1. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Immortality or mortality? Make your decision!

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Torana, May 10, 2009.

    If you had the choice between living forever or dieing, what would you choose and why?

    What are your thoughts on immortality and mortality?

    If somehow scientists came up with a way to make us live forever, would you take that option or choose death?

    I thought I'd start this thread as I found it rather interesting after a small discussion in the 'not happy' thread and thought that maybe we could keep the discussion going in its own thread.


    Personally I don't want to live forever. If we could, what would the consequences be? We wouldn't be able to have more children, we would have to stop the ageing process as well. Would there be set a time frame in which they allow us to live for? 100-1000 years?

    Quite frankly, I want my children to grow up and age and want to age myself. I would rather age gracefully and know one day I am going to die than be stuck the same forever. I want to be a grandmother and great grandmother before I die, but not at the extent of living forever. I like the natural order of live and death (as painful and unfair the death part seems sometimes).
     
  2. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a whole witty reply in my head.

    But Death ate it.

    The bastard.
     
  3. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Yep. Heck yeah. No need to have children if I'm immortal, if I'm already disregarding mortality I might as well disregard the notion of passing on my genes. Think of all we could learn, all we could do without that pesky reaper breathing on our shoulders every second.

    Says who? Isn't this a hypothetical situation? Well, there are a lot of kids in orphanages, so their situation could improve. The world population would also drop, so that is good too.

    If we can manage to engineer a way for us to live forever, why would that be unnatural? Are humans not part of nature, and therefore, what we make and do part of nature as well?
     
  4. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe not immortal, but there are some parts of my life I wish I could've sped up, and others I wish I could've made last, like ten years.
     
  5. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but what good is that knowledge when we have all gained that knowledge and there is no one left to pass it onto?

    Well if we live forever and don't age, how would a 10 year old be able to grow up and have children? I am sure living forever would involve a non ageing process. Plus, if we are going to be living forever I highly doubt that the governments would allow us to reproduce because it would over populate the world in a major way because no one dies...



    How can living forever be classed as natural? We are a part of nature and just noather species of animal, and in the same aspect we are put here to live and to die. Not to come up with a way to live forever. Take a look at a flower, it grows from a seed, blossoms and dies. That is the natural process of a living thing. To live and to die. Us making a car does not make a car part of nature, does it? I know for certain that my laptop and my glass is not a part of nature, so how can us creating a way of living forever be a part of nature or natural?
     
  6. yellowm&M
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    yellowm&M Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would choose mortality
    as enticing as immortality seems its not worth it
    everyone I love would die before me and there would be a lot of aspects of life you would miss, it would get old and lonely after all if you lived forever it would be harder to get attached to people if you knew that you would always lose them in the end

    mortality for sure
     
  7. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    but what if we all lived forever? What if it wasn't just you who got this opportunity, but the entire population of Earth?
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Considering that I am turning Neverending into a novel, it shouldn't be too surprising what my feelings are about immortality.

    I want to live forever. It's impossible, because time itself is finite. But it would be glorious.
     
  9. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    But what is the point of it all Cogito? What would you possibly get out of living forever? Other than maybe watching all you know and care about die, or if we all lived forever, then learning about everything at the same time as everyone else and eventually having no one to share that wonderous knowledge with and every possible conversation has been had and then you become bored and miserable and just want to die anyway.

    I don't see the point in living forever.
     
  10. Bernard Williams
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    Bernard Williams Member

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    Motality, indefinitely.

    This way I can become posthumously famous!

    did I spell that right?...
     
  11. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    You're staring at the bad things and neglecting to acknowledge the good.

    If you're the only immortal, yes, you eventually lose everything you come to love. But such things make you a stronger person. You experience the pain once, you are (in theory) less affected by it the second time, and so on. A weak person might shut the world out; a strong person would grow from the losses. Besides that, you could act as one hell of a guide for future generations. Tell them of the mistakes of the past to keep them from being repeated. Because we all know that we mere mortals do not truly learn from the past. You could make Earth a much better place, directly or indirectly.

    I quite honestly do not understand where you're coming from with that second point, the one about everyone being immortal. It doesn't matter if it's all the same people. Things would keep changing. There would be no shortage of things to talk about.
     
  12. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    You pass on knowledge because you die, so that the knowledge doesn't die with you. If you're immortal, how about you apply it instead?

    You didn't say we were going to be 10 year olds. And you just said we were the only immortal :confused:.

    Says who? I reject that notion. We weren't "put" here (your religion notwithstanding), you probably have a different opinion though.

    Again, says who?

    It already was. A car is made of plastic, metal, maybe leather, etc. All found in nature. Why do they stop being part of nature when combined? Humans don't create things, that's physically impossible (or at the very least, incredibly inefficient ) we just put them together to make something useful. You're arguing semantics, anyhow, even if it were (which I just argued weren't) unnatural, what would be the difference?

    Creating a way? A more apt term would be discovering a way (unless you do mean creating, in which case, when did we get the ability to alter reality?). If it already existed, it's part of nature. As is everything else.
     
