And Why You Should Definitely Want It
“You don´t really want to live forever, do you?” she asks me, face horrified as if the mere thought of it was more than she could bear.
You´d think I´d told her I was suicidal. The face would be more appropriate if “live forever” had been replaced with “die”.
“Of course, I do,” I answer. “I would always want one more day.”
And I do. I want one more day, and when that day arrives, I want one more day and one more day and one more day… hopefully forever. Because if the day comes where I don´t want just one more day…
Can you even imagine how miserable that must mean I am?
But before I go any further, let´s be clear on the rules.
Number one: Immortality isn´t just for you. You aren´t going to watch your friends and family die, leaving you all on your lonesome. That would, undoubtedly, be horrible. No, in this hypothesis, immortality is an option for us all.
Number two: You aren’t going to grow old and sick. Immortality does, in this hypothesis, include youth and health. Living forever is hardly worth much if your brain turns to mush in just a couple of centuries.
Number three: You don´t have to worry about over-population. I don´t really care why not. Maybe humanity has expanded into space. Maybe there´s a waitlist for when you´re allowed to have a child. I don’t really care why, as long as you understand the rule. No worrying about over-population.
Now, following these three rules – don´t you want to live forever?
I do. I want to read the thousands of great books that have been written. And after those, I´d read the million decent ones. And when I´m done with this? I´ll read the ones that have been written while I was busy reading the others.
And I´ll travel. To everywhere in the world. And when I´m done with Earth then, hopefully, the universe has opened up.
There are movies to see, experiences to try, countless things to learn. Languages, music, flower arrangement. There will always be things to experience because there´ll always be new things created.
Sure, you might grow bored. People grow bored with their lives every day. But that´s not due to immortality. That´s due to a lack of change.
And who knows? Maybe, with immortality, we´ll actually appreciate life more?
Odd thought, huh. Usually, people say the opposite. “Death is a good thing because it makes us appreciate life more.” What a silly saying.
Sure, a stuffed nose makes me appreciate the times where I don´t have one, but guess what? I still wouldn´t go outside during winter times in nothing but a summer dress, hoping to catch a cold.
And I´m certainly not going to die just so that I´ll “appreciate” life more.
Not that I think we would. Appreciate it more, that is. When we know that there is an ending, it seems like life becomes a rat race. There are things we want to accomplish before we die. But as Eliezer Yudkowsky puts it: “Life is not a finite list of things that you check off before you´re allowed to die.”
Of course, most of us want to find true love, succeed in our career and have a family. All understandable things.
But maybe if we had eternity to do all of this, we wouldn´t stress out so much about it. Maybe we´d take our time. Take a few more sabbaticals. Not worry about changing our career. Not settle for someone we like, rather than someone we love.
Maybe eternity would make us appreciate life more because then life wouldn´t just end in a couple of decades anyway.
I don´t think I´ll grow bored just because I´ll grow tobe a thousand. Or two thousand. Because we plan out from the time, we have available. If people had all the time in the world – how many of us would have children in our twenties?
Why, life has hardly even begun!
And why get married when you´ve been together for two years? Why not make it common to propose on your one-hundredth anniversary? You´ve surely had time to get to know each other.
Thinking that we need death to appreciate life is silly. I don´t need to a ticking clock to remind me to enjoy a good book or eat that piece of chocolate, I´ve been craving. And I sure hope, you don´t either.
If you don´t want immortality, you want to die. Maybe not now, but eventually then you don´t want life to go on.
And I think that´s rather sad.
So, if you stop and think… if you actually ask yourself: “Would I want one more day?”
Then I hope the answer is yes.
Because ninety-nine percent of us do want immortality. It´s just not all of us who have realised it. We´ve bought the clichés. The things we tell ourselves to make Death a little less frightening. So, let me leave you with this…
If there was an Afterlife, a life after death, would you take it?
If you do… well, that means that you do want immortality.
And I understand why.
Because I think immortality would be pretty damn awesome.