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"New York Philosophy" Message Board › Immortality

Immortality

A former member
Post #: 339
But you have no reason or empirical data to believe, to prove, that any of these ideas are new.willl continue to be new, or fresh and endless..the key word here is endless
You can tell if it helps mankind that's all that matters though.
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 74
Throughout this thread, we talk often about how death might give meaning to our lives.

Here's a couple of observations:
- in my experience, being connected to the fact of your own death gives, maybe not meaning, but i would say urgency and perspective to your life. Suddenly things that obsess you on a daily basis don't seem so important, and other thoughts and dreams that are generally in the background spring forward. You feel the urge to talk to that forgotten friend. And hug your mom. And finish that song that's been sitting in a drawer for a year. Somehow the realization of your death cristallizes the process of sorting out your life priorities, and makes life itself, the present, much more enjoyable.
So one point to the idea that with immortality you would somehow loose that sense of urgency. Somehow, life wouldn't feel the same.

- on the other hand, many people very seldom, if ever, are really connected to their own death. In fact most avoid that thought, are scared of it, find it morbid. Most of the time they live in the complete absence of awareness of death, focused on the present, or rather on the near past and near future. So you could very well imagine people who live like that eternally without really giving a thought to it. Now, if the unxamined life isn't worth living, i wonder what the eternal unexamined life is worth...

- On the other hand (the 3rd synthetic hand)....if we were immortal or quasi so, i can imagine another different kind of problem: feeling trapped by eternal life. The same way we get nauseated with the prospect of being married with a person we're not sure we love, or dizzy with the cosmic infinity we are stuck in, we may get vertigo from thinking about our own eternity. And want out. Whenever i talk to my granny, all she can talk about is how relieved she will be when she's dead. She can't wait. She's had enough. And she's not even in a wheelchair or disabled, or senile. What if she were told she's going to live forever? She would go positively nuts. Is that because she's not feeling so great? Or because after nearly 100 years, you just started getting plain tired of things?

To conclude, it seems to me:
- we are not immortal because evolution doesn't need us not to be.
- we might be able to make ourselves immortal - or quasi so - with technology, but if we do, "we" probably will be a very different person over time
- we shouldn't try, because (examined) life wouldn't feel as precious.

PWi
A former member
Post #: 19
You can tell if it helps mankind that's all that matters though.

But in truth you have no way of really telling if your actions were good or bad save in the short term. What if you seem to have done something good but in the future your actions actually did more harm? You would not have empirical data because it would take eternity to amass and impossible to have some clear idea if your actions were beneficial or not, and even then right and wrong, good and bad are only relative to those it effects, how they view their actions and others actions and their ramifications down the line. Can you predict the future? How far into the future? I think that one can only be content with what one does if she or he believes he or she has done the best she or he can and expect nothing more.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 31
Immortality would/will not change the nature of time itself, the fact that every moment is precious because we can't ever go back, and important because it shapes the entire future, indelibly. An infinite lifetime to look forward to would not make time any less fleeting, would not make it any easier to stay on top of things now, would not make the consequences of what we do today any less permanent, really.

The thing that should change is the carelessness of those who figure they're on their way out anyway, and don't see a reason to worry about consequences in a distant future they will never see. Far from making people less reflective, less conscious, I would expect it to make people far more reflective, far more conscious, as they begin to think well beyond a time range of decades, to millennia, eras, even eons.

PWi's granny is resigned to death because she knows she's going to die, she knows there's nothing she can do about it, except wait for it to go ahead and happen already. If she had any expectation that she could live on indefinitely, her whole attitude would change. She would begin to engage the world again, as she used to. She would not go nuts, because she would not still be stuck in the mindset of her time being so limited, of engagement with the world being pointless anymore because she will not be around to see the fruits of her efforts. I do not believe she is tired of the world, I think she is just discouraged from active participation in it anymore, by her feelings of powerlessness in the face of her mortality.
A former member
Post #: 48
Throughout this thread, we talk often about how death might give meaning to our lives.

Here's a couple of observations:
- in my experience, being connected to the fact of your own death gives, maybe not meaning, but i would say urgency and perspective to your life. Suddenly things that obsess you on a daily basis don't seem so important, and other thoughts and dreams that are generally in the background spring forward. You feel the urge to talk to that forgotten friend. And hug your mom. And finish that song that's been sitting in a drawer for a year. Somehow the realization of your death cristallizes the process of sorting out your life priorities, and makes life itself, the present, much more enjoyable.
So one point to the idea that with immortality you would somehow loose that sense of urgency. Somehow, life wouldn't feel the same.

- on the other hand, many people very seldom, if ever, are really connected to their own death. In fact most avoid that thought, are scared of it, find it morbid. Most of the time they live in the complete absence of awareness of death, focused on the present, or rather on the near past and near future. So you could very well imagine people who live like that eternally without really giving a thought to it. Now, if the unxamined life isn't worth living, i wonder what the eternal unexamined life is worth...

- On the other hand (the 3rd synthetic hand)....if we were immortal or quasi so, i can imagine another different kind of problem: feeling trapped by eternal life. The same way we get nauseated with the prospect of being married with a person we're not sure we love, or dizzy with the cosmic infinity we are stuck in, we may get vertigo from thinking about our own eternity. And want out. Whenever i talk to my granny, all she can talk about is how relieved she will be when she's dead. She can't wait. She's had enough. And she's not even in a wheelchair or disabled, or senile. What if she were told she's going to live forever? She would go positively nuts. Is that because she's not feeling so great? Or because after nearly 100 years, you just started getting plain tired of things?

