Wednesday 30 March 2011

Living for ever?

I have just been listening to a radio discussion on the subject of ageing, and this moved on to the issue of experiments to incease longevity.

It has always seemed to me extraordinary that there seems to be money for this kind of research in a world where so many people die young of diseases whch will one day (sooner, presumaby, if more funds were available) be curable, and where so many are starving. As for the desire to live for ever, is this because we are afraid of death, or do we really want to live on indefinitely?

And then there are those who have gone to the extreme of paying to have their deceased bodies frozen in liquid nitrogen against the discovery of a cure some time in the future (for disease, old age or whatever), when they will be unfrozen, cured and launched once more into the world. Born again, you could say.

This raises several issues. One is, what would these (mainly very old) once rich newly-defrosted people look like, never mind do? And how would they fit into the (probably very different) world in which they found themselves? And in any case, would anyone bother to defrost them at all, given that they would hardly be in a position to sue if they were left in their frozen state?

No. I am prepared to die - I think - when my time comes, provided it's with my wits intact and with some dignity and with minimal work or distress for my family. As Woody Allen said, "I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be around when it happens".



  1. I think the possibilit that, one day in the future, we may be able to postpone death almost indefinitely is profoundly worrying for the human race. As death is the only certainty and gives a lot of the meaning (and drive) to our lives, what will we become when it is no longer an inevitability? And, if such a scenario did come to pass, there woul be an even greater rich/poor divide - those who are born to die and those who aren't. What implications would that have? Would we become almosmt two different species?
    There's a science fiction novel here...

  2. Ooops, that last one was me - my son was still logged in on my account after we were doing stuff together on my computer last night!!

  3. The idea of being able to stay this age for a while is quite appealing, but I don't fancy having lots of years added to the end of my life, unless they come with a guarantee of being fit and healthy.

  4. Oh, Alis! How disappointing. I thought I had a new follower! But I totally agree. As for the novel, as I wrote the post I thought there might be a wonderful subject for someone (not me!) based on those who had been defrosted after years and years in their tanks of nitrogen. The Unfrozen. How's that?Great flim, too.

    Patsy, yes. You have a good point. I'd like to stop the clock right now for, say, 10-15 years. But years of arthritic, deaf old age - no thanks.

  5. I guess it's the fear of the unknown (death) that has humans pursuing the quest for immortality. Imagine having the knowledge or knowing as a fact that death is just another stage of our journey as Beings - we would never be concerned about growing old or about death. Imagine that!

  6. HI, Daine. You're right, of course. I've always thought that if half of us were mortal, and the other half immortal, it would be quite unbearable for the mortal ones. As it is, the one consolation is that we're all in the same boat!

    As for belief in an afterlife (and I think I believe in one), there is still the fear of the unknown!