The Curse of Immortality
None of us want to die. What would it be like to live forever?
None of us want to die. We want to live to a ripe old age, surrounded by the people we love, and be able to travel the world at our leisure. Yet, no matter how hard we try, the terrifying truth will hit us one day. The truth that our time is up.
A hundred years on Earth is a painfully short time to live. We will miss out on so many wonders in an age that is changing faster than ever before. The Renaissance, The Industrial Revolution and the Space Age- that is just the beginning, the start of the most spectacular chapter in the history of mankind.
In the next century, our technology will have advanced so far that a single robot with the ability to do all our jobs better than us will become possible. Some more optimistic estimates even predict that it will be achieved by 2050. Regardless, the time will come when we can have casual conversation with a robot- and that’s not all.
There’s a reason that the era we live in is called the Space Age. It took 200,000 years for us build the first aircraft, but just 66 more years to reach the Moon. What would happen a century after that? We might have started our first few missions to colonize other planets by then.
The stream of scientific advancements keep on coming. Designer babies, sci-fi laser weapons and vaccines for currently incurable diseases are steps away. Wouldn’t it be great to witness all of it, and escape the inevitability of death?
Suppose you are given a choice to embrace eternal youth, not having to worry about your body rotting away in the passage of time. By taking that choice, you live on through centuries and milennia, unaffected by old age and disease. To make things more straightforward, suppose that your financial issues are also wiped away. Why not embrace immortality?
What Would it Be Like to Live Forever?
The first few years are filled with enjoyment as you are finally free to explore the world. The constraints of life magically fall away, and health is no longer an issue. There might even be a smugness within you, with the knowledge that you alone will get to witness the greatest event in the history of mankind unfold. No one else would be able to witness such a thing in its entirety.
At first, you might get to try out exotic food, visit island getaways and have your fair share of sexual pleasure. Suppose that with eternal life also comes eternal youth, and you visit world heritage sites, national parks, bars, cafés and museums without feeling worn out in the least. It seems like the ideal life one can have.
A life of travelling is great, but there is only so much for you to see. It might take decades, but the day will come when you have visited every country, and experienced every unique sensation you can dream of. Travelling becomes bland and dull. You might decide to settle down, in a quiet but lovely neighbourhood.
The years fly by. Dreams for a peaceful life are dashed as friends and family pass away one by one. Nothing beats the horror of the day when your last, best friend leaves you. Their sons and daughters will do the same, as will their grand and great-grandchildren. You sit by their side, mourning at such losses but powerless to intervene.
The Horrors of Eternal Life
One day, the truth will become apparent- that of outliving every single person you will ever know. Relationships which used to be meaningful will no longer provide any satisfaction. The reason why things like our first kiss, or the day someone first confessed to us are so memorable is because they are unique, special events.
There will none of the innocent bliss when you have a date with your 10th partner. You might long for the joy you once felt on such an occasion, but it eludes you. No amount of hugs and kisses will make up for the hollow emptiness inside your heart. Unable to find any satisfaction, you break up- expecting it to be terrible and traumatic. It turns out to be just mildly tender.
Having lived all these years, you are also far wiser than the average man. Walking down the street, you see not just the fancy LED signboards and flashing billboards, but also the beggars sitting in dark, dirty alleyways. They are ignored by the rest of the crowd, just as you did a lifetime ago. Their grim faces and tattered clothing show just how bad poverty is.
With this wisdom bestowed by immortality, you begin to see the darker side of society. Looking left and right, you pierce the masks that people wear. What’s behind most of them is shocking: greed and arrogance, worry and despair. You try to fix this, lending aid to people you see on the street. They are thankful, but nothing seems to improve.
Nevertheless, you push on, determined to save humanity. You try to spark inspiration into others for them to join your cause in ending racism, poverty and hate. Imagine your anguish when these noble plans fail one by one. Sympathetic people are too few and far between. It is not the nature of us humans to be wicked, but the harshness of society forces us to put ourselves first.
Just when things couldn’t seem to get any worse, they do. People don’t like others just because of their skill, well intentions or dreams. Despite your contributions, you will be regarded not as someone worthy of respect, but as a freak. Your values and thoughts no longer fit in this futuristic world and society shuns you for it. This immortality becomes an object of envy, jealousy and hate. The public think of you as a monster.
As the centuries pass, the promises in scientific advancements come true. Again, they lose their wonder. Designer babies lead to massive controversies as these genetically enhanced individuals rapidly outpace normal humans. Those that are even slightly disabled are discarded, causing public outcries for such an act.
The uber powerful laser weapons aren’t use to stop crime or destroy threats to the planet. Instead, they are used as showcases of military might. The country that controls them controls the world.
Immunity vaccines come as the last straw. Instead of a carefree society finally free of diseases, these vaccines are monopolized by health companies. They grow in size, fueled by the profits from such a cure- and charge outrageous prices for a single dose. The poor continue to die, suffering in their deathbeds.
No matter how strong your will, eventually the horrors of immortality will become too much. Struck down again and again by maddening tragedies, you stand back up a little weaker each time. Your physical body might be able to withstand the onslaught of time, but your mind isn’t built for such a thing. One day, it will shatter, broken from the countless instances of sorrow dragging across milennia.
A long and fruitful life, along with many happy memories is a blessing by itself. The intense vividness of emotions that come with it are a result of the awareness that our time here on Earth is limited. Each sensation is unique and we are eager to savour every moment of it because even one that is bittersweet is vastly preferrable to the sorrow of life without end.