Let's say we did an amazing job researching in medicine and biotechnology and managed to prolong human healthspan up to 500 years or more. By perfectly balanced, personalized diet programs, we give all the right and specifically engineered components to our cells, so they can perform metabolism more efficiently and with less harmful consequences. Old stem cells are being replaced with new ones, refreshing and maintaining the tissues. Enhanced internal systems detect malfunctioning cells and clear them, along with senescent cells. People have no wrinkles or grey hair, bones are strong as made of titan and the sight is still sharp, while cognitive abilities and knowledge grow day by day. Our healthspan is prolonged, but what happens now when we removed a deadline (literally)? How does it affect everyday life?
On the one hand, people could become very cautious about what they eat, how they drive, or how they cross busy roads. Safety standards and insurance companies would gain importance almost overnight, using the eternal life as the main marketing tool. Death would not be just an end of the road for all, but only for those who are not careful. It would also potentiate the development of the green sector (industries, ecological solutions) and result in a healthier planet in general. Also, people would then have much more time to invest in studying and building their careers, resulting in more inventions and less stressful life.
On the other hand, the psychological impact of a prolonged lifespan on living generations could be devastating. For people who at first believed life has a natural ending, more time could result in laziness, people not wanting to do their jobs fast and efficient, because they have the whole eternity to do it. Moreover, death was always a reason or an excuse for many things. How many times we didn´t want to learn, but we had a deadline, so we made ourselves? How many wives suffered domestic violence, believing it will end soon? How many times did we decide to do something just because we were not sure if we will have a chance to do it again? People would lose a sense of time as a driver of change and focus on themselves and their battle for eternity. It would then be much harder to battle the depression when we fall in or to find motivation when there is no rush. Unstable people would probably give up much easier. Why? It is maybe the best to cite philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, writer, social critic, political activist, and Nobel laureate - Bertrand Russell:
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
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