Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Too Old


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

Immortality is a common theme in fantasy. Vampires. Angels. Highlanders...

They always seem to look young, but they never feel "old". At least, not in the portrayals I've seen/read. And decades or centuries of living don't seem to be a detriment. But I wonder. At some point, they would have to leave everyone they know behind or they would watch them all die. (The other option would be for them to live with a bunch of others like them, but that would pose its own issues.)

Is the human brain wired for immortality?

What if living too long (as in, more than 150 years) led to insanity?

35 comments:

  1. People in the Bible lived for centuries. We could handle it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. With certain beings (angels, elves, etc), immortality is just part of being who they are and it doesn't bother them. But with vampires, since they were human once, I think it would pose a problem. Humans aren't meant to live forever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps that's why most of them are murderous psychopaths...

      Delete
  3. I think if it did lead to insanity, people would probably be finding a way to end their lives before they reached that point. Interesting thought to ponder though.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps that's why our bodies give out before we reach that point.

      Delete
  4. Maybe it does. Maybe someday we'll find a way to stop the aging process in people, we'll find that we can't stand being alive for so long. It could make for an interesting story.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think humans are adaptable, but there's always a sense of needing friends, and when you lose those that you've shared so much with, even new friends can't fill that void. I'm fine with mortality. Just not yet, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hmmm maybe it would, I'm sure it would wear on a person if they were able to live for a long time. Especially if they were seeing their loved ones die and they're just staying the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At some point I think it would be too much.

      Delete
  7. Oh, I want to sign a DNR. I do not want to be a burden and an insane one at that. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. it's a bummer to see people you love die no matter what your age. I know as one gets older your friends thin out and it is sad but I think we could handle living longer. If someone was born in 1863 (before the civil war ends) look at all they have seen in this world. They lived before cars, movie, radio, ...that's pretty cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but would it be too much change in one lifetime?

      Delete
    2. Nope...I don't think so since some people have lived through some major events like my dad and mom. My dad was born before WW1 started. He travelled with horse and buggy until get got a model T Ford. They both didn't have radios u til later on. Born before. 2 nod world war started, before tv and so many other things so we can live

      Delete
  9. If my body could be forever young, and I wouldn't lose my sanity, I wouldn't mind living forever!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But there has to be a downside, don't you think? Otherwise, why haven't we been able to do it?

      Delete
  10. I read a science fiction story long ago which took place in a near future United States. A longevity treatment had been invented and Congress was debating whether to fund it for all citizens. What a Congressman who initially supported the bill discovered, in a study, was that people who underwent the procedure lost all of their creativity. What was left was repetitive behavior that never resulted in anything. He ended up voting against the bill, although not having the treatment (and he knew this already) would kill him. Perhaps this is what would happen if we lived that long. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, that sounds like a great story. Do you remember who wrote it? What it was called? Where you read it?

      Delete
    2. It was one of three stories in a book called Psi-Hi and Others, by the late Alan Nourse. Dr. Nourse (he was a medical doctor) wrote a column years back for Good Housekeeping and also wrote a book called Intern under a pseudonym (Dr. X). Intern was actually the first thing I read by him, back when I was a teenager. The Psi Hi book was given to me by the father of a friend. I had it for years, but no longer do.

      Delete
    3. Thanks. I'll have to look for it.

      Delete
  11. I have no desire to live forever in this world. But Praise God! I'm looking forward to the next!

    ReplyDelete
  12. There's a manga called Immortal Rain where the villain of most of the story is immortal because he's always reincarnated. He remembers all his past lives and living has become such a burden that he wants to end the world. Killing all humans so he can't be reborn. Seems to me that outliving your friends and family, watching them grow up, older and die is sure to mess with your head. I'd say no to immortality but wouldn't mind aging very slowly like Mystique from X-men.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's an interesting take. The next part of this question would be about reincarnation if I were to take it that far.

      Delete
  13. Not sure if we are wired or not for immorality or not. But I've done in home care and everyone have a different out look on age.
    Coffee is on

    ReplyDelete
  14. I reckon that the nuttso crazy shit would be slapping everyone after, oh let's say a century and a half, cos reconciling all the changes in that time would make you either nutso or at the very least a grumpy old person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder if that's why the upper age limit (at the moment) seems to be about 114. (A few make it to 115, but only barely.)

      Delete
  15. Oh boy. Are you ready to go deep? I believe that our spirit are eternal. I think they existed before this life and will exist long after. In that way, yes, I think our brains are wired for immortality. But, our bodies are finite in their current state. SO we get two opposing views. It's also my belief that there is a resurrection followed by perfect immortality in perfectly immortal bodies. There you have it. Immortal spirit in a mortal body. And that's why we identify with themes of eternal creatures so well.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I don't think it's that hard to imagine going insane if you live 150 years or more and the people you love all die off much sooner. I don't think I would like that. I'd much rather live a normal life. :-/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think immortality is probably overrated.

      Delete
  17. I do NOT want to live forever. I'm looking forward to the next adventure. ~grin~ And I totally believe it would be insanity inducing. We need more stories about active elderly folks in my opinion. I'm well on my way to becoming one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly. I don't see why older folks couldn't write about active elderly folks. Those books might be quite a bit more interesting than some of the dreck that's out there.

      Delete
  18. Replies
    1. But it might. We have no way of knowing for sure.

      Delete
  19. Interesting. Most I've read immortality does affect them at some point and they start to lose their humanity/sanity from loss and such.

    I think it would all depend on the person and personality really.

    ReplyDelete

I appreciate your comments.

I respond to comments via email, unless your profile email is not enabled. Then, I'll reply in the comment thread. Eventually. Probably.