Immortality is one of those words thrown around like everybody knows what it means. And I know you know what it means – everybody does, right? An immortal is someone who will live forever. I think most people strive for some sort of immortality, though we don’t all call it that.
In Aliens & Asteroids and the upcoming Tattered Magicks, I am touching on some of the cost and long-term effects of immortality. Today we’ll start with the future.
Through genetic manipulation, cybernetics, cloning, or straight brain-to-computer translation, I foresee a human being having the ability to literally live forever at some distant point in the future. It’s been touched on in other science fiction stories recently like Altered Carbon by author Richard K. Morgan and even in parodies like Futurama. It’s even been glanced over in the Star Wars universe from time to time (though that’s more science fantasy than science fiction).
First, let’s look at the cost of such an endeavor. Imagine the sheer investment of capital required to get us to the first trials, not to mention the cost in human lives of those individuals who sacrifice themselves during the experiments leading to a viable long-term solution. Either way, there’s going to be a heavy price.
Next, let’s look at the anguish of those waiting for such a life altering technology and what happens if they don’t last long enough to see it to fruition? Can you imagine the pain and suffering they endured. Even if they use diet and exercise to only do what’s best for their bodies to get them to the next step — even if they use every medical trick in the book, including suspended animation, cryofreezing, or whatever — I would guess that their existence probably isn’t the happiest during those times of self-imposed limitations or outright exile.
And third, can you imagine what other people will do to get their hands on such technology? People in power like to stay in power. Rich people want to stay rich. Many will do everything in their power to ensure that they and they alone control the tools to immortality. They may even go out of their way to hide it from the rest of the world. Wars will likely be fought over the control of who can live forever, which will ironically cut short the lives of many others along the way.
But what happens if we actually succeed? What happens if everyone suddenly has access to the ability to live forever?
In Aliens & Asteroids, there’s a group currently financing efforts to live forever. The Endless Council is a secret group pursuing immortality so they can control their companies for all eternity. Why pass it to other people when you can do it yourself, right?
Check out Expansion #1: Faces & Factions for more about this group and their goals!
And next week we’ll talk about the lengths to which people will go to keep their immortality when we look at vampires.