Would you take immortality if it was offered?


We’ve all read books and watched movies about the concept of living forever.  It’s a tantalizing idea for many, but don’t answer the question right away.  As there are many different versions of immortality within the lore, I’ll add a few details to help give you more basis for your decision.

1)  You would be frozen into whatever period of life you think you looked your best (your hair can still grow or be cut in the normal fashion).

2) Disease would not affect you and wounds of any sort would heal within minutes or hours (depending on severity).

3) The only way for you to die would be beheading.  Other methods such as drowning, fire, starvation, etc might be unpleasant but not deathly.  A strong enough bomb might still get you, if you’re close enough to it and your head is removed or obliterated.

4) You would not have any super powers.  No ability to mesmerize people into forgetting or doing what you wish.  If you wanted to be stronger or faster you’d have to hit the gym just like anyone else.  Because of your nifty ability to heal, though, you would build muscle faster than normal.

5) None of your family or friends would be given immortality, only you.  In fact, you’d have to hide your “gift” from the people you know and any future acquaintances.  Should anyone discover your longevity, they would be made to forget you ever existed by “the powers that be”.  There would be other immortals out there like you to hang out with, but it would still mean knowing people you care about would die while you kept on living.

6) There would be no special diet.  You can eat what you want and still enjoy it.  This isn’t the vampire version of immortality so no blood drinking.  Also, no aversions to sunlight.

7) You would be sterile and unable to have children ever again.  Can’t have a bunch of immortals running around and reproducing all the time.

8)This gift is permanent.  Once you get it, there is no turning back except through the method of death mentioned above.

9) For those with religious beliefs to consider, your soul is intact and you’re not automatically damned.  One thing to think about is that you’ll have many more years to have your actions judged than a normal human.

10) If you fall in love with a mortal, he/she won’t get to join you in immortality.  This isn’t a paranormal romance with happy endings.  They’ll age and die just like other humans.  If you’re lucky, you’ll find another immortal to love if the urge hits.  There aren’t many of them, though, so pickings will be slim. (Perhaps 1000 immortals  total throughout the entire world at any given time)

Knowing all of these factors, would you take the chance to live forever?  Watch civilizations rise and fall?  Do extreme sports with less fear of death? Drink without worrying about your liver?  Give up having kids or a normal family?

It’s a tough decision to make when you really think about it.  I’d love to hear what choice everyone would make and why.

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~ by Suzie on October 21, 2012.

23 Responses to “Would you take immortality if it was offered?”

  1. There is nothing that anyone could offer me that would make me want to outlive my children. Even if I were childless, I couldn’t imagine living forever. I won’t tell how old I am (let’s face it you don’t want to be lied to today) but I’m tired now. I couldn’t imagine knowing that it was endless.

  2. Number 5 would be the deal breaker for me. I have 3 kids and no mother should have to bear the grief of outliving her children.
    My protag is a demon living among humans, and she struggles with the knowledge that the human she loves has a lifespan of a spark compared to hers. It’s bittersweet to have relationships with people you’ll see age and die in a blink of an eye. I couldn’t do it.

    • Debra, I imagine the children factor makes a big difference for parents. As of yet, I don’t have any, but the idea of giving up on having children would be tough. Thanks for commenting.

  3. I get to be 32 again! For that reason alone, I’m in!

    I’d snatch eternal youth in a heartbeat. The world is so big, there are so many places to live. I could be a goatherd in Sardinia for 20 years, have a career on an oysterboat in Chesepeake bay, study medicine in Brussels. Australia and the antarctic, Europe, Africa…decades on every continent. I could be a teacher in Montreal, then become a doctor in the Seychelles, then spend another lifetime as an archeologist. I’d invest in real estate…imagine having been around 200 years ago and buying all that worthless swampland in downtown New York City…wait a few lifetimes and be rich as Croesus. I’d climb Everest, swim from San Francisco to Alcatraz because sharks don’t usually bite your head off, and I’d surf the biggest waves in Hawaii. I’d spend a lifetime in Ireland, in my thatched cottage, making cheese and tending my cow and my pig and my garden. I’d marry 1,000 times, all those wonderful men to love. Sterile, big deal. In some lifetimes, I’d adopt. Sometimes I’d have a passel of kids, sometimes one, sometimes none. Sure you outlive the people you love, but that happens anyway, there are no guarantees. And being alone and old and feeble is a risk we are all taking right now. Plus I could smoke and drink and eat bacon…all the transfat I want and no cholesterol or arterial plaque? Yes yes yes yes yes. I want immortality. Life is too short. There is so much to see, so much to do, so many places. We go for a week here, a week there if we are lucky, but it’s never enough. I’d love to live in Alaska. And Hawaii. And Shanghai. I want to live in Italy and in France. Japan and Saudi Arabia. Korea and Connecticut. I want to experience everything there is, not in mingy little dibs and dabs, but in big heaping lifetimes.

    And there might be more immortals? That’s even better. I could spend a few dozen decades seeking them out so we would not be lonely, we would have a ‘family’ that didn’t die while we lived.

    Immortality. Bring it on!

    • Now those are the bonuses of immortality. There definitely isn’t enough time to do everything we want in just one lifetime. A lot of places I’d love to see as well.

    • NyiNya covered it well for me. I do write immortals, sometimes in families, sometimes alone, so I’ve visited this question many times. I’m of the opinion there will always be something new, because no two people are alike and love is always worth the pain.

