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Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Biological immortality (sometimes referred to bio-indefinite mortality) is a state in which the rate of mortality from senescence is stable or decreasing, thus decoupling it from chronological age. Various unicellular and multicellular species, including some vertebrates, achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. A biologically immortal living being can still die from means other than senescence, such as through injury or disease.

This definition of immortality has been challenged in the Handbook of the Biology of Aging,[1] because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages, an idea referred to as the late-life mortality plateau. The rate of mortality may cease to increase in old age, but in most cases that rate is typically very high.[2] As a hypothetical example, there is only a 50% chance of a human surviving another year at age 110 or greater.

The term is also used by biologists to describe cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit on how many times they can divide.

Biologists chose the word “immortal” to designate cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit, the point at which cells can no longer divide due to DNA damage or shortened telomeres. Prior to Leonard Hayflick’s theory, Alexis Carrel hypothesized that all normal somatic cells were immortal.[3]

The term “immortalization” was first applied to cancer cells that expressed the telomere-lengthening enzyme telomerase, and thereby avoided apoptosisi.e. cell death caused by intracellular mechanisms. Among the most commonly used cell lines are HeLa and Jurkat, both of which are immortalized cancer cell lines. HeLa cells originated from a sample of cervical cancer taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.[4] These cells have been and still are widely used in biological research such as creation of the polio vaccine,[5] sex hormone steroid research,[6] and cell metabolism.[7] Normal stem cells and germ cells can also be said to be immortal (when humans refer to the cell line).[citation needed]

Immortal cell lines of cancer cells can be created by induction of oncogenes or loss of tumor suppressor genes. One way to induce immortality is through viral-mediated induction of the large Tantigen,[8] commonly introduced through simian virus 40 (SV-40).[9]

According to the Animal Aging and Longevity Database, the list of organisms with negligible aging (along with estimated longevity in the wild) includes:[10]

In 2018, scientists working for Calico, a company owned by Alphabet, published a paper in the journal eLife which presents possible evidence that Heterocephalus glaber (Naked mole rat) do not face increased mortality risk due to aging.[12][13][14]

Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. Asymmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast also age. However, symmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast can be biologically immortal under ideal growing conditions.[15] In these conditions, when a cell splits symmetrically to produce two daughter cells, the process of cell division can restore the cell to a youthful state. However, if the parent asymmetrically buds off a daughter only the daughter is reset to the youthful statethe parent isn’t restored and will go on to age and die. In a similar manner stem cells and gametes can be regarded as “immortal”.

Hydras are a genus of the Cnidaria phylum. All cnidarians can regenerate, allowing them to recover from injury and to reproduce asexually. Hydras are simple, freshwater animals possessing radial symmetry and no post-mitotic cells. All hydra cells continually divide.[citation needed] It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence, and, as such, are biologically immortal. In a four-year study, 3 cohorts of hydra did not show an increase in mortality with age. It is possible that these animals live much longer, considering that they reach maturity in 5 to 10 days.[16] However, this does not explain how hydras are consequently able to maintain telomere lengths.

Turritopsis dohrnii, or Turritopsis nutricula, is a small (5 millimeters (0.20in)) species of jellyfish that uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. This organism originated in the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. Similar cases include hydrozoan Laodicea undulata[17] and scyphozoan Aurelia sp.1.[18]

Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This does not however make them immortal in the traditional sense, as they are significantly more likely to die at a shell moult the older they get (as detailed below).

Their longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages but is generally absent from adult stages of life.[19] However, unlike vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity.[20][21][22] Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not immortal. Lobsters grow by moulting which requires a lot of energy, and the larger the shell the more energy is required.[23] Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a moult. Older lobsters are also known to stop moulting, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected, or fall apart and they die.[24] The European lobster has an average life span of 31 years for males and 54 years for females.

Planarian flatworms have both sexually and asexually reproducing types. Studies on genus Schmidtea mediterranea suggest these planarians appear to regenerate (i.e. heal) indefinitely, and asexual individuals have an “apparently limitless [telomere] regenerative capacity fueled by a population of highly proliferative adult stem cells”. “Both asexual and sexual animals display age-related decline in telomere length; however, asexual animals are able to maintain telomere lengths somatically (i.e. during reproduction by fission or when regeneration is induced by amputation), whereas sexual animals restore telomeres by extension during sexual reproduction or during embryogenesis like other sexual species. Homeostatic telomerase activity observed in both asexual and sexual animals is not sufficient to maintain telomere length, whereas the increased activity in regenerating asexuals is sufficient to renew telomere length… “[25]

Lifespan: For sexually reproducing planaria: “the lifespan of individual planarian can be as long as 3 years, likely due to the ability of neoblasts to constantly replace aging cells”. Whereas for asexually reproducing planaria: “individual animals in clonal lines of some planarian species replicating by fission have been maintained for over 15 years”. They do not live forever.[26]

Although the premise that biological aging can be halted or reversed by foreseeable technology remains controversial,[27] research into developing possible therapeutic interventions is underway.[28] Among the principal drivers of international collaboration in such research is the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a number of what it claims are plausible research pathways that might lead to engineered negligible senescence in humans.[29][30]

In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, treated herself using gene therapy, with the goal of not just halting, but reversing aging.[31] She has since reported feeling more energetic, but long-term study of the treatment is ongoing.[citation needed]

For several decades,[32] researchers have also pursued various forms of suspended animation as a means by which to indefinitely extend mammalian lifespan. Some scientists have voiced support[33] for the feasibility of the cryopreservation of humans, known as cryonics. Cryonics is predicated on the concept that some people considered clinically dead by today’s medicolegal standards are not actually dead according to information-theoretic death and can, in principle, be resuscitated given sufficient technological advances.[34] The goal of current cryonics procedures is tissue vitrification, a technique first used to reversibly cryopreserve a viable whole organ in 2005.[35][36]

Similar proposals involving suspended animation include chemical brain preservation. The non-profit Brain Preservation Foundation offers a cash prize valued at over $100,000 for demonstrations of techniques that would allow for high-fidelity, long-term storage of a mammalian brain.[37]

In 2016, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Mayo Clinic employed genetic and pharmacological approaches to ablate pro-aging senescent cells, extending healthy lifespan of mice by over 25%. The startup Unity Biotechnology is further developing this strategy in human clinical trials.[38]

In early 2017, Harvard scientists headed by biologist David Sinclair announced they have tested a compound called NAD+ on mice and have successfully reversed the cellular aging process and can protect the DNA from future damage.[39] “The old mouse and young mouse cells are indistinguishable”, David was quoted. Human trials are to begin shortly in what the team expect is 6 months at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.[citation needed]

In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, pro-immortality transhumanist political parties were launched.[40] They aim to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and want to ensure the fastest possibleand at the same time, the least disruptivesocietal transition to radical life extension, life without aging, and ultimately, immortality. They aim to make it possible to provide access to such technologies to the majority of people alive today.[41]

Biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that biological immortality in humans is an inevitable consequence of natural evolution.[42][43] His theory of extreme lifespans through perpetual-equalising interventions (ELPIs) proposes that[44] the ability to attain indefinite lifespans is inherent in human biology, and that there will come a time when humans will continue to develop their intelligence by living indefinitely, rather than through evolution by natural selection.[45][46]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[47] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[48]

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Biological immortality – Wikipedia

536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth. The Oxford …

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparell’d in celestial light,The glory and the freshness of a dream.5It is not now as it hath been of yore;Turn wheresoe’er I may,By night or day,The things which I have seen I now can see no more.The rainbow comes and goes,10And lovely is the rose;The moon doth with delightLook round her when the heavens are bare;Waters on a starry nightAre beautiful and fair;15The sunshine is a glorious birth;But yet I know, where’er I go,That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,And while the young lambs bound20As to the tabor’s sound,To me alone there came a thought of grief:A timely utterance gave that thought relief,And I again am strong:The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;25No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,And all the earth is gay;Land and sea30Give themselves up to jollity,And with the heart of MayDoth every beast keep holiday;Thou Child of Joy,Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy35Shepherd-boy!Ye blessd creatures, I have heard the callYe to each other make; I seeThe heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;My heart is at your festival,40My head hath its coronal,The fulness of your bliss, I feelI feel it all.O evil day! if I were sullenWhile Earth herself is adorning,This sweet May-morning,45And the children are cullingOn every side,In a thousand valleys far and wide,Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:50I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!But there’s a tree, of many, one,A single field which I have look’d upon,Both of them speak of something that is gone:The pansy at my feet55Doth the same tale repeat:Whither is fled the visionary gleam?Where is it now, the glory and the dream?Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,60Hath had elsewhere its setting,And cometh from afar:Not in entire forgetfulness,And not in utter nakedness,But trailing clouds of glory do we come65From God, who is our home:Heaven lies about us in our infancy!Shades of the prison-house begin to closeUpon the growing Boy,But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,70He sees it in his joy;The Youth, who daily farther from the eastMust travel, still is Nature’s priest,And by the vision splendidIs on his way attended;75At length the Man perceives it die away,And fade into the light of common day.Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,And, even with something of a mother’s mind,80And no unworthy aim,The homely nurse doth all she canTo make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,Forget the glories he hath known,And that imperial palace whence he came.85Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,With light upon him from his father’s eyes!90See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,Some fragment from his dream of human life,Shaped by himself with newly-learnd art;A wedding or a festival,A mourning or a funeral;95And this hath now his heart,And unto this he frames his song:Then will he fit his tongueTo dialogues of business, love, or strife;But it will not be long100Ere this be thrown aside,And with new joy and prideThe little actor cons another part;Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,105That Life brings with her in her equipage;As if his whole vocationWere endless imitation.Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belieThy soul’s immensity;110Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keepThy heritage, thou eye among the blind,That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,Mighty prophet! Seer blest!115On whom those truths do rest,Which we are toiling all our lives to find,In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;Thou, over whom thy ImmortalityBroods like the Day, a master o’er a slave,120A presence which is not to be put by;To whom the graveIs but a lonely bed without the sense or sightOf day or the warm light,A place of thought where we in waiting lie;125Thou little Child, yet glorious in the mightOf heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,Why with such earnest pains dost thou provokeThe years to bring the inevitable yoke,Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?130Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,And custom lie upon thee with a weight,Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!O joy! that in our embersIs something that doth live,135That nature yet remembersWhat was so fugitive!The thought of our past years in me doth breedPerpetual benediction: not indeedFor that which is most worthy to be blest140Delight and liberty, the simple creedOf childhood, whether busy or at rest,With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:Not for these I raiseThe song of thanks and praise;145But for those obstinate questioningsOf sense and outward things,Fallings from us, vanishings;Blank misgivings of a CreatureMoving about in worlds not realized,150High instincts before which our mortal NatureDid tremble like a guilty thing surprised:But for those first affections,Those shadowy recollections,Which, be they what they may,155Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;Uphold us, cherish, and have power to makeOur noisy years seem moments in the beingOf the eternal Silence: truths that wake,160To perish never:Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,Nor Man nor Boy,Nor all that is at enmity with joy,Can utterly abolish or destroy!165Hence in a season of calm weatherThough inland far we be,Our souls have sight of that immortal seaWhich brought us hither,Can in a moment travel thither,170And see the children sport upon the shore,And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!And let the young lambs boundAs to the tabor’s sound!175We in thought will join your throng,Ye that pipe and ye that play,Ye that through your hearts to-dayFeel the gladness of the May!What though the radiance which was once so bright180Be now for ever taken from my sight,Though nothing can bring back the hourOf splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;We will grieve not, rather findStrength in what remains behind;185In the primal sympathyWhich having been must ever be;In the soothing thoughts that springOut of human suffering;In the faith that looks through death,190In years that bring the philosophic mind.And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,Forebode not any severing of our loves!Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;I only have relinquish’d one delight195To live beneath your more habitual sway.I love the brooks which down their channels fret,Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;The innocent brightness of a new-born DayIs lovely yet;200The clouds that gather round the setting sunDo take a sober colouring from an eyeThat hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;Another race hath been, and other palms are won.Thanks to the human heart by which we live,205Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,To me the meanest flower that blows can giveThoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

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536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth. The Oxford …

Immortality – Wikipedia

Immortality is eternal life, being exempt from death, unending existence.[2] Some modern species may possess biological immortality.

Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers have theorized about the immortality of the human body, with some suggesting that human immortality may be achievable in the first few decades of the 21st century. Other advocates believe that life extension is a more achievable goal in the short term, with immortality awaiting further research breakthroughs. The absence of aging would provide humans with biological immortality, but not invulnerability to death by disease or physical trauma; although mind uploading could solve that issue if it proved possible. Whether the process of internal endoimmortality is delivered within the upcoming years depends chiefly on research (and in neuron research in the case of endoimmortality through an immortalized cell line) in the former view and perhaps is an awaited goal in the latter case.[3]

In religious contexts, immortality is often stated to be one of the promises of God (or other deities) to human beings who show goodness or else follow divine law. What form an unending human life would take, or whether an immaterial soul exists and possesses immortality, has been a major point of focus of religion, as well as the subject of speculation, fantasy, and debate.

Life extension technologies promise a path to complete rejuvenation. Cryonics holds out the hope that the dead can be revived in the future, following sufficient medical advancements. While, as shown with creatures such as hydra and planarian worms, it is indeed possible for a creature to be biologically immortal, it is not known if it is possible for humans.

Mind uploading is the transference of brain states from a human brain to an alternative medium providing similar functionality. Assuming the process to be possible and repeatable, this would provide immortality to the computation of the original brain, as predicted by futurists such as Ray Kurzweil.[4]

The belief in an afterlife is a fundamental tenet of most religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, and the Bah’ Faith; however, the concept of an immortal soul is not. The “soul” itself has different meanings and is not used in the same way in different religions and different denominations of a religion. For example, various branches of Christianity have disagreeing views on the soul’s immortality and its relation to the body.

Physical immortality is a state of life that allows a person to avoid death and maintain conscious thought. It can mean the unending existence of a person from a physical source other than organic life, such as a computer. Active pursuit of physical immortality can either be based on scientific trends, such as cryonics, digital immortality, breakthroughs in rejuvenation or predictions of an impending technological singularity, or because of a spiritual belief, such as those held by Rastafarians or Rebirthers.

There are three main causes of death: aging, disease and physical trauma.[5] Such issues can be resolved with the solutions provided in research to any end providing such alternate theories at present that require unification.

Aubrey de Grey, a leading researcher in the field,[6] defines aging as “a collection of cumulative changes to the molecular and cellular structure of an adult organism, which result in essential metabolic processes, but which also, once they progress far enough, increasingly disrupt metabolism, resulting in pathology and death.” The current causes of aging in humans are cell loss (without replacement), DNA damage, oncogenic nuclear mutations and epimutations, cell senescence, mitochondrial mutations, lysosomal aggregates, extracellular aggregates, random extracellular cross-linking, immune system decline, and endocrine changes. Eliminating aging would require finding a solution to each of these causes, a program de Grey calls engineered negligible senescence. There is also a huge body of knowledge indicating that change is characterized by the loss of molecular fidelity.[7]

Disease is theoretically surmountable via technology. In short, it is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism, something the body shouldn’t typically have to deal with its natural make up.[8] Human understanding of genetics is leading to cures and treatments for a myriad of previously incurable diseases. The mechanisms by which other diseases do damage are becoming better understood. Sophisticated methods of detecting diseases early are being developed. Preventative medicine is becoming better understood. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may soon be curable with the use of stem cells. Breakthroughs in cell biology and telomere research are leading to treatments for cancer. Vaccines are being researched for AIDS and tuberculosis. Genes associated with type 1 diabetes and certain types of cancer have been discovered, allowing for new therapies to be developed. Artificial devices attached directly to the nervous system may restore sight to the blind. Drugs are being developed to treat a myriad of other diseases and ailments.

Physical trauma would remain as a threat to perpetual physical life, as an otherwise immortal person would still be subject to unforeseen accidents or catastrophes. The speed and quality of paramedic response remains a determining factor in surviving severe trauma.[9] A body that could automatically repair itself from severe trauma, such as speculated uses for nanotechnology, would mitigate this factor. Being the seat of consciousness, the brain cannot be risked to trauma if a continuous physical life is to be maintained. This aversion to trauma risk to the brain would naturally result in significant behavioral changes that would render physical immortality undesirable for some people.

Organisms otherwise unaffected by these causes of death would still face the problem of obtaining sustenance (whether from currently available agricultural processes or from hypothetical future technological processes) in the face of changing availability of suitable resources as environmental conditions change. After avoiding aging, disease, and trauma, you could still starve to death.

If there is no limitation on the degree of gradual mitigation of risk then it is possible that the cumulative probability of death over an infinite horizon is less than certainty, even when the risk of fatal trauma in any finite period is greater than zero. Mathematically, this is an aspect of achieving “actuarial escape velocity”

Biological immortality is an absence of aging. Specifically it’s the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. A cell or organism that does not experience aging, or ceases to age at some point, is biologically immortal.

Biologists have chosen the word immortal to designate cells that are not limited by the Hayflick limit, where cells no longer divide because of DNA damage or shortened telomeres. The first and still most widely used immortal cell line is HeLa, developed from cells taken from the malignant cervical tumor of Henrietta Lacks without her consent in 1951. Prior to the 1961 work of Leonard Hayflick, there was the erroneous belief fostered by Alexis Carrel that all normal somatic cells are immortal. By preventing cells from reaching senescence one can achieve biological immortality; telomeres, a “cap” at the end of DNA, are thought to be the cause of cell aging. Every time a cell divides the telomere becomes a bit shorter; when it is finally worn down, the cell is unable to split and dies. Telomerase is an enzyme which rebuilds the telomeres in stem cells and cancer cells, allowing them to replicate an infinite number of times.[10] No definitive work has yet demonstrated that telomerase can be used in human somatic cells to prevent healthy tissues from aging. On the other hand, scientists hope to be able to grow organs with the help of stem cells, allowing organ transplants without the risk of rejection, another step in extending human life expectancy. These technologies are the subject of ongoing research, and are not yet realized.[11]

Life defined as biologically immortal is still susceptible to causes of death besides aging, including disease and trauma, as defined above. Notable immortal species include:

As the existence of biologically immortal species demonstrates, there is no thermodynamic necessity for senescence: a defining feature of life is that it takes in free energy from the environment and unloads its entropy as waste. Living systems can even build themselves up from seed, and routinely repair themselves. Aging is therefore presumed to be a byproduct of evolution, but why mortality should be selected for remains a subject of research and debate. Programmed cell death and the telomere “end replication problem” are found even in the earliest and simplest of organisms.[19] This may be a tradeoff between selecting for cancer and selecting for aging.[20]

Modern theories on the evolution of aging include the following:

There are some known naturally occurring and artificially produced chemicals that may increase the lifetime or life-expectancy of a person or organism, such as resveratrol.[23][24]

Some scientists believe that boosting the amount or proportion of telomerase in the body, a naturally forming enzyme that helps maintain the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, could prevent cells from dying and so may ultimately lead to extended, healthier lifespans. A team of researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Centre (Madrid) tested the hypothesis on mice. It was found that those mice which were genetically engineered to produce 10 times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50% longer than normal mice.[25]

In normal circumstances, without the presence of telomerase, if a cell divides repeatedly, at some point all the progeny will reach their Hayflick limit. With the presence of telomerase, each dividing cell can replace the lost bit of DNA, and any single cell can then divide unbounded. While this unbounded growth property has excited many researchers, caution is warranted in exploiting this property, as exactly this same unbounded growth is a crucial step in enabling cancerous growth. If an organism can replicate its body cells faster, then it would theoretically stop aging.

Embryonic stem cells express telomerase, which allows them to divide repeatedly and form the individual. In adults, telomerase is highly expressed in cells that need to divide regularly (e.g., in the immune system), whereas most somatic cells express it only at very low levels in a cell-cycle dependent manner.

Technological immortality is the prospect for much longer life spans made possible by scientific advances in a variety of fields: nanotechnology, emergency room procedures, genetics, biological engineering, regenerative medicine, microbiology, and others. Contemporary life spans in the advanced industrial societies are already markedly longer than those of the past because of better nutrition, availability of health care, standard of living and bio-medical scientific advances. Technological immortality predicts further progress for the same reasons over the near term. An important aspect of current scientific thinking about immortality is that some combination of human cloning, cryonics or nanotechnology will play an essential role in extreme life extension. Robert Freitas, a nanorobotics theorist, suggests tiny medical nanorobots could be created to go through human bloodstreams, find dangerous things like cancer cells and bacteria, and destroy them.[26] Freitas anticipates that gene-therapies and nanotechnology will eventually make the human body effectively self-sustainable and capable of living indefinitely in empty space, short of severe brain trauma. This supports the theory that we will be able to continually create biological or synthetic replacement parts to replace damaged or dying ones. Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical biological machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[27] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see nanobiotechnology). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[28]

Cryonics, the practice of preserving organisms (either intact specimens or only their brains) for possible future revival by storing them at cryogenic temperatures where metabolism and decay are almost completely stopped, can be used to ‘pause’ for those who believe that life extension technologies will not develop sufficiently within their lifetime. Ideally, cryonics would allow clinically dead people to be brought back in the future after cures to the patients’ diseases have been discovered and aging is reversible. Modern cryonics procedures use a process called vitrification which creates a glass-like state rather than freezing as the body is brought to low temperatures. This process reduces the risk of ice crystals damaging the cell-structure, which would be especially detrimental to cell structures in the brain, as their minute adjustment evokes the individual’s mind.

