Looking at immortality

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Graphic by Lena Yang
Graphic by Lena Yang

The term “you only live once” means a lot more than you think. Besides being overused by everyone who decides to go out the night before a midterm or do anything remotely crazy, it signifies something inevitable. The fact that you only live once is a notion that may seem so basic it hurts. But if you look a bit deeper, it can be quite mind-boggling.

The average life expectancy for males and females in Canada right now is around 83 years, according to the World Factbook. That’s pretty good on the world scale as the overall life expectancy on planet earth is 70.

Living for more than 75 per cent of a century may seem like a long time, but in the grand scheme of things it is merely a blink in relation to Earth’s history, hence the term popularized term “YOLO.”

But what if you could live forever?

The question has been asked hundreds of thousands of times by philosophers and curious people alike, with no real conclusive answer being agreed upon, because of the fact it’s physically impossible to live forever. But for the sake of argument, let’s just say you could live forever. What would happen?

For starters, you have to look at what nature would do to your body. If you physically stopped aging then you would be all right, but if you kept aging without dying your body would go through some massive changes. You would become so old, shriveled and decrepit that after a couple hundred years you would look like Gollum. Let’s say, however, this wasn’t the case and you were mentally and physically frozen in your early 20s.

Knowing that you would live forever would drastically change your outlook on life.

Your fear of dying would go out the window and you may live life more carelessly.

Things like eating healthy, exercising and having to obey lifesaving laws would not be a top priority. On top of that, you would see a major lack in ambition. Human ambition is heavily fueled by the fact that we all have a finite amount of time to become successful, hence why people get university degrees and jobs as soon as possible to ensure that their needs can be satisfied early.

If you knew you could live forever, the rush to be successful would be put on the backburner and your procrastination would skyrocket.
Think about the amount of procrastination you do now over something like studying for a midterm or completing an essay. Even if you are an extremely proactive person, there is no way you wouldn’t put things off.

At first thought, living forever would be pretty awesome, but when you think about it in greater detail, maybe it wouldn’t be all it’s made up to be.

Things that are exhilarating now would become pretty dull and boring after thousands of years.

It is probably best to focus on the present and live every day like it’s your last. Plus, you could never say ‘you only live once’.


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