To conclude, it seems to me:
- we are not immortal because evolution doesn't need us not to be.
- we might be able to make ourselves immortal - or quasi so - with technology, but if we do, "we" probably will be a very different person over time
- we shouldn't try, because (examined) life wouldn't feel as precious.

PWi

PWi,

Are you familiar with Nietzsche's 'doctrine' of the eternal recurrence of the same?

CMZ
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 78
Throughout this thread, we talk often about how death might give meaning to our lives.

Here's a couple of observations:
- in my experience, being connected to the fact of your own death gives, maybe not meaning, but i would say urgency and perspective to your life. Suddenly things that obsess you on a daily basis don't seem so important, and other thoughts and dreams that are generally in the background spring forward. You feel the urge to talk to that forgotten friend. And hug your mom. And finish that song that's been sitting in a drawer for a year. Somehow the realization of your death cristallizes the process of sorting out your life priorities, and makes life itself, the present, much more enjoyable.
So one point to the idea that with immortality you would somehow loose that sense of urgency. Somehow, life wouldn't feel the same.

- on the other hand, many people very seldom, if ever, are really connected to their own death. In fact most avoid that thought, are scared of it, find it morbid. Most of the time they live in the complete absence of awareness of death, focused on the present, or rather on the near past and near future. So you could very well imagine people who live like that eternally without really giving a thought to it. Now, if the unxamined life isn't worth living, i wonder what the eternal unexamined life is worth...

- On the other hand (the 3rd synthetic hand)....if we were immortal or quasi so, i can imagine another different kind of problem: feeling trapped by eternal life. The same way we get nauseated with the prospect of being married with a person we're not sure we love, or dizzy with the cosmic infinity we are stuck in, we may get vertigo from thinking about our own eternity. And want out. Whenever i talk to my granny, all she can talk about is how relieved she will be when she's dead. She can't wait. She's had enough. And she's not even in a wheelchair or disabled, or senile. What if she were told she's going to live forever? She would go positively nuts. Is that because she's not feeling so great? Or because after nearly 100 years, you just started getting plain tired of things?

To conclude, it seems to me:
- we are not immortal because evolution doesn't need us not to be.
- we might be able to make ourselves immortal - or quasi so - with technology, but if we do, "we" probably will be a very different person over time
- we shouldn't try, because (examined) life wouldn't feel as precious.

PWi

PWi,

Are you familiar with Nietzsche's 'doctrine' of the eternal recurrence of the same?

CMZ

I have not read it first hand, but have read a bit about it here and there. The utter unlikeliness and mystical character of what i've read has always kept me from wanting to investigate it further. To my amateur view - it seemed like a late life mystical drift on Nietzche's part, a little bit like Plato's embrace of reincarnation in his later years. Did i miss something important here?
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 32
Stacy wrote:
But you have no reason or empirical data to believe, to prove, that any of these ideas are new. willl continue to be new, or fresh and endless..the key word here is endless
But as long as I remain always free to check out, if and when I ever come to an apparent end, I see no reason to worry about such a distant possibility.
You can tell if it helps mankind that's all that matters though.
Huh? Would you mind rephrasing that?
A former member
Post #: 358
Stacy wrote:
But you have no reason or empirical data to believe, to prove, that any of these ideas are new. willl continue to be new, or fresh and endless..the key word here is endless
But as long as I remain always free to check out, if and when I ever come to an apparent end, I see no reason to worry about such a distant possibility.
You can tell if it helps mankind that's all that matters though.
Huh? Would you mind rephrasing that?

I believe you said to Allen one of the reasons immortality would be great was because of being able to see the future new ideas that people would have over the ages.

Allen countered "but you have no reason or empirical data to prove that they are new".

I stated to Allen you can tell if the idea helps mankind for example if someone creates an antibiotic to some disease and then years later someone creates the same antibiotic or even another one is the idea new?

And what I meant by that's all that matters if it helps mankind that's what it boils down to new ideas.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 33
Oh, that's what you meant. smile

Um, like Allen implied in his answer, most ideas are not as unquestionably good as an antibiotic--and some still even argue that antibiotics have not been such a great idea, for various reasons (super-bugs, population explosion, livestock factory farming, going against God, etc. etc.).

Also, conversely, even "bad" ideas aren't really bad in the form only of ideas, but rather are only bad to implement. Like, to take an extreme example: genocide is clearly an evil thing to do. But the idea of genocide is a prerequisite for drafting treaties/conventions against it, and for building institutions to prevent it, and so the idea of genocide is actually pretty useful.

But to get back to my original point, I think even "useless" ideas can still be stimulating, diverting, entertaining, even inspiring. And one never knows when an idea that once seemed useless will suddenly be found to have a wonderful application, to something actually quite important?examples abound particularly in mathematics, but also in probably just about any other field of exploration. So ideas can thus be seen to be justifiable ends in their own right, for both these reasons. This was arguably not so true until very recently, as until the development of mass electronic storage, each idea was fairly expensive to maintain, and so there was a fairly high threshold for when an idea was more trouble to maintain than it could be expected to be worth. But today that threshold is miniscule, and still shrinking geometrically.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Sunnyvale, CA
Post #: 34
Michael Anissimov has just started an interesting new blog of talks by leading futurists, and happens to have logged three talks already on the topic of life extension. Two are from the Securing the Longevity Dividend conference, which took place on July 23 in Chicago. The third is from the July 20 Bay Area Future Salon, The Science and Ethics of Longevity Research. For more on what happened at the Future Salon, you might also check out "Anne C"'s blog post about it.
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