      The need to change identity precludes ‘lifelong love.’ The immortal always has to leave, not watch a loved one age and die. Every advance in medicine that lengthens human life would lengthen the time to be with those loves.

      Establishing a method of changing identity would be the first thing needed. That wouldn’t be a problem for long. ‘Information overload’ will reduce the difficulty in under a century. Even a search that ends in a dead end would be meaningless. Part of the file being misfiled or lost will be too common. Looking and feeling like I did thirty years ago, I’d love it.

      • Yep, Sharon, the changing identity thing would be the toughest, but not impossible. People do it even now.

        I love change, so that wouldn’t be an issue for me either. Already lived so many places and had to start over so many times that it barely effects me now. I’ve just learned not to get too attached. For some people, though, it would be a lot tougher. I suppose it depends on our backgrounds and personalities.

  4. I don’t think so. I do not handle change well, and while I might stay the same, the world would not. Does that great health extend to anxiety attacks and ulcers, lol?

    • No ulcers, Angela. In fact, all your health problems would be gone. Not sure about the anxiety attacks, though. All I can say is even if you were having trouble breathing it wouldn’t matter because you don’t need oxygen to live. A poor appetite wouldn’t matter either.

      The change part would be the more difficult one. Depends on if you think you can adapt or not. Immortality wouldn’t be for everyone.

  5. I suppose if you are a hypochondriac, or the type of person who imagines they have ailments and allergies, living longer, not to say forever, would not be pleasant. Just prolonging your pathetic life and misery. But if you are eager for new experiences, not full tilt boogie neurotic, how could anyone resist? I mean if you get really, really fed up, or if in 1,000 years Zombie Robots take over, you can always stick your head in front of a train and end it.

    Changing identity is not as problem. A friend used to work for an immigration attorney…they could (for a very steep price) provide perfect fake ids. People disappear all the time and leave behind valid identities that are unused. Birth certificiates, social security numbers. Given human greed, a touch of corruption, and the right palm greasing, this information can be harvested. You just need contacts and the know how to do the research.

    Ordinary people figure out how to do it all the time anyway. The only hard part would be leaving the ones you love, but let’s face it. In our short lives, we do that anyway. People die. People leave. And I imagine it would get easier after 200 years of goodbyes.

    Well, goodbye.

    NN

    • Zombie robots? Now that’s one I haven’t heard before. Someone should write that.

      As for getting a new identity, NyiNya, you are always a bountiful source of information. You know the most interesting people. At least you’d have all the right connections to start your immortal life.

  6. There are astrophysical implications to this. In a billion years or so the sun will start to swell, and the oceans will boil off. But you survive. Then the Earth’s surface turns to lava, but you survive. (And you are now past any practical opportunity for beheading.) Then the Earth is subsumed in the swollen sun, which then shrinks back into a white dwarf, where you bake for many, many billions of years. Then the sun burns out, and the universe gets colder and colder, for time without end. Sounds like several versions of hell rolled into one …

    • Or my second marriage.

    • I think I would behead myself before things got that bad…or hitch a ride with a passing alien ship (surely their presence would be around by then?). Anyway, Urs, you’ve got to have a sense of adventure. I know it’s lurking inside you somewhere 🙂

      • Sorry, but I’m a practical bear. Who wants to be floating in lava wishing they had a knife?

        • Lol, you wouldn’t be if you left the planet before the lava problem occurred. There are other planets out there that must be inhabitable.

          On the other hand, there is this part of me that can just picture an immortal laying on lava as they catch a tan. It’s giving me a good laugh. I began to think they’d be wearing a bikini and sun glasses, but guess that stuff wouldn’t be around anymore. Well, at least it would mean no tan lines.

          • I grew up with the space age. Very exciting. But we have been sending people into space for over 50 years, and the main thing we’ve learned is that people don’t do well when spending long periods in space. Their bodies are too dependent on gravity. If someone spent too long on the moon or Mars they couldn’t return to Earth, because they couldn’t re-adapt to the gravity. A baby born on the moon or Mars could never visit Earth. And then there is the radiation. We don’t know how to shield a spacecraft well enough to get people to Mars and back. Traveling to other planets sounds like a good idea, but I’ve come to doubt it will ever be practical …

          • Damnit, Urs. Can’t we leave logic out of this? You’re always raining on my speculative parade with your scientific facts and analysis. Where’s the fun in that? Anyway, an immortal wouldn’t have any of the issues you speak of and plenty of time to develop a space ship that could take them wherever they wanted to go long before earth meets its demise. Whatcha got now, huh?

          • Ursiline brings up a good point, but all an immortal has to do is keep a sharp head removing tool handy for when the planet starts to discombobulate. Are there any rules as to the exact method of head removal, because a little explosive device would work well plus it’s more, you know, festive.

          • Good point, NN. So long as the explosive has metal shrapnel in it like those friendly guys in the Middle East like to use, or it blows up some other metal nearby that flies through the neck, then the immortal can die. Otherwise, it’s just going to be painful and annoying if even a sliver of neck is left in place because that can heal. I’d say to keep a guillotine handy as you could rig up a rope and pull it yourself. No need to call in for help or anything. The guy who invented that knew what he was doing. At least, until it was used on him.

          • Does being immortal come with the skills to build a spaceship?

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