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Thinking About Immortality
on September 3, 2012
I thought David Ewing Duncan was a delightful real about a subject that's been around for a long, long time: longevity and immortality.
*Not very many people want to live forever. A significant number want to live to be 150 (or 164), a lot more want to live to be 120, the current maximum lifespan of a human being. However, most, 60% want to live the current lifespan of 80 years. He didn't mention the fact that most people throughout history died by their thirtieth birthday.
*Bioscience and technology are beginning to make discoveries which may make living far past the 120 cutoff limit possible. People have began to utilize one form of life extension, cryonics, which may or may not work.
*Mr Duncan a list of positives and negatives about living past the 120 cutoff. Most people would not live to be an extremely old age if it meant a dreary existence of physical and mental infirmary. These people also don't want to a burden on their families and society for an indefinite period of time.
*I believe he thinks that prolonged longevity is probably inevitable for a certain portion of the population. He doesn't really deal with the issue of whether or not a 200 hundred year old person is fully human. I don't think that's much of an issue. I know of an individual who lived to be 109 years old and those who knew her thought she was just as human as any of them were. Even though she outlived her classmates by almost a third of a century.
I think one problem I had is that it assumes that extreme longevity is the goal for most people when it may be to extend out your usefulness by an indefinite amount. The government would have a stake in the good wellbeing of its older members. A ninety year old may want to go on being a productive citizen and be in good health. Certain kinds of jobs aren't technologically dependent such as cooks, waiters, barbers, beauticians. If a 110 year old cook who could pass for forty would have a nearly limited range of skills in the kitchen. Finally a 120 year old may not be thinking of living to be 164 but as an unintended consequence, that person may do just that. Also if someone is in their late fifties now and begins to take advantage of life-extention technologies, it would be 2070s before he or she reached the magic 124th birthday. By that time society would have had time to adjust to the fact that some people will live centuries not years.