posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 03:23 AM
So far, the would-be immortals on this thread seem to be outnumbered by people comfortable with thought of their eventual demise. That makes me proud
to be human, though I wonder how it would be if you asked the question of folk whose days were clearly numbered by disease or old age. The imminence
of death can make even pallid, hollow-eyed immortality seem attractive.
I'm with the majority. I don't think I could bear to keep acquiring attachments to people, places and things, only to see them fall away behind me
one after another. EdenKaia stated the problem so vividly I could almost feel the cafard mounting as I read. But there’s worse to
contemplate: over a potentially infinite span of time, even the trauma of severance might come to seem attractive -- as a relief from the endless,
unremitting boredom of existence. It is possible, as Skibum suggested, that life will never cease to throw up interesting new discoveries, experiences
and intellectual puzzles; but I suspect the truth is that there is not enough room within the finitude of the human mind to accommodate an infinity of
This may be a failure of imagination (mine), but I've learnt that the world, at a human level, isn't nearly as infinite and various as most of us
give it credit for. My own life journey has taken me to many different parts of the world and brought me into contact with all sorts of people in an
unusual variety of walks of life. My intellectual journeying has led me farther still. And I have found, sadly, that there comes a time when
everything starts to look, sound and smell just like everything else. Alas, this is especially true of the people one encounters.
So: no immortality for me, thank you.
But a modestly extended lifespan -- yes, by all means.
In The City and the Stars, Arthur C. Clarke describes a society in which people live a thousand years at a time, then are painlessly deprived
of life, while their personalities and a self-chosen selection of their memories are uploaded into the memory banks of their city. These personalities
and memories are resurrected in a new body after a few millennia, to run the whole course again. This seems like a better arrangement than
immortality, though I think 150 years or so at a time might be preferable to a thousand.
However, Clarke's novel also points up the inevitable result of such immoderate longevity: social stagnation, leading ultimately to decay. That's
the problem with immortality, really, in the end. It might be good for the individual, but it's fatal to the species.
Finally, if the above arguments fail to convince, consider this: the wish to live forever is greedy, selfish and rather cowardly. It is, in a word,
ignoble. Long live death.