Comic Talk and General Discussion

What's wrong with immortality?
ozoneocean at 6:23PM, July 11, 2017
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When offered a choice of magical superpowers in a hypothetical question, one being immortality, about 60% of people DON'T chose it.

I think the main reason for that is decades of stories covering that very thing where they try and make immortality not be as great as it's cracked up to be for various reasons- as you pretty much HAVE to do in a story to make things interesting.
You also have religious type stories that denigrate it because it makes you rival the gods or “god”, and you have philosophical types who like to console us about the fact that in reality we obviously are very much mortal so they make immortality seem flawed to make us feel better about the fact we will die.

But this is an interesting thing to talk about. :)

Why is immortality “really” a bad thing, from a realistic perspective and not a bullshit story one and why are all those reasons you come up with actually rubbish? ^_^

I'm sure almost all (but not every single one) can be shot down pretty easily.
 
stinger9 at 7:47PM, July 11, 2017
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Because Who Wants To Live Forever? If it's a Queen song, you just can't make an argument against it!
But, two of the ones I tend to see/imagine:
You have to watch anyone and everyone you care about around you die. Not the strongest one, but that tends to be the more common argument.
But, probably one of the bigger ones: No matter what, there is no escape. You are forced to remain concious for eternity. World is destroyed? You're still there. Sun goes supernova? Still there. And would you be completely invulnerable? If not, you have to endure the pain of everything (And there's another can of worms there, the list of things to take into account for that would be enormous). And when that passes, eternity is a long time to spend twiddling your thumbs as you endlessly float in inky blackness.
ozoneocean at 8:36PM, July 11, 2017
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Yeah, the Queen song was made for Highlander and poses the typical question from literature…

They have the “everyone dying” thing. But becoming accustomed to death is pretty common, so it's a really, really weak argument. Your pets die before you, your grand-parents, your parents etc. We can't help but learn to deal with it.
I think the “everything you love will die” thing is aimed at young adults who are just starting to learn about their own mortality.

Eternal immortality is interesting, but I can't really see a downside, because what is the alternative? = oblivion: you can play this game or… Nothing, there IS no alternative. Quitting means no one is there to witness any of that.

I think the only thing that really makes immortality truly unappealing (as long as you're healthy and not decaying), is the idea of an alternative: if you die and go to heaven then who cares about immortality?
From an atheist perspective, thinking about what we know of science and how the universe works there is no heaven, no alternative, you're either living or nothing.
So you may as well be living :)
If you're floating in blackness you can still live in your own mind, which is where we all live really anyway.
 
last edited on July 11, 2017 8:40PM
bravo1102 at 10:41PM, July 11, 2017
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Damn you're cold. You never get used to lived ones dying. Especially if they are your own children. You see them born, they grow and live and die, but you are still there. You always will be. The ultimate survivor's guilt trip. You can't help but not always be there. You're immortal. What do you have to identify with those who are mortal?
If you're the ultimate cold, narcissistic asshole then immorality and immortality are for you. Self, self and self, it's all about you, then live forever. I'm reminded of Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time

And then there is the utter boredom. What happens when you run out of things to do but still have an eternity? Hell on earth? Hell is other people? The very concept of forever. What happens when 2000 years down the line you meet the descendant of a guy you hated back in Judea and here is his exact clone just as big an ass as the first time around? Deja vu after deja vu? What if it's true that the more things change the more they stay the same? You can draw on examples of how stuff was the same thing back in Ancient Rome because you were there following Cicero around when he complained about corrupt politics.

Maybe a 1000 years instead of three score and ten but not forever. It's like being retired. You kill yourself working for 40 years and suddenly you have nothing to do. I had tons of things to do during my bouts of unemployment and disability but I still ran out of things to do.

Forever and a day is just such a long time. ;)

Maybe it's a matter not of time, but how it is spent. How you face the new morning instead of being in a rut. If in an eternal rat race immortality would be a curse, but able to reinvent yourself every 50 years or so and create a new life would be something yet again. But even that may get tired after a few thousand years. Forever is a long time. ;)
last edited on July 11, 2017 10:50PM
ozoneocean at 11:51PM, July 11, 2017
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I don't think that dealing well with death is about being cold. The deaths of loved ones, pets, anything, it hurts! But you come to realise that it's inevitable. You also know you can get through the other side of it, like any painful experience.

