July 31, 2010

To Be Or Not To Be

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/books/review/Verghese-t.html?_r=1&hpw

Well, not quite. But the quest for immortality seems somewhat like that in some ways.

When you come to think of it, if it were possible to be immortal, it's indeed a valid question whether being immortal is worth it.

We pass through the usual stages of life. And that reminds me that we often hanker for the halcyon days of wore — somehow, memory can play tricks and we tend to remember the good parts and forget the bad parts and we wish to be young again, perhaps to be kids again with not a care in the world ...

But the idea behind immortality is different ... it's simply to extend life forever. But then, at what stage will we be ... for that 'forever'? Clearly, we will perhaps remain adults ... I am sure nobody wants to live as a doddering old toothless guy forever. Death seems to be a better choice than living with the body failing in so many ways.

The process of aging is so, so deeply imprinted into the design of the human body that it seems to be a really tough task ... I don't know if scientists will come up with a way to keep us immortal ... and more importantly, whether that will be worth it.

Although, like Sagan says, I am also interested in being a witness to 'how history turns out.'

I am curious to know where humanity will be a hundred years from now ... and I am curious to know where we will be in A.D. 3001. Perhaps Arthur Clarke has written that there will be buildings then that will stretch from the ground to the geostationary orbit.

Will that come to pass in another ... 990 years from now? Or, will people then read the book and chuckle at the idea ... who knows what direction humanity's future will take ... who knows if we will survive our technological adolescence ... though, the specter of Armageddon in the form of a nuclear Final War has perhaps gone, other global killers might be there out there somewhere ...

Perhaps a meteor like the one that decimated the dinosaurs might yet take us out. Who knows, the Earth's core might become unstable ... what if something goes wrong with the Sun and it grows 10 times its present size and the average temperature on the surface of the Earth becomes 800 degrees centigrade ...

Well, there I go ... painting doomsday scenarios galore ... ah well, let's not worry about things that we can't do much about ... let's make babies ... that's what Indians are good at, after all.

Cheers!!!

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