Do You Really Want to Live Forever?


Agnes Chew, , has written an essay that examines literary and philosophical reasons why no one really wants to live forever. But, we must wonder if our scientists, creating artificial organs, nano-implants, and other high-tech life prolonging marvels, consider the negative consequences of  staying in the same body eternally. Of course, Bodhisattvas who strive to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient being understand that to achieve their goal they must continue to return to this physical exisence, over and over and over again.They experience a kind of serial immortality.

Read Agnes’ essay and let me know whether you’d really like to live forever.


9 Comments on “Do You Really Want to Live Forever?”

  1. Agnes’s essay is thought-provoking. I do agree with her on mortality. The knowledge that we don’t have forever to live challenges us to do our best, to take it all to the limit, because at the end of the day we are all going to told in stories. My addition: if we leave a worthy legacy behind, it’s likely our names will live on.

  2. That was a really interesting essay which posed intriguing and, at times, uncomfortable questions related to matters of literal life and death. I especially liked the focus on how life is valued when death is an inevitable function of our existence. For some, this leads to a sense of fatalism…why bother when we all just die in the end? For others, it can offer a sense of urgency to make the most of the time one has been given to love, play, work, create. And for still others, death is a taboo topic avoided at all costs making life a plodding journey of putting one foot in front of the other, ad infinitum. I do recognize these are much simplified takes and there are many nuances and variances on people’s attitudes.

    “In light of this, death, by contrast, serves to remind us of the humbling state of our mortality, and thus drives us to make better use of the limited, valuable time we have on this earth to make a lasting impact in the world through ways we – individually and collectively – are able and desire to. Rather than being seen as a limiting factor depriving us of opportunities, death can instead be perceived as a form of liberalisation from the fetters of that which are undesirable to us.”…Viewing death as the “liberalization from the fetters” is an appealing perspective that, perhaps, becomes more evident as one gets older (for some, not all). After decades of sickness, grief and loss one can find themselves anticipating a state of existence that (hopefully) finds none of these conditions present.

    I also liked the “The Makropulos Case” which shows the realistic outcomes of the immortal life…”perpetual boredom, indifference, and coldness.” Would life be reduced to watching reruns of the same sitcoms over and over again? It’s hard to know but these are fascinating philosophical themes.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful essay and for jolting my brain this morning, Skywalker.

  3. I agree with Agnes that a limited life can be fuller and more productive. Shows it’s important to use our individual talents and abilities to grow personally and to make the world a better place while we are alive.

    We live in a death-averse culture and at times encourage patients to give it “the good fight” against overwhelming odds instead of accepting dying as a natural and necessary and sometimes welcoming transition.

  4. Oddly, since I abandoned religion 10 years ago (hardly an instantaneous event, but I had an epiphany at that time), I have felt more content with life as it is, not less.

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