The Morality of Immortality
It would be an extreme understatement to say that humans have always yearned for the fountain of youth, or eternal life.
The fact is, no human on Earth has ever escaped death. Not a single one out of the billions whom have roamed the green lands and blue waters of this planet has been able to live for more than several decades. The oldest person ever was Jeanne Calment, who lived an astounding 122 years and 164 days.
Despite the fact that the oldest of our species thus far has only reached just beyond a century in age, there is evidence to suggest that this might change in the near future, so that Jeanne Calmet shall be remembered as the first human to reach 122 years and 164 days of age, instead of the only one.
With what Futurist Ray Kurzweil calls “The Law of Accelerating Returns” (LAR) technology is now progressing at an exponential pace. Not only is technology getting faster, but the rate at which technology is getting faster is getting fast. Ray is the head of engineering at Google. 3D printing, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence; these are all technologies that are seeing serious growth but didn’t even exist 100 years ago, and 100 years is practically nothing on our cosmological time scale.
The fountain of youth is not one of these technologies. However, Biotechnology has the potential to enable humans to transcend their own biology. Some may gripe at this notion. Those who do mirror those in generations past who were unable to see the potential in humanity, an unlimited potential.
Once the potential for immortality occurs, or even simple life extension, there are sure tone those who find it “inhuman” or “unnatural” and will argue against it. However, their arguments collapse under the premise that ‘what is good is what we’re used to’ instead of ‘what is good is good for my life’.
As Ayn Rand wrote in her famous essay, The Objectivist Ethics:
“Metaphysically, life is the only phenomena that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. Epistemologically, the concept of “value” is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of “life”. To speak of “value” as apart from “life” is a contradiction in terms. “It is only the concept of ‘Life’ that makes the concept of ‘Value’ possible.””
Those who argue that immortality is bad because it is unnatural hold something other than ‘Life’ as their standard of value, and in this case, their standard of value can only be Death, regardless of what they say, it is axiomatically Death, as they are arguing for Death.
There will be many debates that come once the masses realize that life extension is a real phenomena. Right now most people believe that they’ll live to one hundred at most, but that’s because life expectancy predictions are made based off a linear concept of the future, not an exponential one.
Once life-extension is enabled humans will finally be able to explore the entire universe, so long as 3D printing and Superintellligence enable it. Don’t worry, you’ll have an infinite amount of Virtual Realities to check out as you travel to distant galaxies. Am I bluffing? Only space-time will tell.