One idea that has been advanced involves uploading an individual’s habits and memories via direct mind-computer interface. The individual’s memory may be loaded to a computer or to a new organic body. Extropian futurists like Moravec and Kurzweil have proposed that, thanks to exponentially growing computing power, it will someday be possible to upload human consciousness onto a computer system, and exist indefinitely in a virtual environment. This could be accomplished via advanced cybernetics, where computer hardware would initially be installed in the brain to help sort memory or accelerate thought processes. Components would be added gradually until the person’s entire brain functions were handled by artificial devices, avoiding sharp transitions that would lead to issues of identity, thus running the risk of the person to be declared dead and thus not be a legitimate owner of his or her property. After this point, the human body could be treated as an optional accessory and the program implementing the person could be transferred to any sufficiently powerful computer. Another possible mechanism for mind upload is to perform a detailed scan of an individual’s original, organic brain and simulate the entire structure in a computer. What level of detail such scans and simulations would need to achieve to emulate awareness, and whether the scanning process would destroy the brain, is still to be determined.[29] Whatever the route to mind upload, persons in this state could then be considered essentially immortal, short of loss or traumatic destruction of the machines that maintained them.[clarification needed]

Transforming a human into a cyborg can include brain implants or extracting a human processing unit and placing it in a robotic life-support system. Even replacing biological organs with robotic ones could increase life span (e.g. pace makers) and depending on the definition, many technological upgrades to the body, like genetic modifications or the addition of nanobots would qualify an individual as a cyborg. Some people believe that such modifications would make one impervious to aging and disease and theoretically immortal unless killed or destroyed.

Another approach, developed by biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis, holds that human biological immortality is an inevitable consequence of evolution. As the natural tendency is to create progressively more complex structures,[30] there will be a time (Kyriazis claims this time is now[31]), when evolution of a more complex human brain will be faster via a process of developmental singularity[32] rather than through Darwinian evolution. In other words, the evolution of the human brain as we know it will cease and there will be no need for individuals to procreate and then die. Instead, a new type of development will take over, in the same individual who will have to live for many centuries in order for the development to take place. This intellectual development will be facilitated by technology such as synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and a technological singularity process.

As late as 1952, the editorial staff of the Syntopicon found in their compilation of the Great Books of the Western World, that “The philosophical issue concerning immortality cannot be separated from issues concerning the existence and nature of man’s soul.”[33] Thus, the vast majority of speculation regarding immortality before the 21st century was regarding the nature of the afterlife.

Immortality in ancient Greek religion originally always included an eternal union of body and soul as can be seen in Homer, Hesiod, and various other ancient texts. The soul was considered to have an eternal existence in Hades, but without the body the soul was considered dead. Although almost everybody had nothing to look forward to but an eternal existence as a disembodied dead soul, a number of men and women were considered to have gained physical immortality and been brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, heaven, the ocean or literally right under the ground. Among these were Amphiaraus, Ganymede, Ino, Iphigenia, Menelaus, Peleus, and a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars. Some were considered to have died and been resurrected before they achieved physical immortality. Asclepius was killed by Zeus only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. In some versions of the Trojan War myth, Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis, resurrected, and brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains, or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus’ Histories, the 7th century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he was found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.

The philosophical idea of an immortal soul was a belief first appearing with either Pherecydes or the Orphics, and most importantly advocated by Plato and his followers. This, however, never became the general norm in Hellenistic thought. As may be witnessed even into the Christian era, not least by the complaints of various philosophers over popular beliefs, many or perhaps most traditional Greeks maintained the conviction that certain individuals were resurrected from the dead and made physically immortal and that others could only look forward to an existence as disembodied and dead, though everlasting, souls. The parallel between these traditional beliefs and the later resurrection of Jesus was not lost on the early Christians, as Justin Martyr argued: “when we say… Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus.” (1 Apol. 21).

The goal of Hinayana is Arhatship and Nirvana. By contrast, the goal of Mahayana is Buddhahood.

According to one Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Dzogchen, individuals can transform the physical body into an immortal body of light called the rainbow body.

Christian theology holds that Adam and Eve lost physical immortality for themselves and all their descendants in the Fall of Man, although this initial “imperishability of the bodily frame of man” was “a preternatural condition”.[34] Christians who profess the Nicene Creed believe that every dead person (whether they believed in Christ or not) will be resurrected from the dead at the Second Coming, and this belief is known as Universal resurrection.[citation needed]

N.T. Wright, a theologian and former Bishop of Durham, has said many people forget the physical aspect of what Jesus promised. He told Time: “Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return. Part of this will be the resurrection of all the dead, who will ‘awake’, be embodied and participate in the renewal. Wright says John Polkinghorne, a physicist and a priest, has put it this way: ‘God will download our software onto his hardware until the time he gives us new hardware to run the software again for ourselves.’ That gets to two things nicely: that the period after death (the Intermediate state) is a period when we are in God’s presence but not active in our own bodies, and also that the more important transformation will be when we are again embodied and administering Christ’s kingdom.”[35] This kingdom will consist of Heaven and Earth “joined together in a new creation”, he said.

Hindus believe in an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death. According to Hinduism, people repeat a process of life, death, and rebirth in a cycle called samsara. If they live their life well, their karma improves and their station in the next life will be higher, and conversely lower if they live their life poorly. After many life times of perfecting its karma, the soul is freed from the cycle and lives in perpetual bliss. There is no place of eternal torment in Hinduism, although if a soul consistently lives very evil lives, it could work its way down to the very bottom of the cycle.[citation needed]

There are explicit renderings in the Upanishads alluding to a physically immortal state brought about by purification, and sublimation of the 5 elements that make up the body. For example, in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (Chapter 2, Verse 12), it is stated “When earth, water fire, air and akasa arise, that is to say, when the five attributes of the elements, mentioned in the books on yoga, become manifest then the yogi’s body becomes purified by the fire of yoga and he is free from illness, old age and death.” This phenomenon is possible when the soul reaches enlightenment while the body and mind are still intact, an extreme rarity, and can only be achieved upon the highest most dedication, meditation and consciousness.[citation needed]

Another view of immortality is traced to the Vedic tradition by the interpretation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:

That man indeed whom these (contacts)do not disturb, who is even-minded inpleasure and pain, steadfast, he is fitfor immortality, O best of men.[36]

To Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the verse means, “Once a man has become established in the understanding of the permanent reality of life, his mind rises above the influence of pleasure and pain. Such an unshakable man passes beyond the influence of death and in the permanent phase of life: he attains eternal life… A man established in the understanding of the unlimited abundance of absolute existence is naturally free from existence of the relative order. This is what gives him the status of immortal life.”[36]

An Indian Tamil saint known as Vallalar claimed to have achieved immortality before disappearing forever from a locked room in 1874.[37][38]

The traditional concept of an immaterial and immortal soul distinct from the body was not found in Judaism before the Babylonian Exile, but developed as a result of interaction with Persian and Hellenistic philosophies. Accordingly, the Hebrew word nephesh, although translated as “soul” in some older English Bibles, actually has a meaning closer to “living being”.[citation needed] Nephesh was rendered in the Septuagint as (psch), the Greek word for soul.[citation needed]

The only Hebrew word traditionally translated “soul” (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul.[39] In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated “soul” () has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul.[40] Soul may refer to the whole person, the self: three thousand souls were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23).

The Hebrew Bible speaks about Sheol (), originally a synonym of the grave-the repository of the dead or the cessation of existence until the Resurrection. This doctrine of resurrection is mentioned explicitly only in Daniel 12:14 although it may be implied in several other texts. New theories arose concerning Sheol during the intertestamental literature.

The views about immortality in Judaism is perhaps best exemplified by the various references to this in Second Temple Period. The concept of resurrection of the physical body is found in 2 Maccabees, according to which it will happen through recreation of the flesh.[41] Resurrection of the dead also appears in detail in the extra-canonical books of Enoch,[42] and in Apocalypse of Baruch.[43] According to the British scholar in ancient Judaism Philip R. Davies, there is little or no clear reference either to immortality or to resurrection from the dead in the Dead Sea scrolls texts.[44] Both Josephus and the New Testament record that the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife,[45] but the sources vary on the beliefs of the Pharisees. The New Testament claims that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but does not specify whether this included the flesh or not.[46] According to Josephus, who himself was a Pharisee, the Pharisees held that only the soul was immortal and the souls of good people will be reincarnated and pass into other bodies, while the souls of the wicked will suffer eternal punishment. [47] Jubilees seems to refer to the resurrection of the soul only, or to a more general idea of an immortal soul.[48]

Rabbinic Judaism claims that the righteous dead will be resurrected in the Messianic age with the coming of the messiah. They will then be granted immortality in a perfect world. The wicked dead, on the other hand, will not be resurrected at all. This is not the only Jewish belief about the afterlife. The Tanakh is not specific about the afterlife, so there are wide differences in views and explanations among believers.[citation needed]

It is repeatedly stated in Lshi Chunqiu that death is unavoidable.[49] Henri Maspero noted that many scholarly works frame Taoism as a school of thought focused on the quest for immortality.[50] Isabelle Robinet asserts that Taoism is better understood as a way of life than as a religion, and that its adherents do not approach or view Taoism the way non-Taoist historians have done.[51] In the Tractate of Actions and their Retributions, a traditional teaching, spiritual immortality can be rewarded to people who do a certain amount of good deeds and live a simple, pure life. A list of good deeds and sins are tallied to determine whether or not a mortal is worthy. Spiritual immortality in this definition allows the soul to leave the earthly realms of afterlife and go to pure realms in the Taoist cosmology.[52]

Zoroastrians believe that on the fourth day after death, the human soul leaves the body and the body remains as an empty shell. Souls would go to either heaven or hell; these concepts of the afterlife in Zoroastrianism may have influenced Abrahamic religions. The Persian word for “immortal” is associated with the month “Amurdad”, meaning “deathless” in Persian, in the Iranian calendar (near the end of July). The month of Amurdad or Ameretat is celebrated in Persian culture as ancient Persians believed the “Angel of Immortality” won over the “Angel of Death” in this month.[53]

Alcmaeon of Croton argued that the soul is continuously and ceaselessly in motion. The exact form of his argument is unclear, but it appears to have influenced Plato, Aristotle, and other later writers.[54]

Plato’s Phaedo advances four arguments for the soul’s immortality: The Cyclical Argument, or Opposites Argument explains that Forms are eternal and unchanging, and as the soul always brings life, then it must not die, and is necessarily “imperishable”. As the body is mortal and is subject to physical death, the soul must be its indestructible opposite. Plato then suggests the analogy of fire and cold. If the form of cold is imperishable, and fire, its opposite, was within close proximity, it would have to withdraw intact as does the soul during death. This could be likened to the idea of the opposite charges of magnets.

The Theory of Recollection explains that we possess some non-empirical knowledge (e.g. The Form of Equality) at birth, implying the soul existed before birth to carry that knowledge. Another account of the theory is found in Plato’s Meno, although in that case Socrates implies anamnesis (previous knowledge of everything) whereas he is not so bold in Phaedo.

The Affinity Argument, explains that invisible, immortal, and incorporeal things are different from visible, mortal, and corporeal things. Our soul is of the former, while our body is of the latter, so when our bodies die and decay, our soul will continue to live.

The Argument from Form of Life, or The Final Argument explains that the Forms, incorporeal and static entities, are the cause of all things in the world, and all things participate in Forms. For example, beautiful things participate in the Form of Beauty; the number four participates in the Form of the Even, etc. The soul, by its very nature, participates in the Form of Life, which means the soul can never die.[55]

Plotinus offers a version of the argument that Kant calls “The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology”. Plotinus first argues that the soul is simple, then notes that a simple being cannot decompose. Many subsequent philosophers have argued both that the soul is simple and that it must be immortal. The tradition arguably culminates with Moses Mendelssohn’s Phaedon.[56]

Metochites argues that part of the soul’s nature is to move itself, but that a given movement will cease only if what causes the movement is separated from the thing moved an impossibility if they are one and the same.[57]

Avicenna argued for the distinctness of the soul and the body, and the incorruptibility of the former.[58]

The full argument for the immortality of the soul and Aquinas’ elaboration of Aristotelian theory is found in Question 75 of the First Part of the Summa Theologica.[59]

Descartes endorses the claim that the soul is simple, and also that this entails that it cannot decompose. Descartes does not address the possibility that the soul might suddenly disappear.[60]

In early work, Leibniz endorses a version of the argument from the simplicity of the soul to its immortality, but like his predecessors, he does not address the possibility that the soul might suddenly disappear. In his monadology he advances a sophisticated novel argument for the immortality of monads.[61]

Moses Mendelssohn’s Phaedon is a defense of the simplicity and immortality of the soul. It is a series of three dialogues, revisiting the Platonic dialogue Phaedo, in which Socrates argues for the immortality of the soul, in preparation for his own death. Many philosophers, including Plotinus, Descartes, and Leibniz, argue that the soul is simple, and that because simples cannot decompose they must be immortal. In the Phaedon, Mendelssohn addresses gaps in earlier versions of this argument (an argument that Kant calls the Achilles of Rationalist Psychology). The Phaedon contains an original argument for the simplicity of the soul, and also an original argument that simples cannot suddenly disappear. It contains further original arguments that the soul must retain its rational capacities as long as it exists.[62]

The possibility of clinical immortality raises a host of medical, philosophical, and religious issues and ethical questions. These include persistent vegetative states, the nature of personality over time, technology to mimic or copy the mind or its processes, social and economic disparities created by longevity, and survival of the heat death of the universe.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first literary works, is primarily a quest of a hero seeking to become immortal.[6]

Physical immortality has also been imagined as a form of eternal torment, as in Mary Shelley’s short story “The Mortal Immortal”, the protagonist of which witnesses everyone he cares about dying around him. Jorge Luis Borges explored the idea that life gets its meaning from death in the short story “The Immortal”; an entire society having achieved immortality, they found time becoming infinite, and so found no motivation for any action. In his book “Thursday’s Fictions”, and the stage and film adaptations of it, Richard James Allen tells the story of a woman named Thursday who tries to cheat the cycle of reincarnation to get a form of eternal life. At the end of this fantastical tale, her son, Wednesday, who has witnessed the havoc his mother’s quest has caused, forgoes the opportunity for immortality when it is offered to him.[63] Likewise, the novel Tuck Everlasting depicts immortality as “falling off the wheel of life” and is viewed as a curse as opposed to a blessing. In the anime Casshern Sins humanity achieves immortality due to advances in medical technology, however the inability of the human race to die causes Luna, a Messianic figure, to come forth and offer normal lifespans because she had believed that without death, humans could not live. Ultimately, Casshern takes up the cause of death for humanity when Luna begins to restore humanity’s immortality. In Anne Rice’s book series “The Vampire Chronicles”, vampires are portrayed as immortal and ageless, but their inability to cope with the changes in the world around them means that few vampires live for much more than a century, and those who do often view their changeless form as a curse.

In his book Death, Yale philosopher Shelly Kagan argues that any form of human immortality would be undesirable. Kagans argument takes the form of a dilemma. Either our characters remain essentially the same in an immortal afterlife, or they do not. If our characters remain basically the samethat is, if we retain more or less the desires, interests, and goals that we have nowthen eventually, over an infinite stretch of time, we will get bored and find eternal life unbearably tedious. If, on the other hand, our characters are radically changede.g., by God periodically erasing our memories or giving us rat-like brains that never tire of certain simple pleasuresthen such a person would be too different from our current self for us to care much what happens to them. Either way, Kagan argues, immortality is unattractive. The best outcome, Kagan argues, would be for humans to live as long as they desired and then to accept death gratefully as rescuing us from the unbearable tedium of immortality.[64]

If human beings were to achieve immortality, there would most likely be a change in the worlds’ social structures. Sociologist argue that human beings’ awareness of their own mortality shapes their behavior [65] With the advancements in medical technology in extending human life, there may need to be serious considerations made about future social structures. We are already experiencing a global demographic shift of increasingly ageing populations with lower replacement rates.[66] The social changes that are made to accommodate this new population shift may offer valuable insight on the possibility of an immortal society.

Although some scientists state that radical life extension, delaying and stopping aging are achievable,[67] there are no international or national programs focused on stopping aging or on radical life extension. In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel and the Netherlands, pro-immortality political parties were launched. They aimed to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and at the same time transition to the next step, radical life extension, life without aging, and finally, immortality and aim to make possible access to such technologies to most currently living people.[68]

There are numerous symbols representing immortality. The ankh is an Egyptian symbol of life that holds connotations of immortality when depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs, who were seen as having control over the journey of life. The Mbius strip in the shape of a trefoil knot is another symbol of immortality. Most symbolic representations of infinity or the life cycle are often used to represent immortality depending on the context they are placed in. Other examples include the Ouroboros, the Chinese fungus of longevity, the ten kanji, the phoenix, the peacock in Christianity,[69] and the colors amaranth (in Western culture) and peach (in Chinese culture).

Immortality is a popular subject in fiction, as it explores humanity’s deep-seated fears and comprehension of its own mortality. Immortal beings and species abound in fiction, especially fantasy fiction, and the meaning of “immortal” tends to vary.

Some fictional beings are completely immortal (or very nearly so) in that they are immune to death by injury, disease and age. Sometimes such powerful immortals can only be killed by each other, as is the case with the Q from the Star Trek series. Even if something can’t be killed, a common plot device involves putting an immortal being into a slumber or limbo, as is done with Morgoth in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and the Dreaming God of Pathways Into Darkness. Storytellers often make it a point to give weaknesses to even the most indestructible of beings. For instance, Superman is supposed to be invulnerable, yet his enemies were able to exploit his now-infamous weakness: Kryptonite. (See also Achilles’ heel.)

Many fictitious species are said to be immortal if they cannot die of old age, even though they can be killed through other means, such as injury. Modern fantasy elves often exhibit this form of immortality. Other creatures, such as vampires and the immortals in the film Highlander, can only die from beheading. The classic and stereotypical vampire is typically slain by one of several very specific means, including a silver bullet (or piercing with other silver weapons), a stake through the heart (perhaps made of consecrated wood), or by exposing them to sunlight.[70][71]

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Immortality – Wikipedia

Immortality | Superpower Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

ImmortalityPower/Ability to:

Never die.

The power to never die. Opposite to Mortality.

User possesses an infinite life span, as they can never die, never age, and can shrug off virtually any kind of physical damage. Some users are the defensive type, simply preventing all damages, to appear physically invulnerable, while others are the regenerative type, surviving and quickly recovering from anything you throw at them while at the same time they are capable of resurrecting themselves instantly after death and completely self-sustaining, free from all bodily necessities.

Some may only possess the power of:

Semi-Immortality

Reliant Immortality (Concept-Dependent Immortality, Self-Puppetry)

Immortality (Immortality via Regenerative Healing Factor)

Unfettered Body

Absolute Immortality

It is highly likely that various kinds of Immortality can become a curse because whoever is close to them or even their friends had past away, the user would be left behind, unless the user is also gifted the ability to teleport to both Earth and Heaven, or alternatively Meta Teleportation to keep the curse of being immortal at bay.

See Also: Immortality and Complete Immortality.

Zeus (Greek mythology) is immortal Father of Gods and ruler of Olympus.

Sun Wukong (Journey Into The West) become unable to die or be harmed in any way after eating both the food of the heavens and erasing his name off death’s register.

Teitoku Kakine (A Certain Magical Index) achieved a form of immortality by creating a human tissues (and a new body) out of his Dark Matter.

Ladylee (A Certain Magical Index) is an immortal, in that when she grew weary of living, she sought to use powerful magic to kill her, which did not work.

Tenzen Yakushiji (Basilisk) having his symbiote “eat” away his wounds and restoring any ravages of time or battle, even reattaching his head by sealing the cut.

Behelits (Berserk) are stone fetishes of unknown supernatural origin said to govern the fate of humanity. They are used primarily for summoning the angels of the God Hand, at which point their owners are granted a wish in exchange for a sacrifice.

Creed Diskenth (Black Cat) possesses the God’s Breath nano-machines within his body, regenerating even fatal wounds in seconds and maintaining his youth, thus granting him immortality aside from any brain damage being irreparable.

Ssuke Aizen (Bleach) gained immortality after fusing with the Hgyoku.

C.C (Code Geass) is immortal.

V.V (Code Geass) is immortal.

Due to the contradiction caused by the fusion of the absolutely immortal Zamasu and the mortal Goku Black, Merged Zamasu (Dragon Ball) has imperfect immortality.

Zeref (Fairy Tail) was cursed by Ankhseram with his contradiction curse which gives him uncontrollable Death Magic and Immortality.

Kager (Flame of Recca) using a forbidden spell that opens a time portal, but it traps her outside of space-time, rendering her completely immortal.

The Truth (Fullmetal Alchemist) is invincible, immortal and invulnerable.

Utsuro (Gintama) possesses immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Earth to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases.

Kouka (Gintama) possessed immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Kouan to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases. However, when she left the planet for good, she weakened overtime and died.

China (Hetalia) is the only nation stated to be truly immortal.

Yta (Mermaid Saga) is a 500 years old immortal since unwittingly eating mermaid’s flesh.

Mana (Mermaid Saga) is a 15 years old immortal since being fed mermaid’s flesh.

Masato (Mermaid Saga) is an 800 years old immortal since eating mermaid’s flesh.

Ban, the Undead (Nanatsu no Taizai) acquired immortality after drinking the Fountain of Youth.

Meliodas (Nanatsu no Taizai) was cursed with the immortality by the Demon King.

