"New York Philosophy" Message Board › Immortality

Immortality

PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 80
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.

Very good point about the added sense of responsilibility and planning of your acts if you were to live a much longer time, long enough to see the consequences of your actions which today can be ignored (long term consequences on the environment, political decisions related to slow demographic trends etc...for example)

And yes, i agree that a lot of my granny's attitude has probably got to do with being "anchored" in the thought that she's old and is going to die. If she knew her life was going to continue much further, she would probably be in a different mindset.

I wonder if extremely slow natural aging would make us much more afraid of accidental/premature death because it would rob so many more years off of our lives.

PWi
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 38
Check out this short film on YouTube: The Immortalists
John
broughton
Group Organizer
New York, NY
Post #: 180
Due to the great interest in this topic on this board (and the very interesting points made here), the next event is centered around this theme. I will keep following the discussions here and try to capture the best points for the handout at the event.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 39
Aubrey de Grey's book, Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime, was released Sept. 4; look for it at your favorite bookstore. De Grey is the creator of Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), and founder of The Methuselah Foundation, the sponsoring organization of the The Methuselah Mouse Prize (Mprize), whose total prize fund currently stands at $4.5 million.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 40
Lest you think de Grey is the first person to write seriously on the subject, I should also mention Kurzweil's 2004 Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, and The Scientific Conquest of Death: Essays on Infinite Lifespans, produced by the Immortality Institute, also in 2004. See also Nanomedicine, by Robert Freitas.

For some fairly thoughtful notes of caution, not just about life extension but human enhancement generally, you might take a look at Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human , by Joel Garreau, and Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age, by Bill McKibben.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 40
I just stumbled across an interesting historical aside: a book released last month entitled "The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever", by David M. Friedman. And the author will be appearing this Monday, 9/24, at The Half King in Chelsea.
Kevin D. K.
kdkeck
Newport Beach, CA
Post #: 43
Eliezer Yudkowsky has just posted an insightful, and entertaining, new essay to his blog: The Meaning That Immortality Gives to Life.
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 94
Eliezer Yudkowsky has just posted an insightful, and entertaining, new essay to his blog: The Meaning That Immortality Gives to Life.

Interesting, elegantly written post.

Certainly while connecting with one's death is a neat trick - that i often use myself - to foster in ourselves a sense of urgency about life, i'm sure that if they were given the choice 99% of the people who extol the meaningful value of death would choose to live on...including myself.

One other thought...if we became immortals, there would be some interesting demographic implications. Even if each women had a fertility rate down to just one child on average, this would mean that each generation, the population would grow by half of its number. So starting at about 6 billion people, within 20 generations, our population would be 20,000 billion...Being immortal would probably dramatically change our view of procreating. Giving life is one thing...giving immortal life is quite another...

PWi
A former member
Post #: 1
Why can't we live forever?

isn't this an empirical question? considered abstractly, immortality is a logical possibility. but it's probably impossible given the natural constraints of human bodies -- and those of the physical universe.

Whence things have their origin, there they must also pass away according to necessity; for they must pay penalty and be judged for their injustice, according to the ordinance of time ---Anaximander
A former member
Post #: 3
In response to "Why can't we live forever?"
(i'll try to be brief)

I speak for many of us (I.e. "we")

We do not know what we are
we do not know what life (to live) is

we know that we exist now.

how can we exist now believing that we came out of nothing? it does not make sense.
how can we not exist in the future when we exist now.

existence does not come from non-existence.
exsitence does not lead to non-existence.
this is known by observation of the so-called material universe. however, because we do not have the capability to observe the so-called indivual being before or after borth we are simply baffled.

I understand that we existed and will continue to exist. So we do live forever.
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