Is immortality achievable?
Yesterday I had posted an entry about a bogus news item at Environmental Graffiti about a Chinese man who lived to be 256 years old. That is of course, a pile of horse dung. But is it too improbable for us to live that long? Can immortality ever be achieved?
I would like to think that this is at least possible, even if not too probable.
I think it would take two things for us to reach immortality. The first one is around the corner, the other one no where to be seen as far as I know.
The first requirement is cloning. Our biological bodies obviously cannot exist indefinitely. Unless there are major advances in medicine and our understanding of the human body, there seem to be limits to how long our bodies can live. And it seems like the science is slowly, but undoubtedly, progressing in this area. It is very reasonable to expect that in the near future (which could be decades or a few hundred years) the technology will be there for us to duplicate our physical bodies.
The second one is much much more complicated I am affraid. A person is more than just a body. What really makes me, well me, is not the body itself,but the human experiences. The memories, the learned knowledge, the feelings. The real hurdle is to first understand how the brain processes and stores such information. Then we must be able to access this information through machinery, copy it and store it in machine readable format. Then we must be able to take this stored information from the machine and transplant it, upload it if you will on a clone. Wow that’s a lot! Easier for me to speculate, than for the scientists who have to do the actual work.
Obviously there are so many ethical issues connected to this that I don’t even dream of taking them on. But that is besides my point. I am wondering: could this be possible, not if we should do it. I am not advocating that we should strive for this…yet. If we subscribe to the material view of the brain, than at least theoretically we should be able to do this, albeit in a very very long time. But the intriguing question remains.
Even though this sounds like that Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, could it be within science’s grasp?
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