corporate re-education is so fun!

Would you want to live forever?

I believe science will eventually figure out how we can avoid dying (at least of old age).  Given what we know about science and biology it seems likely to me of this eventuality.  I'm a little pissed that I might just be a little too old for this to happen in my life time.

So, would you want to live forever?  I would.  I don't believe there's anything after death so when you're gone that's it.  I'd rather not be gone.

My wife is not for living forever.  I guess she feels everything has a time.

How about you?
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 4:04pm
Not as the same person. You get to stuck in your ways after a while.
Permalink son of parnas 
September 20th, 2006 4:06pm
I would not want to live forever.
Permalink Send private email Rock Hardbuns 
September 20th, 2006 4:07pm
+1 to immortality assuming:

- I don't have to spend the rest of eternity poor.
- I don't look/feel my age.
Permalink possibly maybe 
September 20th, 2006 4:07pm
Why not Rock?
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 4:08pm
If my body could be reasonably young and healthy forever, I'd be into it. If I'm a brain in a jar from age 75 to infinity, no thanks.
Permalink hello. 
September 20th, 2006 4:10pm
Because life's a bitch. For every up there is a down. Can you imagine doing it forever?

Jobs, partners, houses, hobbies and cars. How much of that do you really need?
Permalink Send private email Rock Hardbuns 
September 20th, 2006 4:10pm
Sure. Why not.

It will, however, destroy the insurance industry, which will take down the financial industry.
Permalink Peter 
September 20th, 2006 4:11pm
Brain in a jar would be ok as long as I was hooked up to the Matrix and able to easily have sex with two women at once!  Yeah, that would be the ticket.
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 4:11pm
"Living forever" is not going to happen, there are always accidents.  Living longer would be nice, there's still a lot of stuff I'd be keen on doing.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
September 20th, 2006 4:12pm
I'd just like to zoom around in my space jet like in science fiction movies. Considering it takes 5 years to get to Mars, or whatever, I think human lifespan would need to be increased by a factor of 10 just to get somewhere cool.
Permalink hello. 
September 20th, 2006 4:14pm
I'd like to not have to feel so rushed.

* childhood was awesome, I loved it. but that was 25% of my lifetime right there, before I could even legally drink alcohol or live on my own.

* if you want to start a family, well you've got a pretty small window to do it in. And that will take 20 years- another 25% of your life.

* I'll be x years old by the time I get my PhD. that only gives me y years of use on z years of graduate studies, not to mention any postdoc work. I want to be able to apply myself more.

maybe not forever, but definately longer.
Permalink arg! 
September 20th, 2006 4:16pm
I wouldn't want to live forever.  I do think everything has a time, but I have also observed how elderly people look at things.  I come from a culture where people believe they will be reincarnated ad infinitem, and what happens if you are NOT reincarnated is sort of hazy.  From what I understand you don't really take anything with you, so, for example, if my grandmother were not reincarnated it's not like I would meet her in the afterlife before I go to my next birth.  Because her being my grandmother, and also anything we had while on earth, doesn't really mean anything once you die.

Anyway, that's just background.  Knowing all of this, the elderly people say that they would not want to be reborn.  At my stage in life I am having a lot of fun and therefore I would.  You can say I'm sort of attached to this world. :)  But without exception the elders say that they wouldn't.  Perhaps the human experience gets boring after a time.
Permalink the great purple 
September 20th, 2006 4:20pm
If I could go back to, say, 25
Permalink Send private email Ward 
September 20th, 2006 4:24pm
I suppose it depends on the elderly person.  My grandad used to say (or quote) "who wants to live to 100?  Someone who's 99".

I'm in the yes camp.
Permalink Scott 
September 20th, 2006 4:25pm
My grandma is an artist and she would always like a little more time to make more stuff.
Permalink hello. 
September 20th, 2006 4:25pm
...maybe I'd learn not to randomly bang the keyboard.

No, if I could go back to, say, 25, that would be awesome.  I remember what I was like back then, and I definately enjoy life more now.  So if I could go back to the physical condition I was in then, life would be great.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
September 20th, 2006 4:27pm
We couldn't extend this option to everyone, and if we did the Earth would be over-populated.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 4:31pm
I don't necessarily want to live forever.  What I'd like to have is the option to do so.
Permalink Kenny 
September 20th, 2006 4:32pm
That would be a pretty dramatic change for the world.  Many decisions are kept because "it's too late to change now".  If there never was a "too late", that would make a huge difference.

