Chasing Immortality

Immortality 1Immortality seems to be staring the human race in the face. If one was to believe the ‘futurist’ (never knew what this meant till recently) Mr. Ray Kurzweil, mankind will find a permanent solution to the scourge of dying and that too, not in too distant a future. Mr. Kurzweil believes that by 2029, that is in just 20 more years, man will conquer the final frontier in medicine and will be able to continue to live forever.

Ray Kurzweil has been a thinker, author and entrepreneur.  He has done pioneering work in developing optical character reading technology as well as developed a text to speech synthesizer way back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Of late he has been researching and writing on Artificial Intelligence and how life as we know it is on the verge of extinction, thanks to what Kurzweil calls ‘The Law of Accelerating Returns’. Kurzweil believes that we are on the verge of a technology explosion, which will grow human knowledge exponentially by a billion times in the next 25 years or so.  

Armed with this kind of knowledge and technology, mankind will be able to reverse aging, turn the clock back permanently and maybe bring the dead back to life using their DNA. In fact Kurzweil is on record stating that one of his goals is to ‘resurrect’ (or shall we say reboot) his late father using some of his DNA. All this it seems will be made possible by rejuvenating body organs using the ‘nanobots’, very small nano sized robots , which will be able to identify  and destroy disease causing micro organisms, tumour cells and aging cells, thereby curing and restoring humans to good health.

While, this may seem completely futuristic and the figment of somebody’s very fertile imagination, the truth is that many scientists today believe that the day is not very far, when nano particles will be in use in medicine, destroying tumours, opening blood vessels, rebuilding necrotic tissue and healing horrendous injuries. This leads us to the inevitable question- Is the ultimate goal of all the advances in medicine ‘immortality’ or is it to prolong and enhance the quality of life to a reasonable degree?

At a more philosophical level we must ask ourselves, whether man should even endeavour to live forever. In our quest for a longer and healthier life are we really going overboard by chasing immortality? Resurrecting the dead? Does any of this make sense? And where does God fit in this scheme of things? Are we aiming to be Him?

These are questions that need to be pondered by people with intellect much higher than mine. All that I can say that while man mulls over the possibility of attaining immortality in the next few decades, he must be very very careful. Disturbing the inherent equilibrium of the cycle of life and death is fraught with unknown risks and dangers. Playing God is very dicey (apologies to a certain Mr. Albert Einstein) and honestly life would hardly be as much fun if we knew it would never end.

Pic courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncan

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2 thoughts on “Chasing Immortality

  1. Dear Anas,
    I agree to some extent with your concern of life forever and human being trying to step in as GOD.
    If such act happens than only death due to illness will be stopped or reduced, which infact is not only painfully for the person who is suffering but also painfully to some of his/her immediate family members. I have always dreamed that there should not be any sudden death due to disease as many are not prepared in life to loose their near & dear ones.

    There will less stress & worries in this world, as one will not be bothered much about the health, knowing it could be taken care.

    To some extent there might be inherent un-equilibrium but this things can be compensated by increasing natural clamities, over that man-kind is in habbit of indulging in wrong activities so more stick laws could be passed. Different kinds of accidents are happening to balance the birth & the death ratio.

    It is well said by someone that if you have only fun and no pain than you can not enjoy the fun. But my friends, leaving the health pain there are lot of other pains in life to realise the importance of FUN in LIFE.

    In fact there will be more fun in life as one is not bothered to settle at earlier stage of his life to plan his family life, as he knows there is enough life to plan for family, even at the age of 60’s.

  2. Dear Anas ,

    Immortality is subjective and can be evaluated on the rational of the whole facet of human existence and life on earth !

    I would certainly want immortality for my parents and my kids …I completely detach myself from being immortal , but for my loved one , I would like them to live long and happy !

    In all the hustle and bustle of life , we hardly get anytime for anyone. We do need extra and additional time to relish , travel and see the world. Any which ways , we get just one life and would be no fun if we do not see and try out everything around us !

    I have a suggestion to offer . Instead of our flash and blood offering , what if the scientific community work out a more pragmatic solution of Matrix like existence( where you are a being made up of past information and have fluid existence rather than flesh and blood ) . Our fear of immortality stems from the fact that as primates , we were always bothered about territory , food and scarce natural resources. We fear consumption , or shortfall in the consumables , more than anything else. Genesis of all the wars in human history would indicate that we fought for water , food etc etc .

    If we move away consumption from our existence, then I am sure we would not mind sharing space with all and sundry . That is where most of the pundits would take a retreat and withdraw all the saintly comments about Human existence. Our loved ones can stay with us till the eternity and see, touch and feel everything that we want them to !

    At every corner in life there is a thrill and adventure to share . The thrill can be as simple as driving down to the office in a mad rush, and watching other perform circus tricks that you would want your entire family to witness – to a more serene and a calm lake tucked away in wilderness !

    I would vote for immortality and wish it can happen a decade before it is predicted !

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