On Boredom and Radical Life Extension

Some people knee-jerk against the prospect of a greatly extended healthy life by thinking of boredom - they can't imagine what they'd do with additional time. To my mind this fits well with the demographic who are ambivalent about being alive at all. To live a longer or shorter life will always be a choice, however. You won't have to undergo the rejuvenation therapies when they are available, just as you don't have to exercise, eat less, or otherwise maintain your health today: a shorter life is right there for the taking, if you feel so inclined. Here is a piece from io9 on the subject: "Some futurists predict that we'll be able to halt the aging process by the end of this century - if not sooner. The prospect of creating an ageless society is certainly not without its critics, with concerns ranging from the environmental right through to the spiritual. One of the most common objections to radical life extension, however, is the idea that it would be profoundly boring to live forever, and that by consequence, we should not even attempt it. So are the critics right? Let's take a closer look at the issue and consider both sides. To help us make sense of the problem, we spoke to two experts who have given this subject considerable thought: Bioethicist Nigel Cameron, the President of the Center for Policy on Emerging Technologies, and philosopher Mark A. Walker, Assistant Professor and Richard L. Hedden Chair of Advanced Philosophical Studies at New Mexico State University. It was through our conversations with them that we realized how difficult this question is to answer - mostly because no one has ever lived long enough to know. But given what's at stake, it's an issue that's certainly worth considering. Now, before we get into the discussion, there are a couple of things to note. First, this is not idle speculation. An increasing number of gerontologists, biologists, and futurists are predicting significant medical breakthroughs in the coming decades that could result in so-called 'negligible senescence' - the indefinite prolongation of healthy human life. And second, this discussion is limited to the question of boredom. Clearly, there are many other serious implications to radical life extension, but those are outside the scope of this article. Okay, let's do this thing."

Link: http://io9.com/5933409/would-it-be-boring-if-we-could-live-forever

Comments

Boredom is caused by (1) lack of money i.e. choice, options, etc.. or (2)lack of imagination i.e. not knowing what to do. There is little liklihood that this will be an increasing problem in a world with the technology to allow for immortality.

Also, although each of us has experienced boredom, there is not a single documented case of someone committing suicide because they were bored, not even among long lived very wealthy people.

Posted by: Peter Christiansen at August 13th, 2012 11:26 AM

Boring people are generally bored regardless of the circumstances. They'd be bored in downtown New York City. But they'll still take part in the rejuvenation process so they can sit around eating Doritos and watching 'Real Housewives of Mars'. And complaining about their boredom.

Posted by: MJ at August 14th, 2012 5:08 PM

I don't find the boredom argument credible. I think it is just a proxy for something else 'the bored' will not state. I suspect that most of those that say immortality would be boring are engaging in a form of class or religious warfare. Some with children feel that they have already achieved their immortality, and they feel threatened by such a game changing concept. Some religious types feel it is in oppostion to their religion, after all they have been living their live in anticipation of the eternal afterlife. Some poor people view death as the great equalizer, immortality would rob them of that construct.

Posted by: JohnD60 at August 15th, 2012 6:48 AM

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