Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Mors Janua Vitae

There was a time- round about four years ago- when I got quite excited by the idea of immortality. It was the millennium buzz I guess. I remember scientists talking about this shiny chrome future we were going to create. And one of things that grabbed me most was the project they had for turning off the ageing genes.

Then the Millennium happened and the mood changed and what we got instead of the shiny chrome future was a new Middle Ages complete with a new Crusades. No-one remembers the Millennium buzz. It's been blotted out by the images and emotions of 9/11.

The years 1999-2000 were a time of feverish hope. Seems kinda pathetic now.

But to get back to immortality. OK, so we can keep the body alive indefinitely, but what about the mind? Most human beings start seizing up mentally as soon as they enter adulthood. They stop wanting to hear new music, read new books, entertain new ideas. Imagine a future in which every body was eternally nineteen, but every mind eternally ninety (or older). A world full of nice-looking, cranky, uncreative old farts. Kids hooked on nostalgia. Kids lamenting the good old days. And (because we'd have to call a halt on reproduction to ease the pressure on space) no new blood.

Same old, same old, same old.....

Everything would grind to a halt. There'd be no social mobility. People would attain positions of power and influence and never let go. Tony Blair would be prime minister forever.

Suddenly death seems like a thoroughly good idea.

We'd have to bring it back. Or at least introduce an equivalent. OK, you keep your old body, but every so often you undergo a mind-wipe to clear out all the old garbage. And after the wind-wipe an input of new data. You go into the booth as one person and you come out as another- same old hardware, entirely new software.

Hmmm. And what exactly has been achieved?

Well, the undertakers have been put out of business.

And the makers of floral tributes.

Ach, but there must be some way of escaping the human condition...
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