Death has always been one of the greatest mysteries that inspired and scared people at the same time. Not being able to understand the nature of this unique phenomenon, people created their own cults to explain after-life and to justify its existence to help people forget the fear of death. Thus, in the majority of religions immortality, or the ability to extend the lifespan and avoid death was the attribute of supernatural creatures, heroes, or even gods. For this reason, immortality became the object of desire and one of the greatest peoples dreams. Today, the long lifespan still remains attractive for the majority of individuals who want to forget the fear of death and enjoy the benefits of the modern world.
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The revolution in science and the appearance of new technologies triggered a new wave of vigorous discussions about the possibility of the creation of a scientific approach that would help to extend the average human lifespan and to provide people with an opportunity to live until 140 and even more. If this idea becomes successful, it will definitely change humans’ lives forever. But would this also go against the law of nature? The primary goal of this paper is to explain the perspective on the issue that is focused on the use of technologies as a possible solution to make humans live longer, the advantages and disadvantages of increased longevity that could affect society at any level, and how the world may change if this works out.
There are numerous attempts to find a method that could help to prevent aging. First of all, one of the methods to extend lifespan is the preservation of the appropriate state of our body and slowing down the speed of aging. There are several ways that could be used to achieve this goal. Today, we already know the great positive impact stem cells have on the state of the organism. They contribute to the rejuvenescence of tissues and general improvement of the state of a person (“Is Biological Immortality Possible?”). For this reason, it is possible to expect that the further investigation of the issue will help to increase its efficiency and contribute to the extension of the lifespan. Moreover, there are attempts to explore all resources of our body and guarantee the improved quality of life. Another method to attain greater longevity implies the usage of the latest technologies. The fact is that the innovations in the sphere of artificial intelligence open new opportunities for scientists and could be considered a way to limitless lifespan. For instance, neuroscientist Randal Koene states that the modern technologies could be used to scan our brain and upload it with its neural connections to a computer (Rose). In such a case, the individuality will be preserved, and a person will possess all memories, emotions, and experiences. The existence of this new form of life will be limited only by equipments wear factor which is much longer than the average human lifespan.
Nevertheless, if to accept the fact that humans could live much longer and forget the fear of death, another question would. What might be the consequences of such a radical shift in peoples lives? Scientists and philosophers discuss the ethical concerns related to the new mode of life. Advantages seem obvious. First of all, a person will have a limitless number of opportunities for his/her personal and professional growth. He/she will be able to engage in diverse activities and master hundreds of skills. Very often people complain that they do not have enough time to carry out all their projects and ideas. If they live 140 years and more, this problem will be solved. Moreover, a person will have much more free time to investigate the world and engage in self-development. For instance, he/she will be able to visit all states that could be found on our planet and explore a limitless number of cultures.
At the same time, one should also remember numerous ethical issues that will appear in case human beings live forever. According to a website, Ian Ground expresses that “Life’s meaning comes from its finitude” (Boodman). In other words, we appreciate every moment because we know that everyone will die and our time is limited. If the given limit does not exist, people will be not able to appreciate their lives appropriately. Moreover, traditionally, one generation replaces another and brings new ideas and trends that help the world to evolve and move forward. If we live forever, the given pattern will be disturbed and stagnation could be observed. For large entities, stagnation means gradual decline and collapse as the lack of new ideas will destroy our world. For instance, the Roman Empire was destroyed because of its inability to alter in accordance with the new demands. New generations just followed traditional patterns. For this reason, generations change is crucial.
Finally, Ground also notes that “Extending life spans will only increase inequality” (Boodman). Even now, we could observe the first signs of this process. The capital is concentrated in the hands of giant corporations owners who are able to use all benefits of the modern society: outstanding healthcare services, innovative technologies, etc. For this reason, they live longer and rule the world. Besides, if the technology to extend the lifespan has been created, they will be the first to use it and make their power even stronger.
The ability to live long and forget about death could pose a great threat to modern society. Today, we face the problem of overpopulation as it grows too fast though the planets sources are limited. There are about 7,5 billion people inhabiting our planted today and by 2100 this number is expected to comprise about 11.2 billion. In this regard, if no one dies, billions of people will live in all regions of the world and one day or another we will have to find a solution to the problem, and it could be rather cruel.
Moreover, the extended lifespan will destroy relations between parents and children because of the absence of the fear of loss and deterioration of their authority. We love a person as we realize the great importance of his/her life. However, in case parents live forever, we will forget about them as new activities and our own children and grandchildren will be more important for us.
Considering all these facts, the discovery of the method to guarantee immortality or extend the lifespan will alter the world significantly. We would be able to observe overpopulated cities characterized by the high level of violence and crime. Countries will be ruled by corporations owners who will buy immortality and preserve their leading positions. That is why humanity is still not ready for such crucial alterations in the patterns that limit our existence and determine the way individuals behave. Lifes finitude is one of the main factors that make a person evolve and appreciate this unique phenomenon. In case barriers that limit people are eliminated, chaos and spike in violence will shape our world and leave no place for traditional human values like humanism, sympathy, compassion.
Boodman, Eric. “How Old is Too Old? A Debate on Toying With the Human Life Span.” Stat, 2016.
“Is Biological Immortality Possible? New Research Suggests “Yes”.” The Daily Galaxy.
Ranj, Brandt. “Google’s Chief Futurist Ray Kurzweil Thinks We Could Start Living Forever by 2029.” Business Insider.
Rose, Georgia. “This Neuroscientist Is Trying to Upload His Entire Brain to a Computer.” Vice, 2014.