This question occurred to me as the result of another discussion. If humans could live forever, how would that affect the ways we live our lives? What would a human life be like without the thought of death looming in the near distance? Would we be less or more productive, less or more creative? Wallace Stevens memorably said that death is the mother of beauty. What would life be like without death?
Thanks for all the thoughtful replies!
If humans could live forever, there would no longer be any any new life created. We wouldn't have children, because if we did there would no longer be any place for them.
I personally think that life should stay short so that we are motivated to accomplish all that we want as soon as possible because there isn't an eternity for us to do them in. Also, after a while life would get start to get monotonous, sort of like watching an old movie a million times over.
One of the key and elemental questions of human existence is what is the meaning of life? Another is what happens when we die? Imagine the effects on human philosophy and religious thought if the afterlife is no longer even possible? If we become simply one of many, many billions, do our lives lose meaning? This ignores all the practical aspects of food, water and energy to support that many people. If our lives are infinite, our resources certainly are not.
I'm afraid I would be less motivated, knowing that there will always be time to complete the tasks or goals at hand. We would certainly need an expanding planet as well, a place that would hold the centillions of immortals that would inhabit it.
Well, it would certainly motivate us to come with a solution to the problem of overcrowding, because things would begin to get a little tight here on Earth pretty quickly. In all seriousness, all of us, I think, would like more time, but I agree with the others on this thread that ultimately it is death that gives our life focus. If I had a choice between immortality and being able to go back and live my life again (knowing, as the cliche goes, what I know now) I'd much prefer the latter option. Immortality would give us more time, but it would also remove the urgency that drives so much of human endeavor.
On the other hand, we might be more motivated because we'd actually have the time to fulfill our ambitions. For example, I would like to learn more languages than I currently know. I'm working hard on my Japanese, which I speak decently but can't read well. I'm not going to start trying to learn some other language, much as I would like to, because I don't think I'd have time. In the same way, there are a number of other things I'd like to do, such as learning to make furniture. I won't do this at the moment because I don't have the time. If I had more time, I'd be more likely to try more things.
I agree with Wallace Stevens' point. Immorality would not be a blessing but a curse in our world. Moreover, immorality would probably breed laziness and procrastination. The idea of "I have time," would be compounded infinitely. The urgency to do something because time is passing away would no long be there. Also the idea of making the most of every opportunity would also be lost. In light of this, a little more time would probably be welcome, but immortality is something entirely different.
If humans could live forever it would be a disaster! Personally, I think that our mortality is one of the key aspects that drives us to be productive and to make a difference in our world. If we didn't have to make a mark before dying, then there would be no impetus or felt need to impose ourselves upon the world.
When we say human, it denotes our body and its actions and reactions. If human body lives for ever, so will be to other bodies constituted of five elements. Now it is 700 billion of man and other are though reckoned, not of much importance we think. Where will all this live and on what? Secondly, what would be to all theories that we have? Thirdly, there won't be any moral, justice, work culture. Man is by nature idle, greedy, avarice. So if there won't be death of human and other bodies then there would be great flood shortly because of global warming, melting Antarctica.
if humans could live forever then there would have no justice...because the concept of the day of judgement would have disappeared..