On living forever

Mariner’s wife took him on a Father’s Day trip to the next county, known for its small villages and the fact that there are no stop lights in the entire county. But – they have the largest milkshakes he has ever encountered – easily a full quart.

On the way home, mariner’s wife pondered, “Which would be better, to have children and die after a natural lifespan or to not have children and live forever?”

Wow! Did Guru sit up for this question! His wife was considering the emotional tradeoff and how that would affect the happiness of an individual. Would a person choose living forever and never growing old in exchange for the joy of family, fellow-aging community and culture?

This question offers many different paths of examination. Mariner’s first thoughts were about the evolutionary mandates in humans that require a generation-based society. How would society work without generations? Second, would a Mitch McConnell exist as old or would he be a young Majority Leader forever? Wouldn’t political diversity disappear over time because no one is older than anyone else?

Third, and this is scary, isn’t this the plan offered by AI? The only difference is an individual gives up their own life instead of a child’s.

In short, his wife’s question is thoughtful. What are the root values in human life? Is an individual a complete person without Mom, Dad, and the kids? Does life forever offer sufficient feelings of security about staying alive forever? Economics requires a changing market. Wouldn’t everyone be wearing the same thing ala the movie 1984?

Lest we forget, no one said cancer and influenza wouldn’t have a role. Living forever simply means controlling chromosome division so that it can divide perpetually. No one said anything about external causes; no one expects that a person would live after being run over by a train.

Those among you harboring 1-5 year-olds are not allowed to consider the question.

Ancient Mariner

1 thought on “On living forever

  1. Mariner’s wife should add that this question did not come out of nowhere. It was based on the discussion that if we age and die due to shrinking telomeres, it is possible that science will find a way to extend life through manipulation of telomeres. The problem then becomes–if everyone has the opportunity to live almost forever then how do you control the population? Hence the question: would you give up having children if it meant you could live forever? And if you chose to have children, wouldn’t you also have to agree to a shortened life span for them? It gets complicated very quickly! Which leads to the question, would it be better to live in a world without science and just have two ponies and a cart?

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