyed the party. Of course there were dances I attempted that made me look like a fool, and times that I overindulged - and I even encountered some obnoxious people and was served some food that I did not want.
    For some the party will go on ….. They will get a hotel room, or go to a restaurant or tavern and party all night. I have done that too. But tomorrow there will be soreness, headaches, and possibly even embarrassment or regret. I have had enough. The wedding was fun, but I am going home now.
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    Nov 3 2013: No, No, No and hell No!!! There have been times in my life where the only thing that gets me through is the fact that this won't last forever. Boy, that sounds miserable, doesn't it. But it is just the opposite. I am not depressed. I am not a senior citizen. I am married to an absolutely wonderful man. I have a remarkable son who has achieved his goal of earning both an Aud and Phd and is loving his work and planning his wedding next Spring to a beautiful girl. I have a cozy home and a sweet puppy. I have food in the fridge and clean cloths to wear. Sure, I have had my ups and downs. I have struggled with health issues for many years and have undergone 15 surgeries as well as chemotherapy. I have had heartbreak and loss and disappointments along the way. But this is what a beginning to end life is about. If I was immortal, would I have tried so hard to pull through? Much like the Bill Murray character in Groundhog day, why try when you always have tomorrow. I would be reckless if there were no risks. As far as ending life when we are personally ready. ALL FOR IT! I truly believe that if a person does not wish to be here, that should be their decision. Nobody should suffer each day in misery or pain. I wish that all of the school shooters would have taken their own lives to end their misery rather than do what they did.
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    Nov 2 2013: Absolutely not at this time in my current state, I'm happy! By nature I have been given the gift of a limited Life cycle with all the time to do all the things that need to be done by me in this form. Life does not give half measures. By the end of time I will have been given everything with no questions left unanswered. I must ask myself what is death? Is it nothing more than Life brought to misperception, a poster child for the imbalanced ego mind or devil or whatever you want to call it? Einstein stated he did not believe in an afterlife, why? What did he mean? Is it possible there is nothing but Life defined as a changing of energy form throughout eternity? Alan Watts stated the beauty in Life is its impermanence. As I look about I can see the constant changing of form some slowly some quickly but the underlying content of all form is Life. I have no clue, I do not see things in my best interest but I have Faith. For those who feel they need more time it may soon be possible see Turritopsis Nutricula. Best regards
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    Nov 1 2013: Very thought provoking question. I can't help but think that maybe life is the incurable disease, aging it's symptom, and "living" (not living in the sense of breathing, consuming, reproducing but living as in passionate pursuit of dreams) is the treatment. I'm not sure if I am on the train of thought regarding "natural" death. It seems that all of your examples, including old age, are pretty natural. I would think death resulting from bombs, bullets and any demise resulting from the lack of money to be unnatural.
    Maybe we shouldn't be concerned with expanding the limit of our moments but instead concentrate on living intensely and passionately within the moments we already have.
  • Nov 1 2013: hell yes! i'm guessing that it would be like the eleven immortality, you could be killed but not from aging. if that is the case i would say yes, yes, yes. there is so much to see, explore, learn, and live that it would take hundreds or thousands of years to experience a percentage of it. If we (humans) lived forever it would usher in a new era of cooperation because life wouldn't be expendable; death begets death. I know there would still be potential for war, famine, murder, but the possibility for one human to make a great contribution to science, technology, art, philosophy etc become greater. think what einstein could do given a thousand years, or newton, or da vinci and we could still rise up against those that bring strife and anguish. We would be forced to push out into the galaxy and colonize the cosmos, i could go on and on but this isn't a ted talk
  • Nov 1 2013: If you get that immortal injection, will you ask / persuade people that you love (your family, husband, wife, kids, bestfriends, and so on) to do the same?
  • Nov 1 2013: If the cure of mortality is found, then there will be new questions on humanity and economy.
    Not just the value of mankind life, but also where to find new place to live? (Mars?)
    Will you keep eating if you know that you're immortal?
    Will the population have enough food to eat?
    Will you go to work?
    Will you go to church?
    Will you and your girl/boyfriend get married and have children?
    ("Till dead do us part" right?).

