[ExI] "Death gives meaning to life?"

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Thu Jun 12 16:39:40 UTC 2008

On Thu, Jun 12, 2008 at 12:56 AM, Damien Broderick wrote:
> At 11:26 PM 6/11/2008 +0000, BillK wrote:
>>If nobody ever died, and life just goes on with no end, then there is
>>less pressure to do stuff. They can always do it next year if they
>>want to.
> How do you know this? From all those sad cases of bone-idle immortals
> in our midst from prehistory?
> I can assure you that I feel a damned sight less pressure to do stuff
> now that my body and brain are breaking down, and knowing that I'll
> be dead meat in the next 5, 10 or 20 years--and if it's 20 years,
> I'll probably be brain-dead meat anyway. That foul prospect corrodes
> me, comrade, it does nothing to concentrate my mind wonderfully.

As Lee has jumped in to agree with you, perhaps a further comment is
required.  :)

It seems that you are more complaining about the aging process rather
than death.
Sickness, at any age, has the effect of causing people to stop 'doing
stuff'. Pain and disability (depending on the degree) can put the
normal joys of life on the back burner while the illness is being
endured and, hopefully, cured. The problem with aging, of course, is
that, so far, the disease is more resistant to being cured.  :(

Let us look at it another way. Suppose that people lived full healthy
lives, staying at age 35 forever. One group know that their body will
cease functioning at age 80. The other group receive regular
treatments and expect to live for around 1000 years.

Up to about age 45 there probably won't be much difference between the
two groups. Everything will be new and exciting for both groups as
they compete for their place in society. Then the first group will
begin to change. They know they have 35 years left (barring
accidents). So they reach their mid-life crisis and must decide what
to do for the final years. There is no such pressure on the second

Both groups have the pressure to earn a living and survive, but there
is no pressure to choose what to do for the long-lived group. Their
choices are wide open with no need to rush into anything. They can
continue in the rat race, or retire if they can afford it. Try
something for a few years. If it doesn't work out, try something else.

(Excluding personal quirks. I have known people with a furious drive
to keep busy. They seem to be always rebuilding something in their
house or redecorating. Other people are much more laid back. Play a
bit of golf, go surfing, go out for a drink, etc. No worries, mate.).


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