Who Wants To Live Forever?

December 24, 2008


If you could live forever, in your earthly form, would you choose to do so? Robin of Lets Live Forever, is enthusiastic about the possibility that we could live forever. Her views are a breathe of fresh air, as she’s a scientist and they’re not renowned for their belief in things that haven’t yet been scientficially proven.

Now, scientists have made a film - What If? The Movie,which explores the amazing potential of the human mind and gives strength to the notion that we may be able to live for hundreds of years on this earth. And while I’m looking forward to watching the film, I don’t know whether I would want to live for hundreds of years in this physical form. But I love the idea that our minds have the capability to achieve far greater things.

And just for a bit of fun - I’ve been considering the pros and cons of being able to live forever:

The Pros Of Living Forever

No need to go through painful death and reincarnation.

We’d have more time to learn more and embrace the full potential of our minds.

History would be far more accurate, if folk who are still around had been there.

Being able to heal ourselves would cut back on the costs of expensive health care.

There’d be no grieving process to face, every time a loved one died.

There would be fewer lonely widowers.

Folk would be more genuine in their actions, as opposed to just scoring points to gain a spot in heaven.

We’d be able to get to know our ancestors intimately.

It would be easier to create family tree.

Women could become well established in their career, before taking a break to have children. If we could live until 300 years old, there’d be nothing to stop women putting off having kids until they were 100.

Cons Of Living Forever

The world could become over-run with people and it could wind up feeling more like a living hell. (this one was contributed by my son Joshua)

If only a few people decided to live forever, they may wind up being subject to unpleasant experiments. (another one from Joshua)

It could restrict essential learning experiences we’d get if our souls were reincarnated.

Boredom - some folk do little with their lives and spend much of their time being bored. Would it be useful to keep them alive for another 300 boring years?

Inbreeding - Some people re-marry two times, or more already. How many marriages would folk get through if they lived several hundred years - 20 plus? With numbers that high, there would be a bigger risk of intbreeding.

Potential risk of civil wars - Some folk are going to be pro - living hundreds of years and others will be dead against it. And once there’s a significant number of long lifers, the world will change for sure. If those changes are severe, many regular lifers could declare war on the long lifers, in the hope of wiping them out.

Huge pressure to change laws, by those who choose to live forever. Things like the copyright law - would need to be changed and retirement age would need to be increased dramatically. These changes would likely be opposed by those who didn’t want to live for hundreds of years.

Bigger socio-economic divide - there is already a huge divide between the poor and those who are better off, in most countries. Much of the time, the poor are just trying to keep their heads above water, so they are least likely to take advantage of the benefits of living forever.

Would you want to live forever? What other pros and cons do we need to consider, regarding living for hundreds of years?

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14 Responses to “Who Wants To Live Forever?”

  1. Lance on December 24th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Living forever, here on earth…I’m not sure I’m ready for that!

    I do love Robin’s outlook on life, and the idea of living forever is a powerful one - she’s a favorite visiting place of mine! This idea of living forever is one worth exploring, one worth understanding, and one worth talking about. Indeed, that’s how we learn and grow…

    I like how you’ve listed pros and cons, Cath. I think that shows it’s not a cut and dried yes or no on this. And that’s what makes it interesting…

    Lance’s last blog post..This Challenged Me - Part 1

  2. Betsy on December 24th, 2008 12:51 pm

    Hi Cath - How would you know if there was life after death if you lived forever? Merry Christmas!

    Betsy’s last blog post..AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE REVEALED . . .

  3. Brad Shorr on December 24th, 2008 1:05 pm

    Hi Cath, Live forever? I’ll save that for the life to come. For science fiction fans, there’s a great anthology, “The Year’s Best Science Fiction”, edited by Garndner Dozois. The last few editions have a number of excellent short stories that delve into the topic of extended human life. These stories are fascinating, and dramatize many of the pros and cons you talk about in this post. For example, in the current edition, the 25th, “Of Late I Dreamt of Venus”, by James Van Pelt and “The Immortals of Atlantis” by Brian Stableford, are fabulous!

    Brad Shorr’s last blog post..Eco-Friendly Christmas Cartoon

  4. Graham Strong on December 24th, 2008 2:07 pm

    The biggest con is that you would have to see your children die, and your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren…

    Also, in this hypothetical, do you continually age, or do you stay 20-ish like in Highlander? I would certainly say no if you are still going to be bedridden after say age 90…

    But on the pro side, think of all the Christmas cards you’d get over the years! I love the idea of being able to look back on history. You would also be able to build one hell of a great retirement fund…

    ~Graham

    PS - Merry Christmas to you and yours Cath!

