We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Friday, May 9. 2008
From this morning's men's Bible study group:
"If you could take an immortality pill right now, would you swallow it?"
Addendum: By coincidence, Dr. Bob's quote today:
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If the caveat that we remain as we are now is there, yep.
You'd have to have one hell of a lot of courage, though, because you would see your progeny and theirs die. That would be extremely difficult. Except you could help. That part would be good.
It's frequently the case that people reach a point where they WANT to die. It's a toxic world out there, and there's only one exit.
I agree. That's why I asked if we get to remain as we are - without the health problems that accompany old age. No wonder people want to die with some of those problems. My mom did.
Right, I hear you. Many people want to die because their health or finances are failing. I wasn't clear, though, in my intent, and it's more along the lines of what a Bible study group might (or, hey, might not) be after.
I have found that many people want to die simply because they don't want to live. Their lives are full of grief, they're joyless, or they are choked by their own corruption. That sort of thing.
Frankly, this world is overflowing with human corruption. On that basis, eternal life sounds unbearable.
Some people want to die because they see death as a means to avoid consequences they see dead ahead. Judas and Hitler are famous examples of this.
Some people want to die because whatever they lived for is gone. Parents who lose kids, for example.
On the other hand, some people live for hate.
Uh, but the question was: If I could take a pill that would allow me to live forever, would I? My answer is there's not enough information. "How" I would live (in an iron lung?) is one issue. Another is - will everyone else live forever, or just me?
Another question is - what could I do if I lived forever, and no one else did? The answer is - just about anything. Eventually I would be the richest and most famous man on Earth (just like vampires or Fry on Futurama). So if I could imagine what I could accomplish with all that money, and the thought of doing those things pleased me, and I wasn't bedridden (or maybe even if I was) I might take the pill.
But does the pill protect just the body and not from outside influences... in other words I could still be hit by a truck? Somehow that makes it a little more appealing... still some risk left in life. Immunity from death completely would be boring. Didn't we have a thread here recently where that was discussed? For sure the remain as we are caveat... but can I please also go back thirty years first.
Well, you'd have to know if suicide was an option. If it is, that puts the power with you.
I'd want it because of being able to see the scientific discoveries answer many currently unanswered questions.
As Mr. Snitch notes, you'd become rich and just think of the good you could do. Nice to think about it.
Good point about suicide. And Snitch does make a good point too about having money to do good things. But really I'm with you on wanting to see how it all works out, discoveries made, problems solved or not. Just to see if we make it out of the solar system and out into the Galaxy would do it for me for an affirmative. But state of the body would be all, no sense in being around if you can't see what's going on. As usual, more questions than answers with these types of discussions.
Unless I could go back to 28, get a trophy wife,have a billion dollars, my own island and get to have some primo weed.
Habu, you could probably get all of that except the age part. I don't know what age you'd settle in at. But remember that 40 is the new 20, 70 is the new 30, and K-Mart is the new Five and Dime.
Yet, then again, as a a believer in Jesus Christ, I have taken an immortality pill -- for life in a far better world.
I don't want to die. Then again, I don't want to live forever.
There is something attractive about the Groundhog Day scenario of having a seeming eternity to improve one's character and work on personal growth, but it's more gratifying to know that I can't earn my eternal reward, it's a gift.
No, given that I'd be immortal in this world. Mr. Snitch is correct, our potential life span (70-80 yrs) in this world is about right. I'll wait for eternal life in the next world assuming I qualify.
Tolkien played this theme out in LOTR. The elves, ents, wizards, Gollum, Tom Bombadil, and Shelob all had very different experiences of hyperextended life, depending on their personalities and goals. Tolkien eventually comes down neither for nor against, but ably points out the dangers.
For example, to suggest that suicide provides an escape if extended life becomes unbearable overlooks the actuality of the deed. If you are living a life that is unbearable, and decide over time that there is no rescue or hope of improvement for that, then those years spent deciding are a very high cost indeed - perhaps high enough to outweigh the pleasant extra century you had before you got there.
About your paragraph on suicide: You could say that about a normal lifespan. It's no different.
No, similar but not the same. We are adding the specific experience of extended life to the equation, for which there is no precedent or inherited wisdom we can rely on.
Might be nice to have all the time in the world. Pretty sure that like most people, I do not want to die. I usually feel this world is a very beautiful place and time does pass quickly so life can seem short and fragile. I have had regrets before for being afraid or cautious regarding those things I did not do but immortality in this world is hard to even imagine so will pray for an everlasting life not in this life but in the next.
"Would it all mean anything at all without an end?"
Our finite fragile mortality is probably an integral part of the whole plan, BD. That's my working theory.
Immortal is not the same as infinite. Risking an argument from Leag... there will be a time when the known universe will not be amenable to life as we know it. I believe that might constitute an end.
First I'll answer BD's hipter question.
Luther you will get no argument.
Immortality is what swallows up mortality in life.
Infinity is it's home.
