Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Musings on Mortality

Although I'm healthy, as a 62-year-old male, I'm thinking more about mortality. Here are my current musings:

Awareness of mortality reminds me to make each hour as productive as possible. I really wonder why so many older people fritter away their time on things like golf and TV. Why don't they spend more time, for example, mentoring, blogging, and/or tutoring.

I reduce my fear of death by remembering that it's just a long sleep. And if the dying is too painful, I'll off myself using the Final Exit method.

When I do start to worry about death, I immediately distract myself. The more I think about it, the harder that is--the worry gets more hard-wired in my brain.

There is no afterlife--I'm convinced that's a fable people have created to blunt their fear of death.

I've signed up with Alcor Cryonics to be frozen upon my death in hopes that medical science will advance enough, say in 100 years, to bring me back to life, healthy. Of course, that's a true long shot but it's a balm, another way to reduce my fear of death. And I sure would love to see what life on earth will be like 100 years after my death.

Perhaps all this nice calm talk is rationalization and if I got a terminal diagnosis, I'd be scared shitless.


Jeffrie said...

May I ask what you would expect and/or hope he world would be like if you got to see the world 100 years after you die?

And how would you live? It'd be sort of a fresh start.

Maria Lopez said...

Things I think will happen in a hundred years:

1. Biological breakthroughs but maybe not the ones you want. I expect substantial improvements in medicine, but I'd hesitate to predict the cure of any particular condition.

2. Environmental and resource problems. Unlike Marty I think it very likely that global warming will have real and serious consequences. I also believe that scarce oil will causes changes in how we do things though not out and out doom.

3. Substantial improvements in the ability of machines to interact with the world in flexible ways. Philosophical issues about machine intelligence and the possibility of machine consciousness don't have to be resolved for robots to get much better. This could lead to much less employment.

4. A change in the political alignment of the world. I'd hesitate to predict the dominance of any particular power though we probably won't be the big kahuna. Many folks say China will be dominant but bad things could happen to Chinese society.

Those are really the only things I think are likely. Major use of nuclear weapons could prevent one and three. I wouldn't want to project social trends forward because it is too hard. No one, for instance, predicted to trajectory taken by the USSR.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you, Jeffrie and Maria. I will, as a result, write a post now on my necessarily wild predictions about what life might be like in 100 years and how I'd try to live my life in that world.


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