Orochimaru (Naruto) considers himself immortal with his Living Corpse Reincarnation to transfer his soul to another body and his Cursed Seals as anchors of his conscious.

Hidan’s (Naruto) main advantage is his inability to die by physical damage, though he is vulnerable to death by lack of nutrient.

Kakuzu (Naruto) attained a form of immortality (though he denies to think of it as such) by tearing hearts out of others and integrating them into himself, extending his lifespan. He kept five inside him at all times.

Madara Uchiha (Naruto) claims he has achieved complete immortality due to hosting the Shinju, as he regenerated form his torso being blown apart. Only when the tailed beasts were all pulled out of him did he die.

Kaguya tsutsuki (Naruto) is immortal, in that she has tremendous regenerative powers, and that the only way to defeat her is to seal her person away by splitting her chakra into the nine tailed beasts.

Gemma Himuro (Ninja Scroll) putting his severed body parts back together, even his head is possible, rendering him immortal.

Due to her race, Jibril (No Game No Life) has reached 6407 years of age, she also has incredibly vast knowledge and high magical abilities, in two words; she gathers many old and new knowledge, in other words; she can no longer age or die.

Yume Hasegawa (Pupa) is an immortal monster incarnated into human form, possessing regenerative abilities that rendered her very difficult to kill.

Utsutsu Hasegawa (Pupa) has been fed the flesh of her immortal “sister”, giving him tremendous regenerative powers that made him more or less immortal.

Rin Asogi (RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~) is immortal, due to a magic spore from Yggdrasil. she can even handle more alcohol than a normal person.

Free (Soul Eater) is a werewolf from the Immortal Clan, and therefore, immortal. He can only be harmed and killed by the “Witch-Hunt”.

Koj Akatsuki (Strike the Blood) is revealed to be immortal, even by vampire standards after regenerating from complete decapitation.

Tta Konoe (UQ Holder) cannot regrow limbs unless they are completely destroyed, but otherwise is immortal and can reattach any of it, including his head.

Karin Yki (UQ Holder) has one of the highest ranked forms of immortality, stating that she’s “not permitted to get hurt or die”

Elder Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho) stated that his regenerative powers enables him from dying. This prevented him from dying from Kurama’s torturous Sinning Tree.

Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) become a vampire and gain immortality by using the Stone Mask.

Through the unknown power of his Stand or since merging with DIO’s flesh bud, Nijimura’s Father (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part IV Diamonds Are Unbreakable) is effectively immortal and possess extraordinary healing capabilities.

The Stone Mask (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Parts I Phantom Blood and II Battle Tendency).

Setsuna F. Seiei (Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie – A wakening of the Trailblazer)

Porky Minch (Earthbound) has abused Time Travel so much that his body is stuck in the current timeline and cannot age nor die.

It is believed that Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda) is immortal due to the Triforce of Power.

Clockwerk (Sly Cooper) has kept himself alive for millennia thanks to his cybernetic body and his jealousy and hatred of the Cooper Clan.

The Darkness (Skylanders) can only be killed by the Core of Light.

Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Chip/Light Gaia (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Solaris (Sonic the Hedgehog) is a super-dimensional life form and the Sun God of Solenna, and exists in all timelines that he is immortal unless he is killed simultaneously in every temporal point.

Presea Combatir (Tales of Symphonia) is immortal and invulnerable because of a combination of her exsphere and her special ability Suppress

Kaguya Houraisan (Touhou Project) drank the Hourai Elixir, which grants her immortal in every sense of the word: she does not age, is immune to disease, and can regenerate from even being completely disintegrated.

Though he can be imprisoned and sealed away, Grima (Fire Emblem) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own hand.

Snow White (Valkyrie Crusade) is a immortal princess that is always trying to die, but nothing works.

Guardians (Destiny) are considered immortal due to being empowered by the Light and coming back from death every time.

Dominus Ghaul (Destiny) after stealing the Light has become Immortal as he can resurrect himself.

Doomsday (DC Comics), being immune to all that once killed him.

Ra’s al Ghl (DC Comics) is granted immortality by the Lazarus Pit’s effects.

Lobo (DC Comics) possessing regenerative powers of such a level that he can recreate his entire body from nothing more than a puddle of his blood, as he is banned from Death.

Resurrection Man (DC Comics) is immortal, and will return to life no matter how many times he is killed, returning with a new power associated to how he was killed.

Hercules (Marvel Comics) an Olympic half God.

Deadpool (Marvel Comics) is in the same boat as Thanos, both banished from death.

Gaea (Marvel Comics), the Elder Goddess of Nature.

Loki (Marvel Comics), the God of Mischief, is immortal.

Zeus (Marvel Comics), the King of the Olympic Gods.

Atlas (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Adam Destine (Marvel Comics) is immortal and invulnerable to physical harm.

Mr. Immortal (Marvel Comics) having evolved beyond death cannot be killed permanently, and will always come back to life without so much as a scar.

Count Nefaria (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Wonder Man (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Garokk (Marvel Comics) The Petrified Man

Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) is immortal due to his physiology.

Joshua Foley/Elixir (Marvel Comics) although Josh can die he is able to resurrect himself

Ananke (The Wicked + The Divine)

Pariah Dark (Danny Phantom) is the powerful immortal, former king of ghosts.

Peter Griffin (Family Guy) Peter Griffin has survived many life threatening situations and came back unscathed.

Ernie the Giant Chicken (Family Guy) always comes back for a rematch despite Peter Griffin always dealing a fatal blow on Ernie.

The Dog Talisman (Jackie Chan Adventures) grants its master invincibility.

General Immortus (Teen Titans) knows the strategy of every battle in history because he was there to see it.

Diagon (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien) does not age and cannot be killed.

The Eternals (Marvel Comics) a race of immortal beings that live alongside humanity for centuries.

Nightcrawler (Marvel Comics) cannot return to the afterlife due to sacrificing his soul in order to resurrect himself. This means Kurt cannot die by any natural means

Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter) acquired immortality by splitting his soul and hiding the fragments in various objects as anchors, though when his body was destroyed, he existed as a spectral form that many others would prefer death over.

Fawkes (Harry Potter) is a phoenix, who will be reborn with all of his memories intact upon death, and thus immortal, being the only known creatures in the wizarding world to have natural immortality.

Adam Monroe (Heroes) possessed immortality due to his tremendously advanced regeneration ability, though once the ability is taken away from him, he died within seconds.

Nathan Young (MisFits) is immortal.

Starscream (Transformers G1) possesses an immortal Spark, soul energy, meaning even if his physical vessel is destroyed he will live on.

Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own family members.

The Beast (Doctor Who) claims to have existed before our universe was created

Candyman (Candyman) has lived for centuries

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Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Biological immortality (sometimes referred to bio-indefinite mortality) is a state in which the rate of mortality from senescence is stable or decreasing, thus decoupling it from chronological age. Various unicellular and multicellular species, including some vertebrates[citation needed], achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. A biologically immortal living being can still die from means other than senescence, such as through injury or disease.

This definition of immortality has been challenged in the Handbook of the Biology of Aging,[1] because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages, an idea referred to as the late-life mortality plateau. The rate of mortality may cease to increase in old age, but in most cases that rate is typically very high.[2] As a hypothetical example, there is only a 50% chance of a human surviving another year at age 110 or greater.

The term is also used by biologists to describe cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit on how many times they can divide.

Biologists chose the word “immortal” to designate cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit, the point at which cells can no longer divide due to DNA damage or shortened telomeres. Prior to Leonard Hayflick’s theory, Alexis Carrel hypothesized that all normal somatic cells were immortal.[3]

The term “immortalization” was first applied to cancer cells that expressed the telomere-lengthening enzyme telomerase, and thereby avoided apoptosisi.e. cell death caused by intracellular mechanisms. Among the most commonly used cell lines are HeLa and Jurkat, both of which are immortalized cancer cell lines. HeLa cells originated from a sample of cervical cancer taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.[4] These cells have been and still are widely used in biological research such as creation of the polio vaccine,[5] sex hormone steroid research,[6] and cell metabolism.[7] Normal stem cells and germ cells can also be said to be immortal (when humans refer to the cell line).[citation needed]

Immortal cell lines of cancer cells can be created by induction of oncogenes or loss of tumor suppressor genes. One way to induce immortality is through viral-mediated induction of the large Tantigen,[8] commonly introduced through simian virus 40 (SV-40).[9]

According to the Animal Aging and Longevity Database, the list of organisms with negligible aging (along with estimated longevity in the wild) includes:[10]

In 2018, scientists working for Calico, a company owned by Alphabet, published a paper in the journal eLife which presents possible evidence that Heterocephalus glaber (Naked mole rat) do not face increased mortality risk due to aging.[12][13][14]

Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. Asymmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast also age. However, symmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast can be biologically immortal under ideal growing conditions.[15] In these conditions, when a cell splits symmetrically to produce two daughter cells, the process of cell division can restore the cell to a youthful state. However, if the parent asymmetrically buds off a daughter only the daughter is reset to the youthful statethe parent isn’t restored and will go on to age and die. In a similar manner stem cells and gametes can be regarded as “immortal”.

Hydras are a genus of the Cnidaria phylum. All cnidarians can regenerate, allowing them to recover from injury and to reproduce asexually. Hydras are simple, freshwater animals possessing radial symmetry and no post-mitotic cells. All hydra cells continually divide.[citation needed] It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence, and, as such, are biologically immortal. In a four-year study, 3 cohorts of hydra did not show an increase in mortality with age. It is possible that these animals live much longer, considering that they reach maturity in 5 to 10 days.[16] However, this does not explain how hydras are consequently able to maintain telomere lengths.

Turritopsis dohrnii, or Turritopsis nutricula, is a small (5 millimeters (0.20in)) species of jellyfish that uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. This organism originated in the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. Similar cases include hydrozoan Laodicea undulata[17] and scyphozoan Aurelia sp.1.[18]

Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This does not however make them immortal in the traditional sense, as they are significantly more likely to die at a shell moult the older they get (as detailed below).

Their longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages but is generally absent from adult stages of life.[19] However, unlike vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity.[20][21][22] Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not immortal. Lobsters grow by moulting which requires a lot of energy, and the larger the shell the more energy is required.[23] Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a moult. Older lobsters are also known to stop moulting, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected, or fall apart and they die.[24] The European lobster has an average life span of 31 years for males and 54 years for females.

Planarian flatworms have both sexually and asexually reproducing types. Studies on genus Schmidtea mediterranea suggest these planarians appear to regenerate (i.e. heal) indefinitely, and asexual individuals have an “apparently limitless [telomere] regenerative capacity fueled by a population of highly proliferative adult stem cells”. “Both asexual and sexual animals display age-related decline in telomere length; however, asexual animals are able to maintain telomere lengths somatically (i.e. during reproduction by fission or when regeneration is induced by amputation), whereas sexual animals restore telomeres by extension during sexual reproduction or during embryogenesis like other sexual species. Homeostatic telomerase activity observed in both asexual and sexual animals is not sufficient to maintain telomere length, whereas the increased activity in regenerating asexuals is sufficient to renew telomere length… “[25]

Lifespan: For sexually reproducing planaria: “the lifespan of individual planarian can be as long as 3 years, likely due to the ability of neoblasts to constantly replace aging cells”. Whereas for asexually reproducing planaria: “individual animals in clonal lines of some planarian species replicating by fission have been maintained for over 15 years”. They do not live forever.[26]

Although the premise that biological aging can be halted or reversed by foreseeable technology remains controversial,[27] research into developing possible therapeutic interventions is underway.[28] Among the principal drivers of international collaboration in such research is the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a number of what it claims are plausible research pathways that might lead to engineered negligible senescence in humans.[29][30]

In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, treated herself using gene therapy, with the goal of not just halting, but reversing aging.[31] She has since reported feeling more energetic, but long-term study of the treatment is ongoing.[citation needed]

For several decades,[32] researchers have also pursued various forms of suspended animation as a means by which to indefinitely extend mammalian lifespan. Some scientists have voiced support[33] for the feasibility of the cryopreservation of humans, known as cryonics. Cryonics is predicated on the concept that some people considered clinically dead by today’s medicolegal standards are not actually dead according to information-theoretic death and can, in principle, be resuscitated given sufficient technological advances.[34] The goal of current cryonics procedures is tissue vitrification, a technique first used to reversibly cryopreserve a viable whole organ in 2005.[35][36]

Similar proposals involving suspended animation include chemical brain preservation. The non-profit Brain Preservation Foundation offers a cash prize valued at over $100,000 for demonstrations of techniques that would allow for high-fidelity, long-term storage of a mammalian brain.[37]

In 2016, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Mayo Clinic employed genetic and pharmacological approaches to ablate pro-aging senescent cells, extending healthy lifespan of mice by over 25%. The startup Unity Biotechnology is further developing this strategy in human clinical trials.[38]

In early 2017, Harvard scientists headed by biologist David Sinclair announced they have tested a compound called NAD+ on mice and have successfully reversed the cellular aging process and can protect the DNA from future damage.[39] “The old mouse and young mouse cells are indistinguishable”, David was quoted. Human trials are to begin shortly in what the team expect is 6 months at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.[citation needed]

In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, pro-immortality transhumanist political parties were launched.[40] They aim to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and want to ensure the fastest possibleand at the same time, the least disruptivesocietal transition to radical life extension, life without aging, and ultimately, immortality. They aim to make it possible to provide access to such technologies to the majority of people alive today.[41]

Biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that biological immortality in humans is an inevitable consequence of natural evolution.[42][43] His theory of extreme lifespans through perpetual-equalising interventions (ELPIs) proposes that[44] the ability to attain indefinite lifespans is inherent in human biology, and that there will come a time when humans will continue to develop their intelligence by living indefinitely, rather than through evolution by natural selection.[45][46]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[47] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[48]

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Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Immortality (1998) – IMDb

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Steven is multi-talented, handsome, and a expert seducer of women. He craves intimacy with women, literally cannot live without it, and is in search of the perfect woman. All of his relationships, however, end tragically. Eventually, he meets Anne, a strong woman who is different, better than the others. However, soon it becomes clear that this is a relationship that only one of them will survive. The title refers to a quote from Francis Bacon, who wrote about crocodiles, who shed tears when they devour their prey. Written by

Taglines:Handsome. Seductive. Deadly.

Opening Weekend USA: $10,281,16 July 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA: $21,404, 23 July 2000

Runtime: 98 min

Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1

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Immortality (1998) – IMDb

536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth …

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparell’d in celestial light,The glory and the freshness of a dream.5It is not now as it hath been of yore;Turn wheresoe’er I may,By night or day,The things which I have seen I now can see no more.The rainbow comes and goes,10And lovely is the rose;The moon doth with delightLook round her when the heavens are bare;Waters on a starry nightAre beautiful and fair;15The sunshine is a glorious birth;But yet I know, where’er I go,That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,And while the young lambs bound20As to the tabor’s sound,To me alone there came a thought of grief:A timely utterance gave that thought relief,And I again am strong:The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;25No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,And all the earth is gay;Land and sea30Give themselves up to jollity,And with the heart of MayDoth every beast keep holiday;Thou Child of Joy,Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy35Shepherd-boy!Ye blessd creatures, I have heard the callYe to each other make; I seeThe heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;My heart is at your festival,40My head hath its coronal,The fulness of your bliss, I feelI feel it all.O evil day! if I were sullenWhile Earth herself is adorning,This sweet May-morning,45And the children are cullingOn every side,In a thousand valleys far and wide,Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:50I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!But there’s a tree, of many, one,A single field which I have look’d upon,Both of them speak of something that is gone:The pansy at my feet55Doth the same tale repeat:Whither is fled the visionary gleam?Where is it now, the glory and the dream?Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,60Hath had elsewhere its setting,And cometh from afar:Not in entire forgetfulness,And not in utter nakedness,But trailing clouds of glory do we come65From God, who is our home:Heaven lies about us in our infancy!Shades of the prison-house begin to closeUpon the growing Boy,But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,70He sees it in his joy;The Youth, who daily farther from the eastMust travel, still is Nature’s priest,And by the vision splendidIs on his way attended;75At length the Man perceives it die away,And fade into the light of common day.Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,And, even with something of a mother’s mind,80And no unworthy aim,The homely nurse doth all she canTo make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,Forget the glories he hath known,And that imperial palace whence he came.85Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,With light upon him from his father’s eyes!90See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,Some fragment from his dream of human life,Shaped by himself with newly-learnd art;A wedding or a festival,A mourning or a funeral;95And this hath now his heart,And unto this he frames his song:Then will he fit his tongueTo dialogues of business, love, or strife;But it will not be long100Ere this be thrown aside,And with new joy and prideThe little actor cons another part;Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,105That Life brings with her in her equipage;As if his whole vocationWere endless imitation.Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belieThy soul’s immensity;110Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keepThy heritage, thou eye among the blind,That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,Mighty prophet! Seer blest!115On whom those truths do rest,Which we are toiling all our lives to find,In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;Thou, over whom thy ImmortalityBroods like the Day, a master o’er a slave,120A presence which is not to be put by;To whom the graveIs but a lonely bed without the sense or sightOf day or the warm light,A place of thought where we in waiting lie;125Thou little Child, yet glorious in the mightOf heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,Why with such earnest pains dost thou provokeThe years to bring the inevitable yoke,Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?130Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,And custom lie upon thee with a weight,Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!O joy! that in our embersIs something that doth live,135That nature yet remembersWhat was so fugitive!The thought of our past years in me doth breedPerpetual benediction: not indeedFor that which is most worthy to be blest140Delight and liberty, the simple creedOf childhood, whether busy or at rest,With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:Not for these I raiseThe song of thanks and praise;145But for those obstinate questioningsOf sense and outward things,Fallings from us, vanishings;Blank misgivings of a CreatureMoving about in worlds not realized,150High instincts before which our mortal NatureDid tremble like a guilty thing surprised:But for those first affections,Those shadowy recollections,Which, be they what they may,155Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;Uphold us, cherish, and have power to makeOur noisy years seem moments in the beingOf the eternal Silence: truths that wake,160To perish never:Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,Nor Man nor Boy,Nor all that is at enmity with joy,Can utterly abolish or destroy!165Hence in a season of calm weatherThough inland far we be,Our souls have sight of that immortal seaWhich brought us hither,Can in a moment travel thither,170And see the children sport upon the shore,And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!And let the young lambs boundAs to the tabor’s sound!175We in thought will join your throng,Ye that pipe and ye that play,Ye that through your hearts to-dayFeel the gladness of the May!What though the radiance which was once so bright180Be now for ever taken from my sight,Though nothing can bring back the hourOf splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;We will grieve not, rather findStrength in what remains behind;185In the primal sympathyWhich having been must ever be;In the soothing thoughts that springOut of human suffering;In the faith that looks through death,190In years that bring the philosophic mind.And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,Forebode not any severing of our loves!Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;I only have relinquish’d one delight195To live beneath your more habitual sway.I love the brooks which down their channels fret,Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;The innocent brightness of a new-born DayIs lovely yet;200The clouds that gather round the setting sunDo take a sober colouring from an eyeThat hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;Another race hath been, and other palms are won.Thanks to the human heart by which we live,205Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,To me the meanest flower that blows can giveThoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

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536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth …

Immortality Seeker – TV Tropes

When a character quests for eternal life. Sometimes it’s given to them, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it’s given to them and they regret the consequences, but their desire and actions towards immortality are what count towards this trope.Originally, this trope could be used for heroes and villains alike, as evidenced by quests for the Holy Grail and The Epic of Gilgamesh. Later it became one of the typical goals of an Evil Plan and thus the methods of achieving it were nasty, vile, and despicable. When heroes seek it they usually ultimately learn An Aesop and refocus their goals.See Immortality (and in particular Immortality Inducer) for ways to achieve it and Living Forever Is Awesome and Mortality Phobia for why they want to achieve it. Supertrope to Immortality Immorality, where seekers of immortality tend to resort to bad deeds to achieve it. Contrast Who Wants to Live Forever? for people that have immortality and hate it. Also Death Seeker for those seeking death instead. Not to be confused with Glory Seeker, someone who might want to go down in history, but doesn’t seek literal immortality.Courtesy of The Epic of Gilgamesh, this trope is Older Than Dirt.

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“Dark in here, isn’t it?”

“And lastly there is the oldest and deepest desire, the Great Escape: the Escape from Death. Fairy-stories provide many examples and modes of this Fairy-stories are made by men not by fairies. The Human-stories of the elves are doubtless full of the Escape from Deathlessness.”

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Excerpt from:

Immortality Seeker – TV Tropes

Who Wants to Live Forever? – TV Tropes

Angel: Buffy, be careful with this gift. A lot of things that seem strong, good and powerful, they can be painful. Buffy: Like say… immortality? Angel: Exactly. I’m dying to get rid of that.Put your hand down. This is not a vote.The worst fate possible might well be immortality. Sure, you might like the idea that you get to live forever and see what the world’s like hundreds of years from now, but what’s eternal life compared to the pain of life in general? From eventual boredom to eternal entrapment and torture to the emotional anguish of seeing your loved ones die, one by one, as you stay fixed in time.When done Anviliciously, this can seem like Sour Grapes on the part of the very much mortal writers. May be used as a Fantastic Aesop.This attitude toward immortality is Older Than Feudalism, going back at least as far as the Greek myths about Tithonos’s Age Without Youth and Prometheus’s punishment and of course the appeal behind He why is your hand still up!?Compare Blessed with Suck for those that angst as well as And I Must Scream for the mindset this can create.Contrast Living Forever Is Awesome for those who like it, and Immortality Seeker for those who seek it, and Eternal Love where immortals fall in love. See Living Forever Is No Big Deal for the middle ground.See also Immortality Hurts, which is a subtrope. Immunity Disability is a supertrope (here, the “immunity” is to death).See Analysis for more horrifying details.

