Is immortality a blessing or a curse?

FAQ - Do we want to live forever?


Is Eternal Life Possible?

Not so far, at least not for people, and if you look at "living forever" as a concept for a life without a final death.


Where does the desire for eternal life come from?

The question has moved mankind for ages. In the Greek legend of the gods, for example, Eos, the goddess of the dawn, the father of the gods Zeus asks for eternal life, but not for eternal youth for her lover, the mortal Tithonos. Her wish is granted and Tithonos ages incessantly, unable to die. In the Christian, Jewish and Muslim worldview, people hope for an afterlife in another paradisiacal world - where it is completely open where it should be and how it will work out.


What if we lived forever?

A question that raises an infinite number of questions, both biological, medical, but also ethical, moral and philosophical: What would we do in and with an infinite life? What consequences would it have for humanity if biological / medical reasons for death were eliminated? Is man even mentally created for eternity? What are the social consequences of the medical ability to prevent biological deterioration? Should everyone or should everyone live forever, and who would decide? What consequences would that have for the world of work - would the pension be abolished? How many people can the earth take? In any case, the marriage formula "Until death do you part" would probably have to be changed - into a "Yes, for life".


Are there living beings with eternal life?

Yes. The paramecium lives theoretically through cell division for billions of years, at least as long as there is water. The freshwater polyp Hydra doesn't age either. Also the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula Theoretically, there is no death in the Mediterranean - it transforms its aged cells into young cells. In practice, it can be eaten naturally and is also tied to the presence of water. From a human point of view, the sponge of the type also lives a little eternity Anoxycalyx Joubini from the Antarctic - a lifespan of 10,000 years has already been proven for it.


Eternal Life - Curse or Blessing?

So far, that's a purely hypothetical question. Philosophically speaking, one can see death as a meaningful limitation that enriches the life of the individual if one understands death as the engine that drives us. But what would be a curse, what would be the blessing of eternal life if biologically conditioned degradation processes were switched off? Certainly an infinite number of questions in view of an immortal and thus constantly growing humanity: Who would determine when the aging process is stopped? What would it cost, who could afford it, what kind of society would produce a possible financial "selection", what chain reactions would this produce for coexistence worldwide in matters of nutrition and water resources? And would the non-dying, quasi timeless people feel at home in the infinity of time? And would reproduction still make sense at all - or would timeless man be at the end of his development - if reproduction always meant development and this was restricted or stopped for reasons of space on the globe? Then the Eternal Man might even usher in the end of his species.


Do we want to live forever?

A question that, if answered "yes", is usually linked to the integrity of one's own body as a condition and to "paradisiacal" - whatever the individual may imagine - living conditions.


Why do we want to live forever?

There are many fears behind the desire to live forever: fear of death, fear of losing loved ones, fear of being influenced by nature, fear of non-existence. "The fear of death is the engine that drives us," say various philosophers.


When will we live forever?

There are various theories on this. Peter de Keizer, a young star among aging researchers, is working at the Erasmus von Rotterdam University in Rotterdam on deciphering cell decay and stopping the biological clock. In 2017, he had a rejuvenating effect with old laboratory mice - through the use of a special peptide, the mice grew thicker fur again and their kidney values ‚Äč‚Äčimproved. No one can yet say whether and when his research can be used to combat the aging process in humans. De Keizer's vision: "We may have a rejuvenating injection every five years from the age of 65 in the hospital." US inventor Raymond Kurzweil has quite specific ideas about when we no longer have to die: He claims that from 2045 the average life expectancy will increase by exactly one year per year. He states that this rapidly increasing life expectancy will start in 2029.


Who will live forever?

It depends on how you define the concept of "eternal life": in the literal sense, as an eternally living person, or as someone who lives on in the memories of many, or as an inhabitant of whatever form of the afterlife? "Only when nobody remembers you are you really dead," said Immanuel Kant. This is exactly what is reflected in Mexico, at the "Dia de los muertos" a colorful festival that lasts several days, during which parades and at home the so-called ofrendas "is remembered with food, candles and photos and the deceased are invited into the family's lap. These traditions go back to pre-Hispanic cultures, where the dead were considered part of society and death just another form of existence.

But the skepticism about possible immortality is probably as old as the desire for immortality itself. Examples can be found in abundance in painting, literature, cinema and science fiction. The best known are probably the vampires, "undead", who haunted literature since Bram Stoker's "Dracula", most recently in Stephanie Meyer's "Biss ..." series. All fabulous vampire figures are immortal as long as they get fresh blood, do not touch crucifixes or are exposed to sunlight. They live as undead, hated and feared, beings without shadow and reflection, an eternal but not a beautiful life. Apart from the horror effect of these figures, one thing in the vampire stories actually lives forever - the skepticism about an eternal life.