Saturday, August 21, 2010

I do not want immortality (and neither should you)

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Humanoid ancestor
Humanoid ancestor
[source: | click for full size (×)] has a new piece where they give five reasons why immortality would suck much worse than just dying eventually. And as usual from Cracked, it’s both humorous and very interesting:

#5. Evolution Will Turn You Into a Freak

In other words: You’ll basically become an Australopithecus amongst whatever the humanity of the future will have become.

#4. Nobody Can Ever Find Out

Because if they do, you’ll be acclaimed as either a walking god (which probably isn’t as hot as it sounds when all the world’s sick and poor are kneeling at your door for your divine help) or a scientific wonder that will land you in a secret laboratory where you’ll be studied forever, and so on.

#3. You're Still Getting Older (Mentally)

You know how it’s hard to memorize your 50th phone number, when all your previous combinations are just blurring together? Imagine trying to remember your 5,000th. That is, 5,000th everything. The brain isn’t a hard drive you can periodically clean out (very much unfortunately).

#2. Time Speeds Up Until You're Insane

Our perception of time grows faster and faster as we age. It’s simple math: A week to a 10-year-old feels like forever, whereas it’s an insignificant blip to a centenarian. Kinda like how $1,000 is huge to us yet pocket change to Bill Gates. (Actual example I just stole. Shameless!)

And Cracked’s #1 reason why you definitely wouldn’t want to be granted eternal life:

#1. You'll Eventually Get Trapped Somewhere (Forever)

I had never thought of this one, but once you realize the implications of not being able to die as a way to cut down on prolonged suffering, it suddenly makes a whole lot more sense. Imagine falling down a well without anyone knowing about it or finding you. And the well eventually gets sealed and a city gets built overhead, all with you still trapped at the bottom.

I’m probably gonna get nightmares from that now. Dang it.

However, I feel that Cracked may have missed, if not the single biggest reason, then a strong contender for #2, why you wouldn’t wanna live forever: Because no-one else would.

Which includes everyone you’ll ever meet and know … or befriend, or fall in love with. Every single friend, family member and lover you’ll ever have will inexorably grow old and eventually die and you’ll never be able to follow along. Imagine the pain of inevitably falling in love over and over (and over) again, only to have your loved ones leave you helplessly without you being able to stop feeling that emotional suffering. You’d just go insane with grief.

And that’s not mentioning the fact that everything in the universe has a deadline – including the Earth itself. Just a thought to chill over.

All in all, I really don’t get people who say that they’d like the ability to live forever, to be totally indestructible, to never be able to die. Because if nothing natural or manmade (be it injury, sickness or gunfire) can kill you, then that means you can’t end your own life, either. I think growing bored out of your mind once you’ve experienced the whole world a hundred times over would be small potatoes compared to the other problems you’d be dealing with in the (very, very, very) long run.

(via Gene Burmington)