    Graham Strong’s last blog post..How You Can Add More Punch to Your Press Releases

  5. Craig on December 24th, 2008 3:20 pm

    If I could stay 23 forever, wouldn’t be so bad. I see your point, there are so many pros for obvious reasons but it’s too heavily relied upon religious reasons. A lot of people have different views on religion (myself particularly) and would not include that in any factor. Religion is a tough topic to bring up and talk about in conversation because you never know others views and would never want to offend someone.

    For me none of that would have play, but think there could be great educational reasons and to see how history plays through.

    Also, I could never get tired of hearing Thunder Road, even 300 yrs from now.

    Happy holidays Cath and everyone!

  6. on December 24th, 2008 4:39 pm
  7. Patricia on December 24th, 2008 5:40 pm

    Nope
    For scientific reasons not religious reasons

    Patricia’s last blog post..Happy Holidays From the Folks at Patricia’s Wisdom

  8. Davina on December 24th, 2008 9:02 pm

    Hi Cath. Hmm. I thought about this and every time I ponder the idea of living forever, I feel trapped. Weird, I know. But I’ve never actually sat down and looked at it… I mean really thought about it.

    It feels that if we knew we were going to live forever, there would be no motivation to live. Weird contradiction, I know.

    When I think a bit more… with death being an obvious certainty, life becomes more precious.

    I dunno. I can’t figure this out yet.

    Davina’s last blog post..A Positively Dysfunctional Christmas

  9. Trade Show Guru on December 24th, 2008 9:31 pm

    hi Cath,
    This is a deep question. Too deep even for this guru. The first thing I wonder is, would we not grow old? Would we not age? Would we be frozen in time, and would we not see our kids grow up? Would we be stuck with crazy four-year-olds forever?
    This is just too much to ponder. Instead I will wonder what Santa is bringing tonight…
    Merry Christmas!
    ~ the brain-overloaded trade show guru

    Trade Show Guru’s last blog post..Top 3 Trade Show Display Design Mistakes

  10. cathlawson on December 25th, 2008 12:29 am

    Hi Lance - it’s an interesting idea isn’t it. I had never even thought about the possibility until I visited Robin’s blog.

    LMAO Betsy - I had never thought about that one.

    Hi Brad - it sounds like I need to check out those stories.

    Hi Graham - Those are good points - staying twenty something would be cool. I would have to reverse the aging process a lot first though. The retirement fund would definitely be a huge bonus.

    Hi Craig - That’s a good point. I guess the concept would offend a lot of religious people - but you should never be afraid of offending folk, just because they don’t believe the same things as you. Unless they threaten to burn you at the stake of course - then you’d need to grovel to them as much as possible.

    Hi Akemi - I didn’t think you’d fancy the idea of living forever. I like the idea of different dresses for different occassions too. But I must admit - I do worry about where I’ll end up next time.

    Hi Patricia - It sounds like you’re not the only one who doesn’t fancy the idea. I’m getting the feeling those who want to live a few hundred years are going to be in the minority.

    Hi Davina - that is a good point. Would we really value life so much if we were going to live for a few centuries - or even forever? And what if we had a fatal accident - would we be able to heal ourselves from that too?

    Hi Steve - those are good points. Would we stop aging altogether at some point? The older we get the more or skins thin. I would feel kind of odd if it wore a way completely. Stuart is also just mentioning the shrinking factor. How small would we wind up after a couple of centuries?

  11. Betsy on December 25th, 2008 2:02 pm

    Davina nails it! Yes, yes, yes, we’d be trapped on earth in an “is that all there is” mode! What would the reason be to keep living, then, indeed! But horror of horrors, you couldn’t even off yourself out of it, no? It would be the most extreme slavery, doomed to inevitability. I am thankful we can’t. I want to see what’s on the other side, and come back again, too. Merry Christmas!

    Betsy’s last blog post..BEHOLD!

  12. Jannie on December 25th, 2008 7:30 pm

    According to my Christain teachings I’m supposed to live forever anyway, so I’m banking on that. And meantime trying not to be too much of a pain in the ass in this realm, cause you guys are stuck with me until I go.

    Jannie’s last blog post..Holly-Jolly 2008

  13. Cath Lawson on December 26th, 2008 1:26 am

    Hi Betsy - I’ve been thinking about what Davina said all day. It would be like a horror film wouldn’t it? I have visions of a group of people, desperate to find a way out, before they’re doomed here for life.

    Mind you - I don’t think Robin’s vision of life on earth is as it is now, because she sees the possibility of heaven on earth.

    Hi Jannie - I’m guessing you’re not supposed to live forever in your physical form - but I don’t know what you’ve been learning.

    Cath Lawson’s last blog post..Who Wants To Live Forever?

  14. Vered - MomGrind on December 26th, 2008 2:23 am

    I would want to live forever if I could stay young forever, and if my family and friends stayed alive with me.

    But Joshua is right. Overpopulation would become a huge problem.

    Vered - MomGrind’s last blog post..Last-Minute Holiday Shopping? May I Suggest The Perfect Gift

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