Pills can't give it and like BD's previous congregant question, the answer is, Jesus did.
Jesus laid his life down for us all that we might have life and life more than abundant.
What is the cost of five?
Ask yourself that question about your present life. Is it full of meaning because you know you are going to die, or is it full of meaning because of your good intent while you are alive?
Life does not giving you meaning. You give life meaning.
Ok , I tried the mirror thing .... ugh-o ..there seem to be some challenges there although I'm working on them.
Now, about this doing good if we lived on and on and on and on and on ..... does that only encompass things like saving little kitty cats from high tree tops or do we get to say, wax a bad guy, say Hugo Chavez or Osama bin L ?
I'm willing to help old ladies cross the street, in fact I use to be the self appointed guardian of handicapped parking places when I saw health people parking there...hell I'd challenge 'em, get right in their face..they moved.
But there are a mess of bad guys and dolls out there that need training in the art of dead. Is that a "good" thing. Of course it would fall under doing God's work on Earth.
I still want the hot babe and the Maui gold too.... and one of those body painted American flag girls to straighten me out...now we're work'n it.....yeah..
"Now, about this doing good if we lived on and on and on and on and on ....."
Hey there, Habu. Whether you choose to "do good" with all your time and money, in your now-infinite lifestyle, is up to you. And for that matter, whether you ARE doing good, even if you try, can be uncomfortably subjective. (I learned this reading Superman comics when he would blow a house down with Superbreath though he was actually just trying to put out a kitchen fire. Although with him it was usually because of Gold Kryptonite or Mr. Myxptlk, whereas with me it would be clumsiness or poor judgement.)
Anyway, another commenter mentioned Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray tries all kinds of things, good and evil, but in the end chooses to serve others because he finds it the most satisfying use of his time. So we are assuming that Bill has the right idea on that basis.
Your point about this going on at possibly excruciating length is well taken. I suspect that this world, and we humans, are just not set up to go on and on and on. This world is designed, top to bottom, for cycles in all things. We have day and night, moon and sun, winter and summer, life and death, etc. Therefore I think this magic pill designed to keep us walking around the planet (while of course accumulating compound interest) just won't work. I suspect we would not like it, and that our cycle-bound fellow creatures would almost certainly resent the hell out of it (whether they said so to our faces or not).
Now, you want to know if you get to wax (or as we like to say here in Sopranoland, "whack") Chavez. Well, naturally you get to do pretty much what you want. But I think it's kind of like those time travel movies, where if you step on a butterfly during the Jurassic era, Star Wars never gets made and everybody speaks Dutch. In other words you, Habu, are kind of a God on Earth. As such, you either have to become General Zod (and remember how bored HE got) or, more likely, you will learn to wield your vast power lightly - like Ghandi or Dick Clark.
Perhaps you were concerned about having some inherent RESPONSIBILITY to off the bad guys. No, I don't think you do. But I do think there will be some among the public who would insist that you do so. One way or another, I think you will wind up resisting those voices, and as such you will experience resentment among the mortal, Earthbound public. (BTW: Try to resist using the phrase 'puny humans' no matter how good it feels. You'll only make things worse.)
The problem for you, Habu, is not going to be in finding a balance of activities to occupy yourself. The problem is that neither you nor the planet is not designed to accommodate someone who flouts all the rules. Observe The Donald and you'll see what I mean.
Going to heaven means going to a place specifically designed for eternity. The people you encounter won't resent your special status because they enjoy that self-same status. And all the people who made this world such a miserable place (and would make eternity on Earth something of a torment) have been, as we also say in Sopranoland, relocated.
As far as having the hot babe and cool location, hey, I'm with you. I'm confident something can be arranged to accommodate Habu, Champion of the Handicapped Parker.
Well, given the complexity, not to mention that traffic looks to be moving inevitably toward one giant peloton I guess I'll just go the way of all others who have preceded me.
So that means I get the Harley and the Ferrari, go on the Alaskan cruise with the wife and back to Vietnam to see what it turned out like.
Then one winter go camping in the mountains of Montana wearing my Keens and multi-pocketed hiking shorts. Some sour mash and Maui and it's hello natural cryogenic preservation. At least til the Spring thaw at which time a large hungry griz will use me as a chew toy.
The nieces will at least have a story to tell about Uncle Habu and how he was eaten by a bear.
I reserve the right to chicken out and simply go to Arlington.
Odysseus, given the choice, set sail for Ithaca and wife, and death. The gods envy the humans.
I live near Ithaca and its loaded with hippies and commies. Thats not my idea of heaven.
So that means I get the Harley and the Ferrari, go on the Alaskan cruise with the wife and back to Vietnam to see what it turned out like
That's good..the wife has already nixed the toys anyway, and being a good husband I obey.
It's all because you've been away too long, Sean. The place has gone to seed while you were away. Get in there and clean the riff-raff out!
I hear that the Ithacans have created their own monetary system. Anyone know anything about it? Thats the Ithacans from Ithaca NY.