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A thousand years have come and gone, but time has passed me by Stars stopped in the sky Frozen in an everlasting view Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night Praying for the light Prison of the lost Xanadu

And there’s never gonna be enough money And there’s never gonna be drugs And we’re never gonna get old And there’s never gonna be enough bullets And there’s never gonna be sex And we’re never gonna get old

If I’ve lived a thousand times before And if I’m gonna live anymore Always brings me down Everyone wants to live forever Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better… Everyone wants to live forever But no one ever gets it together

Radiation got me as well made me immortal in this hell An old dream coming true but why now when there is nothing to do? Since then I’ve been searching around going from town to town Could it only have happened to me? Am I doomed to be I’m the last man on earth

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“Eternity is permanent boredom A cheerless cycle with neither beginning, nor end For all the time the same is repeated from the start No exultation, no horror Only the boring Idiotic Eternity”

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Nothing ever really happens to me. I am completely safe from harm, and this is a great burden… I think that one day, this world will simply talk itself to death, and I will be left to flit about in the void. I will be the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives Nowhere.

Western Animation

Freeze: You want to live like this? Abandoned and alone, A prisoner in a world you can see but never touch. Old and infirm as you are, I’d trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day.

Real Life

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Who Wants to Live Forever? – TV Tropes

IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL – JewishEncyclopedia.com

The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture. As long as the soul was conceived to be merely a breath (“nefesh”; “neshamah”; comp. “anima”), and inseparably connected, if not identified, with the life-blood (Gen. ix. 4, comp. iv. 11; Lev. xvii. 11; see Soul), no real substance could be ascribed to it. As soon as the spirit or breath of God (“nishmat” or “rua ayyim”), which was believed to keep body and soul together, both in man and in beast (Gen. ii. 7, vi. 17, vii. 22; Job xxvii. 3), is taken away (Ps. cxlvi. 4) or returns to God (Eccl. xii. 7; Job xxxiv. 14), the soul goes down to Sheol or Hades, there to lead a shadowy existence without life and consciousness (Job xiv. 21; Ps. vi. 6 [A. V. 5], cxv. 17; Isa. xxxviii. 18; Eccl. ix. 5, 10). The belief in a continuous life of the soul, which underlies primitive Ancestor Worship and the rites of necromancy, practised also in ancient Israel (I Sam. xxviii. 13 et seq.; Isa. viii. 19; see Necromancy), was discouraged and suppressed by prophet and lawgiver as antagonistic to the belief in Yhwh, the God of life, the Ruler of heaven and earth, whose reign was not extended over Sheol until post-exilic times (Ps. xvi. 10, xlix. 16, cxxxix. 8).

As a matter of fact, eternal life was ascribed exclusively to God and to celestial beings who “eat of the tree of life and live forever” (Gen. iii. 22, Hebr.), whereas man by being driven out of the Garden of Eden was deprived of the opportunity of eating the food of immortality (see Roscher, “Lexikon der Griechischen und Rmischen Mythologie,” s.v. “Ambrosia”). It is the Psalmist’s implicit faith in God’s omnipotence and omnipresence that leads him to the hope of immortality (Ps. xvi. 11, xvii. 15, xlix. 16, lxxiii. 24 et seq., cxvi. 6-9); whereas Job (xiv. 13 et seq., xix. 26) betrays only a desire for, not a real faith in, a life after death. Ben Sira (xiv. 12, xvii. 27 et seq., xxi. 10, xxviii. 21) still clings to the belief in Sheol as the destination of man. It was only in connection with the Messianic hope that, under the influence of Persian ideas, the belief in resurrection lent to the disembodied soul a continuous existence (Isa. xxv. 6-8; Dan. xii. 2; see Eschatology; Resurrection).

The belief in the immortality of the soul came to the Jews from contact with Greek thought and chiefly through the philosophy of Plato, its principal exponent, who was led to it through Orphic and Eleusinian mysteries in which Babylonian and Egyptian views were strangely blended, as the Semitic name “Minos” (comp. “Minotaurus”), and the Egyptian “Rhadamanthys” (“Ra of Ament,” “Ruler of Hades”; Naville, “La Litanie du Soleil,” 1875, p. 13) with others, sufficiently prove. Consult especially E. Rhode, “Psyche: Seelencult und Unsterblichkeitsglaube der Griechen,” 1894, pp. 555 et seq. A blessed immortality awaiting the spirit while the bones rest in the earth is mentioned in Jubilees xxiii. 31 and Enoch iii. 4. Immortality, the “dwelling near God’s throne” “free from the load of the body,” is “the fruit of righteousness,” says the Book of Wisdom (i. 15; iii. 4; iv. 1; viii. 13, 17; xv. 3). In IV Maccabees, also (ix. 8, 22; x. 15; xiv. 5; xv. 2; xvi. 13; xvii. 5, 18), immortality of the soul is represented as life with God in heaven, and declared to be the reward for righteousness and martyrdom. The souls of the righteous are transplanted into heaven and transformed into holy souls (ib. xiii. 17, xviii. 23). According to Philo, the soul exists before it enters the body, a prison-house from which death liberates it; to return to God and live in constant contemplation of Him is man’s highest destiny (Philo, “De Opificio Mundi,” 46, 47; idem, “De Allegoriis Legum,” i., 33, 65; iii., 14, 37; idem, “Quis Rerum Divinarum Hres Sit,” 38, 57).

It is not quite clear whether the Sadducees, in denying resurrection (Josephus, “Ant.” xviii. 1, 4; idem, “B. J.” ii. 12; Mark xii. 18; Acts xxiii. 8; comp. Sanh. 90b), denied also the immortality of the soul (see Ab. R. N., recension B. x. [ed. Schechter, 26]). Certain it is that the Pharisaic belief in resurrection had not even a name for the immortality of the soul. For them, man was made for two worlds, the world that now is, and the world to come, where life does not end in death (Gen. R. viii.; Yer. Meg. ii. 73b; M. . iii. 83b, where the words , Ps. xlviii. 15, are translated by Aquilas as if they read: , “no death,” ).

The point of view from which the asidim regarded earthly existence was that man was born for another and a better world than this. Hence Abraham is told by God: “Depart from this vain world; leave the body and go to thy Lord among the good” (Testament of Abraham, i.). The immortality of martyrs was especially dwelt on by the Essenes (Josephus, “B. J.” vii. 8, 7; i. 33, 2; comp. ii. 8, 10, 14; idem, “Ant.” xviii. 1, 5). The souls of the righteous live like birds (See Jew. Encyc. iii. 219, s.v. Birds) in cages (“columbaria”) guarded by angels (IV Esd. vii. 32, 95; Apoc. Baruch, xxi. 23, xxx. 2; comp. Shab. 152b). According to IV Esdras iv. 41 (comp. Yeb. 62a), they are kept in such cages () before entering upon earthly existence. The soul of martyrs also have a special place in heaven, according to Enoch (xxii. 12, cii. 4, cviii. 11 et seq.); whereas the Slavonic Enoch (xxiii. 5) teaches that “every soul was created for eternity before the foundation of the world.” This Platonic doctrine of the preexistence of the soul (comp. Wisdom viii. 20; Philo, “De Gigantibus,” 3 et seq.; idem, “De Somniis,” i., 22) is taught also by the Rabbis, who spoke of a storehouse of the souls in the seventh heaven (“‘Arabot”; Sifre, Deut. 344; ag. 12b). In Gen. R. viii. the souls of the righteous are mentioned as counselors of God at the world’s creation (comp. the Fravashi in “Farwardin Yast,” in “S. B. E.” xxiii. 179).

Upon the belief that the soul has a life of its own after death is based the following story: “Said Emperor Antoninus to Judah ha-Nasi, ‘Both body and soul could plead guiltless on the day of judgment, as neither sinned without the other.’ ‘But then,’ answered Judah, ‘God reunites both for the judgment, holding them both responsible for the sin committed, just as in the fable the blind and the lame are punished in common for aiding each other in stealing the fruit of the orchard'” (Sanh. 91a; Lev. R. iv.). “There is neither eating nor drinking nor any sensual pleasure nor strife in the world to come, but the righteous with their crowns sit around the table of God, feeding upon the splendor of His majesty,” said Rab (Ber. 17a), thus insisting that the nature of the soul when freed from the body is purely spiritual, while the common belief loved to dwell upon the banquet prepared for the pious in the world to come (see Eschatology; Leviathan). Hence the saying, “Prepare thyself in the vestibule that thou mayest be admitted into the triclinium”; that is, “Let this world be a preparation for the next” (Ab. iv. 16). The following sayings also indicate a pure conception of the soul’s immortality: “The Prophets have spoken only concerning the Messianic future; but concerning the future state of the soul it is said: ‘Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him'” (Ber. 34b; comp. I Cor. ii. 9, Greek; Resh, “Agrapha,” 1889, p. 154). “When man dies,” says R. Mer, “three sets of angels go forth to welcome him” (Num. R. xii.); this can only refer to the disembodied soul.

Nevertheless, the prevailing rabbinical conception of the future world is that of the world of resurrection, not that of pure immortality. Resurrection became the dogma of Judaism, fixed in the Mishnah (Sanh. x. 1) and in the liturgy (“Elohai Neshamah” and “Shemoneh ‘Esreh”), just as the Church knows only of a future based upon the resurrection; whereas immortality remained merely a philosophical assumption. When therefore Maimonides (“Yad,” Teshubah, viii. 2) declared, with reference to Ber. 17a, quoted above, that the world to come is entirely spiritual, one in which the body and bodily enjoyments have no share, he met with strong opposition on the part of Abraham of Posquires, who pointed in his critical annotations (“Hassagot RABaD”) to a number of Talmudical passages (Shab. 114a; Ket. 111a; Sanh. 91b) which leave no doubt as to the identification of the world to come (“‘olam ha-ba”) with that of the resurrection of the body.

The medieval Jewish philosophers without exception recognized the dogmatic character of the belief in resurrection, while on the other hand they insisted on the axiomatic character of the belief in immortality of the soul (see Albo, “‘Iarim,” iv. 35-41). Saadia made the dogma of the resurrectionpart of his speculation (“Emunot we-De’ot,” vii. and ix.); Judah ha-Levi (“Cuzari,” i. 109) accentuated more the spiritual nature of the future existence, the bliss of which consisted in the contemplation of God; whereas Maimonides, though he accepted the resurrection dogma in his Mishnah commentary (Sanh. xi.; comp. his monograph on the subject, “Ma’amar Teiyyat ha-Metim”), ignored it altogether in his code (“Yad,” Teshubah, viii.); and in his “Moreh” (iii. 27, 51-52, 54; comp. “Yad,” Yesode ha-Torah, iv. 9) he went so far as to assign immortality only to the thinkers, whose acquired intelligence (“sekel ha-nineh”), according to the Aristotelians, becomes part of the “active divine intelligence,” and thus attains perfection and permanence. This Maimonidean view, which practically denies to the soul of man personality and substance and excludes the simple-minded doer of good from future existence, is strongly combated by asdai Crescas (“Or Adonai,” ii. 5, 5; 6, 1) as contrary to Scripture and to common sense; he claims, instead, immortality for every soul filled with love for God, whose very essence is moral rather than intellectual, and consists in perfection and goodness rather than in knowledge (comp. also Gersonides, “Milamot ha-Shem,” i. 13; Albo, “‘Iarim,” iv. 29). Owing to Crescas, and in opposition to Leibnitz’s view that without future retribution there could be no morality and no justice in the world, Spinoza (“Ethics,” v. 41) declared, “Virtue is eternal bliss; even if we should not be aware of the soul’s immortality we must love virtue above everything.”

While medieval philosophy dwelt on the intellectual, moral, or spiritual nature of the soul to prove its immortality, the cabalists endeavored to explain the soul as a light from heaven, after Prov. xx. 27, and immortality as a return to the celestial world of pure light (Baya b. Asher to Gen. i. 3; Zohar, Terumah, 127a). But the belief in the preexistence of the soul led the mystics to the adoption, with all its weird notions and superstitions, of the Pythagorean system of the transmigration of the soul (see Transmigration of Souls). Of this mystic view Manasseh ben Israel also was an exponent, as his “Nishmat ayyim” shows.

It was the merit of Moses Mendelssohn, the most prominent philosopher of the deistic school in an era of enlightenment and skepticism, to have revived by his “Phdon” the Platonic doctrine of immortality, and to have asserted the divine nature of man by presenting new arguments in behalf of the spiritual substance of the soul (see Kayserling, “Moses Mendelssohn,” 1862, pp. 148-169). Thenceforth Judaism, and especially progressive or Reform Judaism, emphasized the doctrine of immortality, in both its religious instruction and its liturgy (see Catechisms; Conferences, Rabbinical), while the dogma of resurrection was gradually discarded and, in the Reform rituals, eliminated from the prayer-books. Immortality of the soul, instead of resurrection, was found to be “an integral part of the Jewish creed” and “the logical sequel to the God-idea,” inasmuch as God’s faithfulness “seemed to point, not to the fulfilment of the promise of resurrection” given to those that “sleep in the dust,” as the second of the Eighteen Benedictions has it, but to “the realization of those higher expectations which are sown, as part of its very nature, in every human soul” (Morris Joseph, “Judaism as Creed and Life,” 1903, pp. 91 et seq.). The Biblical statement “God created man in his own image” (Gen. i. 27) and the passage “May the soul . . . be bound in the bundle of life with the Lord thy God” (I Sam. xxv. 29, Hebr.), which, as a divine promise and a human supplication, filled the generations with comfort and hope (Zunz, “Z. G.” p. 350), received a new meaning from this view of man’s future; and the rabbinical saying, “The righteous rest not, either in this or in the future world, but go from strength to strength until they see God on Zion” (Ber. 64a. after Ps. lxxxiv. 8 [A. V.]), appeared to offer an endless vista to the hope of immortality.

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IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL – JewishEncyclopedia.com

Immortality (novel) – Wikipedia

Immortality (Czech: Nesmrtelnost) is a novel in seven parts, written by Milan Kundera in 1988 in Czech. First published 1990 in French. English edition 345 p., translation by Peter Kussi.[1] This novel springs from a casual gesture of a woman, seemingly to her swimming instructor. Immortality is the last of a trilogy that includes The Book Of Laughter And Forgetting, and The Unbearable Lightness Of Being.

Divided into seven parts, Immortality centers on Agnes, her husband Paul and her sister Laura. Part One: the Face establishes these characters. Part Two: Immortality depicts Goethe’s fraught relationship with Bettina, a young woman who aspires to create a place for herself in the pantheon of history by controlling Goethe’s legacy after his death. Part Three: Agnes and Laura fight, while focusing on the deteriorating state of Laura’s relationship with Bernard Bertrand. Part Four: Homo Sentimentalis chronicles Goethe’s afterlife and postmortem friendship with Ernest Hemingway. Part Five: Chance sees Agnes’ death, and intersects these fictional events with Kundera’s seemingly autobiographical account of a conversation with Professor Avenarius. Part Six: the Dial introduces a new character, Rubens, who had an affair with Agnes years prior to the onset of the main events in the plot. Part Seven: the Celebration concludes the novel in the same health club where Kundera first observed the inspirational wave gesture.

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Immortality (novel) – Wikipedia

Immortality | Superpower Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

ImmortalityPower/Ability to:

Never die.

The power to never die. Opposite to Mortality.

User possesses an infinite life span, as they can never die, never age, and can shrug off virtually any kind of physical damage. Some users are the defensive type, simply preventing all damages, to appear physically invulnerable, while others are the regenerative type, surviving and quickly recovering from anything you throw at them while at the same time they are capable of resurrecting themselves instantly after death and completely self-sustaining, free from all bodily necessities.

Some may only possess the power of:

Semi-Immortality

Reliant Immortality (Concept-Dependent Immortality, Self-Puppetry)

Immortality

Unfettered Body

Absolute Immortality

It is highly likely that various kinds of Immortality can become a curse because whoever is close to them or even their friends had past away, the user would be left behind, unless the user is also gifted the ability to teleport to both Earth and Heaven, or alternatively Meta Teleportation to keep the curse of being immortal at bay.

See Also: Immortality and Complete Immortality.

Zeus (Greek mythology) is immortal Father of Gods and ruler of Olympus.

Sun Wukong (Journey Into The West) become unable to die or be harmed in any way after eating both the food of the heavens and erasing his name off death’s register.

Teitoku Kakine (A Certain Magical Index) achieved a form of immortality by creating a human tissues (and a new body) out of his Dark Matter.

Ladylee (A Certain Magical Index) is an immortal, in that when she grew weary of living, she sought to use powerful magic to kill her, which did not work.

Tenzen Yakushiji (Basilisk) having his symbiote “eat” away his wounds and restoring any ravages of time or battle, even reattaching his head by sealing the cut.

Behelits (Berserk) are stone fetishes of unknown supernatural origin said to govern the fate of humanity. They are used primarily for summoning the angels of the God Hand, at which point their owners are granted a wish in exchange for a sacrifice.

Creed Diskenth (Black Cat) possesses the God’s Breath nano-machines within his body, regenerating even fatal wounds in seconds and maintaining his youth, thus granting him immortality aside from any brain damage being irreparable.

Ssuke Aizen (Bleach) gained immortality after fusing with the Hgyoku.

C.C (Code Geass) is immortal.

V.V (Code Geass) is immortal.

Due to the contradiction caused by the fusion of the absolutely immortal Zamasu and the mortal Goku Black, Merged Zamasu (Dragon Ball) has imperfect immortality.

Zeref (Fairy Tail) was cursed by Ankhseram with his contradiction curse which gives him uncontrollable Death Magic and Immortality.

Kager (Flame of Recca) using a forbidden spell that opens a time portal, but it traps her outside of space-time, rendering her completely immortal.

The Truth (Fullmetal Alchemist) is invincible, immortal and invulnerable.

Utsuro (Gintama) possesses immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Earth to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases.

Kouka (Gintama) possessed immortality by harnessing the Altana energy of Kouan to prevent aging and recover from wounds and diseases. However, when she left the planet for good, she weakened overtime and died.

China (Hetalia) is the only nation stated to be truly immortal.

Yta (Mermaid Saga) is a 500 years old immortal since unwittingly eating mermaid’s flesh.

Mana (Mermaid Saga) is a 15 years old immortal since being fed mermaid’s flesh.

Masato (Mermaid Saga) is an 800 years old immortal since eating mermaid’s flesh.

Ban, the Undead (Nanatsu no Taizai) acquired immortality after drinking the Fountain of Youth.

Meliodas (Nanatsu no Taizai) was cursed with the immortality by the Demon King.

Orochimaru (Naruto) considers himself immortal with his Living Corpse Reincarnation to transfer his soul to another body and his Cursed Seals as anchors of his conscious.

Hidan’s (Naruto) main advantage is his inability to die by physical damage, though he is vulnerable to death by lack of nutrient.

Kakuzu (Naruto) attained a form of immortality (though he denies to think of it as such) by tearing hearts out of others and integrating them into himself, extending his lifespan. He kept five inside him at all times.

Madara Uchiha (Naruto) claims he has achieved complete immortality due to hosting the Shinju, as he regenerated form his torso being blown apart. Only when the tailed beasts were all pulled out of him did he die.

Kaguya tsutsuki (Naruto) is immortal, in that she has tremendous regenerative powers, and that the only way to defeat her is to seal her person away by splitting her chakra into the nine tailed beasts.

Gemma Himuro (Ninja Scroll) putting his severed body parts back together, even his head is possible, rendering him immortal.

Due to her race, Jibril (No Game No Life) has reached 6407 years of age, she also has incredibly vast knowledge and high magical abilities, in two words; she gathers many old and new knowledge, in other words; she can no longer age or die.

Yume Hasegawa (Pupa) is an immortal monster incarnated into human form, possessing regenerative abilities that rendered her very difficult to kill.

Utsutsu Hasegawa (Pupa) has been fed the flesh of her immortal “sister”, giving him tremendous regenerative powers that made him more or less immortal.

Rin Asogi (RIN ~Daughters of Mnemosyne~) is immortal, due to a magic spore from Yggdrasil. she can even handle more alcohol than a normal person.

Free (Soul Eater) is a werewolf from the Immortal Clan, and therefore, immortal. He can only be harmed and killed by the “Witch-Hunt”.

Koj Akatsuki (Strike the Blood) is revealed to be immortal, even by vampire standards after regenerating from complete decapitation.

Tta Konoe (UQ Holder) cannot regrow limbs unless they are completely destroyed, but otherwise is immortal and can reattach any of it, including his head.

Karin Yki (UQ Holder) has one of the highest ranked forms of immortality, stating that she’s “not permitted to get hurt or die”

Elder Toguro (Yu Yu Hakusho) stated that his regenerative powers enables him from dying. This prevented him from dying from Kurama’s torturous Sinning Tree.

Dio Brando (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) become a vampire and gain immortality by using the Stone Mask.

Through the unknown power of his Stand or since merging with DIO’s flesh bud, Nijimura’s Father (Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Part IV Diamonds Are Unbreakable) is effectively immortal and possess extraordinary healing capabilities.

The Stone Mask (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Parts I Phantom Blood and II Battle Tendency).

