Dialog on Immortality

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture
Submitted by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Sat, 2018-12-15 18:26

Ari: Life is an absolute joy. It's truly great. I want to live forever.

Lea: I think almost everyone else wants that too.

Ari: Yeah, but I want it far more.

Lea: Good for you. But how can you get it?

Ari: That's the question.

Lea: What's the answer?

Ari: Science and hi-tech.

Lea: Well, eventually. No doubt about that. But what if current medical science and high technology isn't nearly good enough?

Ari: Then I have to help out myself, and see that they become so. Until then I have to temporize.

Lea: And how will you do that?

Ari: I haven't figured that out yet. But I will!

Lea: Better hurry up.

Ari: I am.

Lea: And what if medicine, science, and technology never does become good enough in our lifetime, as seems extremely likely?

Ari: Then I have to hunt down, and appeal to, the space aliens or demi-gods.

Lea: The what?!

Ari: You heard me.

Lea: Do you really think such creatures exist?

Ari: They might.

Lea: Do you have any evidence for them?

Ari: Not a bit.

Lea: Well, then...

Ari: But there's no reason to think that they can't exist. Or even that they don't. Indeed, considering the immense size of the known universe, its extreme age, and the evident fecundity and unremarkability of life on Earth, it seems that they must.

Lea: That's mere speculation.

Ari: Is it? I don't think so.

Lea: But what specifically will you do, now that you hypothesize that superior space aliens or fantastic demi-gods are really out there?

Ari: I'll attempt to impress them.

Lea: How so?

Ari: Various methods. But mostly I'll make them want to save me. I'll attempt to manifestly deserve saving.

Lea: But will the ultra-powerful aliens or gods even notice you? Will they specifically pick you out from amongst your 7.4 billion fellows?

Ari: I think they might.

Lea: How so?

Ari: No doubt they have their methods and powers. They're almost certainly radically superior to us in knowledge and ability.

Lea: And they'll spot your special worthiness and high superiority to the rest of mankind?

Ari: That's the plan. And they'll note my spiritual kinship to them.

Lea: Really?

Ari: Indeed. They'll see that my honesty, courage, integrity, spirit, and nobility pretty much exceeds all others. They'll realize that I deserve immortality. Then they'll grant me this.

Lea: You think that, do you?

Ari: I do.

Lea: Are you just mad?

Ari: Not that I'm aware of.

Lea: But you think that these utterly unverified space aliens or demi-gods will in some way be your personal saviors?

Ari: You make me sound religious.

Lea: Aren't you?

Ari: Not in the least.

Lea: But you expect these creatures to somehow rescue you from the Grim Reaper?

Ari: I think they might.

Lea: You amaze me.

Ari: Thank you.

Lea: I didn't mean it as a compliment.

Ari: I chose to take it that way anyway.

Lea: Let's get back to your alien and godly friends.

Ari: As you wish.

Lea: You think such limited creatures -- lacking omniscience and omnipotence -- will nevertheless have the ability to grant you immortality?

Ari: They should. I definitely think so. I imagine any space aliens or demi-gods out there must be amazingly advanced. They must almost all be incredibly far beyond us. They almost certainly have a stunning amount of knowledge and power. Also of moral goodness.

Lea: And they're beyond doubt immortal themselves?

Ari: Of course.

Lea: Then we must be like insects or worms to them!

Ari: In general, yes. But not entirely.

Lea: What do you mean?

Ari: I mean we humans are sentient. We have an IQ of 100 or so. Thus we have a certain absolute value as self-aware, conceptual, intellectual beings. We aren't absolute insects -- not even to the gods.

Lea: And yet, considering their fathomless superiority -- but current evident passivity and silence -- they seem like they aren't paying any attention to us, won't ever really notice us, and never will actually care about us.

Ari: That's mere speculation.

Lea: Is it? I don't think so.

Ari: Well, the situation as you describe it is a giant possibility, unfortunately.

Lea: But you're going to continue to try to impress them nevertheless -- even without knowledge that they exist, let alone are watching you?

Ari: Yes. What else can I do?

Lea: Well, in the face of all that uncertainty, and even strong likelihood against you, you could turn away from all of this, and then just go on with your normal, current lifestyle.

Ari: and give up all hope and trying?

Lea: Yep.

Ari: That's not gonna happen.

Lea: But why not just focus all your time and energy on the one life you know you do have?

Ari: I'm doing that. But that by itself isn't good enough.

Lea: So what's the approach here?

Ari: One obvious strategy is to work as hard and smart as I can. Enjoy life as much and well as I can, which is what you're suggesting.

Lea: What else?

Ari: Another technique is to continue to try to be as honest, brave, high-integrity, and powerfully virtuous as I humanly can be. Be as successful as possible. Be as great and happy as my abilities allow. And so on. Try to wow them in this fashion. I'm a bit like a devoted dog continually trying to curry favor with, and win affection and loyalty from, my human master.

Lea: However ornamentally and philosophically you phrase it, that principle strategy of yours seems almost exactly like what you would do, even if no superior beings existed.

Ari: Indeed. There's very little contradiction between the two.

Lea: Do you realistically think this approach to life will work?

Ari: Who knows? But I've got to try. I want to live as much as I can -- and with as much quality and quantity of life as I can generate.

Lea: And if all goes according to plan, the aliens and gods will see it, admire it, and reward you for it. They'll protect you from Doomsday.

Ari: Exactly.

Lea: They'll make you immortal and grant you an existence in something like paradise.

Ari: That's the idea. My belief is all based upon justice and morality. I just hope this strategy works! I don't know what else to try.

Lea: Me neither.

Ari: Think positive. It might work!

Lea: I don't share your confidence.

Ari: I actually have a lot of hope! It's definitely worth a shot. Seriously, we should all attempt to earn and deserve immortality. So that's what I'm gonna do!

Lea: Good luck with that.

Ari: Thanks. I think I'll need it!


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

There are tantalizing hints that life may exist even in other parts of the Solar System. I think that life is ubiquitous in the universe. And where there are microbes, there will eventually be more complex life forms, including those advanced well beyond current mankind. In only a century or two, humans will evidently mate with their computers and emerge as unrecognizable demi-gods themselves. Immortality will be the least of their powers.

True enough

Jules Troy's picture

i agree Bruno.  Unlike God though there is a small probability.  Positing that life on other planets in other solar systems and galaxies does not run counter to the natural laws of the universe whereas the big goblin in the sky does.

No evidence

Bruno's picture

There is no evidence of any form of life existing outside of planet Earth. Microbes I am not interested in.

Probability, which is not evidence, determined by some state funded PhD is probably just as valid as the Global Warming projections.

I think there might be

Jules Troy's picture

Given enough time yes.  Even an improbable event such as formation of life on other planets is possible. This will not only happen but will happen an infinite number of times.  Would an alien civilization visit us?  Probably not.  Do we want them to?  Erm..no.


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Bruno -- You think we humans are alone in the universe? There's no life anywhere outside of Earth, not even microbes?

Pascal's wager

Bruno's picture

Kyrel, this is nothing more than an atheist's version of a belief in God and the afterlife, and taking Pascal's wager. And I might say, a belief in God is more plausible than a belief in uber-advanced aliens. There is no indication at all of alien life. There's more proof of intelligent design than that.

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