    If this happens, the leaders of the world need to find the most elegant way (and the best reason) to start killing people in order to control human population.
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    Nov 1 2013: Yes. There are so many things to do and learn and experience just on this planet alone. Staying busy is the key, time flies when you're having fun. Looking back the last 20 years have gone in a flash. Yes, Immortality I would have.
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    Oct 31 2013: Dear Adriaan and Jan,
    I think that if there is anyone we can explain this to you it is Daniel Dennett, please watch this full explanation:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-Nj_rEqkyQ

    On what he mention "Nanolevel / proteinlevel":
    http://www.ted.com/talks/drew_berry_animations_of_unseeable_biology.html
    http://www.molecularmovies.com/showcase/

    If you're hungry for more:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/bigthink/search?query=consciousness

    Accepting that you are an purely reactive, but wondrous machine doesn't make it any less wondrous or worth living for. It is about the journey, not the end.
    Come on, become transhuman ;)

    @"Please keep in mind that you may have a problem if you discover after your death that you are wrong. It is your problem, not mine."
    I know God exists, if you define him properly. You see him in the 'pattern of everything around you'. Such as in the "law of large numbers', probability theory, chaos theory, butterfly effect, central limit theorem. God is good to have if you are grateful, but do not know who to thank. Or if you are angry or sad, for example, by injustice and suffering, but you do not know who to blame. To the question 'how come that' is always a scientific answer -> see theories -> Wikipedia (!).
    You would be judged on what you do for the world, not on what you claim and not for an afterlife. That is a story humans made up (from the church).
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      Oct 31 2013: Brian, as a matter of fact we are cogs in the big clockwork of nature.
      You'd quickly figure that out if you were the only remaining life form on earth.
      In nature everything is interconnected. So life is not linear but rather like a matrix.
      As to questioning, that's what science is doing constantly. Scientific work is a work in progress with the purpose to constantly refine our understanding of nature.
      If you are in disagreement with the scientific process or with a particular piece of knowledge, you are always welcome to provide your own theory. Publish it and accepted scientific media, get it peer reviewed and then we can go from there.
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          Nov 1 2013: Brian, you can't drag the quantum world into the "macro" world because what works on quantum level doesn't work in our world for a number of reasons. If you care about more details I suggest the books of Brian Greene who is one of the foremost scientists working on string theory.
          This apparent incompatibility of these 2 worlds is why scientists are searching for a single unified theory and string and superstring theory are such attempts.
          Problem scientists are facing is that even if right, they wouldn't be able to provide proof because with our current technologies we can't access the realm of strings and therefore not measure them.
          So just looking at that, we see that scientist are far from being rigid. Creating theories like the string theory requires quite a bit of out of the box thinking and imagination.
          As to interest somebody in your theories you will need to provide evidence. For example, if you claim the moon is made out of cheese people probably would have a hard time believing you. However, if you send a mission to moon, well document it and bring back rocks from moon that actually are pieces of cheese you will make a solid case.
  • Oct 31 2013: I would personally choose to live an Immortal life if the Mortality cure is found in my lifetime I would love to live til forever more
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    Oct 31 2013: I would absolutely not choose immortality. I think that the average lifespan now is more than enough for me. I've always envisioned myself dying around 45, but now i think 50 won't be unbearable. I would however like to live to 50 in the body of a 20 yr old. That is not what I'm advocating for everyone, and not saying it's the right choice, it's my personal view of only my own life. I would like to ensure that my son is set on a good course of life, and see peace with the important people in my life, then I'll be ready.
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    • Oct 31 2013: Simple, life isn't energy, just an very complicated bit of chemistry.
      The energy powering the chemistry goes somewhere else when you die, like a candle being snuffed. The energy isn't gone, its just re-purposed, and the chemistry stops in favor of something else.
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          Oct 31 2013: Nadav is right whether you like it or not. The energy in our body is the sum of energy of its constituents. You die and this energy contained in all the atoms of your body just will disperse into the environment as you slowly rot away. Doesn't sound like a happy ending, but that's how it works.
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      Oct 31 2013: Brian,
      Perhaps your idea of "rubbish" is closer to the truth than you thought:>) Rubbish (rejected matter) that is "re-purposed" is exactly what Nadav is trying to explain to you.

      I am not a scientist, and the idea seems clear to me.....energy, chemistry, physics.....

      The body dies and decomposes.....scientifically proven. When bodies are put directly into the earth, the decomposing elements compost (decaying material). With the heavy vaults and caskets, the decaying/composting process is changed a little.

      The composting process is energized and produces heat, so what was once the human body, is re-purposed.

