TED Conversations

Gerald O'brian


This conversation is closed.

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

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

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



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.