# If you could live forever, would you?

cronxeh
Gold Member
If I could live forever, I'd build a spaceship, pack it with essential supplies and equipment to stay alive forever in the universe, and head towards the unknown in hopes of discovering other civilizations

cronxeh said:
If I could live forever, I'd build a spaceship, pack it with essential supplies and equipment to stay alive forever in the universe, and head towards the unknown in hopes of discovering other civilizations
Now you are talking....that's more like it! It was more that well overdue that someone said something concrete. Uptimum overdrive...and there is no looking back. Keep everything on schedule and on course!

learningphysics said:
Ah... but the question was about living forever... not about what form your life takes... you still want to live on the other side... so you want your life to continue in some form.

Suppose the options were living forever here or a finite life with annihilation when the life here ends... Then what would you choose?

Yeah OK i see what you are saying on this one, with those conditions set( and only with those conditions) I would not mind living forever quite so much. But it would still get boring, however if its that or cold oblivion id pick immortality.

Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
The thing is, suppose you have been given immortality. So on any given day, say after a google ($$10^{100}$$) years, you find yourself terribly bored. DO you kill yourself? I think some people do that after only 30 years! So it's an individual quirk, and not a philosophical question at all.

learningphysics
Homework Helper
Boredom is a psychological condition. There's no reason to think it can't be eliminated or at least controlled in the future.

Are we assuming that only WE are allwoed to live forever (not family and friends and others)?
If so, then I believe it would be completely selfish to not accept immortality. The sheer amount of time you would have available would allow you to amalgamate so much information, you would be able to be an expert in every field. And with this knowledge and assuming you don't lose all creativity, you could be a leading source of new discovery to help the human race. You would have such a complete understanding of everything, that your insight woudl be priceless.

I imagine it might get boring or repetitive, but thats a small price for the value you would be to everyone else.

Of course, how many people would kill themselves if they knew they could live forever if they didn't kill themselves? Not many, I think.

Not necessarily. For some (like nihilists), if they believed that there is no meaning to life (or cannot be had), then it is better to simply die (or offer no resistance to death).

Also, for idealists, a life full of sufferings will be too much, and would rather end life than to feel anymore pain.

Last edited:
Do you believe that philosophical nihilists and idealists make up the majority of suicides?

I can see a big percentage of the people who commit suicide as having nihilist and idealist tendencies (and suiciding because of it), but not necessarily that they're "philosophical nihilists".

If they are not philosophical nihilists or idealists, they wouldn't throw away, on principle, a possibly vast lifetime. Any mere tendencies towards idealism or nihilism would not compare to the value of such a long potential life. It would take either a serious principle or a stupid person to suicide in the face of near immortality.

Bartholomew said:
If they are not philosophical nihilists or idealists, they wouldn't throw away, on principle, a possibly vast lifetime. Any mere tendencies towards idealism or nihilism would not compare to the value of such a long potential life. It would take either a serious principle or a stupid person to suicide in the face of near immortality.
That IS the point. Nihilist tendencies make that view of a long potential life as valueless and worthless (they no longer view aspects of life as having any worth or potential). Hence, if they do not value enough aspects of life in the first place, then "the value of such a long potential life" is hogwash to them.

As for idealists, they may suicide a long, potential life, because they fear and hate suffering as something to be completely avoided - usually if there is not enough respite from joyful moments.

Last edited:
To make decisions like that would require some serious principles. To decide an entire near-immortal lifetime is not worth living because it is valueless is a very high-pressure decision. No one would come to that definite conclusion unless they had unshakable faith in nihilism; they would have to be philosophical nihilists. Mere nihiliistic tendencies do not fit the bill.

It whould be a privilege to have everlasting live, considering all of those who died before us.

Bartholomew said:
To make decisions like that would require some serious principles. To decide an entire near-immortal lifetime is not worth living because it is valueless is a very high-pressure decision. No one would come to that definite conclusion unless they had unshakable faith in nihilism; they would have to be philosophical nihilists. Mere nihiliistic tendencies do not fit the bill.
That would be true if everyone else were as thorough in their decision making. Unfortunately, those with just tendences are too often swept up by the emotions associated with suffering, and will commit suicide while under their duress.

Last edited:
Right, it's an emotional decision, and that's my point: the emotional momentum of a potentially vast lifetime is going to overwhelm most suicidal impulses. There is an _awful_ lot of philosophy and religion about the fact of human mortality; psychologically it carries a _lot_ of weight.