Setsuna F. Seiei (Mobile Suit Gundam 00 The Movie – A wakening of the Trailblazer)

Porky Minch (Earthbound) has abused Time Travel so much that his body is stuck in the current timeline and cannot age nor die.

It is believed that Ganondorf (The Legend of Zelda) is immortal due to the Triforce of Power.

Clockwerk (Sly Cooper) has kept himself alive for millennia thanks to his cybernetic body and his jealousy and hatred of the Cooper Clan.

The Darkness (Skylanders) can only be killed by the Core of Light.

Shadow the Hedgehog (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Chip/Light Gaia (Sonic the Hedgehog)

Solaris (Sonic the Hedgehog) is a super-dimensional life form and the Sun God of Solenna, and exists in all timelines that he is immortal unless he is killed simultaneously in every temporal point.

Presea Combatir (Tales of Symphonia) is immortal and invulnerable because of a combination of her exsphere and her special ability Suppress

Kaguya Houraisan (Touhou Project) drank the Hourai Elixir, which grants her immortal in every sense of the word: she does not age, is immune to disease, and can regenerate from even being completely disintegrated.

Though he can be imprisoned and sealed away, Grima (Fire Emblem) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own hand.

Snow White (Valkyrie Crusade) is a immortal princess that is always trying to die, but nothing works.

Guardians (Destiny) are considered immortal due to being empowered by the Light and coming back from death every time.

Dominus Ghaul (Destiny) after stealing the Light has become Immortal as he can resurrect himself.

Doomsday (DC Comics), being immune to all that once killed him.

Ra’s al Ghl (DC Comics) is granted immortality by the Lazarus Pit’s effects.

Lobo (DC Comics) possessing regenerative powers of such a level that he can recreate his entire body from nothing more than a puddle of his blood, as he is banned from Death.

Resurrection Man (DC Comics) is immortal, and will return to life no matter how many times he is killed, returning with a new power associated to how he was killed.

Hercules (Marvel Comics) an Olympic half God.

Deadpool (Marvel Comics) is in the same boat as Thanos, both banished from death.

Gaea (Marvel Comics), the Elder Goddess of Nature.

Loki (Marvel Comics), the God of Mischief, is immortal.

Zeus (Marvel Comics), the King of the Olympic Gods.

Atlas (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Adam Destine (Marvel Comics) is immortal and invulnerable to physical harm.

Mr. Immortal (Marvel Comics) having evolved beyond death cannot be killed permanently, and will always come back to life without so much as a scar.

Count Nefaria (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Wonder Man (Marvel Comics) no longer ages and is functionally immortal because of the ionic energy that empowers him.

Garokk (Marvel Comics) The Petrified Man

Dr. Manhattan (Watchmen) is immortal due to his physiology.

Joshua Foley/Elixir (Marvel Comics) although Josh can die he is able to resurrect himself

Ananke (The Wicked + The Divine)

Pariah Dark (Danny Phantom) is the powerful immortal, former king of ghosts.

Peter Griffin (Family Guy) Peter Griffin has survived many life threatening situations and came back unscathed.

Ernie the Giant Chicken (Family Guy) always comes back for a rematch despite Peter Griffin always dealing a fatal blow on Ernie.

The Dog Talisman (Jackie Chan Adventures) grants its master invincibility.

General Immortus (Teen Titans) knows the strategy of every battle in history because he was there to see it.

Diagon (Ben 10: Ultimate Alien) does not age and cannot be killed.

The Eternals (Marvel Comics) a race of immortal beings that live alongside humanity for centuries.

Nightcrawler (Marvel Comics) cannot return to the afterlife due to sacrificing his soul in order to resurrect himself. This means Kurt cannot die by any natural means

Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter) acquired immortality by splitting his soul and hiding the fragments in various objects as anchors, though when his body was destroyed, he existed as a spectral form that many others would prefer death over.

Fawkes (Harry Potter) is a phoenix, who will be reborn with all of his memories intact upon death, and thus immortal, being the only known creatures in the wizarding world to have natural immortality.

Adam Monroe (Heroes) possessed immortality due to his tremendously advanced regeneration ability, though once the ability is taken away from him, he died within seconds.

Nathan Young (MisFits) is immortal.

Starscream (Transformers G1) possesses an immortal Spark, soul energy, meaning even if his physical vessel is destroyed he will live on.

Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th) can only be truly and permanently killed by his own family members.

The Beast (Doctor Who) claims to have existed before our universe was created

Candyman (Candyman) has lived for centuries

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Biological immortality – Wikipedia

Biological immortality (sometimes referred to bio-indefinite mortality) is a state in which the rate of mortality from senescence is stable or decreasing, thus decoupling it from chronological age. Various unicellular and multicellular species, including some vertebrates[citation needed], achieve this state either throughout their existence or after living long enough. A biologically immortal living being can still die from means other than senescence, such as through injury or disease.

This definition of immortality has been challenged in the Handbook of the Biology of Aging,[1] because the increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age may be negligible at extremely old ages, an idea referred to as the late-life mortality plateau. The rate of mortality may cease to increase in old age, but in most cases that rate is typically very high.[2] As a hypothetical example, there is only a 50% chance of a human surviving another year at age 110 or greater.

The term is also used by biologists to describe cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit on how many times they can divide.

Biologists chose the word “immortal” to designate cells that are not subject to the Hayflick limit, the point at which cells can no longer divide due to DNA damage or shortened telomeres. Prior to Leonard Hayflick’s theory, Alexis Carrel hypothesized that all normal somatic cells were immortal.[3]

The term “immortalization” was first applied to cancer cells that expressed the telomere-lengthening enzyme telomerase, and thereby avoided apoptosisi.e. cell death caused by intracellular mechanisms. Among the most commonly used cell lines are HeLa and Jurkat, both of which are immortalized cancer cell lines. HeLa cells originated from a sample of cervical cancer taken from Henrietta Lacks in 1951.[4] These cells have been and still are widely used in biological research such as creation of the polio vaccine,[5] sex hormone steroid research,[6] and cell metabolism.[7] Normal stem cells and germ cells can also be said to be immortal (when humans refer to the cell line).[citation needed]

Immortal cell lines of cancer cells can be created by induction of oncogenes or loss of tumor suppressor genes. One way to induce immortality is through viral-mediated induction of the large Tantigen,[8] commonly introduced through simian virus 40 (SV-40).[9]

According to the Animal Aging and Longevity Database, the list of organisms with negligible aging (along with estimated longevity in the wild) includes:[10]

In 2018, scientists working for Calico, a company owned by Alphabet, published a paper in the journal eLife which presents possible evidence that Heterocephalus glaber (Naked mole rat) do not face increased mortality risk due to aging.[12][13][14]

Many unicellular organisms age: as time passes, they divide more slowly and ultimately die. Asymmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast also age. However, symmetrically dividing bacteria and yeast can be biologically immortal under ideal growing conditions.[15] In these conditions, when a cell splits symmetrically to produce two daughter cells, the process of cell division can restore the cell to a youthful state. However, if the parent asymmetrically buds off a daughter only the daughter is reset to the youthful statethe parent isn’t restored and will go on to age and die. In a similar manner stem cells and gametes can be regarded as “immortal”.

Hydras are a genus of the Cnidaria phylum. All cnidarians can regenerate, allowing them to recover from injury and to reproduce asexually. Hydras are simple, freshwater animals possessing radial symmetry and no post-mitotic cells. All hydra cells continually divide.[citation needed] It has been suggested that hydras do not undergo senescence, and, as such, are biologically immortal. In a four-year study, 3 cohorts of hydra did not show an increase in mortality with age. It is possible that these animals live much longer, considering that they reach maturity in 5 to 10 days.[16] However, this does not explain how hydras are consequently able to maintain telomere lengths.

Turritopsis dohrnii, or Turritopsis nutricula, is a small (5 millimeters (0.20in)) species of jellyfish that uses transdifferentiation to replenish cells after sexual reproduction. This cycle can repeat indefinitely, potentially rendering it biologically immortal. This organism originated in the Caribbean sea, but has now spread around the world. Similar cases include hydrozoan Laodicea undulata[17] and scyphozoan Aurelia sp.1.[18]

Research suggests that lobsters may not slow down, weaken, or lose fertility with age, and that older lobsters may be more fertile than younger lobsters. This does not however make them immortal in the traditional sense, as they are significantly more likely to die at a shell moult the older they get (as detailed below).

Their longevity may be due to telomerase, an enzyme that repairs long repetitive sections of DNA sequences at the ends of chromosomes, referred to as telomeres. Telomerase is expressed by most vertebrates during embryonic stages but is generally absent from adult stages of life.[19] However, unlike vertebrates, lobsters express telomerase as adults through most tissue, which has been suggested to be related to their longevity.[20][21][22] Contrary to popular belief, lobsters are not immortal. Lobsters grow by moulting which requires a lot of energy, and the larger the shell the more energy is required.[23] Eventually, the lobster will die from exhaustion during a moult. Older lobsters are also known to stop moulting, which means that the shell will eventually become damaged, infected, or fall apart and they die.[24] The European lobster has an average life span of 31 years for males and 54 years for females.

Planarian flatworms have both sexually and asexually reproducing types. Studies on genus Schmidtea mediterranea suggest these planarians appear to regenerate (i.e. heal) indefinitely, and asexual individuals have an “apparently limitless [telomere] regenerative capacity fueled by a population of highly proliferative adult stem cells”. “Both asexual and sexual animals display age-related decline in telomere length; however, asexual animals are able to maintain telomere lengths somatically (i.e. during reproduction by fission or when regeneration is induced by amputation), whereas sexual animals restore telomeres by extension during sexual reproduction or during embryogenesis like other sexual species. Homeostatic telomerase activity observed in both asexual and sexual animals is not sufficient to maintain telomere length, whereas the increased activity in regenerating asexuals is sufficient to renew telomere length… “[25]

Lifespan: For sexually reproducing planaria: “the lifespan of individual planarian can be as long as 3 years, likely due to the ability of neoblasts to constantly replace aging cells”. Whereas for asexually reproducing planaria: “individual animals in clonal lines of some planarian species replicating by fission have been maintained for over 15 years”. They do not live forever.[26]

Although the premise that biological aging can be halted or reversed by foreseeable technology remains controversial,[27] research into developing possible therapeutic interventions is underway.[28] Among the principal drivers of international collaboration in such research is the SENS Research Foundation, a non-profit organization that advocates a number of what it claims are plausible research pathways that might lead to engineered negligible senescence in humans.[29][30]

In 2015, Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva, treated herself using gene therapy, with the goal of not just halting, but reversing aging.[31] She has since reported feeling more energetic, but long-term study of the treatment is ongoing.[citation needed]

For several decades,[32] researchers have also pursued various forms of suspended animation as a means by which to indefinitely extend mammalian lifespan. Some scientists have voiced support[33] for the feasibility of the cryopreservation of humans, known as cryonics. Cryonics is predicated on the concept that some people considered clinically dead by today’s medicolegal standards are not actually dead according to information-theoretic death and can, in principle, be resuscitated given sufficient technological advances.[34] The goal of current cryonics procedures is tissue vitrification, a technique first used to reversibly cryopreserve a viable whole organ in 2005.[35][36]

Similar proposals involving suspended animation include chemical brain preservation. The non-profit Brain Preservation Foundation offers a cash prize valued at over $100,000 for demonstrations of techniques that would allow for high-fidelity, long-term storage of a mammalian brain.[37]

In 2016, scientists at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Mayo Clinic employed genetic and pharmacological approaches to ablate pro-aging senescent cells, extending healthy lifespan of mice by over 25%. The startup Unity Biotechnology is further developing this strategy in human clinical trials.[38]

In early 2017, Harvard scientists headed by biologist David Sinclair announced they have tested a compound called NAD+ on mice and have successfully reversed the cellular aging process and can protect the DNA from future damage.[39] “The old mouse and young mouse cells are indistinguishable”, David was quoted. Human trials are to begin shortly in what the team expect is 6 months at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston.[citation needed]

In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands, pro-immortality transhumanist political parties were launched.[40] They aim to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and want to ensure the fastest possibleand at the same time, the least disruptivesocietal transition to radical life extension, life without aging, and ultimately, immortality. They aim to make it possible to provide access to such technologies to the majority of people alive today.[41]

Biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis suggested that biological immortality in humans is an inevitable consequence of natural evolution.[42][43] His theory of extreme lifespans through perpetual-equalising interventions (ELPIs) proposes that[44] the ability to attain indefinite lifespans is inherent in human biology, and that there will come a time when humans will continue to develop their intelligence by living indefinitely, rather than through evolution by natural selection.[45][46]

Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical molecular machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[47] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see biological machine). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[48]

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CSI: Immortality (TV Movie 2015) – IMDb

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Grissom and Willows return to help the CSI team solve a catastrophic case that paralyzes all of Las Vegas, on the special two-part series finale. Past and current series stars scheduled to appear include William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Ted Danson, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Elisabeth Harnois and Jon Wellner. Also, Melinda Clarke returns as Lady Heather. (Part 2 of 2)

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CSI: Immortality (TV Movie 2015) – IMDb

536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth …

THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,The earth, and every common sight,To me did seemApparell’d in celestial light,The glory and the freshness of a dream.5It is not now as it hath been of yore;Turn wheresoe’er I may,By night or day,The things which I have seen I now can see no more.The rainbow comes and goes,10And lovely is the rose;The moon doth with delightLook round her when the heavens are bare;Waters on a starry nightAre beautiful and fair;15The sunshine is a glorious birth;But yet I know, where’er I go,That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,And while the young lambs bound20As to the tabor’s sound,To me alone there came a thought of grief:A timely utterance gave that thought relief,And I again am strong:The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;25No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,And all the earth is gay;Land and sea30Give themselves up to jollity,And with the heart of MayDoth every beast keep holiday;Thou Child of Joy,Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy35Shepherd-boy!Ye blessd creatures, I have heard the callYe to each other make; I seeThe heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;My heart is at your festival,40My head hath its coronal,The fulness of your bliss, I feelI feel it all.O evil day! if I were sullenWhile Earth herself is adorning,This sweet May-morning,45And the children are cullingOn every side,In a thousand valleys far and wide,Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:50I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!But there’s a tree, of many, one,A single field which I have look’d upon,Both of them speak of something that is gone:The pansy at my feet55Doth the same tale repeat:Whither is fled the visionary gleam?Where is it now, the glory and the dream?Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,60Hath had elsewhere its setting,And cometh from afar:Not in entire forgetfulness,And not in utter nakedness,But trailing clouds of glory do we come65From God, who is our home:Heaven lies about us in our infancy!Shades of the prison-house begin to closeUpon the growing Boy,But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,70He sees it in his joy;The Youth, who daily farther from the eastMust travel, still is Nature’s priest,And by the vision splendidIs on his way attended;75At length the Man perceives it die away,And fade into the light of common day.Earth fills her lap with pleasures of her own;Yearnings she hath in her own natural kind,And, even with something of a mother’s mind,80And no unworthy aim,The homely nurse doth all she canTo make her foster-child, her Inmate Man,Forget the glories he hath known,And that imperial palace whence he came.85Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,A six years’ darling of a pigmy size!See, where ‘mid work of his own hand he lies,Fretted by sallies of his mother’s kisses,With light upon him from his father’s eyes!90See, at his feet, some little plan or chart,Some fragment from his dream of human life,Shaped by himself with newly-learnd art;A wedding or a festival,A mourning or a funeral;95And this hath now his heart,And unto this he frames his song:Then will he fit his tongueTo dialogues of business, love, or strife;But it will not be long100Ere this be thrown aside,And with new joy and prideThe little actor cons another part;Filling from time to time his ‘humorous stage’With all the Persons, down to palsied Age,105That Life brings with her in her equipage;As if his whole vocationWere endless imitation.Thou, whose exterior semblance doth belieThy soul’s immensity;110Thou best philosopher, who yet dost keepThy heritage, thou eye among the blind,That, deaf and silent, read’st the eternal deep,Haunted for ever by the eternal mind,Mighty prophet! Seer blest!115On whom those truths do rest,Which we are toiling all our lives to find,In darkness lost, the darkness of the grave;Thou, over whom thy ImmortalityBroods like the Day, a master o’er a slave,120A presence which is not to be put by;To whom the graveIs but a lonely bed without the sense or sightOf day or the warm light,A place of thought where we in waiting lie;125Thou little Child, yet glorious in the mightOf heaven-born freedom on thy being’s height,Why with such earnest pains dost thou provokeThe years to bring the inevitable yoke,Thus blindly with thy blessedness at strife?130Full soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight,And custom lie upon thee with a weight,Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life!O joy! that in our embersIs something that doth live,135That nature yet remembersWhat was so fugitive!The thought of our past years in me doth breedPerpetual benediction: not indeedFor that which is most worthy to be blest140Delight and liberty, the simple creedOf childhood, whether busy or at rest,With new-fledged hope still fluttering in his breast:Not for these I raiseThe song of thanks and praise;145But for those obstinate questioningsOf sense and outward things,Fallings from us, vanishings;Blank misgivings of a CreatureMoving about in worlds not realized,150High instincts before which our mortal NatureDid tremble like a guilty thing surprised:But for those first affections,Those shadowy recollections,Which, be they what they may,155Are yet the fountain-light of all our day,Are yet a master-light of all our seeing;Uphold us, cherish, and have power to makeOur noisy years seem moments in the beingOf the eternal Silence: truths that wake,160To perish never:Which neither listlessness, nor mad endeavour,Nor Man nor Boy,Nor all that is at enmity with joy,Can utterly abolish or destroy!165Hence in a season of calm weatherThough inland far we be,Our souls have sight of that immortal seaWhich brought us hither,Can in a moment travel thither,170And see the children sport upon the shore,And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.Then sing, ye birds, sing, sing a joyous song!And let the young lambs boundAs to the tabor’s sound!175We in thought will join your throng,Ye that pipe and ye that play,Ye that through your hearts to-dayFeel the gladness of the May!What though the radiance which was once so bright180Be now for ever taken from my sight,Though nothing can bring back the hourOf splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;We will grieve not, rather findStrength in what remains behind;185In the primal sympathyWhich having been must ever be;In the soothing thoughts that springOut of human suffering;In the faith that looks through death,190In years that bring the philosophic mind.And O ye Fountains, Meadows, Hills, and Groves,Forebode not any severing of our loves!Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might;I only have relinquish’d one delight195To live beneath your more habitual sway.I love the brooks which down their channels fret,Even more than when I tripp’d lightly as they;The innocent brightness of a new-born DayIs lovely yet;200The clouds that gather round the setting sunDo take a sober colouring from an eyeThat hath kept watch o’er man’s mortality;Another race hath been, and other palms are won.Thanks to the human heart by which we live,205Thanks to its tenderness, its joys, and fears,To me the meanest flower that blows can giveThoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.

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536. Ode. Intimations of Immortality. William Wordsworth …

Who Wants to Live Forever? – TV Tropes

Angel: Buffy, be careful with this gift. A lot of things that seem strong, good and powerful, they can be painful. Buffy: Like say… immortality? Angel: Exactly. I’m dying to get rid of that.Put your hand down. This is not a vote.The worst fate possible might well be immortality. Sure, you might like the idea that you get to live forever and see what the world’s like hundreds of years from now, but what’s eternal life compared to the pain of life in general? From eventual boredom to eternal entrapment and torture to the emotional anguish of seeing your loved ones die, one by one, as you stay fixed in time.When done Anviliciously, this can seem like Sour Grapes on the part of the very much mortal writers. May be used as a Fantastic Aesop.This attitude toward immortality is Older Than Feudalism, going back at least as far as the Greek myths about Tithonos’s Age Without Youth and Prometheus’s punishment and of course the appeal behind He why is your hand still up!?Compare Blessed with Suck for those that angst as well as And I Must Scream for the mindset this can create.Contrast Living Forever Is Awesome for those who like it, and Immortality Seeker for those who seek it, and Eternal Love where immortals fall in love. See Living Forever Is No Big Deal for the middle ground.See also Immortality Hurts, which is a subtrope. Immunity Disability is a supertrope (here, the “immunity” is to death).See Analysis for more horrifying details.

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A thousand years have come and gone, but time has passed me by Stars stopped in the sky Frozen in an everlasting view Waiting for the world to end, weary of the night Praying for the light Prison of the lost Xanadu

And there’s never gonna be enough money And there’s never gonna be drugs And we’re never gonna get old And there’s never gonna be enough bullets And there’s never gonna be sex And we’re never gonna get old

If I’ve lived a thousand times before And if I’m gonna live anymore Always brings me down Everyone wants to live forever Thinkin’ that it’d be a lot better… Everyone wants to live forever But no one ever gets it together

Radiation got me as well made me immortal in this hell An old dream coming true but why now when there is nothing to do? Since then I’ve been searching around going from town to town Could it only have happened to me? Am I doomed to be I’m the last man on earth

Newspaper Comics

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“Eternity is permanent boredom A cheerless cycle with neither beginning, nor end For all the time the same is repeated from the start No exultation, no horror Only the boring Idiotic Eternity”

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Nothing ever really happens to me. I am completely safe from harm, and this is a great burden… I think that one day, this world will simply talk itself to death, and I will be left to flit about in the void. I will be the Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives Nowhere.

Western Animation

Freeze: You want to live like this? Abandoned and alone, A prisoner in a world you can see but never touch. Old and infirm as you are, I’d trade a thousand of my frozen years for your worst day.

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Who Wants to Live Forever? – TV Tropes

Immortality, Transhumanism, and Ray Kurzweils Singularity

Within thirty years, we will have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended. Vernor Vinge, Technological Singularity, 1983

Futurist and Inventor Ray Kurzweil has a plan: He wants to never die.

