Immortality

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89 Replies - 3936 Views - Last Post: 03 August 2013 - 09:26 AM

#31 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:14 PM

Is it selfish that others demand you go on living when you don't want to continue?
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#32 ConciselyVerbose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 01:34 PM

View Postdorknexus, on 16 July 2013 - 01:14 PM, said:

Is it selfish that others demand you go on living when you don't want to continue?


If you have a kid, then decide you don't want to live anymore, and make the mother should deal with it herself, damn right that's selfish. If you didn't put them in the position to rely on you, then it's not selfish, but still the wrong decision.
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#33 Lemur  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 02:21 PM

View PostRaynes, on 15 July 2013 - 09:36 PM, said:

There is a fundamental problem with this topic, which is that it implies the existence of a God (and doesn't specify which God either, but I assume you mean the Christian God).

If the Christian God did exist, he knows precisely everything about us, what we're doing, what we have done, and what we will do until the end of the universe. It's hard to defy a being that designed our lives.


That was more of an aside as the main argument I hear against it is that it's playing God. Remember, SW Missouri. It's not a necessary point to discuss, just one that I kept running into over here, but either way a good response on it.
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#34 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 09:19 PM

Selfish or not, suicidal people seldom want to die. On the contrary they wish to live more than you do, if only their life was better.

But now I'm wondering how a subject of infinite life fell into a topic of ending life..
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#35 ConciselyVerbose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 09:39 PM

I said turning down the ability to extend your life is akin to voluntarily killing yourself, and as such, was the wrong answer.
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#36 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 10:27 PM

Why, and under what circumstances is "selfish" wrong?

I might rank it as noble if I see someone perform some act of self-sacifice, taking some action which benefits others to their own detriment. (or I might not - we need not delve into the cases of non-noble self-sacrifice, let's assume that some self-sacrifice is noble and let that be enough) I do not see that it is therefore wrong in all cases to refuse to perform some self-sacrifice for the benefit of another.

This is a complex piece of ethical reasoning, and the case of suicide, though an unfortunate one, puts it in sharp relief.

But let's take two cases and see if they produce any interesting thoughts.

Case A: suppose that someone devotes their life to the relief of the poor (just to pick a cause) and does so with good success. This person lives out their days ministering to the needy, getting from this work only a meager living and the satisfaction of her work.

Case B: let's suppose that someone believes, with evidence sufficient to convince them beyond any doubt, that their life is a misery and will remain so under all circumstances regardless of any choices they might make. This is a person who truly believes that her life, in all paths she might follow, will be worse than death. This person has parthers, several children and siblings and a spouse, all of whom care for her and would be greatly saddened by her death.

The question I want you to consider is this: why is it easy for many people to suppose that we should demand person in case B live a life which she thinks is unbearable, for the sake of a handful of people who we could expect would never want her to suffer in the least, when it is hard or impossible for most of us to imagine demanding that someone live a decent though plain life of service?
The person in case A does not suffer. She has little, but she has what she needs to live, and in fact she derives great satisfaction from her work. The person in case B suffers greatly, and expects this to be a constant state of affairs. And yet, if you ask people, they're much more likely to condemn the latter to a lifetime of torment than to condemn the former to decent though monotonous life.

This post has been edited by jon.kiparsky: 25 July 2013 - 10:36 AM

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#37 Flukeshot  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 16 July 2013 - 11:07 PM

I would condemn the second to a life of pain to protect the several children from living a motherless life. I would, as a husband and father, live in misery for the sake of the happiness of my wife and children. Marriage and parenthood are oaths not to be taken lightly, in my opinion. Once you make that kind of promise it should never be severed or just given up.

If you were to suggest the case where my living was the cause of their misery, I would gladly give it up.

That's my view on selfish and selfless suicide in a nutshell.
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#38 Slice  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 17 July 2013 - 04:04 AM

Living forever doesn't appeal to me. Consider becoming immortal, then being buried alive. Never dying but being trapped forever.

Quote

Don't try to add more years to your life. Better add more life to your years - Blaise Pascal

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#39 h4nnib4l  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:48 AM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 17 July 2013 - 12:27 AM, said:

Why, and under what circumstances is "selfish" wrong?

Spoiler


Spoiler'd for the sake of length.

This is a tough one for me. I agree that I don't have the right to demand that my wife continue living (but I do think that my opinion counts for something there). But I also know that, were she to commit suicide, my children and I would never be the same. We love her that much, and perhaps even more importantly, are that invested in her happiness. I put a considerable amount of thought into making (keeping) my wife happy, and would therefore be absolutely devasted were I to learn, postmortem, that she hadn't been happy (although I honestly can't imagine not being able to tell...). Similarly, I can't imagine taking my own life, under most circumstances (when we were flat broke and I'd get really drunk, sometimes my life insurance payout was tempting) because of the effect it would have on my wife and children. This is one of the very few places where I allow my emotion to come into direct conflict with my practicality, and it's because of my experience as a husband and father...

EDIT: spelling

This post has been edited by h4nnib4l: 17 July 2013 - 05:49 AM

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#40 BBeck  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:56 AM

May I point out that you are going to die. You can't be immortal. Sorry. It's a flight of fancy.