If you were immortal you'd always put a bit more distance between you and others. You wouldn't fully emotionally commit as much in order to armour yourself again the inevitable tragedy.
Or maybe you WOULDN'T?
Maybe you'd dive into personal connections and enjoy them for all they're worth and when the tragedies come you'd experience those to their fullest as well because they'd make you feel more attached and connected to the rest of humanity.
Either way, deaths of loved ones is in no way a deal breaker.

Boredom is something people often bring up…
I don't really get that one. I haven't been truly bored since I was a kid. My life is full of a million things I need or want to get done and not enough time to do them all in. Not just for a day, a week, or a year, but a lifetime.
I envy people who can use up a day playing a videogame or even spare the time to watch a movie with subtitles. I HAVE to be actively doing something or creating.
I have times when I don't FEEL like doing anything, but I force myself to do something anyway.
But that's just me.
The boredom question is something that depends on the individual and their personality rather than the situation I think.

You may indeed reinvent yourself. I think that would be very likely.

We already have a degree of immortality in this reality anyway: Because of the way everything is so thoroughly recorded in culture (and repeats in trends), we can look back over a few THOUSAND years of human history and view them as if we lived them. We can look at repeating patterns and smile ruefully. We can experience with our own eyes and ears things that we loved being viewed as dorky and then being rediscovered by whole new generations and no one seemingly remembering the last time it was popular. Live long enough and you'll see that happen 3 or 4 times!
 
bravo1102 at 1:32AM, July 12, 2017
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Try explaining that to someone who can't bear to go through one grief cycle let alone the multitudes that would come with immortality. Ever see the haunted look if someone who just lost a child? Or a spouse after 50 years if marriage? Yes, sometimes you can prepare yourself and reinvent your life after the passing and be alive again.

But think of this, live for today for tomorrow may never come would lose all meaning if there were no end of tomorrows.

You should listen to Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner's 2000 Year old man routine. I can see an immortal person being the ultimate curmudgeon. This is nothing! You shoulda been there at the Fall of Rome! That was bad. And even then with all the barbarians you think my kids would show some concern and write? Never.

But being immortal would probably be the only way I'd live long enough to ever one of my comics as the feature. :P
last edited on July 12, 2017 1:35AM
Ironscarf at 1:34AM, July 12, 2017
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Something that lasts forever, that you can never lose? Would it have any meaning? Possibly, but it would not be humanity as we know it. All of the art and literature and music that we call culture would cease to have meaning. It would become little more than a curiousity. Would these immortal beings (let's say you're not alone) crave mortality, so they could understand those things again for a brief, precious moment, before ascending into the void?

Once upon a time Eric Clapton was god, but then he kept on living.
Jimi Hendrix died at 27. He achieved immortality.
 
last edited on July 12, 2017 1:37AM
bravo1102 at 1:57AM, July 12, 2017
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Ironscarf wrote:
Something that lasts forever, that you can never lose? Would it have any meaning? Possibly, but it would not be humanity as we know it. All of the art and literature and music that we call culture would cease to have meaning. It would become little more than a curiousity. Would these immortal beings (let's say you're not alone) crave mortality, so they could understand those things again for a brief, precious moment, before ascending into the void?

Once upon a time Eric Clapton was god, but then he kept on living.
Jimi Hendrix died at 27. He achieved immortality.
“I don't want to achieve immortality through my work, I want to achieve it by not dying.” Woody Allen.
PIT_FACE at 6:17AM, July 12, 2017
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I think I know the question you're talking about. Technically that was between eternal youth and other things. You can still be eternally young and still be dead! >:D bwahahahaha… but that's an argument of semantics and not what you were asking. Then why's ya say it pit? Because I think I'm funny!!

But its a good question. I remember what my answer was in that FB question. I chose being able to “breath in the sea” which has alot of * by it as well. And I remember your answer, all things are possible in time, so go for the immortality. and I do agree alot, for the most part. but the thing that gives me pause, personally is, what if death is the final frontier? Isnt that THE biggest question all living things have? “what happens after you die”. I do very much believe that we can never truly know from the perspective of the living. Just like I dont know what it's like to be ozoneocean, no matter how much we'd talk to eachother or hang out. It would be utterly awesome to be immortal and get to explore all sorts of new places and do wreckless things. But you will never know what death is. And since all living things die, it feels like that's a BIG part of your existence missing. So that's my personal reason. I'll take being an amphibious fish chick that swims around exploring the depths and dies after what's hopefully a long life of it, and then go on to something else.