      The energy that fuels the body, is also repurposed at the time of death, and goes back into the universal "grid", for lack of a better term.

      The human body is not that different than other natural elements, in that there is a certain life span, then the body dies and the energy is repurposed.

      Think about something simple.....the leaves on a tree. They fall off the tree every year, fall to the ground and compost. The composting process creates energy/heat, the decaying matter goes back into the ground to fertilize the soil, and prepare for new growing "stuff".

      It's really a simple process, but because some humans think we are SO special, they fail to see the relationship with all other natural processes.

      You don't have to agree Brian....it's ok:>)
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      Nov 2 2013: All is not energy - there is matter too. I disagree with most people, it seems, when they say some variation of "we are energy." I do not believe we (our minds/consciousness/soul) are energy (or matter) at all - we are information, and that for sure can be destroyed. Information can be transformed, transferred, backed up, restored, and destroyed.
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          Nov 2 2013: I wish reality was want I wanted it to be, not what I make it. I don't think collapsing the wave function gives you control of reality. In other words, quantum physics does not scale beyond the quantum scale, and hence that is why the Unified Field Theory (aka the Theory of Everything) is still so elusive to us. I agree totally regarding the tension between predictability and chaos.
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    Oct 31 2013: Our basic thoughts consist of a contingency of time beginning middle and an end are we ready to self perpetuate you ask first learn to exist and the value of it. but to answer your question i want to live longer play harder and interact with even more life forms and learn even more without the constraint of time yes.
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    Oct 31 2013: The thing is we are probably going to have to deal with longer life spans even if not immorality whether we like it out not.

    imagine the possibilities as science progresses 100 or 1000 or 10000 years.

    just like we might prefer not to know how to make nuclear bombs, we know and have to manage this knowledge .

    it is possible a lot of people will not choose full immortality of on offer but many may choose to live very long lives of possible and this would have a profound impact.

    on a positive note it is not going to happen overnight so time to adjust
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    Oct 31 2013: I might provided it was likely I would be healthy and happy and could end it when I'd had enough.

    I don't think I'd want to live forever, just as long as I wanted.

    Huge social, psychological, economic, environmental and political implications. We have issues now with population growth and aging population.

    Some religious folks may think immortality interferes with their deities plan.
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    Oct 30 2013: Joshua, that's something you believe without having any logical reason for it.
    Difficult to discuss baseless beliefs.
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    Oct 30 2013: Absolutely not. I think that it is a priviledge to have limited time in this world. That is one of the reasons that many great figures through out history had done something great. The thought of having a limited amount of time to leave your mark on the world makes you work that much harder.
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    Oct 30 2013: I'm with the mystics (Meister Eckard, Teresa of Avila, Hildegard of Bingen, Rumi, etc); consciousness is the stuff of the universe, and we are essentially made of the same "stuff". Consciousness is what we are.
    In as much as it makes any sense in 3D language, we are in it. The brain reflects conscious activity, rather than causes it. Like the TV example I gave, the action you see on the TV (paralleled as neuron activity in your brain) took place elsewhere (in the film studio); likewise individual consciousness tuning into part of "collective consciousness" to use Jung's terminology.
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    Oct 30 2013: I believe, I would not go for immortal. It is dangerous for all of us.
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    Oct 28 2013: If you took away the consequences from doing certain activities , as in smoking (cancer ) or eating triple cheese burgers several times a day ( heart attack , obesity ,diabetes) drug addiction ( dying from over dose ) you get the idea . If you could do theses things and just take a pill or whatever and that would make everything OK and you were as good as new again ; can you imagine this world be be" Caligula" all over again .

    A magic pill would never come to pass because the money lost from the insurance companies the hospitals , Drs.,nutritional foods companies etc would go broke there is too much money to be lost ... just never happen .
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      Oct 28 2013: Another good point Jeff:>)

      Was this comment meant to be a reply to my last comment which does not have a reply option? If so, we can keep the comments in sequence by going to the comment above the one you want to reply to (which has a "reply" option), rather than going to the top of the page:>)
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    Oct 28 2013: how about adding aubrey de grey's talk? can it be done after the conversation has been opened? anyway, here it is:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/aubrey_de_grey_says_we_can_avoid_aging.html
  • Oct 28 2013: I find it is interesting that the main question is directly related to a "natural" effect of aging, explicitly bringing up the existing of a certain system: nature. Whether you are a believer in God or not, no one can argue that there is not a specific "order" and "cycle" to things, and death is just another step in the cycle... in the big story. As humans, we managed so far to ruin so many things by our intervention, that we judged necessary... even our own ecosystem and the one planet that got us where we are "biologically" speaking.