But as long as people get 'old', and their hair turns white or falls out, and the other aging items short of death still happen, I don't think "live forever" is really going to happen.  And nobody wants to live forever as an 100-year-old weakling, do they?
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
September 20th, 2006 4:33pm
Technically, getting 'old' is your body slowly.. ummm.. dying.  So really, I would suspect that science would cure old age and living forever would just be the side effect.  ;)

We already live twice as long as humans lived a few thousand years ago.
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 4:35pm
If I can avoid locking into a perpetual loop of misery, sure, I'd want to live forever.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 4:37pm
Sharkfish, it seems as though once a society's standard of living gets "up there", they breed at a lower rate.  Without immigration, for instance, the population in the USA and Western Europe would be shrinking.  Japan doesn't really allow much in the way of permanent immigration and they are starting to shrink (hence all of the interest in robotics and automation for everything from child and elder care to taxis).

Live-Forever-Formula/Treatment would probably become available first in developed nations to relatively affluent people (like antibiotics, air conditioning, etc.).

I won't think that it would necessarily, by itself, have a big impact on the population.
Permalink possibly maybe 
September 20th, 2006 4:37pm
So..yes, I'd like the chance to avoid locking into it, too.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 4:37pm
Well yes, you wouldn't want to be a Struldbrugg.
Permalink Scott 
September 20th, 2006 4:40pm
Yeah, if living forever is an option, I'd prefer to do it as a sawtooth-wave, with a trough at 25, and peak at 45.  That age range seems to be a pretty good one to repeat.

.. Old enough to not repeat puberty & acne, not so old that AARP starts sending me membership kits.
Permalink xampl 
September 20th, 2006 4:56pm
All of Niven's "Protector" stories are interesting for ideas about this...

I'm thinking of pretty mundane things: I went skating last night and for some reason my right foot (not the left) is really sore.  It wasn't sore last night, but today the middle of the foot is sore - not the toes, not the heel, but when I walk the top of the section right behind the toes hurts.  I don't know WTF is going on, but I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have happened to me 15 years ago.
Permalink Send private email Die Evil RevCan Morons! 
September 20th, 2006 4:58pm
It will make suicide even a harder choice.
Permalink Send private email Rick Zeng/Tseng 
September 20th, 2006 5:10pm
I don't know that I would want to live forever. I just don't know that I'd ever want to stop living.
Permalink ~~~x 
September 20th, 2006 5:42pm
If I could have a healthy, 20-something-year-old's body indefinitely, then yes, I'd go for that. I have nothing to look forward to in life, but I'd be glad to avoid the aging, disease, and death. I'm also quite ambitious and have things I want to accomplish that would take me several lifetimes, so I'd like to have those lifetimes.

I should point out, however, that curing all disease and stopping all aging won't allow you to live forever. To actually live forever, you would also have to be absolutely indestructable. Everyone will die eventually just because of accidents or homicides. If a bomb or plane crash blows your body to smithereens, all the king's horses and all the king's men won't be able to put you back together again.
Permalink Armchair Grammarian 
September 20th, 2006 5:43pm
"If I could have a healthy, 20-something-year-old's body indefinitely..."

Even going back to college, where there a heck of a lot of those, that's hard to do unless you are Hugh Hefner.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 5:45pm
"It will make suicide even a harder choice."

I would think just the opposite would be true.  Some people would despair at the thought/option of having to live forever.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 5:55pm
"It will make suicide even a harder choice."

Why? At least now it has to happen eventually. If everyone lived forever, suicide would be the only way to get out.
Permalink ~~~x 
September 20th, 2006 6:06pm
Some people would be more reckless..  doing dangerous stuff because they've done everything else and yet I imagine other people would be way more cautious too.  In the end, it would probably all work out.
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 6:14pm
Would living forever make 20 year old girls an even rarer commodity (instead of 1/80 people it would be 1/infinity people).

Divorce would probably be more common & less of a big deal - it's not like you wasted your life with anyone. At the same time, people might stay together longer "for the kids" because "hey, it's only 20 years." Work would be more relaxed - no need to save for retirement. Music would get more & more refined as musicians aged (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc. would all still be alive) and people wouldn't want to hear that same old tune recycled again.

