Speak Your Mind

Speak Your Mind: I (Don’t) Wanna Live Forever

Every once in a while, my brain will be kept awake at night thinking about death. I think about my death, the death of others, how final it is, the inevitability of it all. It’s completely terrifying. How does one imagine not existing? It’s the only thing I know.

What is easier to imagine is immortality, being alive forever. That is the exact subject the most recent Torchwood series contemplates: a world in which no one dies. I don’t want to spoil anything if you aren’t watching it but plan to, but suffice it to say that civilization starts to collapse from stressed social programs, inadequate hospital space and people just generally freaking out.

But in an op-ed piece for The New York Times on Sunday, author Stephen Cave argues that Torchwood has it wrong, that we’ll cope with the material things, but that society would still collapse because cultures all over the world are based on humans’ fear of death. If we suddenly became immortal, he argues, we would stop doing everything, because everything is a search from immortality. Having children, making art, and having faith would fall by the wayside.

What do you think? What do you think are the benefits and pitfalls of immortality? Is the author of The New York Times piece right? If we were immortal, would everything from creating art to scientific progress stop? Do we only do things as a means of defying death?

Featured image credit: Mrs Logic

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Mindy is an attorney and Managing Editor of Teen Skepchick. She hates the law and loves stars. You can follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

1 Comment

  1. September 6, 2011 at 12:35 pm —

    I think Stephen Cave’s premise is incorrect. It’s unlikely that we will suddenly become immortal; but rather that our life spans would continue increase in fits and starts. We may effectively be immortal, but we couldn’t bank on it. There would also probably continue to be disease and mishap to keep us on our toes vis a vis death.

    I also don’t believe we do everything as a means of defying our own demise. People would still be curious and creative and would satisfy those urges with art and inquiry. Immortality may only change our perspective on these things.

    Personally, I don’t ever see myself tiring of my existence. I would leap at the chance to try out immortality. After all, there’s an easy out if you ever changed your mind, but at least it would be your choice as to when to check out.

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