    The reason for me not to go for a "cure" is simply that we are again and again changing a cycle of things.... and I am afraid that we "mess up" again. Whether curing from old age or not will make any difference to a huge "map" is another story.
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      Oct 28 2013: Is there no comfort in the idea that we're the experimenting species? We've changed the cycle by drastically reducing violence, for instance. And we've reduced the risk of dying at delivery, or from malnutrition. And screw that cycle, right?
      • Oct 28 2013: I believe we did! the same tools that helped us reduce violence (did we??) and extend our lives are those used to consume our planet! ... What if all this is balanced and that we are just messing it up?
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          Oct 28 2013: Ha, it was already messed up. Asteroids, ice ages... God is either a slob or a psycho.
          It's up to living organisms to go to college and figure out how to make this universe a better place for everything in it.
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    Oct 28 2013: Gerald... no human being can ever become immortal physically. Immortality as detailed in Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism always belonged to our true inner self... our soul atman, the spirit within! Belief or not... we were primarily a cosmic traveler that in its lifetime manifested a chain of 8.4 million bodies to cleanse self of dross impurities within.

    Human form is the highest manifest stage in cosmic life cycle. It was only in human form one reached stage of enlightenment... kaivalya jnana in Hinduism! Becoming an enlightened one means gaining immortality forever. The moment an enlightened one left mortal frame... one gained moksha salvation forever to enter kingdom of God (Vaikuntha in Hinduism).

    The present human form could at best be lived for a maximum of 250 years... theoretically 300! A normal human being as per scriptures of Hinduism was destined to live for hundred years. If we reduced our heart beat from 72 to 25 when we were only a kid, one to 2 years of age... we could increase our average age from hundred to 275 years at the most!

    Many yogis in India lived a life exceeding 200 years. Workings of spiritual world were not in hands of mankind. One can establish control over life only by travelling path of pure spirituality detailed in BhagavadGita. As a human being our goal of life must always be reaching cosmic end of life, 8.4 millionth manifestation at the earliest! Only then one could gain immortality forever. Mahavira (24th Tirthankara of Jainism) did that and so did Gautama Buddha. Followed Jesus Christ and Prophet Mohammed! More on Bhagavad Gita - http://www.bhagavadgitasummary.com
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      Oct 28 2013: "Many yogis in India lived a life exceeding 200 years"

      What for, though?
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        Oct 28 2013: The only purpose for a true Yogi living beyond stipulated hundred years of life was to reach God in present life. Living life of a recluse in deep dense forests of Himalayas... such yogis (travelers of spiritual path) all the time contemplated on God Almighty. Their indulgence in abstract truths of life resulted in reduced pace of their heartbeats.

        The goal of a true Yogi never was prolonging life but reaching cosmic end of life, 8.4 millionth manifestation... stage of enlightenment (kaivalya jnana) and finally salvation moksha.
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          Oct 28 2013: Some claim to reach God in a sip of beer in the summer, on the cheek of laughing baby, and eating roast pork with your bare fingers while taking a bath.
          Others say it's easier to live as a recluse than to man up and deal with a wife and kids. Where's the "I'm-a-responsable-parent-and-citizen" Yogi? I mean, if you really want to impress God...
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        Oct 29 2013: Yogis who abandoned their family midway never truly achieved anything on spiritual path! Srimad Bhagavad Gita advocates pursuing path of yoga (meditation) to reach God while living in family. Such a Yogi as per Lord Sri Krishna was a spiritual aspirant of the highest order. King Janaka (father of Sita in Ramayana) did exactly that. Even while taking care of his family and kingdom... he as a King indulged in affairs of his kingdom nishkama karma way, never attaching self to fruits of karma performed at all stages of life.

