The Pros and Cons of Living Forever
Living forever (immortality) has been sought after by humans throughout the ages. It's been that elusive goal that humans have been seeking to achieve through magic potions and seeking for the supposed "fountain of youth." Thus far though immortality has eluded us humans. However, perhaps, in the future, humans could discover the secrets to immortality. Of course, I am not counting on magic potions and fountains of youth. But, science could make progress in understanding better the biological processes of aging. As a consequence, humans could discover ways to slow down the aging process or perhaps even replenish dead cells continuously and keep humans living forever.
While all of this might seem like science fiction, advances in science seems to suggest that all of this could be possible. I remember reading about scientists bringing back dead cells to life, I believe it was published in Nature (the journal) a couple of years back. If I remember correctly, the scientists then had demonstrated how a clinically dead cell can reconstitute its genome and return to life. So, I guess it is not beyond science to discover ways to arrest the process of aging. However, the question I keep asking myself is whether people (if given the choice) would choose to be immortals or choose to live and die as we do now?
Mortal or Immortal - Which Is Better?
There are obviously pros and cons to both these choices. Speaking for myself, one of the reasons I would want to be an immortal is to see the advances that the human society makes. I often wonder about how the world would look like in a 100 years or so and there is no way to find that out, except if I could live that long to see it for myself. There are so many things that are considered to be science fiction material now - it would be interesting and fascinating to find out how many of these sci-fi concepts actually materialize. Would humans be able to fold space and travel through time using wormholes? So many interesting possibilities out there in the future - it would be fun to find out how many of those possibilities came to fruition. Another reason you might want to be an immortal is if you were somebody like Einstein, I guess. One can only imagine how much more he could have contributed to furthering our understanding of the universe and developing new technologies - if he had lived longer.
On the flip side, one would have to factor in the mental part of immortality when one chooses physical immortality. Yes, your body is immortal - but can your mind be immortal? Would an immortal be able to cope with the accumulated memories through the centuries? Could it be mentally too exhausting and could it be possible to remain sane and rational? Of course, the impact on human society would be another con. If most humans choose to be immortals, the Earth would obviously be not able to sustain them and their needs.
I guess there are more cons than pros to being an immortal. Personally, if given the choice, I'd choose to be an immortal - if and only if I have the option to reverse the decision and go back to being a mortal. If it's a one-way street and there is no option to go back to being a mortal, I'd rather choose to be a mortal and live life the way its supposed to be.
© 2009 Shil1978
The Great on May 05, 2018:
Good work with your article
Swati Bhat from India on May 09, 2017:
Me too. Agree with your thought process. BTW nice article
Kelly on December 07, 2016:
I would say no to living forever because you are going to be stuck in the same place like " rocks stuck at the side of a river, " so if someone died you might start to envy them and feel bad for yourselves which lead to anger issues and other problems. Also there would be no supplies left if all of us drank the water and survived for however many years.
JC on April 27, 2012:
Watch the "Bounts" arc on the anime Bleach. The writers offer a very interesting perspective on immortality, actually, quite similar to BeiYin's. It's been a while since I've seen it but something along the lines of "...all ties, goals, aspirations, etc, are all based on the fact that we are mortal and that we want to do as much as we can before we die. If we lose death then what is there to strive for? We have nothing but time. It's almost incomprehensible for us to think of living forever because death is what allows us to cherish what is dear to us while we have it." I really like philosophical topics like this.
Ridzy on December 11, 2011:
What's the point of living forever if you are going to get bored.Well sure you could visit many places but you'll get very bored after a while.I would recommend the book Tuck Everlasting.It is a great book about if you should stay alive forever or not.
the dark side of things on October 09, 2011:
ah,immortality,a wonderous achievment which seems so impossible achieve.however,as i see it,immortality is not a gift,more so as a curse,for one,to achieve immortality,it seems one would most likely have to go to great lengths,and possibly do the unthinkable,or having achieve it you would find out you have a curse to go with it,such as the mythical version of a vampire,they are cursed to drink the blood of the living to survive.i say it's a curse even without anything bad added on,for one would have to suffer thru the deaths of their beloved ones,and behold every mistake of mankind.you would have to keep up with finanncial problems for quite a while,or at least remain hidden.there are many other reason as well,but i will not go thru all of them,however i will finish with a truly horrific one.a very good reason immortality is a curse is that one would have to live forever,meaning you would have to suffer thru armageddon,and possibly many endings,if existance time truly is a wheel,every time that wheel reaches it's end,you are there,suffering forever.
Anonymous on February 28, 2011:
It seems to me that people are a lot more afraid of boredom than death or life. Death, being an eternity of nothing, is boring. Endless life gives you the opportunity to do everything and run out of things to do. Immortality might get boring after you have been everywhere and done everything but my opinion is that you have a better chance of coming up with something new when you are alive, not when you are dead.
