How Increased Life Expectancy Could Lead all the way to Enlightenment
The quest for immortality is as old as death, but scientists and futurists are saying that we are closer than ever. According to the World Health Organization, life expectancy grew 8 hours a day, every day, for the past twenty years,
Do You Want Immortality?
Many people will say they don’t want to live forever. What do you think? Would your choice change if:
- You were as mentally and physically fit as your twenty-one-year-old self?
- All of your friends and family were there with you?
- You didn’t have to choose to live indefinitely, but instead just one more day? And then one more day after that?
- You didn’t have to work forty hours a week?
We know that lifespan will continue to increase dramatically, even if telomeres aren’t the key to aging, even if we don’t replace our biological bodies with more durable forms, and even if we cannot upload our consciousness to machines. This knowledge will profoundly effect our understanding of ourselves, our spirituality, our life purpose, and of course our happiness.
Would You Be Reading this Article If…?
Would you be reading this article if you only had thirty seconds left to live? What about five minutes? A day? A year? The amount of time we expect to live profoundly impacts our day-to-day choices, down to the articles we read. What would you do differently if you knew that you’d live to be three hundred years old? Would you…
- Spend more time with friends and family?
- Pursue a new degree?
- Learn a new instrument?
- Practice a new hobby?
- Learn a new language?
- Move to a different country for a while?
- Travel more?
- Start the business you’ve always dreamed of?
- Invest differently?
- Buy a house?
- Start a new career?
- Experience less stress?
- Finally practice meditation?
- Spend more time volunteering?
- Start gardening? Plant more trees?
- Read the entire Game of Thrones series? Write your own?
What if you had one thousand years? Would your choices change?
Russian Entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov believes so thoroughly in this idea of exceeding the body’s natural limits that he has spent millions of dollars on helping it become a reality. His project is called the 2045 Initiative, because he thinks humans can accomplish this goal as soon as 2045.
While many people fret about overpopulation and the ethics of immortality, Itskov believes that this kind of science, combined with deep spiritual growth, will help alleviate human suffering. He’s even gotten the blessing of the Dalai Llama.
Fast Food for A Fast Life, Slow Food for a Slow Life
Most people enjoy a delicious meal slowly; we eat quickly when we are pressed for time. If life is like a delicious meal, the trend right now is to wolf it down. Even though life span is increasing, most of us feel constantly pressed for time. Over hundreds of years, this feeling will surely melt away.What would replace it?
In the light of extremely long life spans, the pursuit of self-actualization might become default. After thousands of years drinking the best wines, buying the nicest things, sleeping with everyone who’ll sleep with them, people will, almost by necessity, seek a deeper, internal sense of peace and joy that does not require external satisfactions.
It seems unlikely that grievances and grudges will last for thousands of years. It seems unlikely that worldly pursuits would continue to satisfy us all, as they already do not satisfy many humans. So more and more people will develop deeper peace, joy, and compassion, and these qualities will become highly sought after. Their attainment will be more readily available as we find better and better paths, tools, and techniques to attain them. Everyone will have the chance to develop into their own version of Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, or Gandhi.
Perhaps this is all a bit too much speculation. Yet if the predictions are right, many of us will be around just long enough to figure out.