Immortality: its fundamental values make the idea both a blessing and a curse, an opportunity for greatness and a prospect for failure; the thought of living forever seems so mesmerizing, and yet, so impossible. The greater part of society will propose arguments that speak to Morality over Immorality, focusing on the inevitability of losing those that you love most; they speak to the emptiness that you will most certainly feel having “experienced everything that life has to offer” and how life will eventually lose its meaning. But today, I would like to bring forth three questions that I hope will cripple the status quo’s outlook on immorality.
Now, where did the thought that the longer life is, the less meaningful it becomes, come from? Why does society seem so adamant and unwavering that continuing in living, and “foregoing the downward trudge of mental and physical degradation” that is deemed acceptable by social norms, is such a bad thing? The case is, as medical science continues to evolve and advance, the average expected lifespan of humans will continue to increase; in the 1800s, people lived to 40, and just 200 years later, they now live to around double that. By the aforementioned logic, we should see middle aged people twiddling their thumbs, wishing they could speed through the next few decades and get them over with, feeling ungrateful that they were given the chance to live past 50, but we don’t. The issue here is just social norms and people, with their inherent expectation of normality, tend to not realize how change is inevitable, and do not change their old-fashioned ways of thinking. Our expected lifespan will continue to increase, for better or for worse, but it is undeniable that no one will ever wish for death because they felt bored of life if given the proper nourishment.
Moreover, people often have a subconscious understanding that at some point, there will be nothing left to see and do; they, however, fail to realize that the universe is a vast and endless expanse of possibilities. Our conceptual beliefs are simply too flat and oblivious to the infinite potential that it promises. To consider whether immortality is good, we must operate under the assumption that one would live forever with endless energy, a near perfect mind, and an indestructible, incorruptible, glorified body with the power to traverse and manipulate any and everything. The reason here is largely two fold, firstly, it is important to realize that, although possible, immorality will not be achieved in near future, this consequently means by the time it is functionally attained, all previously mentioned events would have likely occurred. Secondly, given the infinite nature of immorality, if these things had not occurred, they would in the future.
Furthermore, people, when faced with the hypothetical prospect of immortality, seem to automatically envision a world containing two conditions: one, others are not immortal with you, such as the overly fantized world of Tuck Everlasting. Two, you possess the same imperfections as your current form. Both are quite obviously false. Assuming that you are inhabiting a world where functional immortality exists whether by way of advancement with stem cell research or nanotechnology, I think it is safe to conclude that science would have gone past a point where you would not suffer illnesses and the effects of aging, and realistically, this hypothetical world would allow for others to be immortal with you. The point being, our imagination is often hindered and limited by our life experiences. We cannot imagine what the future of immortality holds, nor can we wish to in the near future; but when we get there, our existence will not be the dreadful vision of today’s greatest minds.
I believe it is now imperative for us to ask, what does the future hold? On a fundamental level, I think it is unlikely that we will live to see immortality materialize, but when functional immortality becomes the mainstream norm sometime in the distant horizon, we may be witnesses to things greater than our species. For now, we could sit and imagine what tomorrow will bear. Imagine a future where we can breeze through the vacuum of space with ease, a future where we can think our way to opposite corners of the universe, a future where as a collective, we each individually own an entire galaxy and most of all, a future bigger than ourselves. The endless possibilities that may lie ahead seem almost daunting, yet awfully exciting. If you still think you’d rather have death, then I’m not here to talk you out of it. And you’re very likely to get your wish anyway, right?
Part 2 – Quantum Suicide
Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash.com