In order to achieve this goal, he currently takes over 150 supplements per day, eats a calorie restricted diet (a proven technique to prolong lifespan), drinks ionized water (a type of alkalinized water that supposedly protects against free radicals in the body), and exercises daily, all to promote the healthy functioning of his body; and at 60 years old, he reportedly has the physiology of a man 20 years younger.

But the human body, no matter how well you take care of it, is susceptible to illness, disease, and senescence the process of cellular change in the body that results in that little thing we all do called aging. (This cellular process is why humans are physiologically unable to live past the age of around 125 years old.) Kurzweil is well aware of this, but has a solution: he is just trying to live long enough in his human body until technology reaches the point where man can meld with machine, and he can survive as a cyborg with robotically enhanced features; survive, that is, until the day when he can eventually upload his consciousness onto a harddrive, enabling him to live forever as bits of information stored indefinitely; immortal, in a sense, as long as he has a copy of himself in case the computer fails.

What happens if these technological abilities dont come soon enough? Kurzweil has a back-up plan. If, for some reason, this mind-machine blend doesnt occur in his biological lifetime, Kurzweil is signed up at Alcor Life Extension Foundation to be cryonically frozen and kept in Scottsdale, Arizona, amongst approximately 900 other stored bodies (including famous baseball player Ted Williams) who are currently stored. There at Alcor, he will wait until the day when scientists discover the ability to reanimate life back into him and not too long, as Kurzweil believes this day will be in about 50 years.

Watch a video on Alcor and Cryonics here:

Ray Kurzweil is a fascinating and controversial figure, both famous and infamous for his technological predictions. He is a respected scientist and inventor, known for his accurate predictions of a number of technological events, and recently started The Singularity University here in Silicon Valley, an interdisciplinary program (funded in part by Google) aimed to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders around issues of accelerating technologies.

Ray Kurzweil

Kurzweils most well-known predictions are encapsulated in this event he forecasts called The Singularity, a period of time he predicts in the next few decades when artificial intelligence will exceed human intelligence, and technologies like genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and computer technology will radically transform human life, enabling mind, body and machine to become one.

He is also a pioneer of a movement called transhumanism, which is defined by this belief that technology will ultimately replace biology, and rid human beings of all the things that, well, make us human, like disease, aging, and you guessed itdeath. Why be human when you can be something better? When Artificial intelligence and nanotechnology comes around in the singularity, Kurzweil thinks, being biologically human will become obsolete. With cyborg features and enhanced cognitive capacities, we will have fewer deficiencies, and more capabilities; we will possess the ability to become more like machines, and well be better for it.

Watch A Preview For A Film About Kurzweil entitled Transcendent Man:

Kurzweil outlines his vision of our technological future in his article Reinventing Humanity: The Future of Machine-Human Intelligence for Futurist Magazine, which raises some juicy points to consider from the perspective of ethics and technology. He explains The Singularity, in his own words,:

We stand on the threshold of the most profound and transformative event in the history of humanity, the singularity.

What is the Singularity? From my perspective, the Singularity is a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so fast and far-reaching that human existence on this planet will be irreversibly altered. We will combine our brain powerthe knowledge, skills, and personality quirks that make us humanwith our computer power in order to think, reason, communicate, and create in ways we can scarcely even contemplate today.

This merger of man and machine, coupled with the sudden explosion in machine intelligence and rapid innovation in the fields of gene research as well as nanotechnology, will result in a world where there is no distinction between the biological and the mechanical, or between physical and virtual reality. These technological revolutions will allow us to transcend our frail bodies with all their limitations. Illness, as we know it, will be eradicated. Through the use of nanotechnology, we will be able to manufacture almost any physical product upon demand, world hunger and poverty will be solved, and pollution will vanish. Human existence will undergo a quantum leap in evolution. We will be able to live as long as we choose. The coming into being of such a world is, in essence, the Singularity.

The details of the coming Singularity, Kurzweil outlines, will occur in three areas: The genetic revolution, the nanotech revolution, and strong AI: which means, essentially, machines that are smarter than humans.

The first he describes is the nanotechnology revolution, which refers to a type of technology that manipulates matter on an atomic and molecular scale, potentially allowing us to reassemble matter in a variety of ways. Kurzweil believes nanotechnology will give us the capability to create atomic size robots that can clean our blood cells and eradicate disease; he also thinks nanotechnology will allow us to create essentially anything by assembling it through nanobots (for example, he thinks that nanotechnology will enable us to e-mail physical things like clothing, much like we can currently e-mail audio-files). He explains:

The nanotechnology revolution will enable us to redesign and rebuildmolecule by moleculeour bodies and brains and the world with which we interact, going far beyond the limitations of biology.

In the future, nanoscale devices will run hundreds of tests simultaneously on tiny samples of a given substance. These devices will allow extensive tests to be conducted on nearly invisible samples of blood.

In the area of treatment, a particularly exciting application of this technology is the harnessing of nanoparticles to deliver medication to specific sites in the body. Nanoparticles can guide drugs into cell walls and through the blood-brain barrier. Nanoscale packages can be designed to hold drugs, protect them through the gastrointestinal tract, ferry them to specific locations, and then release them in sophisticated ways that can be influenced and controlled, wirelessly, from outside the body.

In regards to AI, Kurzweil envisions what will eventually become a post-human future, where we upload our consciousness to computers and live forever as stored information:

The implementation of artificial intelligence in our biological systems will mark an evolutionary leap forward for humanity, but it also implies we will indeed become more machine than human. Billions of nanobots will travel through the bloodstream in our bodies and brains. In our bodies, they will destroy pathogens, correct DNA errors, eliminate toxins, and perform many other tasks to enhance our physical well-being. As a result, we will be able to live indefinitely without aging.

Despite the wonderful future potential of medicine, real human longevity will only be attained when we move away from our biological bodies entirely. As we move toward a software-based existence, we will gain the means of backing ourselves up (storing the key patterns underlying our knowledge, skills, and personality in a digital setting) thereby enabling a virtual immortality. Thanks to nanotechnology, we will have bodies that we can not just modify but change into new forms at will. We will be able to quickly change our bodies in full-immersion virtual-reality environments incorporating all of the senses during the 2020s and in real reality in the 2040s.

Now, the idea of becoming nanobot driven robots is hard to wrap ones head around, particurlaly living in a time when people struggle to get their blue-tooths to work correctly. But even though to most people, these predictions seem very extreme, Kurzweil explains why he thinks these changes are coming fast, even if we cant conceive of them now. He explains that, in the vein of Moores law (which describes how the density of transistors on computer chips has doubled every two years since its invention), technology develops exponentially and thus the rate of change is rapidly increasing in the modern day:

We wont experience 100 years of technological advance in the twenty-first century; we will witness on the order of 20,000 years of progress

How is it possible we could be so close to this enormous change and not see it? The answer is the quickening nature of technological innovation. In thinking about the future, few people take into consideration the fact that human scientific progress is exponential

In other words, the twentieth century was gradually speeding up to todays rate of progress; its achievements, therefore, were equivalent to about 20 years of progress at the rate of 2000. Well make another 20 years of progress in just 14 years (by 2014), and then do the same again in only seven years. To express this another way, we wont experience 100 years of technological advance in the twenty-first century; we will witness on the order of 20,000 years of progress (again, when measured by todays progress rate), or progress on a level of about 1,000 times greater than what was achieved in the twentieth century.

Reflections

There are so many questions to ask, its hard to know where to start. Considering The Singularity, many questions arise (the first, which youre probably thinking, is Is this really possible?!) But that question put temporarily aside, some questions seem to be: what are the promise and perils of nanotechnology, and how can we approach them responsibly?What types of genetic engineering, if any, should we pursue, and what types should we avoid? If we really could live forever, should weparticularly if it meant living no longer as humans, but as machines? And what happens to who we are as human beings our beliefs, our religions and faiths, our thoughts about our purpose if we pursue this type of future?

Each of these topics is rife with ethical and existential questions; and discussion of many of them requires scientific knowledge that extends beyond my ability to represent them here. But contemplating these questions broadly, even in spite of extensive knowledge of their specifics, brings into focus some fundamental questions about the principles of human experience, and about the broad issue of our technological future and how to approach it.The more we envision a technologically saturated future, I think, the more our human values are called upon to be revealed as we react, respond, flinch, or embrace the pictures of our future reflected in these predictions. They ask us to consider: what do we value about being human? What do we want to hold on to about being human, and what do want to replace, augment, and transform with technology? Is living as stored information really any life at all?

In addition to these questions, exploring these futuristic issues calls us to consider some of our fundamental principles about technology. A basic yet extremely complex question arises: Should all technology be pursued? In other words, should we ever restrict technological innovation, and say that some technologies, because of their risks to humanity, or to certain human values simply shouldnt be developed?

Reflections on this question bring up the topic of techno-optimism and techno-pessimism, which I wrote about briefly here.

Kurzweil, it seems to go without saying, is a fullfledged techno-optimist, interested in letting technology run its full reign, even if that means leaving everything that is recognizeably human behind. He concedes that we need to be responsible about our use of nanotechnology a technology which some fear could bring about the end of the world (see the grey goo theory) but for the most part is a proponent of full fledged technological expansion. Reflection is important, but no amount should limit technologies:

We dont have to look past today to see the intertwined promise and peril of technological advancement, he says. Imagine describing the dangers (atomic and hydrogen bombs for one thing) that exist today to people who lived a couple of hundred years ago. They would think it mad to take such risks. But how many people in 2006 would really want to go back to the short, brutish, disease-filled, poverty-stricken, disaster-prone lives that 99% of the human race struggled through two centuries ago?

We may romanticize the past, but up until fairly recently most of humanity lived extremely fragile lives in which one all-too-common misfortune could spell disaster. Two hundred years ago, life expectancy for females in the record-holding country (Sweden) was roughly 35-five years, very brief compared with the longest life expectancy today-almost 85 years for Japanese women. Life expectancy for males was roughly 33 years, compared with the current 79 years. Half a day was often required to prepare an evening meal, and hard labor characterized most human activity. There were no social safety nets. Substantial portions of our species still live in this precarious way, which is at least one reason to continue technological progress and the economic improvement that accompanies it. Only technology, with its ability to provide orders of magnitude of advances in capability and affordability has the scale to confront problems such as poverty, disease, pollution, and the other overriding concerns of society today. The benefits of applying ourselves to these challenges cannot be overstated.

But another, more technologically conservative view is important to consider, one characterized by thinkers who question whether these technologies should be proliferated, or even pursued at all.

William Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, famously countered Kurzweils predictions in his article, Why The Future Doesnt Need Us. He opens his article discussing his meeting with Kurzweil:

I had always felt sentient robots were in the realm of science fiction. But now, from someone I respected, I was hearing a strong argument that they were a near-term possibility

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.

I had always felt sentient robots were in the realm of science fiction. But now, from someone I respected, I was hearing a strong argument that they were a near-term possibility. I was taken aback, especially given Rays proven ability to imagine and create the future. I already knew that new technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnology were giving us the power to remake the world, but a realistic and imminent scenario for intelligent robots surprised me.

Joy then discusses how these technologies (namely nanotechnology and artificial intelligence) pose a new, unparralleled threat to humanity, and that as a result, we shouldnt pursue them in fact, we should purposefully restrict them, on the principle that the amount of harm and threat they pose to humanity itself outweighs what benefit they could bring.

Accustomed to living with almost routine scientific breakthroughs, we have yet to come to terms with the fact that the most compelling 21st-century technologies robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology pose a different threat than the technologies that have come before. Specifically, robots, engineered organisms, and nanobots share a dangerous amplifying factor: They can self-replicate. A bomb is blown up only once but one bot can become many, and quickly get out of control.

Failing to understand the consequences of our inventions while we are in the rapture of discovery and innovation seems to be a common fault of scientists and technologists; we have long been driven by the overarching desire to know that is the nature of sciences quest, not stopping to notice that the progress to newer and more powerful technologies can take on a life of its own.

We are being propelled into this new century with no plan, no control, no brakes. Have we already gone too far down the path to alter course? I dont believe so, but we arent trying yet, and the last chance to assert control the fail-safe point is rapidly approaching. We have our first pet robots, as well as commercially available genetic engineering techniques, and our nanoscale techniques are advancing rapidly. While the development of these technologies proceeds through a number of steps, it isnt necessarily the case as happened in the Manhattan Project and the Trinity test that the last step in proving a technology is large and hard. The breakthrough to wild self-replication in robotics, genetic engineering, or nanotechnology could come suddenly, reprising the surprise we felt when we learned of the cloning of a mammal.

He closes his essay saying:

Thoreau also said that we will be rich in proportion to the number of things which we can afford to let alone. We each seek to be happy, but it would seem worthwhile to question whether we need to take such a high risk of total destruction to gain yet more knowledge and yet more things; common sense says that there is a limit to our material needs and that certain knowledge is too dangerous and is best forgone.

Neither should we pursue near immortality without considering the costs A technological approach to Eternity near immortality through robotics may not be the most desirable utopia, and its pursuit brings clear dangers. Maybe we should rethink our utopian choices.

Another view that counters Kurzweils is presented by Richard Eckersley, focused a bit less on the scientific dangers and more on the threat to human values:

Why pursue this(Kurzweils) future?The future world that Ray Kurzweil describes bears almost no relationship to human well-being that I am aware of. In essence, human health and happiness comes from being connected and engaged, from being suspended in a web of relationships and interestspersonal, social and spiritual that give meaning to our lives. The intimacy and support provided by close personal relationships seem to matter most; isolation exacts the highest price. The need to belong is more important than the need to be rich. Meaning matters more than money and what it buys.

We are left with the matter of destiny: it is our preordained fate, Kurzweil suggests, to advance technologically until the entire universe is at our fingertips. The question then becomes, preordained by whom or what? Biological evolution has not set this course for us; Is technology itself the planner? Perhaps it will eventually be, but not yet.

We are left to conclude that we will do this because it is we who have decided it is our destiny.

Joy and Eckersley powerfully warn against our pursuit of a Kurzweil-type future. So we may be able to have the technical ability to achieve machine-like capacities; does that mean we should? This technological future, though perhaps possible, should not be preferable. The technologies that Kurzweil speaks of are dangerous, presenting a new type of threat that we have not before faced as humans and the risks of pursuing them far outweigh the benefits.

We may find ourselves equipped with the capacity to alter ourselves and the world, and yet unable to handle or control that immense power

If we are to continue down Kurzweils path, we may be able to pursue remarkable things conceived of mostly so far in science fiction a future where we are no longer humans at all, but artifacts of our own technological creations. But if we are to heed Joys and Eckersleys views, we would practice saying enough is enough we would say we have sufficient technology to live reasonably happy lives, and by encouraging the development of these new technologies, we might be unleashing entities of pandoras box that could put humanity in ruins forever. We would say, Yes, there is tremendous promise in these technologies; but there is more so a tremendous risk. We need to hold fast to the human values of restraint and temperance, lest we find ourselves equippedwiththe capacity to alter ourselves and the world, and yet unable to handle or control that immense power.

So the camps seem to be these: Kurzweil believes technology reduces suffering, and that we should pursue it for that reason to any end even until we are no longer human, but become technology ourselves. (Indeed, he feels we have a moral imperative to pursue them for this reason.) Joy believes there are too many dangers in this type of future. And Eckersley asks, why would we want this future, anyway? I am left thinking about a number of things:

First, I am intrigued by Kurzweils unwavering love for technology because it seems to me like technology has both its strengths and its weaknesses, and that such faith in a technological system greatly overinflates the capacities of technology to cure all of the worlds problems while overlooking its very real drawbacks.I wonder about putting so much faith in technology, to solve all our ills, and replace all our deficiencies. Is it really such a healing, improving force? Would it really be possible to achieve this technological utopia without some potentially disastrous consequences?

I also cant help but wonder what role technology, as its own force, plays in this debate. People often fear about rebellious robots or artificially intelligent beings taking over; but is technology already, in a sense guiding us, in control of us, instead of us controlling it? It seems harder and harder to resist the grip of technology, even as we face a future that, as Joy says, no longer needs us. Isnt there something a bit strange about humans contemplatingand preferring a post-human future? Does it indicate, in some sense, that technology has already overtaken man, and is gearing us down a path until it fully reigns supreme?

If we arent drawing the line at genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, does that mean we will never actually draw a line?

I am also left wondering, in part because of the aforementioned reason, whether it is possible to forego the development of certain technologies, as Joy suggests, given our current track record and inclinations towards the use of technology. It always seems with technology that if we have the capacity to do something, then we inevitably will. Is it possible to stop the development of technology, especially if that means also giving up some of its potential benefits? And if we arent drawing the line at genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and artificial intelligence, does that mean we will never actually draw a line? What does that say about human nature that we forever seek this sort of technological progress, even when it robs us of what we currently conceive of as making us human? Are there core values to being human that will persevere, or are we really just a fleeting blip in the evolutionary climb towards becoming transhumans?

Concluding Thoughts

The ideas Kurzweil puts forth as his vision of our future really forces one to consider what things about being human seem worth holding onto (if any). And even if his predictions dont materialize in the way or the time frame he anticipates, it does seem undeniable that we are at a critical turning point in our species history. Indeed, the decisions we choose to make now in regards to these fundamentally reshaping technologies will affect generations to come in a profound way generations whose lives will be radically different based on what roads we choose to go down in regards to genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, and nanotechnology.

But making these choices is not strictly a technical task, concerned merely with what we are able to, technologically speaking, accomplish; rather, it really requires us to decideour core beliefs about what makes a good life; to consider what is worth risking about being human beings, not only to alleviate suffering but also to engage in these self-enhancing technologies that will supposedly make us stronger, smarter, and less destructible; and to grapple with these fundamental questions of life and death that are not technological issues but rather metaphysical ones. Indeed, its no small philosophical feat to reshape and change the human genome; its no small feat to create artificial beings smarter than human beings; and its no small feat to eradicate what has, since the birth of mankind, defined our human experience: the fleeting nature of life, and the inevitability of death. Taking this power and control into our own hands requires not just the capability to achieve extended life from a technical standpoint, but a completely redefined scope of who we are, what we want, and what our purpose is on this planet.

There are questions, of course, about the moral decision of living forever. What would we do about overpopulation would we stop procreating completely? Does a person living now have more of a right to be alive than a person who hasnt been born yet? Where would we derive purpose from in life if there was no end point? These would all be real questions to consider in this type of scenario; and they are questions that would require real reflection. With a reshaped experience of what it means to be human, we would be required to make decisions about our lives that weve never even had to consider making before.

But if Kurzweil is correct, then never have we had such power over our own destinies. In Kurzweils world, there is no higher power or God divining our life course, nor is there an afterlife or Heaven worth gaining entrance to. The biological and technical underpinnings of life are, in his view, manipulatable at our will; we can defy what some might call our God- given biology and we can become our own makers. We can even make our own rules. And along with that power, would come the responsibility to answer some very weighty philosophical questions, for nothing else would be determining those answers for us.

My question is, do we really want that responsibility? Are we really equipped to handle that type of power? And furthermore, does getting caught up in all the ways these technologies could enhance our lives in getting caught up in the idea that all technological innovation is definitively progress are we less and less able to step back and ask the philosophical and ethical questions about if this isreally what a good life looks like?

Questions:

When you envision our technological future, do you share Kurzweils dreams? Joys fears? Eckersleys questions about our human values being lost?

Should we place limits on certain technologies, given the dangers they present? Are there any types of technologies we simply shouldnt pursue?

Follow this link:

Immortality, Transhumanism, and Ray Kurzweils Singularity

Immortality – Wikipedia

Immortality is eternal life, being exempt from death, unending existence.[2] Some modern species may possess biological immortality.

Certain scientists, futurists, and philosophers have theorized about the immortality of the human body, with some suggesting that human immortality may be achievable in the first few decades of the 21st century. Other advocates believe that life extension is a more achievable goal in the short term, with immortality awaiting further research breakthroughs. The absence of aging would provide humans with biological immortality, but not invulnerability to death by disease or physical trauma; although mind uploading could solve that issue if it proved possible. Whether the process of internal endoimmortality is delivered within the upcoming years depends chiefly on research (and in neuron research in the case of endoimmortality through an immortalized cell line) in the former view and perhaps is an awaited goal in the latter case.[3]

In religious contexts, immortality is often stated to be one of the promises of God (or other deities) to human beings who show goodness or else follow divine law. What form an unending human life would take, or whether an immaterial soul exists and possesses immortality, has been a major point of focus of religion, as well as the subject of speculation, fantasy, and debate.

Life extension technologies promise a path to complete rejuvenation. Cryonics holds out the hope that the dead can be revived in the future, following sufficient medical advancements. While, as shown with creatures such as hydra and planarian worms, it is indeed possible for a creature to be biologically immortal, it is not known if it is possible for humans.

Mind uploading is the transference of brain states from a human brain to an alternative medium providing similar functionality. Assuming the process to be possible and repeatable, this would provide immortality to the computation of the original brain, as predicted by futurists such as Ray Kurzweil.[4]

The belief in an afterlife is a fundamental tenet of most religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Judaism, and the Bah’ Faith; however, the concept of an immortal soul is not. The “soul” itself has different meanings and is not used in the same way in different religions and different denominations of a religion. For example, various branches of Christianity have disagreeing views on the soul’s immortality and its relation to the body.

