Humans vs. Death

12 February 2021

Jeff McCarty

There are only so many certainties that I have been willing to put any merit towards. One of those things that I have put plenty of stock into is the certainty of death. This doesn’t make me a trailblazer by no means, what it does do though is puts me into one of two types of mentalities. The first of those, the one to which I belong, is a group of humans who actively contemplate the event of death. The other is those who actively avoid any contemplations on the event of death. The question that deserves contemplation today though is whether humans will ever escape the clutches of death?

When it comes to the possibility of beating death, we commonly refer to this idea as the concept of immortality. The idea that a physical being can exist without an end. There have been plenty of explorations of this topic in popular culture through fictional stories, yet one can’t help but ask if there will be a day in the future where what was once fiction is converted into a fact of our existence? As we move through the 21st century, this becomes more probable and begs us to seriously consider if a human will overcome death. Some people consider it more of a when and how rather than the question of if we will be able to do it. There are two threads of thought which seem dominant when pondering this matter.

The first of these threads is based on moving our consciousness from one form of physical matter, our bodies, to another form of matter, a computer consciousness. From there that computer consciousness could be uploaded to a robotic body resembling that of a human being. For anyone who has seen HBO’s reboot of the 1970’s science fiction movie Westworld, they should be able to visualize a reality in which the robots are just as real as the humans. Imagine that these robots are people who once lived as mortal humans though. This is the basis of the first thread of thought on human beings obtaining immortality. Though I am not here to say that this is a possibility as of today (as far as I know, Elon is up to a lot, to say the least) but there are minds smarter than myself who are seriously considering the logistics required to execute this kind of immortality.

The second of these threads is based on a more traditional concept of immortality, the idea of defying the aging process and living within our physical forms for an eternity. This of course for a large part of history has been the traditional view of achieving immortality. Now of course, in the past the idea was that you may be bestowed immortality by some powerful being such as a god or obtain it with a magical source of youth, such as the fountain of youth, that explorers once sought after. Not that I think anyone is seriously searching for the fountain any longer, or that anyone is waiting for the right god to pass them by and offer immortality, but once again there are smart minds who are seriously considering the science behind the aging process and how to overcome it.

As the innovations of technology continue to advance and increase our probability as human beings to beat death, we must seriously contemplate how that will impact our global human civilization. If we are to ever win that fight against the Grim Reaper we will see that our existence as human beings will forever be changed. The question is will we be prepared for the change, or will we react after it is already too late?

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