Re: Immortality decay (was Re: Stewart Brand's The Clock of the Long Now)

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Wed Jan 17 2001 - 01:17:33 MST

Adrian Tymes wrote:
> Question/problem: if physical immortality arrives, with attendant
> ability to cure gross defects like dementia and senility, but stagnates
> at that ability level for some length of time, would most people decay
> into conservative, nostalgic sheeple who use their collected wisdom and
> wealth to struggle to keep things the way they are, viewing young humans
> and robots (sentient or not) equally as slaves laboring to support them?

Whatever for? I can think of a lot better things to do than spend my
infinite lifespan ordering around lesser beings! What a drag that would
be. With infinite avenues of knowledge and an entire galaxy to explore
and more beyond that, exactly why would I bother with a drunken, jaded,
Roman emperor's view of the perfect life? I am sure that there would
be just as many who would be determined to liberate any such slaves as
those interesting in being slave holders.

> Answer/solution: it only takes one person committed to renewing their
> own physical and mental advancement, and to offering such advances to
> all of humanity, to keep the flame alive. It is easier if there are
> many, for individuals can be drowned out by the tides of the masses,
> though if this went to its logical extreme the individuals could take
> to hermitage, probably asteroid habitats given the tech level society
> would likely settle at in this case. This might result in raiding the
> aging society for its younger members, not yet calcified in their
> thinking, though one suspects that the long term revolution this would
> help forment would be ignored if the short term production of the
> extracted people was replaced by the extractor, say by more robots or by
> improvements to existing ones.

I think if we got to the point where an individual could actually choose
to become a hermit in an asteroid and pull it off that there would be so
very many possibilities in the society that any stagnation around such
dystopian dreams as the above is considerably unlikely. Too many beings
would simply have a lot better things to do.

- samantha

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