What I mean by that is that no matter happens, you will die. Let's say that they invent a cure for aging. So, you can pretty much live forever then, right? Nope. Sorry. Just because you can't die of natural causes doesn't mean you can't die. All you are really doing is extending the length of your life and making it an absolute certainty that you will die a violent death. You won't pass in your sleep, but there's nothing to keep someone from murdering you, a violent accident in the infinite number of ways that can happen, being killed in a war, being killed in a natural disaster, or any of the other infinite ways one can be killed. You're still going to die; you've merely ruled out one way that it could happen. You won't die of natural causes, but you'll still die.

Going to the subject of digitizing one's self. I would argue that when your body dies, you are dead. I would point out that if you digitize yourself and are still alive, then you are a completely separate entity from your digitized self. You've made a copy of yourself, but you are still dead when you die even if that copy goes on. I think it could be compared to having children in a way.

But let's go with the argument and say that digitized self is still you. Even then, you're gonna die. It's an absolute certainty. Data is erased and lost all the time. So, maybe your digitized self exists for 100,000 years (which is in some ways a pretty cool concept). But eventually you'll still die. Some server admin will promise he's backing up your data, and then everyone will find out that he wasn't when you're lost. Or, your star goes super nova before you can get out of the system. Or someone gets mad and starts a war and intentionally kills you and your friends. Or even no matter how far you take this, the universe ceases to exist.

At some point, scientists believe, the universe itself will basically implode destroying everything within it.

So basically... you're gonna die. It may take a million years, but its an absolute certainty that it will happen. Thus, humans can never be immortal, just simply long lived.

This post has been edited by BBeck: 19 July 2013 - 04:10 AM

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#41 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 19 July 2013 - 06:03 AM

I was taking immortality as it is often presented in fiction with "immortal" races.

In those cases, immortality is often a matter of eternal youth, immunity to diseases (or *known* diseases), etc.

Violence is often still a viable means of ending an "immortal"'s life.

Good point - gotta keep these expectations realistic - I'll still settle for the sort of stuff that happens in the novels I mentioned.
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#42 h4nnib4l  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 19 July 2013 - 06:21 AM

I'd still say that 800 years is quite an improvement over 80. But at that scale, I feel like the scope of life and possible experiences needs to increase to match. If I had the chance to go on a 60 year exploration of the solar system, or maybe take 200 years to go checkout the nearest galaxy, then I can see an 800 year life getting pretty "short" again...
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#43 Cookie Mobster  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 23 July 2013 - 11:05 PM

woop! i never die
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#44 anonymous26  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:27 PM

View PostBBeck, on 19 July 2013 - 07:56 AM, said:

May I point out that you are going to die. You can't be immortal. Sorry. It's a flight of fancy.

What I mean by that is that no matter happens, you will die. Let's say that they invent a cure for aging. So, you can pretty much live forever then, right? Nope. Sorry. Just because you can't die of natural causes doesn't mean you can't die. All you are really doing is extending the length of your life and making it an absolute certainty that you will die a violent death. You won't pass in your sleep, but there's nothing to keep someone from murdering you, a violent accident in the infinite number of ways that can happen, being killed in a war, being killed in a natural disaster, or any of the other infinite ways one can be killed. You're still going to die; you've merely ruled out one way that it could happen. You won't die of natural causes, but you'll still die.

Going to the subject of digitizing one's self. I would argue that when your body dies, you are dead. I would point out that if you digitize yourself and are still alive, then you are a completely separate entity from your digitized self. You've made a copy of yourself, but you are still dead when you die even if that copy goes on. I think it could be compared to having children in a way.

But let's go with the argument and say that digitized self is still you. Even then, you're gonna die. It's an absolute certainty. Data is erased and lost all the time. So, maybe your digitized self exists for 100,000 years (which is in some ways a pretty cool concept). But eventually you'll still die. Some server admin will promise he's backing up your data, and then everyone will find out that he wasn't when you're lost. Or, your star goes super nova before you can get out of the system. Or someone gets mad and starts a war and intentionally kills you and your friends. Or even no matter how far you take this, the universe ceases to exist.

At some point, scientists believe, the universe itself will basically implode destroying everything within it.

So basically... you're gonna die. It may take a million years, but its an absolute certainty that it will happen. Thus, humans can never be immortal, just simply long lived.

What about if space-time can be warped to allow you to effectively live forever? You will be able to:

1. Reverse past events that could cause or lead to your death.
2. Predict future events that will cause your death and avoid them.

There is also the concept of what death actually is. It is generally accepted that 'death' is when your body ceases to metabolize, but says nothing about your consciousness. Before you jump down my throat about brain death let me put a little thought your way. When the brain dies it means that it is no longer capable of supporting your body and your conscious thought - there is nothing to prove that your consciousness actually vanishes into thin air. There is even the argument in physics about the conservation of energy meaning that in some form our consciousness still exists.

Quite interesting when you think about it - we certainly do not have to rely on man-made methods to live forever, all we need is 'nature'.
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#45 dorknexus  Icon User is offline

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Re: Immortality

Posted 29 July 2013 - 01:36 PM

what will it be like to go to sleep and never wake up? what was it like to wake up after having not previously gone to sleep?
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