Immortality- What do you think would happen?
  • So I was wondering about what would happen if humanity was able to somehow cure death. Now what I mean is what if we found some to keep our bodies from deteriorating with old age and instead we just aged until our body reached its peak and then just stopped.

    The obvious side effect would be massive population growth and the population would never really be in decline either, unless there was some kind of war or something. However such a massive population growth could put more pressure on space exploration so that we could move much of the population off from Earth. The alternative to this though would probably be strict laws that would try and keep the population under control, though that would only be a temporary solution.

    So what do you guys think would become of us if this were to ever happen?
  • I've heard that the blood of newborn baby carries an extra dna strand that when added to small insects doubles their life expectancy! I brought this up on another orum and someone said this is old news, why do you think vampires have been bathing in the blood of virgins for years! I think theres something to this lol
  • I think that it could only result in a Fallout-like scenario. We'd overpopulate the planet (moreso than we already have, of course), blow all the resources, war over the last scraps, kill off 99% of the population and the survivors would be in an irradiated wasteland.

    Meanwhile, I will laugh because I'm sick in the head like that.
  • I don't think the population would be a super large concern once this happens (I do believe it will at one point, whether through greater understanding of current biological immortality, or transhumanism).

    By that time, I think it's conceivable that birth rates globally are much lower, agriculutural technology is much, much better, and living on the moon and perhaps Mars is feasible. And you'd still have physical deaths brought on by other things than natural aging; disease, weapons, accidents, etc.
  • they found a way to shut off the biological clock but it apparently gives new born babies cancer or something idk

    i think the idea is problematic right now. humanity needs to learn a few things before we become imortal. right now a human can get away with murder or rape or theft or whatever
    but eventually he/she will die, but if everybody become imortal that crazy rapist dude could kill forever if he/she is smart enough
  • If it were to happen it would lead to the stagnation of humanity, and we'd become the designers of our own end in the process. Nature demands change, it's a cycle. Thinking we can not only fight death but actually win, is human arrogance at its most daft.
  • The population control problem wouldn't get any worse than it currently is. The "cure for death" would only be available to the rich and powerful. Us lowly normal humans wouldn't have access to it.

    If the general population did have access to it, the logical avenue of approach would be to invest in space exploration or wise use of our resources. Sadly, few of our leaders are logical; many don't even believe in science. This is all assuming that this cure for death involves preserving our biological bodies. If we could somehow transfer our consciousnesses in to a machine, that would be a completely different situation.
  • This is one of the core themes of the Iain M Banks Culture novels that he returns to now and then. In that universe pretty much everyone is immortal, but over time it becomes apparent that even when that is possible there is a need for death, that ceasing to exist is a valid and important part of being alive (the main difference being, in this case people can choose when they've had enough of living and are ready to die).

    The latest book (Surface Matter) is almost entirely about death as, in the Culture, immortality is largely guaranteed through the ability to record a 'mind state' that can be transferred to a computer matrix or a new body. This then throws up issues with other cultures (small c) who have access to the same technology but perhaps have a more traditional view of the Soul and what should happen to someone whose life has reached a natural end - should they be allowed a new body? Or be allowed to live on in a machine? And if the social norms/prevailing religions have always posited the existence of heaven/hell, now they have the ability to make those things real in simulations that the 'souls' of the deceased are sent to after death, should they?
  • Thefabledgamer said:
    If we could somehow transfer our consciousnesses in to a machine, that would be a completely different situation.

    Not sure that would be to good of a thing tbh. I read that and all I could think about was The Cybermen from Dr Who...
    [video=youtube;M8KVMaLNgfk]


    BurningArmyman said:
    right now a human can get away with murder or rape or theft or whatever but eventually he/she will die, but if everybody become imortal that crazy rapist dude could kill forever if he/she is smart enough


    Not to mention the over crowding of our jails and prisons more than they already are because most places will not give the death sentence so people that get life sentence would be there a whole hell allot longer since they will never die of natural causes. Even if we were to have them cryogenically frozen it would drain resources and when they were released they would not have been rehabilitated so that would be mute imo.

    Besides, if we were to live forever unless there was an accident or something like that people might loose sight of how precious life can be to those that want it because it would be the norm and those that just want to fade away would be stuck here to deal with their pain longer than is bearable.

    IMHO it doesn't matter if its Gods plan that you are wanting to tweak or Evolution things are the way they are for a reason. To give humans the fountain of youth sounds all well and good until you realize that we are running out of food because the animals and plant can not reproduce fast enough to deal with the demands. I think that nature needs a balance and to fuck with it is stupid.