It'd be interesting to know how many people who picked immortality believe in an afterlife. I think many people who have a strong belief in a life after this will probably not chose immortality, believing that there is a greater existence after this. Some may even believe that you can do all of these wished things and more as a spirit after death anyways.

And also there is bravo's and ironscarf's points. People just dont want to live without their loved ones, and would it make things meaningless?

another reason could be, if that WAS the question you were referring to on FB, is that people just werent associating eternal youth with eternal life.
last edited on July 12, 2017 6:18AM
El Cid at 4:10PM, July 13, 2017
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I think one of the better philosophical arguments comes from economics. The value of anything is intrinsically correlated to its scarcity. Life is valuable to us because we only have one, and it's a finite amount of time. If you're given eternal life, then your life – your time – essentially becomes worthless. There's no need to get out of bed any given day, because there's nothing you can do today that you can't do tomorrow and a million more tomorrows after. Nothing is novel. Nothing is meaningful. You'll live to forget every face you knew as a child, and they never meant anything anyway. You knew them for less than a fraction of a percent of your infinite lifespan. It's terrifying to contemplate.

I don't buy the “boredom” arguments so much; anyone who believes in an eternal afterlife is basically up the same tree. Forever is forever, whether it's here on terra firma or up in Cloud Country.

From a religious person's standpoint, our mortal existence is just a tiny developmental phase on the path to reaching your full celestial potential. This is our tadpole phase; our caterpillar phase. To not die is to stunt your own advancement.
KimLuster at 7:49PM, July 13, 2017
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El Cid's answer I like best. I've brought it up before, about the scene in the movie Troy, Achilles is talking to Briseis (a Trojan Priestess he's captured). They're talking about the Gods, and Achilles says:

“The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment may be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

The Gods, being immortal, can never know what it's like for something to be rare, fleeting… and therefore, precious!! These words always struck a chord with me…!! Even so, I wouldn't mind having a few more decades haha!!
cdmalcolm1 at 8:01PM, July 13, 2017
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I don't think the question is answering the means. If one was immortal would you still die. The answer is yes. You may not die of old age but getting killed is still a possibly. Even in the highlander series death comes by beheading. As for being careful until the end of earth, yes you would die. You might die from lack of air when the sun burns off the atmosphere. If not burn to death. I would figure if humans have not by now got to another planet I would guess one would be on a ship to the other planet. Might at well become the captain of that ship until it reaches a new home world. The point is if you became immortal and decide to walk with time, be careful. And when you are ready to go, asked to be killed or kill oneself. On another note, your body would simply break down because we all know that no form of matter last forever. Even blackholes will vaporize after trillions of years. You could sustain your life so long as there is a source to continue feeding you. I think once that goes, you're dead.
bravo1102 at 11:27PM, July 13, 2017
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Don't confuse true immortality with virtual immortality. Many ancient psntheons accepted that the gods could be killed and the Egyptian and Norse gods could die. But compared to a human they lived forever. The first recorded set of deities we have from Sumer were not truly immortal. But compared to man they were; each having lifetimes measured in scores of tens of thousands of years as opposed to three score and ten.

That's something that is recalled in the line from Lovecraft “That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.”

There may be beings who count their lifetimes in the billions of our years. Maybe a single year for them is the rotation of the entire galaxy. Some 250 million of our years is but one year for them. To us they live forever but when the universe ends so do they. That Forever may only be a brief time. With our perception of time in terrestrial years, forever may only be a thousand years which is a quantom jiffy in the span of galactic time.

Forever is a long time. You really going to keep yourself that busy as you watch stars be born and die as opposed to mere friends and loved ones? Would you be able to tolerate anything that lasts less than 10,000 years? Remember the Guardian of Forever in Star Trek? He awaited a question from before our sun burned hot in space. That's six billion years so if you truly lived that long would anything mean anything to you after the first billion years? With a lifespan that long you would “eternal lie” because your consciousness couldn't contemplate every second of every terrestrial year and only exist for a few brief moments every million years or so?

