I need to share with you a somewhat depressing thought: Someday, you will die.
Now, I need to share with you a VERY depressing thought: Someday, I will die!
I shudder just to think of it.
Which is why it came as a shock today to read, in an article by David Ewing Duncan, a contributor to The New York Times' Science Times section, that most people would, if given the chance, choose not to extend their lives much beyond the current average of threescore and a score. In informal surveys that Duncan has conducted before audiences around the country--audiences of all different ages--he has asked whether they would like to live to the age of 80, 120, 150, or "forever." The vast majority of respondents choose 80, with the numbers consistently dwindling as the proposed age increases: "Less than 1 percent embraced the idea that people might avoid death altogether."
What the hell is wrong with these people?
I understand people not wanting to live indefinitely if, for example, they are suffering from crippling and/or painful illness or residing in a country run by Mitt Romney. But Duncan found that, even if he asked people to consider the possibility that they might manage to remain active and generally healthy for twice as long as they currently can expect, so that, for example, a 60-year-old could literally have the body of a 30-year-old--even then, most people expressed discomfort with the idea of living even until the age of 120. Many expressed a feeling that they should essentially live their allotted time and then move aside gracefully for the next generation.
To which I can only reply, Fuck the next generation! What have they ever done for me?
The way I see it, we all get one life, and we should try to make the most of it we possibly can. And one way to make the most of it is to live as long as we possibly can. Barring any unbearable physical agony, and assuming (perhaps unrealistically) that I wouldn't have to slow down terribly much, I place myself firmly in Duncan's super-minority. I would love to live forever! I'm depressed by the thought that I won't get to read half the books I want to read or see all the installments in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" franchise that will ever be made. I want to learn to play the zither! To master Punjabi! To see people land on Mars! I want to experience a tablet computer that can be implanted on the inside of my eyelid! I want to know how things turn out!
"But won't you miss your friends? Your family?" Well, first of all, if I can live forever, they could, too. Second of all, if necessary, I'll make new friends. Shouldn't be too hard. I'll be the Amazing Undying Dude! I'll be all kinds of popular.
You can keep your selfless attitudes about dying gracefully. Me, I'll rage against the dying of the light as long as I can. And if the possibility of raging forever presents itself, then forever rage I shall.