        Siddhartha Gautama in his pursuit for abstract truths of life left his family midway. Neither living in the family nor living as a recluse did Gautama Buddha reach stage of enlightenment, prime reason why he finally advocated precept of middle path. As per scriptures of Hinduism karma could not be burnt that way. The dross impurities within a soul atman, the spirit within can only be negated by following path of nishkama karma yoga. In the present Kali yoga, to reach God... one must never abandon one's responsibilities of physical manifest world... no matter what!
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      Oct 28 2013: Vijay,
      Who are the yogis who lived a life exceeding 200 years? Just the names would be fine.....I'm not interested in the promotion of your religious beliefs.....thanks:>)
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        Oct 28 2013: Colleen... In Hinduism there was not one but many cases of yogis living beyond stipulated age of hundred. In Hinduism scriptures... everything rotates around reaching end goal of life. The methodology, path carried absolutely no meaning. I have yet to find a single person in whole Western world who could understand the true meaning of enlightenment as stipulated in Bhagavad Gita. Everything in Hinduism scriptures was based on absolute faith, not literary proofs that were never forthcoming in field of pure spirituality, prime reason why none other than Jesus Christ gained enlightenment in West. Contrary to this, not hundreds but thousands reached stage of enlightenment in erstwhile Bharatvarsha (now India).

        Knowing names was meaningless in Hinduism scriptures. Our scriptures, historical documents were full of such details. One had to believe in teachings of BhagavadGita and God to realize abstract truths of life. On path of pure spirituality... we had no other alternative!
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          Oct 28 2013: Like I said Vijay, with all due respect, I am not interested in information which promotes your religious belief.

          Apparently there are no names....no record.....no proof that anyone lived beyond 200 years.....thanks.
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        Oct 29 2013: Immortality relates to spirituality... not religion! For a traveler of spiritual path, proofs of people living beyond 200 years of age carried no meaning. I personally do not indulge in religious dogma. If I ever come across religious people (ritualistic in nature) who believed in the fact that a guru was essential for spiritual journey and may carry with them requisite proofs of age of their masters... then I shall let you know.
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          Oct 29 2013: Vijay,
          Immortality relates to spirituality and/or religion FOR SOME PEOPLE. You relate immortality to a spiritual path, and that is your personal belief. Many people DO NOT relate mortality/immortality with spirituality or religion.

          In a previous comment, you wrote..."The present human form could at best be lived for a maximum of 250 years... theoretically 300"..."If we reduced our heart beat from 72 to 25 when we were only a kid, one to 2 years of age... we could increase our average age from hundred to 275 years at the most"..."Many yogis in India lived a life exceeding 200 years".

          When you make those kinds of statements, it would be helpful to have some kind of proof, rather than speculating, based on your religious or spiritual beliefs.

          I believe scientific research tells us that the human body has the potential to live to about 120 years, and I think there are recorded cases of people who have lived to that age or close.

          EDIT:
          It looks like 122 years, 164 days is the longest recorded life span.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_people

          With all due respect for you and your beliefs, there is a theory "out there" that says the human body may have the potential to live 1000 years. It seems to be a theory that is not well supported.
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    Oct 28 2013: " If the cure for mortality is found within my lifetime, would I go for it and become immortal ? "

    I was a kid. Every day, I heard my grandmother said pray: For a peaceful journal to Heaven.
    I did not understand…...eventually, she passed away naturally, aged 98.

    My Mum did the same way as her mother did. My Mum was suffered from many diseases, finally, she passed away and pain free, aged 63.

    I have grown-up. I did many things, I always want to be a “ winner ”. But, I never want to win something from Insurance Company …..


    All the best for Us,
  • Oct 28 2013: I'll probably search for someone who had made that option posible. See how they are, how do they live. Compare the good and bad stuff he has on his life and compare to what i need and whant in mine.
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    Oct 28 2013: There are always.....accidents.

    Surely, I would choose to live, if my life is passionate. If I were a slave, to an unjust system or a suicidal state of mind, not so much.

    If your passion of life is compassion to humanity then by all means immortality could become quite fulfilling.

    However, sleep would become quite important.
  • Oct 27 2013: Gerald,

    Like the intro argumentation, well rounded, really pleasant stuff to read.


    How would being immortal affect an individual's psyche?

    NOT being confounded by the frames of time would, perhaps, wither one's will to accomplish life-long goals. It might be more important to get the timings right than to forever be aware that "things can wait". I guess an immortal would have to have some Highlander-like goals to justify himself, to himself.

    Ending an immortal lifespan would always have to be horribly unnatural and sad thing, since I disagree with quote OP "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." /quote.
    Humane medical sciences would back me up here.


    Though, I admit, it would be pretty fascinating to find out how would the "injection" work, scientifically.
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      Oct 28 2013: STEVAN : I disagree with quote OP "old age" is probably the most unnatural cause of death, statistically." /quote.
      Humane medical sciences would back me up here.