"When I was your age..."
"Dad, that was only 300 years ago, I was there, remember?"
"Oh yeah."

People who specialize (scientists, for example) would have forever to become experts in their field.

We would be leaving the environment to ourselves rather than our children.
Permalink ~~~x 
September 20th, 2006 6:59pm
But if everyone looked 20, would the rarity of 20 year olds matter so much?

How weird would it get if nothing was new?

Actually...people would have the time to accept their kinks and fetishes and try everything, and go back to what they like most.

Would people give up fighting as pointless?  Or would they pick enemies for all eternity?

Would people make the effort to forget things just to experience them for the first time again?
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 7:18pm
> But if everyone looked 20, would the rarity of 20 year olds matter so much?

> Would people make the effort to forget things just to experience them for the first time again?

That's the value of 20 year olds in a world where everyone looks 20.
Permalink ~~~x 
September 20th, 2006 7:21pm
What if all this is already true?  Take it to the extreme case - by agreement, we've all agreed to forget everything between incarnations, and our tech is actually so good that we get all new bodies upon the old one becoming nonfunctional...
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 7:24pm
What's the point of living forever if you forget everything ever 80 years, have all the anxiety of living just once, have to relearn everything, and fall apart towards the end?

Sure I could see a group of bored immortals in a sci fi story deciding to forget everything and go back but...
Permalink ~~~x 
September 20th, 2006 7:28pm
"we've all agreed to forget everything between incarnations"

That's essentially death. 

If memory was flexible: you could remove some parts, add others, go completely without your memories and then reload them at a later date..  that would be interesting.

Of course, the whole concept of self might just go out the window on that.
Permalink Send private email Wayne (AHA) 
September 20th, 2006 7:44pm
What if between incarnations you could remember everything experienced in all previous incarnations?
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 7:55pm
Suggested Sci-Fi, off the top of my head:

Robert A. Heinlein - any of the earlier Lazarus Long books

Larry Niven - Protector, the later Ringworld books, any of the "classic" Known Space/organlegger stories

Joe Haldeman's "The Long Habit of Living" (also pub. under some other title, I forget what it is)
Permalink Send private email Ward 
September 20th, 2006 8:08pm
I've read most of those.
Permalink Send private email Aaron F Stanton 
September 20th, 2006 8:10pm
>Would people give up fighting as pointless? 
As resources dwindled, fighting would become more serious and vicious from our current standpoint. Larry Niven explored this issue a lot in the Mote series of books (the "known space series" and also included Ringworld and a lot of others).

>Or would they pick enemies for all eternity?
Yeah. It will be like the palestinian/israel/arab situation, but worse. It won't be because of what their ancestors did to your ancestors (or vice versa), it will be because what you did to them (or vice versa).

Expect it to become illegal to have children without a permit/license. Expect the police to spend vast amounts of time on "mother hunts" (see The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton for some interesting asides on this subject). Expect civil wars to be fought over the desire to have children.

Expect every infraction of the law to be punished by death. At least until the population dwindles to a sustainable size. Speeding? Hang 'em. Driving a car not under automatic control? Hang 'em. Unlicensed pregnancy? Hang 'em.

The insurance industry will vanish as insurance companies go bankrupt because none of their actuarial tables will be useful. Pensions and annuities will vanish as either the insurance industry purchases laws making it illegal for an immortal to purchase/hold/possess a pension or annuity, or the insurance industry will go tits up. The loss of the insurance industry will take down the financial industry as that industry's main source of money dries up.
Permalink Peter 
September 20th, 2006 10:00pm
What was that one Sci-Fi novel where the main character, a 90+ year old woman, was dipped into some kind of machine or liquid and given a new, young body but kept her 90 year old mind?
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 10:11pm
oops I said sci-fi.  I mean "science fiction".  Don't hurt me.
Permalink Send private email sharkfish 
September 20th, 2006 10:12pm
Only morons object to Sci-Fi and insist on "Speculative Fiction" or the full "Science Fiction."  (The same morons that insist on "Trek-er," usually.)
Permalink Send private email Ward 
September 20th, 2006 10:56pm
sharkfish: Cocoon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoon_%28film%29
Permalink possibly maybe 
September 21st, 2006 1:00am

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