Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

If people weren't mortal

  1. May 25, 2003 #1
    [SOLVED] If people weren't mortal...

    How differently would humans live their lives if their were immortal? I don't mean how people might live more dangerously, carelessly, longer or whatever. I'm talking more in terms of humans' life goals, accomplishments, personalities, life outlooks, the pace they live at (go to cellege, get families, etc.) or anything. This is more of an anthropological or sociological question than a "what would you do if..." question.

    Anyway, I think if only one person were made immortal, they'd feel especially important and special and want to do great things (not just because they can't die, though). If everyone were immortal it might be different, but I'm not sure.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2003 #2
    They wouldn't live their lives any different.

    No matter how long you live you'd still be very old and in poor shape at the age of 80.

    So you'd probably see people committing suicide at older ages. Because you'd spend 30 years young and 1000000 years old, slow, and crusty.
  4. May 25, 2003 #3
    A big Hello Eaglesyfon !

    Would you read the second post and then elaborate a bit on the matter of our physical conditioning?
  5. May 25, 2003 #4
    Well, I guess I shoudl've been more specific about what I meant by "immortal." Let's just say that, the older people got, the slower they aged, so that the growth/change in a year experienced by a teenager is greater than the change experienced by an 80-year-old, so that the older you got the slower you aged, eventually making you immortal.
    Oh yeah but people can still die from outside causes but are very healthy so life expectancy is VERY high.
  6. May 25, 2003 #5
    Do you immortal as in I could not possibly ever die? Or immortal as in I won't die of old age.
  7. May 25, 2003 #6
    Wasn't Count Dracula immortal?
  8. May 25, 2003 #7
    The talk of my demise has been greatly exagerated.
  9. May 25, 2003 #8
    Whatever happened to Dracula anyway? Didn't he get caught in a stake-out or something? Or, would that be a "stake-in?"
  10. May 25, 2003 #9
    He is alive and well, living in Argentina.

    But enough of my spam

    If I were immortal I would work every job be it high or low, study every discipline, give more of myself to others, and buy everyone at PF an ice cream cone!!
  11. May 25, 2003 #10
    People can die from other things, but not old age, and life expectancy is very high. But, like I said, this is not about immortality; just read the first post and you'll see what I mean.
  12. May 25, 2003 #11
    I would imagine people would become more seggregated by age than they already tend to be. Let's say for the sake of argument everyone stops aging at thirty. I can imagine the subject of how old someone is would become taboo in such a society. Occationally, the older generation might give away its age by their actions.

    Evidence supports the idea that our worst traits are, as a general rule, amplified by the aging process and brain damage. Without those, people tend to become more mellow and compasionate with time after around thirty years of age. These are also the traits attributed to enlightened beings. In other legends, they are considered to be masters of disguise and so observant they can intervene subtly to prevent disasters and almost never be surprised by those around them.

    This may sound super human to us, but is no more or less strange then the way small children tend to look at their parents, with perhaps even a sense of worship. What kind of weird scenarios such a world and such people might live through exactly, I'm not sure I care to contemplate in detail.

    However, estimates are that, all other things equal, if everybody alive today suddenly became immortal the average lifespan from accidents would be about five hundred years. With drastic measures to reduce accidents, this might be extended to a thousand years or so, but eventually the odds would catch up with us. A survey of 100,000 promonent scientists worldwide indicated they believed sometime in the next six hundred years the progress of the sciences will slow down and within a few millennia humanity will have fully absorbed most of the impact the sciences will have on them. If people are immortal, the process may accelerate.
  13. May 25, 2003 #12
    Ok, I once saw a show about this. They claimed that statistically the average life expectancy would be 5 to 6 hundred years. By this time an accident, murder, illness, etc. would get you.

    …Scratch the cones people, life’s too short to give everything away
  14. May 26, 2003 #13
    I guess it would get very crowded on earth within a few centuries.
  15. May 26, 2003 #14
    Immortality would probably lead to the death of most if not all religions.
  16. May 26, 2003 #15


    User Avatar

    The first step would be to emulate a world where we were not immortal. Humans were adapted as creatures that live, then die. It's the way we work, and without this cycle, human society would collapse. Not just the end of the million dollar undertaking industry, but the collapse of society as a whole. Ever seen "Logan's Run"? We may have an order that works by compulsary termination at a certain age, just to keep things going.

    But failing that, human society would have to be drastically rethought. Reproduction will no longer be tenable as a goal for mankind, and life's value may increase - death is no longer expected, but very rare. Majority may even become sterile, and reproduce by cloning when dead.
    Segregation may take place in the begining, but as different proportions of ages diminish in difference (50 years is insignificant when everyone is centuries old), such things based in seniority would diminish.
    Boredom will no doubt be the prime motivator. The earth would probably be set up as an explorer society of knowledge and experience seekers - searching for elusive, unreachable truths, than plan lives with real goals. We may see a dramatic rise in pure research, and space exploration. Medical sciences should remain mostly stagnant.
  17. May 26, 2003 #16

    I'm not sure if life's value would increase. After all, it means less if there is a lower chance of losing it. It's hard to tell how the general public will act when there's less of a time limit on life, but I think some people might be inclined to get as rich as possible (since they have lots of time to do it in) then just keep living richly and comfortably. If criminals had a whole lifetime to gain wealth, would they really need crime? I don't really think so, but it's probably too hard to tell. People also might do less with their lives since they've got all the time in the world. All the "live is short" sayings would go out the window, since it wouldn't be short at all.
    And with the religions, there'd still be death so I think the major ones would survive.
    Also, what about people like Mahatma Ghandi or other leaders, moral, polotical, or otherwise? If they weren't assasinated they'd probably change the world.
    Oh yeah and we could finally send humans out into deep space, since they'd live the whole trip. It'sd be boring, but I'm sure the scientists would give them plenty to do.
    The whole thing is very complicated. I'm surprised there haven't been more/better replies. But thanks to all who've responded.
  18. May 27, 2003 #17
    How many humans have lived on earth since ape became man?
    10 billion?
  19. May 27, 2003 #18
    There are six or seven billion alive today, and an estimated 100 billion over the course of history.
  20. May 27, 2003 #19


    User Avatar

    I don't know, but I believe that the lack of regular occurance of death, and also the neccessary irregularity of birth would make the loss of life something that must be taken much less casually.
  21. May 27, 2003 #20
    Perhaps, but I'm sure it would depend on the individual. Oh yeah but what do you mean by "neccessary irregularity of birth."
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook