Being A-Mortal

For someone my age, 60, per the Social Security Administration, my life expectancy is 21 years. The tables are an interesting read. The year of life with the lowest chance of dying is age 10. Your rate of risk declines from birth to that age. Being a two-year-old is inherently more dangerous than being 10. Life’s risks then start the inevitable climb up until dying is a certainty.

With each passing year, the likelihood of death increases. The age expectation increases as well. It seems the longer you live the greater the age you may live to, up to a point.

At 60 I have a good chance to make it to 81 at 70 I have a chance to make it to 84. At 99, I have a great chance to make it to lunch.

But what if you were A-mortal?

Not immortal. Not free of the risk of death. But what if biomedical advances made the normal aging process stop?

You could still die if you step in front of a moving bus or get hit by a meteor but you would not age.

What would such a life be like? There are examples in nature.22-immortal-jellyfish

(Image Turritopsis Nutrical “The Methuselah Jellyfish” Unless killed by unforeseen circumstances it can live forever)

Whether they accept it or not, everyone knows they will die. This fear of dying keeps people from flying on planes, eating certain foods, climbing mountains, hiking in the woods, or any other activities that carry risk.

Yet they will still die. I have always found it interesting that the one certainty shared by every person on this planet, dying, is the one thing we all chose to ignore. We expend resources developing better and better methods to visit death on others while denying our own inevitable meeting with the same fate.

Instead of coming to terms and using the time we have to enhance life, most choose to make believe death will never happen.

They could be safe in their house, blissfully ignorant of impending doom. Never having flown in a plane or hiked near bears yet be killed by a falling tree limb that crashes through the house.

Whenever I hear the words, if I die, I cannot help but point out there is no if, just a when. But what if that weren’t true? What if it was “if I die?”

Given the choice, would you live forever? Knowing that you could die by accident or at the hands of a fellow human but not by the process of aging?

Would you accept such a risk-adverse state of living forever in exchange for living a life of some risk?

Advances in medicine and bioengineering propel us closer and closer to such a reality. The singularity where artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence is no longer a concept of science fiction. The temptation to move our consciousness from biological containers to artificial containers looms as a real possibility.

Recent advances are closing in on that elusive center of the human conscience. The spark that makes us Cogito ergo sum. Isolating that opens a world of possibilities. (See link to Harvard research here.)

You wouldn’t just talk about memories, you could give them to others. Would you want to live in that world?

Think about it. It’s not such an easy question to answer.

2 thoughts on “Being A-Mortal

  1. Oh hell, no. I am that person who hates flying, but I am not afraid of dying, more like fear of pain. But I don’t want to live forever or not age. To me, that is a cop out. You have to be courageous and brave to age, to watch your parents deteriorate and to hopefully realize that your life better mean more than a new phone, a facelift or eternal youth at the hands of artificial means.

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