Deep Thought on January 11, 2011:
Life is not meant to be eternal. We are meant to die. After a couple hundred years, would we want life? Eventually, we would seek to experience the mystery of death, and life would be an endless chain of events that, in an immortal's opinion, probably wouldn't matter. Instead, I would much rather live a long, meaningful life and naturally die rather than live an infinite life with no meaning. To be immortal is a horrible curse, and to live a good life is a wonderful gift.
Nomad on December 09, 2010:
I have to agree with all of the "Mortals" who have posted here. I ask the others, how many years would it take before this life, this planet becomes a prison? Even if one had enough resources to live and do as one willed; how long before you have been everywhere and done everything, 500, 1,000, 1,500 years?
"There is nothing new under the sun . . ."
thivi on November 03, 2010:
I would prefer to be mortal. the death leads us to be fearful in our life, by which we lead our life peacefully. if there is no death then there will not be any fear, each one will live his own. there will not be any ethical values. I live my life you live ur life will be our concept of living. no love no happy totally the hell life. So i don't want that life. let me die, when God wants me to die.
jennifer on October 21, 2010:
Inmortality is a punishment,therfore you shouldn't crave inmortality. It is very hard to live with,it is worse than any physical punishment.
Shil1978 (author) on July 12, 2010:
Thank you GP for stopping by and commenting. Yes, I agree - quality is more important than quantity. If quality is not assured, living longer would be a burden.
Goodpal on July 11, 2010:
I think the quality of living is more important than longevity of living. Ten years of living, bubbling with energy and full of achievements, is far superior to thousand years of living struggling with health and leading a purposeless life.
Thanks for the thought provoking hub.
Shil1978 (author) on May 31, 2010:
Thank you, Al, dear friend, for stopping by this hub. I like your attitude towards immortality. I agree!! Nature did make us mortals for a reason, but man will never cease to find ways to change the way nature has made things. So, the quest for immortality would go on.
Personally, I'd agree with you. Physical existence is one thing, but if you believe in us being more than physical beings, then of course we will continue to live on forever.
I believe in this and so, for me, immortality is attractive only in terms of future gazing and knowing what became of us humans and what technologies we developed, or whether we in fact self-destructed.
Other than that, there is really no physical reason to be immortal, for me. I would think I'd get bored to death, ironic as it may sound, living on as an immortal!!
Thanks again dearest Al for visiting this hub and enriching it with your valuable insights!!
Mystique1957 from Caracas-Venezuela on May 31, 2010:
Well, my dearest Shil... There was a time when I craved for it, as I moved forward in life and got closer to my spiritual side, I realized that for a very good reason, we weren´t made physically immortal. We learn, advance and evolve because the universe is constant change. Being immortal would deny us the opportunity of experimenting from different viewpoints, gender and life lessons. So, immortality? What for? Our true essence has and will always be immortal...
Great hub...Rated up, beautiful and awesome!
Warmest regards and infinite heavenly blessings,
Shil1978 (author) on March 15, 2010:
BeiYin, thank you for a very interesting perspective, quite refreshing and unique to me for sure.
I get what you are trying to say here, and it is an interesting way of looking at the question.
Thank you for your very valuable insights!!
BeiYin from Ibiza Spain on March 15, 2010:
You mentioned Einstein. He said: "We can not solve problems with the same mind that has created them!"
What means that with our state of mind we can not grasp what 'immortality' is and we can't see and understand, that 'mortality' is an illusion and part of our limited awareness capacity. In our state of evolution we can't realize the fact that we are caught in an illusion and that we are living in a fake reality, because we are under the dominating power of our personalities that have created and are holding on the established frame of concepts that also built up our society, that on the other hand holds us tied within this frame, giving us security and a certain sense, even though it is fake and an illusion. Ok, there is also the inbuilt growing force that will bring us out of the step of stuck evolution as 'personalities', these are surely mortal and only can have ideas, concepts, beliefs, dreams and fantasies about all what goes beyond the established dull and limited conditions. But any doubt and question coming up about our existence might be a step to go beyond...
Thank you for your thought provoking question.
O on July 21, 2009:
If a one man can live normally to 50, and another to 100, who's to say living to 1000 wouldn't be just as easy. Time is as quantitative as space, we can live fine with more space, living with more time then should be no big dilema.
I think true immortality is not likely, but living a few million years would rock my socks off.
Shil1978 (author) on May 20, 2009:
Glad you liked it Amy and thanks for your comments. Yes, I agree - wanting to live forever is selfish. If everyone wanted to live forever, there'd be no future for our children and grandchildren.
Amy M from Manzano Mountains on May 20, 2009:
If we all lived forever we would certainly use up all the resources faster. The food supplies would be limited. I will be happy to give it up when the time comes and leave something for my grandchildren and hopefully, their children. Great hub. It gives us something to ponder.
Feline Prophet on April 12, 2009:
And perhaps the whole concept of money and making a living might change in time? :)
Shil1978 (author) on April 12, 2009:
The financial aspect is interesting - hadn't thought about that one. However, the mental aspect of it would be more challenging in my opinion.
Feline Prophet on April 12, 2009:
Immortality is a frightening prospect, especially if you don't have the physical and financial resources to see you through eternity!