    Besides given time this is something that [I]might[/I] occur naturally anyways... or at least a longer life span at the very least. I think I read something once that said that humans are living longer more healthy lives than even a few decades back (did not google so might that wrong) But what do I know, I'm not a scientist.
  • This was one of the main themes in the Casshern Sins anime. In the future humans had advanced medicine so far, they had removed death, but the robots who had always been immortal didn't like it, and rebelled and mostly wiped them out.

    Then when Casshern kills the Sun called Moon, it brings a plague to the robots, who are slowly falling into ruin and dieing. It was only after the robots were faced with mortality that they truly started to live.

    I think death is necessary for life, and that we would stagnate and cease living without death.
  • Sort of addressed to the stagnation point:

    I don't think lifespan is our only metric for quality of life, there are many other areas we could always seek to improve or fix or what have you. Biologically immortal lifeforms out there that have existed fine for a long time and evolved over time seem to be ok.
  • GoodEnoughForMe said:
    Sort of addressed to the stagnation point:

    I don't think lifespan is our only metric for quality of life, there are many other areas we could always seek to improve or fix or what have you. Biologically immortal lifeforms out there that have existed fine for a long time and evolved over time seem to be ok.



    Next you'll be telling me bankers have our best interests at heart...oh wait.... :p

    Seriously dude, you blow me away with your blind optimism and faith in humanity at times. You're like the anti-me!

    Well now, where are all these immortals out there that are chillin' and doing just fine then? They obviously don't have a page on Facebook.

    Stagnation is a definite. Humans, like all creatures, are born of habit, and highly resistant to change. Can you imagine an immortal Stalin? Do you think he'd wake up every morning thinking "how can I better myself for my fellow man today?". The fuck he would. Like someone else noted, any immortality would go straight to the top, and these fuckers really don't like change! Don't delude yourself into thinking either you or I would be getting this miracle cure for death anytime soon. And even if we did become somehow able to prolong death inevitably, it would still ultimately be just that; prolonged. Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe in all it's entirety had a start point, and many believe it must therefore have an end. So if the universe itself is not immortal, I'd love to know how we're going to overcome that! The selfish arrogance is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and that is ultimately why humanity is doomed. Humanity is not special. The universe doesn't have a sweet spot for us. We are a footnote in the universe's history book. Just another mutation like all the other species that have lived and subsequently died out on this planet. And the planet will still be here churning out life long after we are gone, because that's what it does. The Earth is born of habit too.
  • I have the weirdest boner right now.
  • Wouldn't my bones and stuff still receive wear and tear from gravity and my own weight? Having bad bones and dry joints, despite being perfectly health sounds like a bad bad time.
  • as long as it's only me then i have no problem with it. :p
    [video=youtube;BYOE_b4aYD0]
  • Dr Flibble said:
    Next you'll be telling me bankers have our best interests at heart...oh wait.... :p

    Seriously dude, you blow me away with your blind optimism and faith in humanity at times. You're like the anti-me!

    Well now, where are all these immortals out there that are chillin' and doing just fine then? They obviously don't have a page on Facebook.

    Stagnation is a definite. Humans, like all creatures, are born of habit, and highly resistant to change. Can you imagine an immortal Stalin? Do you think he'd wake up every morning thinking "how can I better myself for my fellow man today?". The fuck he would. Like someone else noted, any immortality would go straight to the top, and these fuckers really don't like change! Don't delude yourself into thinking either you or I would be getting this miracle cure for death anytime soon. And even if we did become somehow able to prolong death inevitably, it would still ultimately be just that; prolonged. Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe in all it's entirety had a start point, and many believe it must therefore have an end. So if the universe itself is not immortal, I'd love to know how we're going to overcome that! The selfish arrogance is so thick you could cut it with a knife, and that is ultimately why humanity is doomed. Humanity is not special. The universe doesn't have a sweet spot for us. We are a footnote in the universe's history book. Just another mutation like all the other species that have lived and subsequently died out on this planet. And the planet will still be here churning out life long after we are gone, because that's what it does. The Earth is born of habit too.


    Woah, woah. Bankers have our best interest at heart? No way. You've confused me with someone else. The big ones are criminal organizations. I just think the Fed/Bernake have done well, all things considered. But heck, sometime I think anarchists are on to something. I am about as non-trusting of power as it comes, but I digress...

    I don't really have a rebuttal to the concern about only the rich and powerful having access to this, because that's a valid concern. Immortal dictators, or just people with some bad motives in general is a problem, but I think that's a bridge to burn when you get to it, hundreds of years from now. Suffice to say, thr economic and political realties of that time will be totally different from what they are now.

