Immortality: Beautiful Life or Eternal Nightmare?

The Wolverine Poster

The Wolverine Poster

We tend to think that living forever would be awesome.  Especially if you can heal any wound and resist every disease.  This is kind of true, but there are a lot of pros and cons that one has to consider before agreeing to live forever.  I will state that I’m not talking about vampires, which I’m considering a different flavor of immortality.  So, the con of blood tasting bad and never eating a pizza again won’t be on the list.  The pro to counter that would be never needing a dentist again.

Pros

  1. You don’t have to worry about medical bills since you can heal any injury and disease.  Unless you’re one of those types of immortals who lacks these benefits.  Still, you can always be cured when sick and take up sewing to reattach parts.
  2. Witness the progression of history instead of reading about it.  You can get front row seats to all big events and maybe even get involved.
  3. Plenty of time to master hundreds or thousands of skills.  Learn every instrument, any sport that has your interest, and gather a collection of degrees.  After a while, there is nothing that you won’t understand because you have the time to study.
  4. You can become rich if you use the banks and your time right.  Patience will be key here, but you’re saving money by not needing anything that mortals require like medical aide.
  5. That insanely long reading list is not a problem any more.
  6. Connected to #3, you can be whatever you want to be.  Might take a little time and work, but that dream job is well within your reach.  Physical restrictions could be an issue for some things, but you have the time to work out.  Nothing to do about height though.

Cons

  1. The most obvious is that you see everyone you love, care admit, admire, and know die before your eyes.  Sometimes it isn’t even before your eyes because you have to disappear before they get suspicious.
  2. Living in the constant fear of being discovered and spending eternity in a lab.  You hold the secret to immortality somewhere in your body.  The medical community alone will be after you.  Not to mention anyone who wants an immortal army because we know that never goes wrong.
  3. You have to master identity creation and theft.  You can only be each you for about 30-40 years.  Maybe more if you find ways to make yourself look older as time progresses, but there will be a point where you have to make a swap.  Faking your death will become second nature to you.
  4. You’ve seen it all, done it all, and now you’re bored.
  5. As time goes on and you gather more emotional loss, you may find yourself becoming apathetic and distant.  What is the point of being with humanity if they only cause you pain?  The temptation to spend eternity in isolation will become rather strong unless you find another option.
  6. After all the centuries of watching, you learn to hate humans and decide that they have to go.  Only the noble and good will survive under your guidance while the rest shall perish by your hand.  So much for an eternity of happiness.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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17 Responses to Immortality: Beautiful Life or Eternal Nightmare?

  1. All good thoughts for a fantasy author to have.

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  2. I believe in spiritual reincarnation, which lends itself to a sort of immortality, but I wouldn’t want to stay in the same body forever.

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  3. L. Marie says:

    Ha! In Wolverine’s case and in the case of vampires, it is a curse, especially considering numbers 1 and 2. But at least your ingenuity would be honed, which would allow you to escape eventually.

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    • Never really got the vampires being a curse thing. I think the curse stems more from having to drink blood and avoid sunlight than the immortality part. Does bring up the question about immortality gained with severe downsides? What would a person give up or be willing to live with for the chance to last forever?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Really hard to choose but I think I will go with being mortal. (Like it is a real choice) Great exploration, Charles. I can understand why the immortals are a tad grumpy sometimes.

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  5. twixie13 says:

    Awesome list! And it made me start thinking a bit about my own stuff.

    One of my main characters is, essentially, immortal. Immortal with a strong regenerative ability. Not sure he’s looked at most of the Pros yet, though he is all too familiar with the first two Cons. His most frequent nightmares entail memories of horrible things he’s already experienced and outliving everyone he cares about. He’s been in and out of a multitude of labs, and this was prior to him learning exactly how strong his regeneration is. It’s rather difficult for him to change his appearance, because any attempt to cut his hair results in it growing right back, and he’s too stubborn to hide his tail and opposable toes. He hasn’t reached the point of apathy left, though, as he’s still young (especially by immortality standards).

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  6. Hmmm, assuming there’s only one immortal and millions of mortals, the goal of eliminating the unworthy might be a long-long-long term thing.

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  7. Jacob Wood says:

    Interesting thoughts here. I have written about immortality as a philosophical concept and have concluded that it is impossible. These are not for reasons of the physical laws governing the universe, but more as a philosophical concept. If you would like to try and refute my argument, check it out https://jakedriftwood.com/2016/10/14/can-we-live-forever/
    I would be happy to hear refutations!

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    • I tend to use immortality in a fictional/magical sense. In terms of identity, I would assume any real immortals would change their identity every few decades to avoid detection. Regular humans would simply use the immortality for experiments in the hopes of stealing the power. Still, realistically, immortality doesn’t seem like it would work for humans. Not without a major toll on their psychology. It just doesn’t seem like humans would be capable of handling it.

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