Saturday, April 8, 2017

Death Wish

This week I read an article about Silicon Valley (spearheaded by Google) working on research projects to expand longevity by centuries and eliminate death. This made me think of another article I read about multi-millionaires buying up "apocalypse" housing in case there's a huge earthquake or nuclear disaster.

So this is what these guys are spending their time and money on these days, except for people like Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation actually focuses on poor people across the globe. But reading the article this week made me think about death and if it's the tragedy the folks in this article say it is.

Maybe I'm crazy, but to me, the answer is no.

Sure, I would like to see diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's eradicated. I'd like to get rid of all the deadly diseases attacking us, and the violence and wars. But do I want to live for 300 years?

On the face of it, I suppose we all want to live a little longer, if we're lucky enough to be living well. I have questions, though.

Some of the "inventions" being talked about in Silicon Valley include meshing human genes with computers. So we'd become part cyborg, right? What if some of those eternal dictators were people like Stalin or Pol Pot? Would they stay in office, year after year?

I'm also wondering about resources, because last time I checked they weren't infinite. Shouldn't we be leaving some of what we have to the next generation and the ones after that?

Next question: what kind of world will our kids inherit if we're more concerned with living forever and hiding from disasters than what we leave behind? Shouldn't the focus be on what you do--whether it's writing a book or play or composing songs or creating paintings or inventing immunizations that prevent polio or AIDS or diphtheria or diabetes? What about building affordable housing communities and helping people live better lives?

Maybe ideals like these are hopelessly old fashioned, but I can't help thinking that if there are just a privileged few who live to 300 and hide away in luxury housing, what's the point of their lives?

I'd rather concentrate on leaving something lasting behind that you'll remember. To me, that's the only real way to transcend death. And life, for that matter.

So if you want to talk about that, Silicon Valley... I'll be listening.

Hand in Computer Photo: Sarah