Is Death Final? Who Wants To Live Forever?

Death has always fascinated me. It is the period in this sentence. Death marks the spot where it ends and my life as I knew it, cease to exist. Or, doesn't it?

Below is a video on Exploring Life Extension from the Immortality Institute.

I want to live forever if such can be accomplished through science and technology. The idea of having my own clone/s on top of being immortal (depends entirely on future regulatory policies) is very attractive to me. I can be out fishing on a given day while my clone is off to a distant journey to our galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy. There are just so many things to do in this observable universe that one physical body cannot possibly accomplish in one human lifetime. I want to meet Van Gogh and shake his hand. Or, meet the clone of Jesus (if he ever existed at all and if fossils can be traced) which is unlikely for he disappeared up in the sky! Oh. well let's just forget about that dude then. :)

Hope you watch the video and share your insights.

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Comment by Jo Jerome on July 5, 2010 at 8:25pm
Now that scientists have successfully cloned a human embryo, the subject of cloning came up in my Psych 101 course. A course which, for reasons I'm having great difficulty figuring out, is almost all Nursing students and at least half Evangelical Christians.

Naturally, there were the cries of "But it's a baby!" in response to the stem cell work that's actually being done with the embryos. Granted, these are embryos a few days old, smaller than a grain of sand at that stage, only about 100 cells, cells that have yet to be determined what they will become (hence their great use to medicine), and embryos at that stage almost always miscarry anyway unbeknownst to the mother. But I digress.

The opinions on clones varied but mostly boiled down to "We can't play god." My only problem with cloning is A) potential medical risks to the clone and B) that it will be limited to the rich and powerful. Didn't Dolly the Sheep have all sorts of medical problems and die way prematurely? It would be unethical to create a clone only to have that creation process result in the clone's suffering, deformity, whatever. And I'm not sure how we'd perfect that process otherwise. As to it being a means of the rich and powerful creating perfect babies, in a way they have that anyway. In the U.S. at least, it's the rich and powerful who can afford proper prenatal care, afford screenings for disease and defects, afford the abortion if that test is positive.
Comment by D R Hosie on June 24, 2010 at 12:24am
Roy, I am 62 years old, and not in the kind of health that could assure me of even another good 10. It has been a long arduous trip for me just to have gotten to 'where I'm at' today.

I could idly wish 'oh, if I had only known then, what I know now . . .' But would I want to go on living forever? - Absolutely not. If nothing else, rubbing up against your own mortality kind of provides a finer lens, for separating the genuine from the dross in our lives. Our immortality is through the species, and beyond. And the one thing I've learned, is that life goes on (barring, of course, that we don't blow our own ass off the planet first).
Comment by Jo Jerome on April 9, 2010 at 12:56pm
On cloning - I agree that it holds no major appeal for me if it's just a twin, if I can't 'experience' what the clone experiences. Though it would be kind of cool if my clone can go to work for me and bring home the paycheck while I'm off traveling, studying, playing...

On Immortality - Oh hell yes! I wouldn't want immortality at the expense of others in an evil overlord sort of way. One of the more horrifying scifi/mythology/fantasy premises is body switching: Stealing a younger person's body for yourself and making them jump into your older/dying body. But I digress.

I love Vampire stories and always get frustrated with the overall premise that it's such a 'curse' to be immortal. I would love to be alive 200 years from now and see how technology has changed, how history has judged the Teabaggers, which version of "Law and Order" we're on. Immortality would give me time to study everything I want to study, travel everywhere I want to travel. Of course, the logistics of maintaining a legal identity when I'm 200 years old could be tricky. But I'm not nearly so squeamish about white collar crimes as I am about personal ones. A borrowed social security number here, a ridiculously long-term investment there, and my money needs are taken care of.

At least, that's how it seems to work in the movies, and the movies would never lie, right?
Comment by Selen on April 5, 2010 at 8:04am
I think death is devided into body death and spirit death,we know what is body death,it is nature as science statement.But human beings have spirits,and people hope it would not be die forever,so in mind ,only people creat God ,for spirit body,I need my mother when I was young,and at last,I need a grave at last.
Comment by JayBarti on February 4, 2010 at 9:00pm
I don't get it, we already have life extension.

Look at infant mortality rates a scant 50 years ago

North America (1955-1960) 27 per 1000 births.
North America (2005-2010) 6 per 1000 births.

thats a huge amount of life extension technology in effect.

Thats just North America. World wide it isn't nearly as good but a lot better then it used to be.

Better hospitals and actual medicines are the kind of life extension I support.

Plus we barely understand the consequences of the life extension we already have.

h+ is a scary idea, the whole man machine bio convergence is a distraction to the real issues ahead of us.

Energy is a serious concern, and tethering your life to a battery seems risky to me. We already tether ourselves way to much to technology (says the man on the Internet social site).

Edit:had to redo links
Comment by Roy The Infidel on February 4, 2010 at 8:52pm
"Hopefully whatever is here long after we are gone will have evolved significantly beyond human."

Interesting, Sacha. Reminds me of the fictional TYRELL CORPORATION's slogan, "More Human Than Human."

What is human? Aren't we all transitional species?
Comment by Roy The Infidel on February 4, 2010 at 8:45pm
"I gave you an answer."

Yes, you did Felch. I appreciate it.
Comment by sacha on February 4, 2010 at 8:32pm
I certainly do not want to live forever. In my view, wanting to be immortal is selfish and based upon fear. One has a limited amount of time here. Hopefully whatever is here long after we are gone will have evolved significantly beyond human. Humans have not proven themselves to be very smart, nor are they good to this earth and the other living things that inhabit it. Humans needs to die off, and that includes me. Plus the earth is extremely overpopulated as it is, living forever or even a significant amount longer has absolutely no benefit at all to the planet. As I said, it is a selfish whim.
Comment by Roy The Infidel on February 4, 2010 at 7:36pm
"By not getting distracted by these flights of fancy when there are real problems to be addressed."

That said, I respect your views about mortality, "I am quite content with my mortality and my only real wish is a quick, painless and totally unexpected death."

I, too would desire for a quick and painless death. Who doesn't?

The flights of fancy you speak of is happening whether you allow yourself to be distracted or not.
Comment by Roy The Infidel on February 4, 2010 at 6:09pm
@ Howard

Definitely, no use being a clone that is different than the original in terms of personal identity. The final frontier is the brain. In the video, that was addressed. It is not as simple as information processing. Hence, the ultimate goal is a perfect copy. How would you feel about the "rejected" copies?



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