Bartholomew said:
Right, it's an emotional decision, and that's my point: the emotional momentum of a potentially vast lifetime is going to overwhelm most suicidal impulses. There is an _awful_ lot of philosophy and religion about the fact of human mortality; psychologically it carries a _lot_ of weight.
I agree emotions play a big part, but it's not a strictly emotional decision. I was stating that some suicidal persons decide according to their emotions because they have such nihilistic/idealistic tendencies. I don't see suicide happening simply because of great emotional distress. If it were just emotions, the instinct for survival or power would still overcome the pain from emotions (among other things). I see it more likely that the mixture of nihilistic tendencies (no actions and valueless life), idealistic tendencies (contentment and stagnation) tendencies and severe emotional pain casts men to commit suicide.

Last edited:
The emotional side can be mostly tossed away in the face of near-immortality. As to the philosophical side, you would have to be very, very sure of yourself. Mere tendencies would not be sufficient.

Have you ever been suicidal? Personally, I believe it is an emotional decision. When failed businessmen commit suicide they are not acting on philosophical grounds; they are acting out of despair from loss of status and what they have built up. If they had potentially unending lives, it would be no big deal; they'd just spend another eyeblink of a 20 year stretch and regain what they had lost, with eternity still stretched out before them.

Bartholomew said:
The emotional side can be mostly tossed away in the face of near-immortality. As to the philosophical side, you would have to be very, very sure of yourself. Mere tendencies would not be sufficient.

Have you ever been suicidal? Personally, I believe it is an emotional decision. When failed businessmen commit suicide they are not acting on philosophical grounds; they are acting out of despair from loss of status and what they have built up. If they had potentially unending lives, it would be no big deal; they'd just spend another eyeblink of a 20 year stretch and regain what they had lost, with eternity still stretched out before them.
I agree, emotions could be tossed away easily because you had an unending life. And indeed, many reasons for hating failure would be forgotten simply because we had tons of time to make up for it. However, there is still the notion that everyone must yield to: life involves joy/success AND suffering/defeat. I admit, I have thought of and thought about suicide - but how do I know that my thoughts are the same as anyone else? From that experience, I definitely wouldn't conclude that everyone who was suicidal must be thinking only of the fact that they have no time to make up for failures. Suicidal tendencies are not only there because there's no time to make up for it. I found that experiencing or knowing the inevitability of defeat or suffering itself can be the problem.

However, I am commending you for embracing the idea that suffering is simply a part of life, not something to be hated, feared and avoided - but others may not share the same belief. Why? Because they have nihilistic or idealistic tendencies (I'll agree that such tendencies cannot be weak, since they must at least have some effect on someone). If suffering exists in this limited life, suffering will continue to exist in an unending life. Those with such tendencies believe that suffering is either a "bad" thing, or simply something that they don't want to experience any longer. I agree, older people are more likely to suicide, and do have more reasons for suicide - no time to make up for their suffering, weaknesses or defeats, less freedoms, etc. But if suicides were only a matter of having no time to make up for defeats, teens and younger adults (ones who have time to rebuild their lives) would rarely ever be committing suicide - however, many young people still do.
http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/infofaq/suicide.htm [Broken]

Suicide is a complete inversion of our instinctive value for life and experience, but sometimes the severe hatred for suffering is enough to bring some people to suicide. They do not need to be complete philosophical nihilists to do that, they just need to BELIEVE strongly enough about certain reasons and the accompanying emotions that foster suicide. Remember that not all people are so 'rational' about their suicide that they would always consider all the pros and cons. Even if they have an unending life, these suicides would still happen (albeit, to a lesser extent).

Think about it like this, of all the religious people in the world, most are not very strong believers. Some have stronger beliefs, but the majority do not even have close to what they have, but they still act according to religion. Suicide is the same deal. They do not need to have an encompassing, and truly nihilistic/idealistic thinking before they will kill themselves. They only need to convince themselves that their reasons (could be embarassment, fear of pain/consequence, weariness of struggle) and the accompanying emotions are stronger than the will to live.

In fact, a true nihilist would not even bother to try and suicide. He does not value death more life, suffering is the same as pleasure. To him, both are the same, worthless, valueless, meaningless action or event.