  13. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I mean is that if we all live forever, and we gain all the knowledge there is to gain, who can we then pass it onto once we all know it?



    I'm considering this under a general view, as that appears the way the discussion has gone: global opinions rather than personal pros and cons.

    As for the ten year old business, I'm assuming that if it were possible to be immortal, some rigid system would have to be put in place. Would we reach a certain age before we stopped aging? Or would we age extremely slowly so that it would appear we lived forever?



    Maybe I used the wrong wording. Put here does suggest a higher power, maybe I should have used the term expected to live and die. This is a natural process.


    Point taken. Someone will, and probably is, trying to create a method for immortality. I think the argument, as with most ethical and scientific issues, is not whether we can, but maybe if we should...

    I disagree wholeheartedly. Something natural occurs in nature, something man made is artificial. Most dictionaries agree. You say plastic is natural. Take a look at regions without man, say, a remote island in the middle of the Pacific. I'm sure we'd find chunks of plastic buried there, right? Or a car parked on the beach. Without man, they don't exist. They are not part of the natural world.

    Yes, the atoms they consist of exist naturally, but you don't call eggs, butter, flour and sugar a cake until man mixes it all up.



    Yes, I do mean creating. You suggest that the only way to achieve immortality would be to discover a natural process (fountain of youth on that island, anyone?). We wanted to fly, and created planes. We didn't find one or accidentily discover the secret of flight. True, some scientific discoveries are discovered, such as penicillin, but it was the creation of medicines after that that made it useful to us. As far as immortality is concerned (and this argument seems to have gone from the lighter 'what would you do' to a more 'let's discuss the rules of the laws of physics', should immortality be achievable (and I seriously doubt it. This is all metaphorical), I feel it would be created artificially. I stand my ground that it would NOT be a natural process.

    Some good points though, Acglaphotis. Juicy discussion! :)
     
  14. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Good point. Boredom could certainly factor in. Could I commit suicide or am I stuck with immortality forever?

    I see.

    A system sounds necessary at this point, but I think we could trust people to know when to "get the procedure done". Some people would look 20, other 30, etc.

    On a global scale it would most certainly be a taxing problem.

    Man occurs in nature. Subsequent events caused by man would also be part of nature, wouldn't they?

    Yeah, I disagree with them too. :D

    They are not part of a human-less world, but a world that develops beings with enough intelligence to make them would surely be a natural process.

    Hmm, you got me there. But if we were to accept your premise, we would still be just arguing semantics. Is a cake, than by your premise is not part of nature, inherently a less ideal choice than the natural eggs|butter|flour|sugar?

    We didn't create the method of flight, we just engineered the tool. I didn't mean a natural process as a fountain of youth, I just meant something possible in this reality but that we have yet to discover or a method which is still too advanced for us to use (ala Matrix).
    That's the beauty; we did find it! We didn't invent air, friction or motion, we just made tools to use them to our advantage.

    Those shift in arguments seem to happen a lot. :rolleyes:
    I agree!
     
  15. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    I would choose immortality. Being able to live forever would give you ample time to learn everything there was about the world, write countless novels, learn instruments, travel the world etc...
     
  16. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    And can create a really enjoyable discussion at the same time. I don't think we could really continue on with the discussion the way we have without it getting nitty gritty. Thanks for the intellectually stimulating morning!

    (sorry it took so long to reply, I had to do a trip to the hospital to get my foot checked... and they just sent me home and said come back in a few days without even looking at it. :rolleyes:)
     
  17. Acglaphotis
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    Acglaphotis Contributing Member

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    Likewise! Although, it's like midnight here.
     
  18. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've done a fair bit of research and got to interview a gerontologist who's life's work is to discover a therapy for prolonging life. His name is Dr Aubrey de Grey, and he resides in Cambridge, England, though most of the laboratories, I've come to understand, are located in the United States.
    He does a lot of speeches on the subject and has written a book on the subject -- Endless Aging.
    He has indeed been able to double the lifespan in mice and is still testing with them currently. It's quite fascinating.
    (Please check out methuselahfoundation.org -- de Grey's Web site and imminst.org --a site that keeps up to date on recent updates on the subject for more information.)

    To clear a few things up, if you lived longer, no, you would not age into oblivion --you would chronologically age but not biologically. Most people argue about the population cost, and yes, when this dream becomes possible we will have to make a choice: Low death rate or low birth rate?
    He's not saying we will become immortal. Unlikely. So I say we go for it. You'll never have your seven kids, but you might have one, and you'll be able to enjoy your life for so much longer. I guess it comes down to priority: proliferation or living your own life.

    The idea of living forever, quite honestly, depends on my mood. Some days I'm rather nihilistic and wouldnt mind an explosion heading my way, but luckily most other days I'm quite fascinated at the thought of living forever. I think it would be quite fascinating and would love to be the last human on earth. Lonely, yeah, but how interesting! Besides, my curiousity is far too boundless to be satisfied in the 'normal' lifespan we're looking at right now. I want to do so much! And there's hardly time for it.

