Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Immortals Among Us

What would our society be like if one out of a hundred babies born were immortals? This would change every one's perspective on death. The 99 would either live their life wishing they had been immortal, wondering what they would have done in their life if they were immortal, or they would be glad they get to die and not have to endure this life for longer than 80 years.

If you were immortal you would see all kinds of evolution. Languages would change like the difference between Old English and American English. You might even see your own language die out and see how it evolved into completely different languages. You would experience adjectives evolve from nifty to groovy to hip to cool to sweet.

Technology would change. You would see how technology changes the way people behave, their work ethic, their addictions to information, their strong desire to work hard so they can quit working. It might be disheartening to see the increasing need for entertainment. Then again, you would probably evolve to. You'd wonder how you ever got in touch with people before phones or how you could stand washing your clothes with a washing board.

Your experience would be incredibly valuable even though your skills would surely out date themselves. The only way your experience would be valuable would be for aspects of life that don't evolve through time or perhaps when you could recall back when things worked better. If you allowed yourself to have romantic relationships you would be a great mentor for a youth who wanted to get married. You would probably have much experience in resolving conflict and would understand how different people work.

You would also see the way things change for the worse or for the better. You'd be able to tell us mortals whether morals have gotten better or worse. You might see that when one evil goes away another takes it's place and that moral standards just cycle over time.

All this wisdom would come at a great personal cost. Family would die. You might track your descendants down generation after generation, but your emotional attachments would ever decrease. You might get tired of life to the point of suicide. Although you may learn to accept that you only have 80 years with each person you meet and choose to live a good life anyway.

It's hard to say exactly what it would be like. It could be great or it could be horrible.

Note: This idea of having a few immortals among us was stolen from Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver traveled to a country where a few of the people were immortal. They grew depressed, bitter, and envious with old age. Their bodies decayed and they were shunned by the people around them. They made it so absolutely nobody had a fear of death. I like my idea of immortality better, but it may not be entirely realistic.

1 comment:

  1. Gulliver's travels is one of the best social commentaries every in print.