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September 24, 2012 | by  | in Features | [ssba]

To Infinity & Beyond

Oh God, Oh God, Why Won’t I Die?



We are always running out of time.

When you consider all our advances as a species—transport, medicine, technology, social interaction—they all centre around one thing: saving time. Everything down to our last trivial action on this Earth is obsessed with either getting something done in less time, or in enough time to do something else. While we never know when our time will run out, we always know that someday it will.

But what if it didn’t? What if you could live forever?

Now, immortality has some great perks. If you could never die and—let’s say for the hell of it—never age as well (‘cause you don’t want to be stuck as a senior citizen for eternity), imagine the immediate sense of freedom you would feel. You have all the time in the world to do everything you’ve always wanted. For once, you can make time work for you. Take the time to go to every corner of the globe, or read every book on Earth, or gain every title and rank in the world, and with enough time. Soon they’ll be calling you His Royal Highness Dr Sergeant Sensei McAwesome PhD. Throw a few cents at any bank, let compound interest turn your pocket change into billions in a few centuries, and then do it all over again!

Would it be boring? Of course not. Because you’re future-bound with no end in sight, you get to live out every future improvement that the world makes, and live to see every future event at some point in your immortal life. You could get to see flying cars, resurrected dinosaurs, robot citizens, wars fought in space, every singularity from here to infinity; there is literally no shortage to the things you could see or the people you could meet.

Hmm, people… All those poor souls not nearly as blessed in the immortality department. Every family member, every friend, every boyfriend or girlfriend or wife or husband… They all have to go sometime, and you can only share your life with them for so long. A finite lifetime for them, but a blink of an eye for you. They may as well be mayflies. They’re doomed as soon as you meet them.

But you’ll still remember them, right?

Actually, maybe not. Beneath all your superhuman ability to not die or age, you’re still only human. The brain can only recall and store so much at a time, and it’s constantly changing.

Old information makes way for new information which bombards you from all five senses every day for the rest of your never-ending life. We forget things all the time, how easy would it be to forget a lifetime? Not just one of someone you know, but your own as well? How long would it be before you forget your first lover, or your parents, or even your own name?

And there’s no end to it. You just keep on keeping on, a person in perpetual motion who has the oh-so- special privilege to live out all of time itself. You’ll get to see it all. The end of man, the end of the Earth, maybe even the end of the universe if you can hold your breath long enough. If you need to breathe at all.

And you just wish it would just end. An end to consciousness, an end to living. But it just won’t cease. No-one ever tells you just how long forever is. Well, now you can tell them. Death has never come for you, but you feel it’s presence inside you always. Your synapses frozen, your eyes unfazed, your mind too full or too empty all at once. You used to think time could work for you. But now time has worked you over like a slave, and you’re still not clocking out. The abyss claims you, and you hope that the next time you try to wake up, you won’t.

So, show of hands. Who wants to live forever? ▲


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