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Immortality and Civilization.

Assume for a moment that humanity discovers a secret of rejuvination (has the ability to revert the boilogical clock to the age of 18 with a simple treatment). What woudl be the affects on society and civilization? would we stagnate in our development as there is not longer an imAssume for a moment that humanity discovers a secret of rejuvenation (has the ability to revert the biological clock to the age of 18 with a simple treatment). What would be the affects on society and civilization? would we stagnate in our development as there is not longer a driving force for survival?pedeius to advance?
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leonstryker
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leonstryker
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4 Solutions
 
Anthony RussoCommented:
Well the first obvious problem would be overpopulation. Assuming we don't have that problem for some reason and the related ones such as food supply and those types of issues, the next concern would be economics.

Economics could either boom with the extra markets or crash with the extra services required. If that would all about balance out, then I would address social issues such as development.

I believe many would be able to accomplish much more as you have eternal time to learn and practice, but when everyone is doing it, it doesn't make anyone stand out. There will be advances I would think but not in a more or less common rate than we have today. Just they would be in different areas pertaining to the new humanity.
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tliottaCommented:
Is this question a result of the 'Torchwood: Miracle Day' series on STARZ? The sudden cessation of death (for humans, at least) brought some serious immediate consequences.

The question diverges from the series in that periodic rejuvenation differs from lack of death. A youth can still die from a serious car crash, while accident victims simply continued to live in the series, often with terrible injuries.

But some aspects are similar. Some types of illnesses are chronic and degenerative. I could see research actually accelerate in such areas.

In other areas, some kinds of individuals might begin lines of research that are less attractive today because they take so long to progress. If you are no longer concerned about how much you can do in a "lifetime", you might take on very different challenges.

Also, there could be more progress in things that require cross-disciplinary methods. You could become an expert in multiple fields much more easily.

OTOH, I would expect many wider divisions in various societies. Innate capabilities should stand out more than they do even now. An individual with higher learning capabilities should advance farther than someone who was limited. If you could learn essentially all of known physics and chemistry and mathematics (and a dozen languages), you ought to advance beyond someone who couldn't grasp math past a certain level. In short, the range of possibilities should widen greatly.

That might also be true of physical capabilities.

I wouldn't be too concerned about overpopulation. That's bound to be essentially self-regulating no matter what. That is, there would at least be short-term violent consequences; but long-term resolutions (if not 'solutions') would arise.

Tom
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ClifCommented:
Coincidentally, I've been thinking of late about immortality.  Ignoring the religious points for a bit, the Universe is going to end one way or another.  The two most common thoughts are:

1. Eventually it's going to continue to expand to the point where subatomic particles are light-years away from each other, effectively making the Universe cold and dark.

2. There is enough mass to reverse the expansion which will cause the Universe to fall in on itself resulting in a "Big Crunch"

Now, if one discovered the magic elixir that kept him/her alive, young, and forever healthy, what would be the result eons hence when the universe ended?
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Anthony RussoCommented:
I would think the more immediate worry if one was able to live forever would be the death of the sun and it swallowing up the earth possibly in it's death throes.

Would the immortality last throughout that?
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ClifCommented:
One presumes that interstellar space travel would be a reality before that happens, after all that's four billion years in the future.  Theoretically you can escape from the solar system, but you cannot escape from the Universe.
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tliottaCommented:
The two most common thoughts are:

How about -- 3. "Dark energy" is the effect manifested on this cycle of the Universe from the coming emergence of the next 'universe'.

What I don't like about immortality is the potential relationship to eternity. I get stuck when I wonder "If something has been here forever, how long did it wait before reaching 'now'?"

Tom
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ClifCommented:
What I don't like about immortality is the potential relationship to eternity. I get stuck when I wonder "If something has been here forever, how long did it wait before reaching 'now'?"
When you talk about eternity, "how long" has no meaning.  It's like saying, "What happened before time began?"
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Anthony RussoCommented:
Eternal questions being asked now.
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bergertimeCommented:
We would explore the stars.  You would see a widening gap between those that have ability and those who don't.  I also think 'we' meaning people alive now would become outdated and become the slaves of a future generation.....after all aren't we doomed to be an outdated model at some point?  Anybody still using NT server,  I have one still running because I've been to lazy to replace it and it hasn't given me any problems, but when it does, I'll have to kill it and replace it with a better version.
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Jason210Commented:
Rejuvenation would mean rejuvenating the body, which would mean rejuvenating the brain also. The question is, would the brain retain its knowledge or not? This is for you to postulate- or not.

If the brain did not retain information after the body was rejuvenated, sya 10 years, then it would as if we were simply reset to the way it was ten years ago; the only thing such a body would notice is a sudden change in the environment around it. It would be as if the rejuvenated person were catapulted 10 years into the future, or whatever.

Now for the difficult alternative, suppose the body was rejuvenated by 10 years, but somehow the brain is left as it is now- an old head on young shoulders so to speak. It would in some sense be the equivalent of advancing a little with regard to evolution. You would also have a lot more knowledge compared to a normal perosn of the same age as your rejuvenated body.

But there are problems. What age would you choose to stay at? What age would your parents choose to stay at? Your children? As you get older, you change your behaviour. If you stayed one age forever, you would do all the things perosn of that age does. The mind in fixed 25 year old body is not going to develop mentally in the same was a naturally ageing person would. You'd probably get bored, chase different women all the time. You'd probably try different careers, move to different countries, and do all manner of worldy things until you'd run out of new and exiting things to do. Then you'd probably turn to self-discovery, self-knowledge, and ultimately this would lead to a stillness of the mind and a transformation of consciousness, a spiritual enlightnement. A bit like Siddharta in the Herman Hesse novel. Time would cease to have any meaning to such individuals...it would be as if they had moved on beyond the personal. Life would be meaningless. Then you could kill yourself.


 
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BigRatCommented:
There is a certain type of individual who wants "power". These individuals tend to stick together - the Old Boy network. One finds them all over the place, at heads of corporations, governments, banks, and international agencies. We get rid of them by retiring them off, although that is difficult, because often they don't want to go and often we cannot force them. Most of them are over fifty, some over sixty and there are a fair number over seventy. It is only the natural process of aging which forces them eventually out of their positions. If people never aged, they'd be the biggest problem society would have. It is not the case that society would stop progressing - if in fact it actually does - but you'd have a gerontocracy - rule by the elderly, who would not necessarily be wise and would not ncessarily allow "change from below".
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ClifCommented:
There is a certain type of individual who wants "power".
Everyone wants power.  Anyone who says otherwise is lying to you or themselves.
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