Physical immortality is a state of life that allows a person to avoid death and maintain conscious thought. It can mean the unending existence of a person from a physical source other than organic life, such as a computer. Active pursuit of physical immortality can either be based on scientific trends, such as cryonics, digital immortality, breakthroughs in rejuvenation or predictions of an impending technological singularity, or because of a spiritual belief, such as those held by Rastafarians or Rebirthers.

There are three main causes of death: aging, disease and physical trauma.[5] Such issues can be resolved with the solutions provided in research to any end providing such alternate theories at present that require unification.

Aubrey de Grey, a leading researcher in the field,[6] defines aging as “a collection of cumulative changes to the molecular and cellular structure of an adult organism, which result in essential metabolic processes, but which also, once they progress far enough, increasingly disrupt metabolism, resulting in pathology and death.” The current causes of aging in humans are cell loss (without replacement), DNA damage, oncogenic nuclear mutations and epimutations, cell senescence, mitochondrial mutations, lysosomal aggregates, extracellular aggregates, random extracellular cross-linking, immune system decline, and endocrine changes. Eliminating aging would require finding a solution to each of these causes, a program de Grey calls engineered negligible senescence. There is also a huge body of knowledge indicating that change is characterized by the loss of molecular fidelity.[7]

Disease is theoretically surmountable via technology. In short, it is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism, something the body shouldn’t typically have to deal with its natural make up.[8] Human understanding of genetics is leading to cures and treatments for a myriad of previously incurable diseases. The mechanisms by which other diseases do damage are becoming better understood. Sophisticated methods of detecting diseases early are being developed. Preventative medicine is becoming better understood. Neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s may soon be curable with the use of stem cells. Breakthroughs in cell biology and telomere research are leading to treatments for cancer. Vaccines are being researched for AIDS and tuberculosis. Genes associated with type 1 diabetes and certain types of cancer have been discovered, allowing for new therapies to be developed. Artificial devices attached directly to the nervous system may restore sight to the blind. Drugs are being developed to treat a myriad of other diseases and ailments.

Physical trauma would remain as a threat to perpetual physical life, as an otherwise immortal person would still be subject to unforeseen accidents or catastrophes. The speed and quality of paramedic response remains a determining factor in surviving severe trauma.[9] A body that could automatically repair itself from severe trauma, such as speculated uses for nanotechnology, would mitigate this factor. Being the seat of consciousness, the brain cannot be risked to trauma if a continuous physical life is to be maintained. This aversion to trauma risk to the brain would naturally result in significant behavioral changes that would render physical immortality undesirable for some people.

Organisms otherwise unaffected by these causes of death would still face the problem of obtaining sustenance (whether from currently available agricultural processes or from hypothetical future technological processes) in the face of changing availability of suitable resources as environmental conditions change. After avoiding aging, disease, and trauma, you could still starve to death.

If there is no limitation on the degree of gradual mitigation of risk then it is possible that the cumulative probability of death over an infinite horizon is less than certainty, even when the risk of fatal trauma in any finite period is greater than zero. Mathematically, this is an aspect of achieving “actuarial escape velocity”

Biological immortality is an absence of aging. Specifically it’s the absence of a sustained increase in rate of mortality as a function of chronological age. A cell or organism that does not experience aging, or ceases to age at some point, is biologically immortal.

Biologists have chosen the word immortal to designate cells that are not limited by the Hayflick limit, where cells no longer divide because of DNA damage or shortened telomeres. The first and still most widely used immortal cell line is HeLa, developed from cells taken from the malignant cervical tumor of Henrietta Lacks without her consent in 1951. Prior to the 1961 work of Leonard Hayflick, there was the erroneous belief fostered by Alexis Carrel that all normal somatic cells are immortal. By preventing cells from reaching senescence one can achieve biological immortality; telomeres, a “cap” at the end of DNA, are thought to be the cause of cell aging. Every time a cell divides the telomere becomes a bit shorter; when it is finally worn down, the cell is unable to split and dies. Telomerase is an enzyme which rebuilds the telomeres in stem cells and cancer cells, allowing them to replicate an infinite number of times.[10] No definitive work has yet demonstrated that telomerase can be used in human somatic cells to prevent healthy tissues from aging. On the other hand, scientists hope to be able to grow organs with the help of stem cells, allowing organ transplants without the risk of rejection, another step in extending human life expectancy. These technologies are the subject of ongoing research, and are not yet realized.[11]

Life defined as biologically immortal is still susceptible to causes of death besides aging, including disease and trauma, as defined above. Notable immortal species include:

As the existence of biologically immortal species demonstrates, there is no thermodynamic necessity for senescence: a defining feature of life is that it takes in free energy from the environment and unloads its entropy as waste. Living systems can even build themselves up from seed, and routinely repair themselves. Aging is therefore presumed to be a byproduct of evolution, but why mortality should be selected for remains a subject of research and debate. Programmed cell death and the telomere “end replication problem” are found even in the earliest and simplest of organisms.[19] This may be a tradeoff between selecting for cancer and selecting for aging.[20]

Modern theories on the evolution of aging include the following:

There are some known naturally occurring and artificially produced chemicals that may increase the lifetime or life-expectancy of a person or organism, such as resveratrol.[23][24]

Some scientists believe that boosting the amount or proportion of telomerase in the body, a naturally forming enzyme that helps maintain the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes, could prevent cells from dying and so may ultimately lead to extended, healthier lifespans. A team of researchers at the Spanish National Cancer Centre (Madrid) tested the hypothesis on mice. It was found that those mice which were genetically engineered to produce 10 times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50% longer than normal mice.[25]

In normal circumstances, without the presence of telomerase, if a cell divides repeatedly, at some point all the progeny will reach their Hayflick limit. With the presence of telomerase, each dividing cell can replace the lost bit of DNA, and any single cell can then divide unbounded. While this unbounded growth property has excited many researchers, caution is warranted in exploiting this property, as exactly this same unbounded growth is a crucial step in enabling cancerous growth. If an organism can replicate its body cells faster, then it would theoretically stop aging.

Embryonic stem cells express telomerase, which allows them to divide repeatedly and form the individual. In adults, telomerase is highly expressed in cells that need to divide regularly (e.g., in the immune system), whereas most somatic cells express it only at very low levels in a cell-cycle dependent manner.

Technological immortality is the prospect for much longer life spans made possible by scientific advances in a variety of fields: nanotechnology, emergency room procedures, genetics, biological engineering, regenerative medicine, microbiology, and others. Contemporary life spans in the advanced industrial societies are already markedly longer than those of the past because of better nutrition, availability of health care, standard of living and bio-medical scientific advances. Technological immortality predicts further progress for the same reasons over the near term. An important aspect of current scientific thinking about immortality is that some combination of human cloning, cryonics or nanotechnology will play an essential role in extreme life extension. Robert Freitas, a nanorobotics theorist, suggests tiny medical nanorobots could be created to go through human bloodstreams, find dangerous things like cancer cells and bacteria, and destroy them.[26] Freitas anticipates that gene-therapies and nanotechnology will eventually make the human body effectively self-sustainable and capable of living indefinitely in empty space, short of severe brain trauma. This supports the theory that we will be able to continually create biological or synthetic replacement parts to replace damaged or dying ones. Future advances in nanomedicine could give rise to life extension through the repair of many processes thought to be responsible for aging. K. Eric Drexler, one of the founders of nanotechnology, postulated cell repair devices, including ones operating within cells and utilizing as yet hypothetical biological machines, in his 1986 book Engines of Creation. Raymond Kurzweil, a futurist and transhumanist, stated in his book The Singularity Is Near that he believes that advanced medical nanorobotics could completely remedy the effects of aging by 2030.[27] According to Richard Feynman, it was his former graduate student and collaborator Albert Hibbs who originally suggested to him (circa 1959) the idea of a medical use for Feynman’s theoretical micromachines (see nanobiotechnology). Hibbs suggested that certain repair machines might one day be reduced in size to the point that it would, in theory, be possible to (as Feynman put it) “swallow the doctor”. The idea was incorporated into Feynman’s 1959 essay There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.[28]

Cryonics, the practice of preserving organisms (either intact specimens or only their brains) for possible future revival by storing them at cryogenic temperatures where metabolism and decay are almost completely stopped, can be used to ‘pause’ for those who believe that life extension technologies will not develop sufficiently within their lifetime. Ideally, cryonics would allow clinically dead people to be brought back in the future after cures to the patients’ diseases have been discovered and aging is reversible. Modern cryonics procedures use a process called vitrification which creates a glass-like state rather than freezing as the body is brought to low temperatures. This process reduces the risk of ice crystals damaging the cell-structure, which would be especially detrimental to cell structures in the brain, as their minute adjustment evokes the individual’s mind.

One idea that has been advanced involves uploading an individual’s habits and memories via direct mind-computer interface. The individual’s memory may be loaded to a computer or to a new organic body. Extropian futurists like Moravec and Kurzweil have proposed that, thanks to exponentially growing computing power, it will someday be possible to upload human consciousness onto a computer system, and exist indefinitely in a virtual environment. This could be accomplished via advanced cybernetics, where computer hardware would initially be installed in the brain to help sort memory or accelerate thought processes. Components would be added gradually until the person’s entire brain functions were handled by artificial devices, avoiding sharp transitions that would lead to issues of identity, thus running the risk of the person to be declared dead and thus not be a legitimate owner of his or her property. After this point, the human body could be treated as an optional accessory and the program implementing the person could be transferred to any sufficiently powerful computer. Another possible mechanism for mind upload is to perform a detailed scan of an individual’s original, organic brain and simulate the entire structure in a computer. What level of detail such scans and simulations would need to achieve to emulate awareness, and whether the scanning process would destroy the brain, is still to be determined.[29] Whatever the route to mind upload, persons in this state could then be considered essentially immortal, short of loss or traumatic destruction of the machines that maintained them.[clarification needed]

Transforming a human into a cyborg can include brain implants or extracting a human processing unit and placing it in a robotic life-support system. Even replacing biological organs with robotic ones could increase life span (e.g. pace makers) and depending on the definition, many technological upgrades to the body, like genetic modifications or the addition of nanobots would qualify an individual as a cyborg. Some people believe that such modifications would make one impervious to aging and disease and theoretically immortal unless killed or destroyed.

Another approach, developed by biogerontologist Marios Kyriazis, holds that human biological immortality is an inevitable consequence of evolution. As the natural tendency is to create progressively more complex structures,[30] there will be a time (Kyriazis claims this time is now[31]), when evolution of a more complex human brain will be faster via a process of developmental singularity[32] rather than through Darwinian evolution. In other words, the evolution of the human brain as we know it will cease and there will be no need for individuals to procreate and then die. Instead, a new type of development will take over, in the same individual who will have to live for many centuries in order for the development to take place. This intellectual development will be facilitated by technology such as synthetic biology, artificial intelligence and a technological singularity process.

As late as 1952, the editorial staff of the Syntopicon found in their compilation of the Great Books of the Western World, that “The philosophical issue concerning immortality cannot be separated from issues concerning the existence and nature of man’s soul.”[33] Thus, the vast majority of speculation regarding immortality before the 21st century was regarding the nature of the afterlife.

Immortality in ancient Greek religion originally always included an eternal union of body and soul as can be seen in Homer, Hesiod, and various other ancient texts. The soul was considered to have an eternal existence in Hades, but without the body the soul was considered dead. Although almost everybody had nothing to look forward to but an eternal existence as a disembodied dead soul, a number of men and women were considered to have gained physical immortality and been brought to live forever in either Elysium, the Islands of the Blessed, heaven, the ocean or literally right under the ground. Among these were Amphiaraus, Ganymede, Ino, Iphigenia, Menelaus, Peleus, and a great part of those who fought in the Trojan and Theban wars. Some were considered to have died and been resurrected before they achieved physical immortality. Asclepius was killed by Zeus only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. In some versions of the Trojan War myth, Achilles, after being killed, was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis, resurrected, and brought to an immortal existence in either Leuce, the Elysian plains, or the Islands of the Blessed. Memnon, who was killed by Achilles, seems to have received a similar fate. Alcmene, Castor, Heracles, and Melicertes were also among the figures sometimes considered to have been resurrected to physical immortality. According to Herodotus’ Histories, the 7th century BC sage Aristeas of Proconnesus was first found dead, after which his body disappeared from a locked room. Later he was found not only to have been resurrected but to have gained immortality.

The philosophical idea of an immortal soul was a belief first appearing with either Pherecydes or the Orphics, and most importantly advocated by Plato and his followers. This, however, never became the general norm in Hellenistic thought. As may be witnessed even into the Christian era, not least by the complaints of various philosophers over popular beliefs, many or perhaps most traditional Greeks maintained the conviction that certain individuals were resurrected from the dead and made physically immortal and that others could only look forward to an existence as disembodied and dead, though everlasting, souls. The parallel between these traditional beliefs and the later resurrection of Jesus was not lost on the early Christians, as Justin Martyr argued: “when we say… Jesus Christ, our teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propose nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you consider sons of Zeus.” (1 Apol. 21).

The goal of Hinayana is Arhatship and Nirvana. By contrast, the goal of Mahayana is Buddhahood.

According to one Tibetan Buddhist teaching, Dzogchen, individuals can transform the physical body into an immortal body of light called the rainbow body.

Christian theology holds that Adam and Eve lost physical immortality for themselves and all their descendants in the Fall of Man, although this initial “imperishability of the bodily frame of man” was “a preternatural condition”.[34] Christians who profess the Nicene Creed believe that every dead person (whether they believed in Christ or not) will be resurrected from the dead at the Second Coming, and this belief is known as Universal resurrection.[citation needed]

N.T. Wright, a theologian and former Bishop of Durham, has said many people forget the physical aspect of what Jesus promised. He told Time: “Jesus’ resurrection marks the beginning of a restoration that he will complete upon his return. Part of this will be the resurrection of all the dead, who will ‘awake’, be embodied and participate in the renewal. Wright says John Polkinghorne, a physicist and a priest, has put it this way: ‘God will download our software onto his hardware until the time he gives us new hardware to run the software again for ourselves.’ That gets to two things nicely: that the period after death (the Intermediate state) is a period when we are in God’s presence but not active in our own bodies, and also that the more important transformation will be when we are again embodied and administering Christ’s kingdom.”[35] This kingdom will consist of Heaven and Earth “joined together in a new creation”, he said.

Hindus believe in an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death. According to Hinduism, people repeat a process of life, death, and rebirth in a cycle called samsara. If they live their life well, their karma improves and their station in the next life will be higher, and conversely lower if they live their life poorly. After many life times of perfecting its karma, the soul is freed from the cycle and lives in perpetual bliss. There is no place of eternal torment in Hinduism, although if a soul consistently lives very evil lives, it could work its way down to the very bottom of the cycle.[citation needed]

There are explicit renderings in the Upanishads alluding to a physically immortal state brought about by purification, and sublimation of the 5 elements that make up the body. For example, in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad (Chapter 2, Verse 12), it is stated “When earth, water fire, air and akasa arise, that is to say, when the five attributes of the elements, mentioned in the books on yoga, become manifest then the yogi’s body becomes purified by the fire of yoga and he is free from illness, old age and death.” This phenomenon is possible when the soul reaches enlightenment while the body and mind are still intact, an extreme rarity, and can only be achieved upon the highest most dedication, meditation and consciousness.[citation needed]

Another view of immortality is traced to the Vedic tradition by the interpretation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi:

That man indeed whom these (contacts)do not disturb, who is even-minded inpleasure and pain, steadfast, he is fitfor immortality, O best of men.[36]

To Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the verse means, “Once a man has become established in the understanding of the permanent reality of life, his mind rises above the influence of pleasure and pain. Such an unshakable man passes beyond the influence of death and in the permanent phase of life: he attains eternal life… A man established in the understanding of the unlimited abundance of absolute existence is naturally free from existence of the relative order. This is what gives him the status of immortal life.”[36]

An Indian Tamil saint known as Vallalar claimed to have achieved immortality before disappearing forever from a locked room in 1874.[37][38]

The traditional concept of an immaterial and immortal soul distinct from the body was not found in Judaism before the Babylonian Exile, but developed as a result of interaction with Persian and Hellenistic philosophies. Accordingly, the Hebrew word nephesh, although translated as “soul” in some older English Bibles, actually has a meaning closer to “living being”.[citation needed] Nephesh was rendered in the Septuagint as (psch), the Greek word for soul.[citation needed]

The only Hebrew word traditionally translated “soul” (nephesh) in English language Bibles refers to a living, breathing conscious body, rather than to an immortal soul.[39] In the New Testament, the Greek word traditionally translated “soul” () has substantially the same meaning as the Hebrew, without reference to an immortal soul.[40] Soul may refer to the whole person, the self: three thousand souls were converted in Acts 2:41 (see Acts 3:23).

The Hebrew Bible speaks about Sheol (), originally a synonym of the grave-the repository of the dead or the cessation of existence until the Resurrection. This doctrine of resurrection is mentioned explicitly only in Daniel 12:14 although it may be implied in several other texts. New theories arose concerning Sheol during the intertestamental literature.

The views about immortality in Judaism is perhaps best exemplified by the various references to this in Second Temple Period. The concept of resurrection of the physical body is found in 2 Maccabees, according to which it will happen through recreation of the flesh.[41] Resurrection of the dead also appears in detail in the extra-canonical books of Enoch,[42] and in Apocalypse of Baruch.[43] According to the British scholar in ancient Judaism Philip R. Davies, there is little or no clear reference either to immortality or to resurrection from the dead in the Dead Sea scrolls texts.[44] Both Josephus and the New Testament record that the Sadducees did not believe in an afterlife,[45] but the sources vary on the beliefs of the Pharisees. The New Testament claims that the Pharisees believed in the resurrection, but does not specify whether this included the flesh or not.[46] According to Josephus, who himself was a Pharisee, the Pharisees held that only the soul was immortal and the souls of good people will be reincarnated and pass into other bodies, while the souls of the wicked will suffer eternal punishment. [47] Jubilees seems to refer to the resurrection of the soul only, or to a more general idea of an immortal soul.[48]

Rabbinic Judaism claims that the righteous dead will be resurrected in the Messianic age with the coming of the messiah. They will then be granted immortality in a perfect world. The wicked dead, on the other hand, will not be resurrected at all. This is not the only Jewish belief about the afterlife. The Tanakh is not specific about the afterlife, so there are wide differences in views and explanations among believers.[citation needed]

It is repeatedly stated in Lshi Chunqiu that death is unavoidable.[49] Henri Maspero noted that many scholarly works frame Taoism as a school of thought focused on the quest for immortality.[50] Isabelle Robinet asserts that Taoism is better understood as a way of life than as a religion, and that its adherents do not approach or view Taoism the way non-Taoist historians have done.[51] In the Tractate of Actions and their Retributions, a traditional teaching, spiritual immortality can be rewarded to people who do a certain amount of good deeds and live a simple, pure life. A list of good deeds and sins are tallied to determine whether or not a mortal is worthy. Spiritual immortality in this definition allows the soul to leave the earthly realms of afterlife and go to pure realms in the Taoist cosmology.[52]

Zoroastrians believe that on the fourth day after death, the human soul leaves the body and the body remains as an empty shell. Souls would go to either heaven or hell; these concepts of the afterlife in Zoroastrianism may have influenced Abrahamic religions. The Persian word for “immortal” is associated with the month “Amurdad”, meaning “deathless” in Persian, in the Iranian calendar (near the end of July). The month of Amurdad or Ameretat is celebrated in Persian culture as ancient Persians believed the “Angel of Immortality” won over the “Angel of Death” in this month.[53]

Alcmaeon of Croton argued that the soul is continuously and ceaselessly in motion. The exact form of his argument is unclear, but it appears to have influenced Plato, Aristotle, and other later writers.[54]

Plato’s Phaedo advances four arguments for the soul’s immortality: The Cyclical Argument, or Opposites Argument explains that Forms are eternal and unchanging, and as the soul always brings life, then it must not die, and is necessarily “imperishable”. As the body is mortal and is subject to physical death, the soul must be its indestructible opposite. Plato then suggests the analogy of fire and cold. If the form of cold is imperishable, and fire, its opposite, was within close proximity, it would have to withdraw intact as does the soul during death. This could be likened to the idea of the opposite charges of magnets.

The Theory of Recollection explains that we possess some non-empirical knowledge (e.g. The Form of Equality) at birth, implying the soul existed before birth to carry that knowledge. Another account of the theory is found in Plato’s Meno, although in that case Socrates implies anamnesis (previous knowledge of everything) whereas he is not so bold in Phaedo.

The Affinity Argument, explains that invisible, immortal, and incorporeal things are different from visible, mortal, and corporeal things. Our soul is of the former, while our body is of the latter, so when our bodies die and decay, our soul will continue to live.

