25Oct13 Meeting of Academic Conversations

Today we talked about the logistics of immortality and if it is really something we would want to achieve. First we watched the TedEd talk:

TedEd immortality

http://ed.ted.com/lessons/if-superpowers-were-real-immortality-joy-lin

and discussed the pros and cons of immortality:

 

cons:

time speeds up as get older

outlive people you care about

if everyone immortal how would everyone fit on planet and would there be enough resources

loose memory

much heartbreak, many romantic relationships

everyone would evolve differently, hard to find mate if look different

still get sick and body parts could fall off, suffer forever from disease

what if trapped somewhere forever

 

pros

infinite knowledge

chance for enlightenment

could help people; cure diseases, science knowledge, philosophy, spirituality and psych knowledge

if everyone immortal, no pain of losing loved ones

achieve ultimate happiness

could travel everywhere in world

enough time to do anything you wanted

possibility to achieve world peace

 

Most of us said we would like some form of immortality or longevity with exceptions: indestructibility, no aging, sickness or loss of body parts, cannot suffer pain indefinitely, option of having memory wipe every hundred years, and having a few select people you would want to be immortal with. Many wanted the option to die when they were tired of living.by taking a death pill or some painless method.

The idea of immortality brought up more questions than answers:

  • Would life loose it’s preciousness if no chance of ending?

  • Would we be motivated to do things with no imminent death deadline?

  • Would we be motivated to do good without promise of heaven, good rebirth or threat of hell and lower rebirths?

  • Would doing good because it feels good be enough motivation or would we get bored and try evil acts as a source of some new entertainment?

  • Would we be desensitized by life?

  • Would we really improve ourselves and society, or would we mess more things up?

  • Would we have more attachment to money and material possessions if we had more time to acquire things?

  • Would relationships lose meaning if no threat of death?

  • Would life still be precious if we condoned suicide when we got tired of living? Would suicide hurt those left behind any less if it was something society agreed upon? Would everyone ever agree at same time it was ok to say goodbye to someone we cared about just because they were tired of living?

  • Would our laws change around protecting life (would there be self defense if couldn’t be killed)?

  • Would we be more prone to dangerous occupations?

  • Would sayings like carpe diem and yolo, lose all meaning?

  • What about concept of immortal soul or consciousness that gets reborn? Is that form of immortality? What is the self? If keep losing body parts and regenerate, lose memory or keep learning new things or soul goes to heaven or consciousness is reborn is that still us?

We also discussed some relevant examples concerned with longevity or immortality: Dante’s inferno, Dr. Who spinoff, Groundhog Day, Dorian Grey, themes in Minecraft, Dr. Manhattan. We also examined this page:

10 most famous immortals

http://www.livescience.com/11332-top-10-immortals.html

art institute chicago Dorian gray picture

http://meandmarisa.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/the-picture-of-dorian-gray-ivan-albright.jpg

All in all it was a really great, thought provoking discussion that could have continued much longer than our 2 hours. No one changed their mind about their stance on immortality from the beginning of class, but we all agreed it is a very complicated concept and we’d think twice before drinking from the holy grail.

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