    Oh, and PS! The Catholic Church supports de Grey and his research! The official ruling is that aging itself is suffering, and as long as de Grey doesnt intend to make the human race immortal, staving off suffering is considered a moral thing to do. For all you religious folk who might have been questioning. :)

    Edit:
    I dont see this as natural at all. Medicine and surgeries are human inventions that allow us to live longer, and it is 'unnatural.' Anything that benefits us at all that we were not given at birth or learned in a natural environment is 'unnatural.' In fact, many of our practices are unnatural if one begins to nitpick. So in a sense we've already been prolonging our lifespans for sometime. Why should this be any different?
     
  19. Daniel I Russell
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    Daniel I Russell Contributing Member

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    I agree and disagree. I think it is natural for us to live and die, and agree that all medical procedures are unnatural (talking advanced surgery, lasers, etc, not using remedies that occur naturally in the enviroment), but that doesn't mean I am against them. Because of things like this, we as a species are effectively stopping natural evolution. Now do I care? Not really. I'd like to be fixed if I was rushed into hospital after a heart attack!

    Medical care at the moment may add a few years on, or even allow a person to live out a life they naturally (that bloody word again!) might not have had. But developed populations are getting bigger, medical services are getting stretched, more and more problems are arising (as if nature itself is trying to re establish equilibrium: more cancer, more heart conditions, etc). I know this is dependant on other factors such as lifestyle, but simply put, longer lives mean higher populations.

    This has had impact in the world we live in. Now imagine if this Doctor succeeded in doubling the age of a human. The average life span is now 150 years. I can see people still wanting as many children as they do now (maybe even more. A female's fertility takes a dive after 40ish. Imagine that this happened at 80!). The population would explode, and the only way around this would be to enforce a low birth rate. Surely this affects a person's freedom? I for one would rather live 70 years in this world then 150 years in a world like Orwell's 1984. Bit extreme...bit then I do write fiction!


    Then again, maybe this would be a good thing. Some people should have had to apply to have children in the first place...(he said jokingly)
     
  20. JGraham
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    JGraham Senior Member

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    This is a very interesting topic to me. I always think about this and what i would do.

    Personally i would choose to live forever, as long as everyone got the choice. I would not want to be the only one to live forever and see all my loved ones die. And as far as the aging process goes, if it could not be halted then i would choose death, but living forever at my current age (21) would be great.

    I personally love everything about this world. The sights, sounds, and smells. I love walking around and watching people act. It would be truly amazing to be able to do this forever. I always wonder what the world would be like in a thousand years. Will we have Flying cars, will the world run on oil still. Will the Atmosphere diminish and kill us all eventually? Questions i would love to see to the end. I could not think of a better thing in the world then being able to find the answers to these questions. But what would happen to the world? Life would not be viewed as precious. Murderers and rapists would snicker at their thirty year sentences, and the world would be in a constant state of chaos. War would continue and likely worsen as people fought over more meaningless reasons.

    Overall i would definitely choose to live forever, but it would come at a great cost. the world would become more volatile and many things would change for the worse. It would be very interesting and i could only wish for the question to actually arise.
     
  21. Daniel I Russell
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    Daniel I Russell Contributing Member

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    Anybody got Highlander on dvd? ;)
     
  22. hiddennovelist
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    I would live forever. Hands down. Unless it was a Gulliver's Travels kind of deal. That doesn't sound as fun as staying the age I am now or just aging really slowly.

    I don't have a good argument as to the pros or cons of living forever, I just know that I would much rather spend forever living the life I am now than end up getting old and dying and not living it anymore...
     
  23. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    I was going to immortality if all my loved once lived that life too, but Tithonus reminded me, even if everyone gets the option:

    Why should a man desire in any way
    To vary from the kindly race of men,
    Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
    Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?

    Of course that's only for me because I''d totally want my kids, and their kids and so on to be immortal, bcause which mother wants to think about her children's death?
     
  24. Torana
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    Torana Contributing Member Contributor

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    Neha, you reminded me of a conversation with my grandmother (may she forever rest in piece) when I was only around... 10-12 I think. (I don't know how you reminded me, but you did lol) ANd no parent ever wants to think of their children passing away nor experience it either.

    Grandmother: What do you to do with your life?
    Me: I want to be immortalised!
    Grandmother: And how are you going to do that?
    Me: I don't mean in this body.
    Grandmother: You have completely lost me then...
    Me: I want to be immortalised in the written word by getting my poetry published!
    Grandmother: Well that my dear is attainable so long as you never give up your dream.

    I believed back then that once you had a piece of work published, you became immortal. For if you are never forgotten about you are never really gone.

    The conversation still runs clear through my mind (the only part I left out was what she used to call me... lol) And that I have done. Though I won't be happy till I have a poem in a book that has gone to print or a collection of poetry in print.
     
  25. Daniel I Russell
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    Daniel I Russell Contributing Member

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    Looking at some of my previous publications, I doubt I've achieved immortality, lieterary or otherwise!

    Spray paint your name on a highway bridge. That might work?
     

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