Death What are you afraid of?: Death
By Antigones short hairs on Wednesday, June 10, 1998 - 01:34 pm:
    ...the mother of all fears, even fear of mothers. My grandmother died a couple of weeks ago, bringing me face to face with The End. I don't want to die. I don't want my consciousness to end.

    Funny. This fear grips me most before I go to sleep, when I temporarily end my consciousness every day.

    I'm agnostic, so I can't take god as comfort. I can't take any comfort in the unknown.

    But, I'm starting to find direction from this fear. I want to study molecular computation (DNA based) which may one day lead to cell repairing molecular machines. It's something I can be proud to fail at, for I know the final breakthrough will probably not come in my lifetime. But, maybe I can make a difference.

    That helps dull the fear.

By Chordata on Wednesday, June 10, 1998 - 06:12 pm:
    The worst torture I could conjure would be to live forever. If you have grandmother who just died, you are probably quite young. We are not supposed to crave death at this stage; if we do, we are labeled as unhealthy.

    There's nothing wrong with fighting your mortality. But know that someday you will be very tired and very satisfied with your life's accomplishments. You won't be afraid, and you won't struggle. And like your grandmother, you will find a happy rest. My condolences.

By Me myself and eye on Wednesday, June 10, 1998 - 07:56 pm:
    Hmmm....I'm not afraid of death at all. I welcome it in fact....but in due time. Wouldn't want to go too early but it wouldn't bother me either way....just the chance to put it all behind me and rest for a change.

    Don't fight it, cuz you're gonna lose in the end.

By Somewhat optimistic and soon-to-be-lynched Venatrix Mirjen on Thursday, June 11, 1998 - 12:15 am:
    Living forever might be 'torture', if it is in the physical sense. Then again, does a person really die if they are remembered? I had a Latin professor once who would talk about Catullus and Pliny as if they were still around - to her they were. Making the most of life tends to lead one to stop fearing death. It has to happen; make your life count - especially for yourself. Chordata's right, you someday will be satisfied - hopefully - with your accomplishments. That is the goal of someone fearing death. Making sure you've done something that keeps You alive in others minds, something that was You - and you can't dislike the real You which stays behind.

By Antigone on Friday, June 12, 1998 - 05:08 pm:
    You all have valid points, but I still can't accept them.

    I used to not be afraid of death. Bad hearts run in my family, and two of my uncles are in line for transplants at ~50yrs old. I've had time to get used to it. But, in the last few years while getting my MS in CS I've learned alot about the potential of molecular computing. That small amount of knowledge has made a crack in my former serenity concerning death.

    I know this sounds kooky now, bit it probably won't be in 100-200 years.

    Having this expectation of (belief in, really) future technology makes me regret the year of my birth a bit. 50 years ago, this was more fiction than fact: a complete pipe dream. 50 years from now, it will be more fact than fiction. Now, we are on the very edge. Children born now have a decent chance of being the first generation of near immortal human beings, especially with stop gap technologies like genetic therapy and clone organ harvesting. We alive now will most likely miss out. That's what frustrates me.

    The near future holds a dramitic explosion in options for human existance. We living now will probably not get to experience those options. However, we can ensure that our ancestors get there without destroying themselves. That's what gives my life meaning. That's why, while I still fear death, I can accept it if it means I can have a chance to play a part in this pivitol time in history.

    Whoa. Heavy...

By Chordata on Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 12:12 am:
    Living forever? Christ, can you imagine it? People who could afford the technology would basically wipe out the rest of the population. Mass overpopulation would lead to plague, starvation and death. And the rich who can afford it would live on and on and on, and basically annhilate the rest.

    Sounds like a nightmare to me, not a dream.

By The Venatrix Mirjen on Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 12:49 am:
    And me just watching Soylent Green today...
    think of the crowd scenes with people with infinite life.
    Zero population growth, anyone?

By Dave on Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 06:23 am:
    If everyone just had ONE kid. Just 1. 1 kid. 1, that's all.

    Know what I mean?

By Pete on Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 04:06 pm:
    I'm doing my part Dave...I'm not having any.

    Anybody want my share?

By The Venatrix Mirjen on Saturday, June 13, 1998 - 09:39 pm:
    More people like Pete (and I, incidentially) would be good, now, to compensate for those religions which like having lots.

By Pete on Sunday, June 14, 1998 - 10:45 pm:
    Mormons, right? You're talking about them Mormons? (They do have nice bikes though....)

By Antigone on Tuesday, June 16, 1998 - 04:18 pm:
    Chordata, why would this necessarily be the case? What if there was a self replicating, airborne "immortality virus"? This would be a completely egalitarian technology. Why put such a dark spin to it? Of course, the possibility always exists for abuse of any technology, and each new technology produces new evil and new good.

    And, as far as a population crisis, would people who live forever have as much desire to have children? Would they have them as often? Think about it. Having children is linked intimately with death: the life-death cycle. Part of the desire to have children comes from the desire to perpetuate yourself beyond death. Also, children can take care of you in your old age. What if there was no old age as we know it now?

    /BS metaphor mode ON
    It's as if new technology is like a slalom ride. As our technology turns inward, improving the slalom car, we're making the car go faster and faster. The car is our mind, our ability to think up new stuff. Biotech is allowing us to improve the car, engineer the mind. There are dangers in this. Highly self referential systems (the mind creates the science which improves the mind) can be very unstable. Then again, it's just a more direct, accelerated version of what humans have been doing since we looked at our hands and _realized_ that they were a part of us.
    /BS metaphor mode OFF

By -oDDBALL oDD- on Tuesday, July 7, 1998 - 11:10 pm:
    300 years is not enough. Life is too short.
    I am 38. HALFTIME (if I'm lucky)!

Antigone on Tuesday, June 1, 1999 - 11:58 pm:

    Well, I guess this thread died... :-)

By MoonUnit on Wednesday, June 2, 1999 - 03:14 am:

    Would you want to live forever? Watch your family and friends pass away if they could not afford to live on?? I dont think I would. I don't want to die right now, I have my life ahead of me and I wanna live it... but I'm not afraid of dying... and after a hard day of work a big rest seems like a great idea ;P

By Antigone on Thursday, June 3, 1999 - 01:01 am:

    Your question assumes that if I had the means to extend my life and my family and friends did not I would let them die. I feel vaguely insulted... Why couch a desire for immortality only in terms of selfishness? Aren't there other facets to the issue?

    And, yes, a rest would be good after a life of work. I'd just like to wake up afterwards...

By Camus on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 - 01:01 am:

    With the miraculous invention of your "immortality virus", you would only extend your existence for a time. The sun will eventually become a red star and destroy the earth. If you believe that we could possibly move on to colonize the universe, eventually the initial big bang explosion casting the universe outward will reverse, spiraling back into a space smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. I think this event would effectively eliminate your consciousness, so sorry if this errodes the eternal for you, but I really haven't- I can only hope that you still check the postings here, look to what can't be explained if you desire a peaceful comprehension of your existence, think about your dna and the design of things, look to the source and the author.

By Antigone on Tuesday, March 4, 2003 - 11:07 am:

    Not necessarily. Check out Frank J. Tipler's "The Physics of Immortality" for some interesting eschatological musings about manipulating the shape of the deflating universe to produce an infinitely long subjective experience.

    " sorry if this errodes the eternal for you..."

    Damn, you're kinda smug, ain't ye?

    "Erode" only has one R, by the way.

    Try again!

By Slim_shadette on Sunday, August 10, 2003 - 12:35 am:

    So, Antigone, do you believe what Tipler says about everyone coming back to life at the end of the world?

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