    Anyways, my argument wasn't based on any special ideal of humans, far from it. We are basically "nothing" in the universe, but that also doesn't make us immune from something that isn't even unheard of on Earth. It is a definite possibility that we get to a biologically immortal point. I mentioned other organisms because there are biologically immortal organisms already living out there right now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_immortality

    If the universe ends, of course we'll be screwed. The OP mentioned just age though, I even said disease and war and things would still kill us. I don't think there's any reason to ever suspect they wont.
  • Well, the first thought I had is that a lot of humanity would eventually get bored and start warring because eventually they'll have nothing better to do.


    I also think that creativity would eventually come to a halt as well. Most probably; birth rate would go right down and the same people can only come up with new stuff for so long. I remember reading "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running",(great little book) by Haruki Murakami; there was one chapter where he started to talk about talent. He mentioned something like those with natural talent and those that work for their talent. Those talented people lead the creativity in whatever their talented in; but eventually stagnate and then, perhaps as nature intended, the next person comes along who is just as talented and continues the cycle.

    It makes sense. In terms of music, Beethoven, Mozart and Bach, will probably always be remembered but music has expanded so much that now there's room for all kinds of music. Let's take mainstream jazz. Before, people would listen to Frank Sinatra and Tom Jones; as for now, there is Michael Buble and perhaps Marcus Collins is going to take off into jazz as well. Then there's Tony Bennett who mixes the old with the new.

    It's just an example(and probably a rather bad one at that), but it's just to show that life moves on. If it doesn't, well, I think creativity would stop and just keep looking back to the past.
  • If this were to happen I would expect the rich to somehow exploit the poor using this new cure.
  • jaded_sapphire said:
    IMHO it doesn't matter if its Gods plan that you are wanting to tweak or Evolution things are the way they are for a reason.


    If it is a god's plan and it wasn't welcome then I am sure that something would be done to rectify us. However, speaking about Evolution, it is slow very slow! And everything around us is evolving in an attempt to better everything else around us - the point of evolution is the continued survival of your species, through adaptation and reproduction. If we can adapt on our own then we should, that is the very nature of medicine and science, we have adapted through technology and now we live in cities millions strong -

    I, for one, intend to live for as long as I possibly can - my only stipulation is that I have an able mind and body, again science is doing its best to try and make sure that the elderly do not just dither. For me the immortality question can only be posed as 'eternal youth'.
  • if humanity found a way to cure death...its almost certian that it would be sold for a high price and heavily taxed, the rich would be immortal while the poor and average population wither and die
  • I think it would be locked up along with the cure for Cancer.
  • I think the biggest problem would be a religious one. For many religions, suicide is an unforgivable sin; you can't genuinely ask for forgiveness after you are dead. Even choosing not to live is often viewed as suicide. With that in mind, such a "cure" would forever bar you from heaven; continuing to live would leave you stuck here, and killing yourself would condemn you to hell.

    If you think that abortion clinics are bombed now, wait until you see the bombings that would occur when you tell people that modern medicine bars all of mankind from heaven. Anyone that genuinely believes in such things might think they are saving peoples' souls by taking their lives OR by taking away their ability to live in perpetuity.
  • thebgbb said:
    I think the biggest problem would be a religious one. For many religions, suicide is an unforgivable sin; you can't genuinely ask for forgiveness after you are dead. Even choosing not to live is often viewed as suicide. With that in mind, such a "cure" would forever bar you from heaven; continuing to live would leave you stuck here, and killing yourself would condemn you to hell.

    If you think that abortion clinics are bombed now, wait until you see the bombings that would occur when you tell people that modern medicine bars all of mankind from heaven. Anyone that genuinely believes in such things might think they are saving peoples' souls by taking their lives OR by taking away their ability to live in perpetuity.


    That is quite the philosophical paradox you uneartherd there. Really interesting thought.

    Of course there's always going to be the fanatical crazies but I personally would rather live forever and ever. The only problem with everyone doing that is that the world would go to hell in a handbasket when we ran out of resources because there's too many damn humans. Would birth rates drop because there's no need to leave a legacy since you'll be alive forever?

    For me the whole 'what if everyone lived forever' question raises SO MANY more questions.
  • If we ran out of resources (namely food) then people would die of starvation the number of people that would die would be directly proportionate to how many people the small remaining supply of food can keep alive.
  • In Religion Immortality itself is unethical (God-like) so... that basically takes that out of the question. If immortality was possible religion would (sooner or later) be trashed (as we know it... I'm sure some new coccamamee religion would crop up).

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