Anti aging pills. Longevity. Life eternal. Sounds like magic but who really wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
The papers seem to be filled with news on breakthroughs in the science of anti aging, longevity etc. Web sites bombard the reader with tips and information on living longer and preventing aging. Anti aging seems to be some kind of magic word that when applied to just about anything will make it sell.
The same goes for longevity, it is like a red flag. We are told that staying youthful and healthy well into what was once considered old age is not only possible but that it is almost our duty. That we are somehow letting ourselves and those around us down if we allow ourselves to age naturally. Up to a point I agree with that, I want to stay younger looking and healthy for as long as is reasonable.
I would love to think that when I am in my eighties and nineties that I will still be able to do the things I enjoy without worrying about breaking a hip or having a bladder malfunction. But do I really want to live forever? As the prospect seems to be becoming more and more of a reality I have been doing a bit of soul searching and thinking about what eternal life would really mean to me and to the rest of humanity.
Could I face living forever without my children?
Religion and morals.
I lost both of my parents some time ago and a son who was stillborn, now as a sometime believer in an afterlife if I never die I’ll never see the people I have loved and lost again. Of course, if there isn’t an afterlife and this really is all there is well, then, I want to stick around for as long as possible. But what if I decided to take the magic pill, or follow the magic diet, that will allow me to see in the next millennium and beyond but my husband or my children decide not to? What then?
Can I really face a possibly never ending future without them? And then there is the moral issue. No doubt when the scientists do come up with the elixir of life and I really have no doubt that at some point in the near future they will do just that, it will be very expensive. Too expensive for the majority of the worlds population. How will I feel knowing that I can live for hundreds of years and more but the life expectancy in Swaziland is under forty? I’d like to think I would have the strength of character to say thanks but no thanks to the magic pill, not until it was available to everyone.
Realistically, I know that I’m not that strong, at least I won’t be if my loved ones do decided to take the medicine. I know that I’ll be right there with them popping pills, or restricting my calorie intake, or whatever it is that will work.
More time for vacations.
Will eternal life make me happy?
I think the answer to that one is yes, at least at first.
There are so many things I haven’t done, so many places I haven’t been, that I am sure I could fill a couple of hundred years doing them but what happens then?
An eternity of boredom, or will I simply find new things to enjoy?
Or will I simply take longer enjoying the things I do now, vacations lasting a year instead of a week, two day shopping trips, popping round to my daughter’s house for a coffee and staying the whole week.
Will I become so protective of my extended life that I become too afraid to do anything?
If I have so much to lose will I sit at home terrified to step outside my own front door for fear of having an accident that will rob me of eternity?
What about my pets?
I have known such terrible grief when a much beloved pet has died, could I really face going through that many, many times in an extended lifetime? Or could I learn to live without pets knowing what huge pleasure they have given me over the years? Maybe the magic anti aging pill would be available to animals too, that opens up a whole new set of problems and ethitics.
My cats are part of the family.
Will we as a race have to make huge sacrifices in order to have extended lives? Will we be required to forgo having children, in which case I will never be a grandmother, something I was really looking forward to. Do we have the right to be that selfish, do we really want to be the last human generation? Will the price of immortality be stagnation, do we really want to live in a world where there will be no more Einstein’s, Mozart’s or Michelangelo’s? Or will only the elite be chosen to reproduce and if so who make that choice, who would want to? I know I wouldn’t want to be the one to look at a couple and say sorry your genes aren’t worth preserving.
Will there be enough food to go round?
The logistics of living forever.
Will I need to work forever to pay for my extended life, will I have enough leisure time to really enjoy all of those extra centuries?
Will there be enough food to go round, or even enough space?
I guess those are all problems mankind will have more time to solve in the future.