Immortality - Pros and Cons of Living Forever?
The Pros and Cons of Living Forever
Living forever (immortality) has been sought after by humans throughout the ages. It's been that elusive goal that humans have been seeking to achieve through magic potions and seeking for the supposed "fountain of youth." Thus far though immortality has eluded us humans. However, perhaps, in the future, humans could discover the secrets to immortality. Of course, I am not counting on magic potions and fountains of youth. But, science could make progress in understanding better the biological processes of aging. As a consequence, humans could discover ways to slow down the aging process or perhaps even replenish dead cells continuously and keep humans living forever.
While all of this might seem like science fiction, advances in science seems to suggest that all of this could be possible. I remember reading about scientists bringing back dead cells to life, I believe it was published in Nature (the journal) a couple of years back. If I remember correctly, the scientists then had demonstrated how a clinically dead cell can reconstitute its genome and return to life. So, I guess it is not beyond science to discover ways to arrest the process of aging. However, the question I keep asking myself is whether people (if given the choice) would choose to be immortals or choose to live and die as we do now?
Mortal or Immortal - Which Is Better?
There are obviously pros and cons to both these choices. Speaking for myself, one of the reasons I would want to be an immortal is to see the advances that the human society makes. I often wonder about how the world would look like in a 100 years or so and there is no way to find that out, except if I could live that long to see it for myself. There are so many things that are considered to be science fiction material now - it would be interesting and fascinating to find out how many of these sci-fi concepts actually materialize. Would humans be able to fold space and travel through time using wormholes? So many interesting possibilities out there in the future - it would be fun to find out how many of those possibilities came to fruition. Another reason you might want to be an immortal is if you were somebody like Einstein, I guess. One can only imagine how much more he could have contributed to furthering our understanding of the universe and developing new technologies - if he had lived longer.
On the flip side, one would have to factor in the mental part of immortality when one chooses physical immortality. Yes, your body is immortal - but can your mind be immortal? Would an immortal be able to cope with the accumulated memories through the centuries? Could it be mentally too exhausting and could it be possible to remain sane and rational? Of course, the impact on human society would be another con. If most humans choose to be immortals, the Earth would obviously be not able to sustain them and their needs.
I guess there are more cons than pros to being an immortal. Personally, if given the choice, I'd choose to be an immortal - if and only if I have the option to reverse the decision and go back to being a mortal. If it's a one-way street and there is no option to go back to being a mortal, I'd rather choose to be a mortal and live life the way its supposed to be.
© 2009 Shil1978