When it comes to classic wishes, “I wanna be immortal” is right up there with “I wanna rule the world” and “I wanna be married to Helen of Troy”. There’s a reason religions build their reward scheme around eternal life – it’s a compelling desire, evoking vistas of the glorious future and never having to slump off to a shallow grave. But as with everything else in this existence, there are several downsides to living forever. Don’t think of it as us spoiling your fun – it’s more like we’re helping you embrace your mortality.
Everyone you know will die
Let’s start with the basics. While your lifespan extends unto infinity, the people around you will continue to decay at the usual rate. Which is great news when you imagine your enemies and/or rude customer service reps becoming worm food, but less so when you realise the same process will happen to your friends, family and the cute barista up the road. There’s a reason The Doctor trades in his human companions for a younger model every year or so...
Things will get boring
Have you ever had to spend an extended time talking to someone decades younger than you? It can be a nightmare. They’re talking about music that sounds like noise, using technology that seems pointless and what the hell are they even wearing? Now, imagine what that disconnect is going to be like a century from now. If you’re shrugging, think about trying to chat to a peasant from 1017. Mind-numbing.
Humanity will evolve beyond you
On that note, you have to consider that you will be the circa-1017 peasant in this scenario. All your ideas about how the world works will be hilariously outdated. Even Isaac Newton believed alchemy was as legit as any other science and he only died 290 years ago. By the time 10,000 AD rolls around, you’re going to be a Neanderthal in comparison to your descendants. And probably racist, too.
Your memories will fade
Look, your brain can only retain so much information. Some memories are hard-coded in, it seems, but at some stage you’re going to have to either jettison old data or stop logging new stuff in your mindtanks. Keeping extensive diaries is an option, probably, but they’ll seem like stories that happened to someone else. Basically, it’ll be like your entire past was spent black-out drunk.
The cold vacuum of space awaits
On a long enough timeline, the Earth is going to be destroyed. And even if humanity has colonised other systems, they’ll eventually decay and disappear as well. Which leaves you, alone, floating in the void because you can’t die with nothing to keep you company but your rapidly fading memories. This is what you wanted, and now your only option is to go insane while the rest of us blessedly rest in peace. Well, unless time is circular, in which case you only have to wait aeons until the cosmic cycle starts anew, humans evolve and you have people to talk to again.
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