Would you like to live forever?

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AcinonyxScepticus (May 26, 2011, 22:44:22 PM):
This is a very interesting discussion and one I've had a few times with religious people. My answer is "Hell no" and the reason is along the lines of the Swift example that Mefiante gave and the Sci-Fi story that GCG discussed.

An eternity of Heaven would be hell. No matter what you get to do in Heaven, no matter how much you love doing it, eventually it will become tedious. It's a concept that's hard for people who believe in an eternal soul to accept.

The example that I give is a Star Trek: Voyager episode called Quincy (and I happily give them the episode to watch). In Star Trek, there is a race of beings called the Q who are what we might consider gods; they can materialise and dematerialise anywhere and anywhen in the universe and cause any effect on the physical universe that they want to. They can go back and watch the big bang as often as they like or go read a book in the peace and quiet after the universe has run down.

In this episode one member of the Q seeks asylum with the crew of Voyager and because the Q enjoy the "quaintness" of humans they play along with concepts like asylum because it usually leads to something more interesting down the line. The Q seeking asylum has to argue the case for why he wants to leave the Q-continuum and become mortal. He takes the crew into the Q-continuum and they perceive it in a way their human brains can understand; a long, straight, infinitely-long desert road with a run-down fifties garage at the roadside. On the porch are some people sitting and waiting.

Why don't they go somewhere more interesting? Well, they have. They have all (independently) decided to go to both ends of the road on a whim (yeah, I know you can't practically get there, but they did). Why don't they talk to each other? They have run out of things to say, they have said everything that could be said and they've all taken on both sides of the discussion. Why don't they do something? They've done everything, they have spent hundreds of years as the other person, they've all been the dog on the porch - or even been the porch for a millenium. There's simply nothing left to do. And on the infinite timescale they're not even close to a tenth of the way to the end, so they might as well wait.

It's pretty easy to see why Quincy begged to be mortal so that he could one day die. Even knowing that there was a possibility of death and an end to it all is all he really wanted.

It's funny, but they don't like to talk to me about an eternal Heaven after that.

James
Faerie (May 27, 2011, 07:51:37 AM):
An eternity of Heaven would be hell. No matter what you get to do in Heaven, no matter how much you love doing it, eventually it will become tedious. It's a concept that's hard for people who believe in an eternal soul to accept.

This sums up in entirety how I feel and perceive eternal life. I often get the line of "but you'll be spending it with your loved ones and close family!!" - Yeah? I dont particularly LIKE my close family and my loved ones are my S/O and two kids. This forms the totality of my close relationships with people, so what the hell am I to look forward to actually here again? To spend time with my crazy dad and woo-bevarked Mom? Huh-uh, no thanks, closing my eyes to eternal sleep with zero conciousness sounds much more appealing to me.
Rigil Kent (May 27, 2011, 07:59:37 AM):
It seems the feeling in general is that we don't want to live forever (even in perfect health) because we will eventually run out of things to do. And even the things we enjoy doing today, will become humdrum eventually ( I don't think this is nescesarily true, but nevertheless, lets assume that it is).

Therefor, infinite boredom is considered worse than death.

A comparatively simple creature, like a cat or a Croton, who is not overly obsessed with the mere entertainment value of life, will presumably not "mind" living forever. But wether such a creature has any concept of death in the first place is, of course, another matter.

I know nothing about souls, but if it is devoid of conciousness, and basically a "mindless creature", then eternity in Heaven may no be as agonising as it appears at first glance.

Mintaka

AcinonyxScepticus (May 27, 2011, 10:07:48 AM):
A comparatively simple creature, like a cat or a Croton, who is not overly obsessed with the mere entertainment value of life, will presumably not "mind" living forever.

:)

So if god has any decency and wants to ensure that heaven doesn't become a hell, he'd rob us of our highest cognitive abilities and we'd be his assorted pets and pot plants in the afterlife.

We'd have no memory of having higher cognitive abilities so we wouldn't miss them. We'd be unable to understand our own memories and (in essence) the person that we were would cease to exist - an eternal death.

I could live with that ... so to speak.

James
Faerie (May 27, 2011, 10:10:44 AM):
A comparatively simple creature, like a cat or a Croton, who is not overly obsessed with the mere entertainment value of life, will presumably not "mind" living forever.

:)

So if god has any decency and wants to ensure that heaven doesn't become a hell, he'd rob us of our highest cognitive abilities and we'd be his assorted pets and pot plants in the afterlife.

We'd have no memory of having higher cognitive abilities so we wouldn't miss them. We'd be unable to understand our own memories and (in essence) the person that we were would cease to exist - an eternal death.

All that bought to mind the hundreds of mentally retarded people I've seen in my life, mindlessly lolling around in their wheelchairs and dribbling from their chins whilst time just passes them by.....

By gods, thats just depressing....

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