Last edited by a moderator:
Practicing religion while not strongly believing in it is in a different category from suiciding and not having strong philosophical reasons for it. Combine the two--how many religious suicide bombers do you think there are who don't believe in their religion all that strongly?

I agree that the young would be less affected by potential immortality than the old, but any suicidal teen is going to have one more reason not do it. Currently they can rationalize, "well, I'm going to die anyway, my choice or not," but if they couldn't say that so certainly, it would give them pause. They may get caught up in relatively small struggles that they blow out of proportion, but when you are immortal you have to blow something out of proportion to a pretty great degree before you can dismiss what suicide would be a sacrifice of.

The thing is, suppose you have been given immortality. So on any given day, say after a google ($$10^{100}$$) years, you find yourself terribly bored. DO you kill yourself? I think some people do that after only 30 years! So it's an individual quirk, and not a philosophical question at all.
And it would be very strange indeed that after being made fully structurally and functionally perfect BOREDOM still persisted! Would Boredom not have everporated with all other natural imperfections that previously existed before you were subsequently rendered completely immortal or perfect? Why would anyone want to die after you have been made immortal in the strictest sense of the word?

----------------
THINK NATURE.......STAY GREEN! ABOVE ALL, NEVER HARM OR DESTROY THAT WHICH YOU CANNOT CREATE! MAY THE 'BOOK OF NATURE' SERVE YOU WELL AND BRING YOU ALL THAT IS GOOD!

To Philocrat:
Philocrat said:
And it would be very strange indeed that after being made fully structurally and functionally perfect BOREDOM still persisted! Would Boredom not have everporated with all other natural imperfections that previously existed before you were subsequently rendered completely immortal or perfect? Why would anyone want to die after you have been made immortal in the strictest sense of the word?
Because they could be frustrated by defeats, suffering, or lack of power.

Also, the original question stated that the person would only be able to extend its life and thus could never die through old age, but he's not immune to dangers and accidents, and is thus not immortal.

To Bartholomew:
Bartholomew said:
Practicing religion while not strongly believing in it is in a different category from suiciding and not having strong philosophical reasons for it. Combine the two--how many religious suicide bombers do you think there are who don't believe in their religion all that strongly?
Then tell me, how many suicide bombers are philosophical nihilists? You are also talking about fanatics who suicide FOR their religion. Even the most hardcore nihilists would not suicide FOR nihilism. In religion, this necessity for suicide can be indoctrinated, and that's why you get religious suicide bombers. Why is this? Because in religion, suicide could be seen as necessary to fulfill the requirements of their religion. However, even though some people believe that suicide is implied in nihilism, nihilists never think that one is forced to suicide because of the nihilistic philosophy.

Bartholomew said:
I agree that the young would be less affected by potential immortality than the old, but any suicidal teen is going to have one more reason not do it. Currently they can rationalize, "well, I'm going to die anyway, my choice or not," but if they couldn't say that so certainly, it would give them pause. They may get caught up in relatively small struggles that they blow out of proportion, but when you are immortal you have to blow something out of proportion to a pretty great degree before you can dismiss what suicide would be a sacrifice of.
Yea, that's the whole problem of suicide. It's a complete inversion of the value for life, and it's blown out of proportion. The problem of not having the time to make up for losses is not necessary for suicide to occur. That's why I said that when someone believes strongly enough in certain reasons to do things, that is enough to make them commit suicide. They never needed to be philosophical nihilists. Just enough of a tendency to find suicide as a worthy option. Full philosophical nihilists, as I said before, would see suicide (as well as everything else) as neither greater or less worth doing than living. And thus, suicide for philosophical nihilists is never necessary, only a choice.

Last edited:
Hi

While longer life, even imortality is attractive (after all I don't want to die and I would like to experience and see many things in the world), I know that death is a release from this corrupt world filled with pain, suffering and separation from God.

Since the fall of man, death is the blessing that this fallen state should not be endured forever.

Ken

I don't know how anyone can participate in this discussion.

If we implement radical life extension, then life will by definition be radically different. We have no justifiable context to proceed with this discussion.

Telos said:
I don't know how anyone can participate in this discussion.

If we implement radical life extension, then life will by definition be radically different. We have no justifiable context to proceed with this discussion.
I coincide, eternity is such a random and abstract invention that it can't even be though of. Eternity: never end, never begin, can you imagen that? NO.