      GERALD : Please explain.
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    Oct 27 2013: An excellent question given all that we have learned and developed in the last few years. Of course, ego and vanity and fear of death will spur many to latch onto any hope of immortality.

    But I believe the greatest boon will be the ability from immortality will be to travel all those light years it will take for human beings or their immortal descendant's to get from star system to star system. Another example might involve a human consciousness implanted in a synthetic body which might be the perfect means of colonizing a planet lacking a breathable atmosphere but still rich in resources.

    The possibilities are endless, as are the problems that will undoubtedly follow. so yes for all the reasons I stated here, I would choose immortality if only so I could be a part of that great exploration.
    • Oct 28 2013: The idea of human consciousness implanted in a synthetic body has its own issues.

      Would the synthetic body not be governed by the laws of nature? How could we stop the natural disintegration / transformation / transmutation of matter (synthetic body) to other forms or to energy?

      A more efficient way would be for the consciousness to discard its disintegrating synthetic body and 'occupy' another. You could compare the body to a cellphone handset and the 'consciousness' to a permanently active sim-card. The multi-tasking smartphones perhaps being equivalent to the human body. Maybe we hot-swap the 'handsets', whilst our consciousness remains connected to the cosmic network.

      Assuming that 'consciousness' is 'undying', who knows, maybe we are already following the above process in course of our existence. In that case there should be no need to immortalize, or even grieve for, the mortal body.
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        Oct 28 2013: does that mean you would want to be part of that exploration as well?
  • Oct 27 2013: No. Cuz to live is to die. That's the rule of our life. The earth cannot contain us all :). We must leave the place our children when it's time :).
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    • Oct 27 2013: Nuh uh. You haven't watched high Lander? If get decapitated by another immortal you can forget about it.
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    Oct 27 2013: The terms are unclear but it's still interesting how this looks like a 50/50 YES/NO distribution.
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    Oct 27 2013: You don't have to go too far to see that no one is perfect. But that's OK, there's an antidote. And so to answer your question, it's both a quality-of-life and quality-of-afterlife issue. The injection is "free" for as long as you breathe, yet no one can force you to roll up your sleeve.
  • Oct 27 2013: Being immortal seems boring, if everyone knows they can live for ever world will become a hell!!!!
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    Oct 27 2013: Are you talking about just not dying , or not ageing ,or regeneration of cells by in that you can control cell destruction , can you be made younger or do you just stay the same old worn out body that you have at the time the drug or whatever is being introduced to your system .

    I guess if the product , pill , injection or whatever the process was , and everybody else does it ... well then why -not .

    I mean if you can afford it , what if the ones you loved couldn't afford it , would you want to continue to live on without you family , love , how about your dog does he get to live on with you ?

    One would have to be well with the world , ... would you stay longer to try to work it out ( love )
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    joe m

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    Oct 26 2013: Humans are afraid of what lies beyond death. Is there anything or nothing? This is why they seek immortality. The unknown beyond what they know. It is interesting to see us (humans) advance, my grandmother watched the 1st cars and never expected to see landing on the moon. Would I go for it my answer is NO.

    What I see coming is a world conflict around dwindling water and food recourses that I and the ones alive at the time will not find pleasant. The world is being destroyed by our existence and one day soon this will change. Life as we know it now will change it will be an interesting time for those that live in that time. I will be gone and forgotten.
  • Oct 26 2013: if immortality were possible, i.e. your lifetime would be infinite, then the probability of being involved in a fatal accident would be 100% so immortality is logically impossible. If body parts could be regrown as they wear out so good health for an extended period were possible, we then encounter a new and alarming population problem. There would have to be a serious reduction in childbirth for such a society to survive. It's bad enough now when only a very small minority live to be 100. Then there's employment. Even today we have people working well into their 70s or 80s and massive youth unemployment, so imagine what it would be like if most people lived to be 200. So my vote for immortality is a definite "No".
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      Oct 27 2013: So you'd refuse the potion and militate against it, trying to convince everybody around you not to take it.
      But as life went on you'd realize that your wife wasn't aging. Yeah, she'd lied about it ten years ago and now you're screwed. Your best option is to be as nice to her as possible and see how long she'll stay with a decrepit activist.
      Or so you think, at first. But then you become friends with this old lady that's been old for as long as you've known her, an eternal 72 year old widower. You'll fall in love, madly, and SHE'll convince you to take the potion. And you'll take it.
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    Oct 26 2013: Sure. I'd go for that. We weren't made for eternal youth, because as a species, immortality wasn't necessary so it was skipped. I want to contribute to society for as long as I can. I can see how an 'infinite' life could suggest that life is meaningless, but I strive to live for others and even if I am immortal, there will still be new people around me and new problems to be solved. Also, just to clarify why I put quotes around infinite above even if my body wouldn't age doesn't mean I wouldn't die from something else like you mentioned.

