Throughout history, Humanity has often searched for the elixir of immortality, the Tree of life, the Holy Grail…etc. Our ancestors wished for immortality. We still search for it today. We still wish for it and strive for it somehow and in some way. How many ads do we see everyday that talk about products that make us look younger, supplements that make you “feel” younger, exercise methods, strength boosters, and diet pills to keep “healthy”? We are obsessed with youth. For most of us, death is a frightening phenomenon. Ceasing to exist so suddenly makes our lives seem fleeting and meaningless. We ask ourselves what will happen after death? What is death? Why must we die? Will our existence only end completely? I often hear: “If only I was younger” or “if only I had a little more time” or “if only I hadn’t done this in my life” more times than I can count. Many of us want “more time” or to extend our seemingly short lives to do what we wish. Although we have not achieved immortality, scientific development and technological progress brings us closer and closer to the answer. If such a thing became reality in the near future, then perhaps we should now ask ourselves what it means to be immortal. How would it affect us? How would humanity handle such a fulfillment?
HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY AND VALUES:
One approach I often use is remembering the time before I had any concept or notion of death. As a child, I never knew that people could die. Death was an alien concept. I could not understand why people would appear to be “asleep” and never wake up again. No movement, no breath, no sound, just silence. I did not do things just to “save time” as a kid, but rather did things because I wanted to at that time and in that moment. In that sense, time for me was quite steady and slow. It was only later when I grew older that my concept of time began to shape into what it is now: precious, fleeting moments, minutes, hours, days, years… Perhaps the idea of “wasting time” would be something strange for an immortal being since (for an immortal) time will be so abundant and seemingly limitless like the very air we breathe. Would we be so impatient as we are now if time was infinite for us? If achieved, immortality most likely would affect us on a very deep, psychological level. Our values and priorities would be rearranged. Would some of us feel threatened by immortality for inner change it brings? Some would say that life would only become boring if we lived forever, but I would say that change is the only thing that is constant in life. If we had all the time in the world, wouldn’t we strive to become more creative beings? Wouldn’t immortality lead us to have a great desire to become more creative if death is no longer a force of change? Or is death a limiting factor? Is death making us rush living life? We live our lives thinking of Death. Our lives revolve around Death and we define our lives with the idea that our time is limited. If we eliminate death, then what makes us human?
As said before, Mankind has always sought for immortality. Although there are some people truly and deeply believe an a religion, I find that most people aren’t truly religious folks. Most would only turn to religion for the promise of everlasting life. Of course there are probably many other reasons why people believe in religion, but transcending death is a theme that many religions seem to follow. If most people only turn to religion just for the promise of everlasting life, then what purpose will it have if human beings are already immortal? Would immortal beings still turn do the same? Would immortal beings need religion? Immortality could have the power to render religion obsolete. So, religion and immortality might not be compatible with one another. Could these two things co-exist?
To be honest, I have no clue what will happen to this aspect of our lives in the future. The changes that may occur will probably be things that we can’t even imagine in regards to social and economic aspects human civilization. All I know is that it would all be profound. Perhaps we might pass laws against certain things. Perhaps immortality will be banned or there will be some who are immortal and some who are not. This part is quite open ended. I would like to know what you guys think.