Since the beginning of time, the life of human beings has been limited here on earth. According to the Biblical and Quran accounts of creation, man failed God and thus the punishment was mortality. Thereafter, human beings have been trying all they can to receive salvation and doing good deeds on earth in the hope of consequently achieving immortality at the end of time. On the other hand, scientists too have been trying to research on the possibilities of achieving immortality and with the advancement of technology there is a glimmer of hope. Currently, the scientists have been able to develop measures to extend one’s life. However, is it appropriate for human beings to seek and achieve immortality with all these researches and technologies at our disposal.
Allison Arieff wrote an article in The New York Times titled “Life is Short. That’s the Point” where she discusses the futility of trying to achieve immortality. She likens the human life to technology that is designed to die after a useful lifespan (Arieff, para. 1). Many technology companies, technologists, and venture capitalists have jumped into the race to achieving immortality and life extension. The author cites Barbara Ehrenreich who wrote a book that implies that life is just but a phase of an eternal personal nonexistence (Arieff, para. 7). According to Ehrenreich, life is just but a blip in the never-ending continuum of the universe. Arieff gives an instance of a two-year period to highlight how so much can happen in a brief time (Arieff, para. 8). The writer also adds that how quickly things can change or disappear that helps her to be in a present because there wouldn’t be no challenges to face if there were no end to our time on earth. Experimenting a lot in that little time span made her feel to be in the real world of human being. The meaning of living the life on earth is losing as well as gaining life lessons at the same time. According to her, it is important to experience and appreciate the brevity of life. She signs of by maintaining that life was meant to have an end and that nothing can change this fact.
Human life expectancy rate has increased since the ninetieth century. Analyzing the global demographic data, shows the improvements in survival with age tend to decline after the age of 100. The question “is it appropriate for human beings to seek and achieve immortality with all these researches and technologies at our disposal?” is an important. It is of great significance to philosophy because life is full of many possibilities and sometimes people die without fulfilling their potential. Maybe if life were a little longer, it would offer everyone a chance to achieve his or her goals, objectives or destiny. Dong et al. (257) posit that the longevity of animal and human lifespan is limited and subjected to some natural constraints. Therefore, it is impossible for humans to overcome these natural constraints to achieve immortality and hence it is useless to try. God has set out the rules and we must follow according to Rachels, and further explains that God will reward those who follow his rules and punish who do not. In addition, Indian philosophy suggests that the pursuit of immortality is a selfish, unnatural and immoral venture (Buben, 8).
Therefore, the pursuit of immortality could bring problems in the balance of universe. I support Arieff’s sentiments that life is supposed to be short. The world currently has about 7 billion people and already that number is straining the earth resources. Unless scientists discover another planet that could support human life, it would be catastrophic for billions of people competing for the meager resources. A peaceful world is one that provides room for new life. According to Socrates, before he died believed that he will not be distracted by death of his body but believed that body was a carrier of the soul. The soul cannot live on its own and hence need a body to survive on earth. He believed for a life well lived, death was ideal and important as soul has a probability of gaining true knowledge of life. The philosophical question presented by this paper is useful in determining the morality of extending life or living forever. It is rare for us to give much thought to challenge that we would face if there were no end to our life on earth. Mortality without a strategy for achieving world peace and sustainable consumption of resources could lead to conflicts that would inevitably destroy the universe. Our humanity is inextricably intertwined with the fact of our mortality. However, this should not stop scientists from seeking immortality as long as they also research ways to improve sustainability.
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