    Thanks for the question and feel free to comment or question me!
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    Oct 26 2013: Keeping aside the fact that it will never be possible let me toy with the fantasy. I will approach the idea like I approach any life insurance plan. What does immortality cover? Will it cover only natural death or also death from disease? What will be the quality of life? Will I age or will I just not die irrespective of how pathetic my life becomes? Can I commit suicide if I change my mind? Will my company let me work beyond age of retirement? How will I cover the cost of living? How much does it cost? And the last question I ask every agent: have you taken it? What has been the side effects? Can my wife take it too? Will we be able to have children throughout our life? Having asked so many question, I already feel it is a bad idea but then that's what a fantasy is!
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      Oct 27 2013: Interesting questions. Finding the cure for aging does not prevent one from committing suicide or dying from another disease... But what then when we can upload our personnalities onto a digital support. Then you'd be truly immortal and unable to be killed. Especially if you've shared your personnality on some futuristic social network.
  • Oct 26 2013: Let me just raise one question. When the coroner or a physician decide the cause of death of an elderly, if no diease or injury is detected, then the decision on the cause of death as natural death because of age. Are you saying that we have to revise this medical judgment term?
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      Oct 26 2013: We might have to, some day. Cause of "natural" death will become "negligence".
      Like people who don't put stuff back into the fridge.
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    Oct 26 2013: .

    If so, there will be NO HAPPINESS!
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      Oct 26 2013: Why ? doesn't happiness depend on what you are doing with your life and not so much with how long you live ?
  • Oct 26 2013: The answer to your question could already be at hand if the telemerase research pans out. Sadly this will only apply to people who are presently very young or not yet born as the technology depends on the preservation of our genetic code which tends to break down (causing us to age).
    There are a lot of moral issues associated with this question. The most important one being "If we can preserve genetic code whose genetic code should be propogated as being the best"?
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    Oct 25 2013: Life as we know it does not seem to have a 'master plan'. Once there, it takes any opportunity to spread and to stay, yet this not via individuals but as a species. And because of constant changes within given environments, species have to adopt, which for some reason only happens from generation to generation via mutation. To prevent overpopulation it makes sense to limit the timespan of each individual, so that reproduction does not endangers itself. I think thats why we die. Its not a disease, its a protection system and not as part of a 'master plan' yet as part of what was fittest for survival.
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    Oct 25 2013: Aging is not a disease!! :-):-)
    Aging is a time-space phenomenon perfectly synchronized with the rest of this universe...Thanks for a fun question. I admire your ability to put a big smile on my face today..which I thank you for.
    • Oct 25 2013: I think you're underestimating the sheer size of our planet.
      By the time you've seen all it has to offer, those parts you visited first would have already changed beyond recognition.

      Think on just how much of the planet's surface you've visited over the course of your life. Even if I stick a 10 km radius around every point in space you've ever been in (mind you, "been in" is not the same as "properly explored"), I doubt I'll hit 1%.
      Add to that the sheer expanse of human knowledge, and the fact that its expanding much, much faster than any one person could take it all in as its expanded, and I don't think you're at real risk of running out of things to do, even if you never get as far as into orbit.

      And in case I'm wrong, reversing the process is no trouble at all.
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        Oct 26 2013: ..I admire the quest of Aubrey de Grey!
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        Oct 30 2013: Nadav,
        Your comment, in this sequence, made sense before the previous comment was drastically edited.
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      Oct 25 2013: Aging is relative. Humans usually are gone after not more than 100 years. Turtles can make it to several hundred and some trees even make it to several thousand.
      So, immortal is probably a bit too extreme, but extending life significantly (as long as it is of good quality) would be nice.
      And I agree with Nadav, there is so much still to discover and rediscover on our planet that we can keep us busy for a pretty long time.