If truly immortal your perception and concept of time would be incomprehensible to a human and you would no longer be human or even be able to relate to a terrestrial year. Your life could seem the same short walk in the sun except you walk through the lifetimes of many suns. Forever is a long time.
last edited on July 13, 2017 11:38PM
KimLuster at 7:37AM, July 14, 2017
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I've got a few friends who think immortality via reincarnation would be so cool, but I don't really get it… So you're like an ethereal eternal soul or something, but you have occasional dips into material existence (ie. you're reincarnated into various physical bodies). While you're in a physical body, you don't remember all the other ‘lives’ you've lived, or even that your default ‘self’ is an ethereal, eternal soul.

So, what's the point?!! First, you have to ‘believe’ all this (souls, reincarnation)! And even if it's true, you don't frickin' know it while you're all material (meaning the angst of mortality still grabs you just as much), so… well, I just don't see what difference it makes!!
bravo1102 at 4:48PM, July 14, 2017
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KimLuster wrote:
I've got a few friends who think immortality via reincarnation would be so cool, but I don't really get it… So you're like an ethereal eternal soul or something, but you have occasional dips into material existence (ie. you're reincarnated into various physical bodies). While you're in a physical body, you don't remember all the other ‘lives’ you've lived, or even that your default ‘self’ is an ethereal, eternal soul.

So, what's the point?!! First, you have to ‘believe’ all this (souls, reincarnation)! And even if it's true, you don't frickin' know it while you're all material (meaning the angst of mortality still grabs you just as much), so… well, I just don't see what difference it makes!!
It's the glimpses of the eternal and of your past (future?) lives you have in the material world that supposedly makes it worthwhile. Then there is the whole wheel of fate and/or Samsara versus Karma to attain that ultimate bliss is the material world that you supposedly have in the ethereal.
It's as rational as any religious belief system. So full of holes you could throw a Bohdi tree through it but as valid as the judgemental guy in the sky offering paradise if you are obedient and make the proper sacrifices. Why should he care if I eat pork or have meat on Fridays I'll never understand.
Corruption at 3:29AM, July 18, 2017
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Imagine this: You are immortal, but do not possess eternal youth. You age like a mortal, and your body decays like a mortal body does, but you continue to live.

Imagine being stuck in the bottom of a mine, and never being able to heal up from it, so your body is crushed forever with you still living

When people find out about you, they seek to find out how you manage that, and it includes live discections of your body.

When there is no more food, water or air, and your body is in pain seeking them.

The Earth is gone, and there is only space. The vacuum of space pulls your body apart, making any cells in it freez or errupt. Agony forever.

You forever have some horrid shows and songs stuck in your head.

Just remember, there are fates worse then death.

That is just the normal No Die versions of immortality
What if your immortality was via being sent alive to Hell?
We are all corrupt in our own ways
KimLuster at 8:29AM, July 18, 2017
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Corruption wrote:
Imagine this: You are immortal, but do not possess eternal youth. You age like a mortal, and your body decays like a mortal body does, but you continue to live.

Imagine being stuck in the bottom of a mine, and never being able to heal up from it, so your body is crushed forever with you still living

When people find out about you, they seek to find out how you manage that, and it includes live discections of your body.

When there is no more food, water or air, and your body is in pain seeking them.

The Earth is gone, and there is only space. The vacuum of space pulls your body apart, making any cells in it freez or errupt. Agony forever.

You forever have some horrid shows and songs stuck in your head.

Just remember, there are fates worse then death.

That is just the normal No Die versions of immortality
What if your immortality was via being sent alive to Hell?

Well this'll make me sleep better :D
Udyr at 7:08AM, Aug. 4, 2017
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KimLuster wrote:
Corruption wrote:
Imagine this: You are immortal, but do not possess eternal youth. You age like a mortal, and your body decays like a mortal body does, but you continue to live.

Imagine being stuck in the bottom of a mine, and never being able to heal up from it, so your body is crushed forever with you still living

When people find out about you, they seek to find out how you manage that, and it includes live discections of your body.

When there is no more food, water or air, and your body is in pain seeking them.

The Earth is gone, and there is only space. The vacuum of space pulls your body apart, making any cells in it freez or errupt. Agony forever.

You forever have some horrid shows and songs stuck in your head.

Just remember, there are fates worse then death.

That is just the normal No Die versions of immortality
What if your immortality was via being sent alive to Hell?

Well this'll make me sleep better :D

I imagine this is how Yoda ended up looking like he does XD! I've often wondered how he looked as young. He's not immortal but damn he is old and tiny.

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