The Argument from Form of Life, or The Final Argument explains that the Forms, incorporeal and static entities, are the cause of all things in the world, and all things participate in Forms. For example, beautiful things participate in the Form of Beauty; the number four participates in the Form of the Even, etc. The soul, by its very nature, participates in the Form of Life, which means the soul can never die.[55]

Plotinus offers a version of the argument that Kant calls “The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology”. Plotinus first argues that the soul is simple, then notes that a simple being cannot decompose. Many subsequent philosophers have argued both that the soul is simple and that it must be immortal. The tradition arguably culminates with Moses Mendelssohn’s Phaedon.[56]

Metochites argues that part of the soul’s nature is to move itself, but that a given movement will cease only if what causes the movement is separated from the thing moved an impossibility if they are one and the same.[57]

Avicenna argued for the distinctness of the soul and the body, and the incorruptibility of the former.[58]

The full argument for the immortality of the soul and Aquinas’ elaboration of Aristotelian theory is found in Question 75 of the First Part of the Summa Theologica.[59]

Descartes endorses the claim that the soul is simple, and also that this entails that it cannot decompose. Descartes does not address the possibility that the soul might suddenly disappear.[60]

In early work, Leibniz endorses a version of the argument from the simplicity of the soul to its immortality, but like his predecessors, he does not address the possibility that the soul might suddenly disappear. In his monadology he advances a sophisticated novel argument for the immortality of monads.[61]

Moses Mendelssohn’s Phaedon is a defense of the simplicity and immortality of the soul. It is a series of three dialogues, revisiting the Platonic dialogue Phaedo, in which Socrates argues for the immortality of the soul, in preparation for his own death. Many philosophers, including Plotinus, Descartes, and Leibniz, argue that the soul is simple, and that because simples cannot decompose they must be immortal. In the Phaedon, Mendelssohn addresses gaps in earlier versions of this argument (an argument that Kant calls the Achilles of Rationalist Psychology). The Phaedon contains an original argument for the simplicity of the soul, and also an original argument that simples cannot suddenly disappear. It contains further original arguments that the soul must retain its rational capacities as long as it exists.[62]

The possibility of clinical immortality raises a host of medical, philosophical, and religious issues and ethical questions. These include persistent vegetative states, the nature of personality over time, technology to mimic or copy the mind or its processes, social and economic disparities created by longevity, and survival of the heat death of the universe.

The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the first literary works, is primarily a quest of a hero seeking to become immortal.[6]

Physical immortality has also been imagined as a form of eternal torment, as in Mary Shelley’s short story “The Mortal Immortal”, the protagonist of which witnesses everyone he cares about dying around him. Jorge Luis Borges explored the idea that life gets its meaning from death in the short story “The Immortal”; an entire society having achieved immortality, they found time becoming infinite, and so found no motivation for any action. In his book “Thursday’s Fictions”, and the stage and film adaptations of it, Richard James Allen tells the story of a woman named Thursday who tries to cheat the cycle of reincarnation to get a form of eternal life. At the end of this fantastical tale, her son, Wednesday, who has witnessed the havoc his mother’s quest has caused, forgoes the opportunity for immortality when it is offered to him.[63] Likewise, the novel Tuck Everlasting depicts immortality as “falling off the wheel of life” and is viewed as a curse as opposed to a blessing. In the anime Casshern Sins humanity achieves immortality due to advances in medical technology, however the inability of the human race to die causes Luna, a Messianic figure, to come forth and offer normal lifespans because she had believed that without death, humans could not live. Ultimately, Casshern takes up the cause of death for humanity when Luna begins to restore humanity’s immortality. In Anne Rice’s book series “The Vampire Chronicles”, vampires are portrayed as immortal and ageless, but their inability to cope with the changes in the world around them means that few vampires live for much more than a century, and those who do often view their changeless form as a curse.

In his book Death, Yale philosopher Shelly Kagan argues that any form of human immortality would be undesirable. Kagans argument takes the form of a dilemma. Either our characters remain essentially the same in an immortal afterlife, or they do not. If our characters remain basically the samethat is, if we retain more or less the desires, interests, and goals that we have nowthen eventually, over an infinite stretch of time, we will get bored and find eternal life unbearably tedious. If, on the other hand, our characters are radically changede.g., by God periodically erasing our memories or giving us rat-like brains that never tire of certain simple pleasuresthen such a person would be too different from our current self for us to care much what happens to them. Either way, Kagan argues, immortality is unattractive. The best outcome, Kagan argues, would be for humans to live as long as they desired and then to accept death gratefully as rescuing us from the unbearable tedium of immortality.[64]

If human beings were to achieve immortality, there would most likely be a change in the worlds’ social structures. Sociologist argue that human beings’ awareness of their own mortality shapes their behavior [65]

Although some scientists state that radical life extension, delaying and stopping aging are achievable,[66] there are no international or national programs focused on stopping aging or on radical life extension. In 2012 in Russia, and then in the United States, Israel and the Netherlands, pro-immortality political parties were launched. They aimed to provide political support to anti-aging and radical life extension research and technologies and at the same time transition to the next step, radical life extension, life without aging, and finally, immortality and aim to make possible access to such technologies to most currently living people.[67]

There are numerous symbols representing immortality. The ankh is an Egyptian symbol of life that holds connotations of immortality when depicted in the hands of the gods and pharaohs, who were seen as having control over the journey of life. The Mbius strip in the shape of a trefoil knot is another symbol of immortality. Most symbolic representations of infinity or the life cycle are often used to represent immortality depending on the context they are placed in. Other examples include the Ouroboros, the Chinese fungus of longevity, the ten kanji, the phoenix, the peacock in Christianity,[68] and the colors amaranth (in Western culture) and peach (in Chinese culture).

Immortality is a popular subject in fiction, as it explores humanity’s deep-seated fears and comprehension of its own mortality. Immortal beings and species abound in fiction, especially fantasy fiction, and the meaning of “immortal” tends to vary.

Some fictional beings are completely immortal (or very nearly so) in that they are immune to death by injury, disease and age. Sometimes such powerful immortals can only be killed by each other, as is the case with the Q from the Star Trek series. Even if something can’t be killed, a common plot device involves putting an immortal being into a slumber or limbo, as is done with Morgoth in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion and the Dreaming God of Pathways Into Darkness. Storytellers often make it a point to give weaknesses to even the most indestructible of beings. For instance, Superman is supposed to be invulnerable, yet his enemies were able to exploit his now-infamous weakness: Kryptonite. (See also Achilles’ heel.)

Many fictitious species are said to be immortal if they cannot die of old age, even though they can be killed through other means, such as injury. Modern fantasy elves often exhibit this form of immortality. Other creatures, such as vampires and the immortals in the film Highlander, can only die from beheading. The classic and stereotypical vampire is typically slain by one of several very specific means, including a silver bullet (or piercing with other silver weapons), a stake through the heart (perhaps made of consecrated wood), or by exposing them to sunlight.[69][70]

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Immortality – Wikipedia

Immortality | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Immortality is the indefinite continuation of a persons existence, even after death. In common parlance, immortality is virtually indistinguishable from afterlife, but philosophically speaking, they are not identical. Afterlife is the continuation of existence after death, regardless of whether or not that continuation is indefinite. Immortality implies a never-ending existence, regardless of whether or not the body dies (as a matter of fact, some hypothetical medical technologies offer the prospect of a bodily immortality, but not an afterlife).

Immortality has been one of mankinds major concerns, and even though it has been traditionally mainly confined to religious traditions, it is also important to philosophy. Although a wide variety of cultures have believed in some sort of immortality, such beliefs may be reduced to basically three non-exclusive models: (1) the survival of the astral body resembling the physical body; (2) the immortality of the immaterial soul (that is an incorporeal existence); (3) resurrection of the body (or re-embodiment, in case the resurrected person does not keep the same body as at the moment of death). This article examines philosophical arguments for and against the prospect of immortality.

A substantial part of the discussion on immortality touches upon the fundamental question in the philosophy of mind: do souls exist? Dualists believe souls do exist and survive the death of the body; materialists believe mental activity is nothing but cerebral activity and thus death brings the total end of a persons existence. However, some immortalists believe that, even if immortal souls do not exist, immortality may still be achieved through resurrection.

Discussions on immortality are also intimately related to discussions of personal identity because any account of immortality must address how the dead person could be identical to the original person that once lived. Traditionally, philosophers have considered three main criteria for personal identity: the soul criterion , the body criterion and the psychological criterion.

Although empirical science has little to offer here, the field of parapsychology has attempted to offer empirical evidence in favor of an afterlife. More recently, secular futurists envision technologies that may suspend death indefinitely (such as Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, and mind uploading), thus offering a prospect for a sort of bodily immortality.

Discourse on immortality bears a semantic difficulty concerning the word ‘death. We usually define it in physiological terms as the cessation of biological functions that make life possible. But, if immortality is the continuation of life even after death, a contradiction appears to come up (Rosemberg, 1998). For apparently it makes no sense to say that someone has died and yet survived death. To be immortal is, precisely, not to suffer death. Thus, whoever dies, stops existing; nobody may exist after death, precisely because death means the end of existence.

For convenience, however, we may agree that death simply means the decomposition of the body, but not necessarily the end of a persons existence, as assumed in most dictionary definitions. In such a manner, a person may die in as much as their body no longer exists (or, to be more precise, no longer holds vital signs: pulse, brain activity, and so forth), but may continue to exist, either in an incorporeal state, with an ethereal body, or with some other physical body.

Some people may think of immortality in vague and general terms, such as the continuity of a persons deeds and memories among their friends and relatives. Thus, baseball player Babe Ruth is immortal in a very vague sense: he is well remembered among his fans. But, philosophically speaking, immortality implies the continuation of personal identity. Babe Ruth may be immortal in the sense that he is well remembered, but unless there is someone that may legitimately claim I am Babe Ruth, we shall presume Babe Ruth no longer exists and hence, is not immortal.

Despite the immense variety of beliefs on immortality, they may be reduced to three basic models: the survival of the astral body, the immaterial soul and resurrection (Flew, 2000). These models are not necessarily mutually exclusive; in fact, most religions have adhered to a combination of them.

Much primitive religious thought conceives that human beings are made up of two body substances: a physical body, susceptible of being touched, smelt, heard and seen; and an astral body made of some sort of mysterious ethereal substance. Unlike the physical body, the astral body has no solidity (it can go through walls, for example.) and hence, it cannot be touched, but it can be seen. Its appearance is similar to the physical body, except perhaps its color tonalities are lighter and its figure is fuzzier.

Upon death, the astral body detaches itself from the physical body, and mourns in some region within time and space. Thus, even if the physical body decomposes, the astral body survives. This is the type of immortality most commonly presented in films and literature (for example, Hamlets ghost). Traditionally, philosophers and theologians have not privileged this model of immortality, as there appears to be two insurmountable difficulties: 1) if the astral body does exist, it should be seen depart from the physical body at the moment of death; yet there is no evidence that accounts for it; 2) ghosts usually appear with clothes; this would imply that, not only are there astral bodies, but also astral clothes a claim simply too extravagant to be taken seriously (Edwards, 1997: 21).

The model of the immortality of the soul is similar to the astral body model, in as much as it considers that human beings are made up of two substances. But, unlike the astral body model, this model conceives that the substance that survives the death of the body is not a body of some other sort, but rather, an immaterial soul. In as much as the soul is immaterial, it has no extension, and thus, it cannot be perceived through the senses. A few philosophers, such as Henry James, have come to believe that for something to exist, it must occupy space (although not necessarily physical space), and hence, souls are located somewhere in space (Henry, 2007). Up until the twentieth century, the majority of philosophers believed that persons are souls, and that human beings are made up of two substances (soul and body). A good portion of philosophers believed that the body is mortal and the soul is immortal. Ever since Descartes in the seventeenth century, most philosophers have considered that the soul is identical to the mind, and, whenever a person dies, their mental contents survive in an incorporeal state.

Eastern religions (for example, Hinduism and Buddhism) and some ancient philosophers (for example, Pythagoras and Plato) believed that immortal souls abandon the body upon death, may exist temporarily in an incorporeal state, and may eventually adhere to a new body at the time of birth (in some traditions, at the time of fertilization). This is the doctrine of reincarnation.

Whereas most Greek philosophers believed that immortality implies solely the survival of the soul, the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) consider that immortality is achieved through the resurrection of the body at the time of the Final Judgment. The very same bodies that once constituted persons shall rise again, in order to be judged by God. None of these great faiths has a definite position on the existence of an immortal soul. Therefore, traditionally, Jews, Christians and Muslims have believed that, at the time of death, the soul detaches from the body and continues on to exist in an intermediate incorporeal state until the moment of resurrection. Some others, however, believe that there is no intermediate state: with death, the person ceases to exist, and in a sense, resumes existence at the time of resurrection.

As we shall see, some philosophers and theologians have postulated the possibility that, upon resurrection, persons do not rise with the very same bodies with which they once lived (rather, resurrected persons would be constituted by a replica). This version of the doctrine of the resurrection would be better referred to as re-embodiment: the person dies, but, as it were, is re-embodied.

Most religions adhere to the belief in immortality on the basis of faith. In other words, they provide no proof of the survival of the person after the death of the body; actually, their belief in immortality appeals to some sort of divine revelation that, allegedly, does not require rationalization.

Natural theology, however, attempts to provide rational proofs of Gods existence. Some philosophers have argued that, if we can rationally prove that God exists, then we may infer that we are immortal. For, God, being omnibenevolent, cares about us, and thus would not allow the annihilation of our existence; and being just, would bring about a Final Judgement (Swinburne, 1997). Thus, the traditional arguments in favor of the existence of God (ontological, cosmological, teleological) would indirectly prove our immortality. However, these traditional arguments have been notoriously criticized, and some arguments against the existence of God have also been raised (such as the problem of evil) (Martin, 1992; Smith, 1999).

Nevertheless, some philosophers have indeed tried to rationalize the doctrine of immortality, and have come up with a few pragmatic arguments in its favor.

Blaise Pascal proposed a famous argument in favor of the belief in the existence of God, but it may well be extended to the belief in immortality (Pascal, 2005). The so-called Pascals Wager argument goes roughly as follows: if we are to decide to believe whether God exists or not, it is wiser to believe that God does exist. If we rightly believe that God exists, , we gain eternal bliss; if God does not exist, we lose nothing, in as much as there is no Final Judgment to account for our error. On the other hand, if we rightly believe God does not exist, we gain nothing, in as much as there is no Final Judgment to reward our belief. But, if we wrongly believe that God does not exist, we lose eternal bliss, and are therefore damned to everlasting Hell. By a calculation of risks and benefits, we should conclude that it is better to believe in Gods existence. This argument is easily extensible to the belief in immortality: it is better to believe that there is a life after death, because if in fact there is a life after death, we shall be rewarded for our faith, and yet lose nothing if we are wrong; on the other hand, if we do not believe in a life after death, and we are wrong, we will be punished by God, and if we are right, there will not be a Final Judgment to reward our belief.

Although this argument has remained popular among some believers, philosophers have identified too many problems in it (Martin, 1992). Pascals Wager does not take into account the risk of believing in a false god (What if Baal were the real God, instead of the Christian God?), or the risk of believing in the wrong model of immortality (what if God rewarded belief in reincarnation, and punished belief in resurrection?). The argument also assumes that we are able to choose our beliefs, something most philosophers think very doubtful.

Other philosophers have appealed to other pragmatic benefits of the belief in immortality. Immanuel Kant famously rejected in his Critique of Pure Reason the traditional arguments in favor of the existence of God; but in his Critique of Practical Reason he put forth a so-called moral argument. The argument goes roughly as follows: belief in God and immortality is a prerequisite for moral action; if people do not believe there is a Final Judgment administered by God to account for deeds, there will be no motivation to be good. In Kants opinion, human beings seek happiness. But in order for happiness to coincide with moral action, the belief in an afterlife is necessary, because moral action does not guarantee happiness. Thus, the only way that a person may be moral and yet preserve happiness, is by believing that there will be an afterlife justice that will square morality with happiness. Perhaps Kants argument is more eloquently expressed in Ivan Karamazovs (a character from Dostoevskys The Brothers Karamazov) famous phrase: If there is no God, then everything is permitted… if there is no immortality, there is no virtue.

The so-called moral argument has been subject to some criticism. Many philosophers have argued that it is indeed possible to construe secular ethics, where appeal to God is unnecessary to justify morality. The question why be moral? may be answered by appealing to morality itself, to the need for cooperation, or simply, to ones own pleasure (Singer, 1995; Martin, 1992). A vigilant God does not seem to be a prime need in order for man to be good. If these philosophers are right, the lack of belief in immortality would not bring about the collapse of morality. Some contemporary philosophers, however, align with Kant and believe that secular morality is shallow, as it does not satisfactorily account for acts of sacrifice that go against self-interest; in their view, the only way to account for such acts is by appealing to a Divine Judge (Mavrodes, 1995).

Yet another pragmatic argument in favor of the belief in immortality appeals to the need to find meaning in life. Perhaps Miguel de Unamunos Del sentimiento trgico de la vida is the most emblematic philosophical treatise advocating this argument: in Unamunos opinion, belief in immortality is irrational, but nevertheless necessary to avoid desperation in the face of lifes absurdity. Only by believing that our lives will have an ever-lasting effect, do we find motivation to continue to live. If, on the contrary, we believe that everything will ultimately come to an end and nothing will survive, it becomes pointless to carry on any activity.

Of course, not all philosophers would agree. Some philosophers would argue that, on the contrary, the awareness that life is temporal and finite makes living more meaningful, in as much as we better appreciate opportunities (Heidegger, 1978). Bernard Williams has argued that, should life continue indefinitely, it would be terribly boring, and therefore, pointless (Williams, 1976). Some philosophers, however, counter that some activities may be endlessly repeated without ever becoming boring; furthermore, a good God would ensure that we never become bored in Heaven (Fischer, 2009).

Death strikes fear and anguish in many of us, and some philosophers argue that the belief in immortality is a much needed resource to cope with that fear. But, Epicurus famously argued that it is not rational to fear death, for two main reasons: 1) in as much as death is the extinction of consciousness, we are not aware of our condition (if death is, I am not; if I am, death is not); 2) in the same manner that we do not worry about the time that has passed before we were born, we should not worry about the time that will pass after we die (Rist, 1972).

At any rate, pragmatic arguments in favor of the belief in immortality are also critiqued on the grounds that the pragmatic benefits of a belief bear no implications on its truth. In other words, the fact that a belief is beneficial does not make it true. In the analytic tradition, philosophers have long argued for and against the pragmatic theory of truth, and depending on how this theory is valued, it will offer a greater or lesser plausibility to the arguments presented above.

Plato was the first philosopher to argue, not merely in favor of the convenience of accepting the belief in immortality, but for the truth of the belief itself. His Phaedo is a dramatic representation of Socrates final discussion with his disciples, just before drinking the hemlock. Socrates shows no sign of fear or concern, for he is certain that he will survive the death of his body. He presents three main arguments to support his position, and some of these arguments are still in use today.

First, Socrates appeals to cycles and opposites. He believes that everything has an opposite that is implied by it. And, as in cycles, things not only come from opposites, but also go towards opposites. Thus, when something is hot, it was previously cold; or when we are awake, we were previously asleep; but when we are asleep, we shall be awake once again. In the same manner, life and death are opposites in a cycle. Being alive is opposite to being dead. And, in as much as death comes from life, life must come from death. We come from death, and we go towards death. But, again, in as much as death comes from life, it will also go towards life. Thus, we had a life before being born, and we shall have a life after we die.

Most philosophers have not been persuaded by this argument. It is very doubtful that everything has an opposite (What is the opposite of a computer?) And, even if everything had an opposite, it is doubtful that everything comes from its opposite, or even that everything goes towards its opposite.

Socrates also appeals to the theory of reminiscence, the view that learning is really a process of remembering knowledge from past lives. The soul must already exist before the birth of the body, because we seem to know things that were not available to us. Consider the knowledge of equality. If we compare two sticks and we realize they are not equal, we form a judgment on the basis of a previous knowledge of equality as a form. That knowledge must come from previous lives. Therefore, this is an argument in favor of the transmigration of souls (that is, reincarnation or metempsychosis).

Some philosophers would dispute the existence of the Platonic forms, upon which this argument rests. And, the existence of innate ideas does not require the appeal to previous lives. Perhaps we are hard-wired by our brains to believe certain things; thus, we may know things that were not available to us previously.

Yet another of Socrates arguments appeals to the affinity between the soul and the forms. In Platos understanding, forms are perfect, immaterial and eternal. And, in as much as the forms are intelligible, but not sensible, only the soul can apprehend them. In order to apprehend something, the thing apprehending must have the same nature as the thing apprehended. The soul, then, shares the attributes of the forms: it is immaterial and eternal, and hence, immortal.

Again, the existence of the Platonic forms should not be taken for granted, and for this reason, this is not a compelling argument. Furthermore, it is doubtful that the thing apprehending must have the same nature as the thing apprehended: a criminologist need not be a criminal in order to apprehend the nature of crime.

Platos arguments take for granted that souls exist; he only attempts to prove that they are immortal. But, a major area of discussion in the philosophy of mind is the existence of the soul. One of the doctrines that hold that the soul does exist is called dualism; its name comes from the fact that it postulates that human beings are made up of two substances: body and soul. Arguments in favor of dualism are indirectly arguments in favor of immortality, or at least in favor of the possibility of survival of death. For, if the soul exists, it is an immaterial substance. And, in as much as it is an immaterial substance, it is not subject to the decomposition of material things; hence, it is immortal.

Most dualists agree that the soul is identical to the mind, yet different from the brain or its functions. Some dualists believe the mind may be some sort of emergent property of the brain: it depends on the brain, but it is not identical to the brain or its processes. This position is often labeled property dualism, but here we are concerned with substance dualism, that is, the doctrine that holds that the mind is a separate substance (and not merely a separate property) from the body, and therefore, may survive the death of the body (Swinburne, 1997).

Ren Descartes is usually considered the father of dualism, as he presents some very ingenuous arguments in favor of the existence of the soul as a separate substance (Descartes, 1980). In perhaps his most celebrated argument, Descartes invites a thought experiment: imagine you exist, but not your body. You wake up in the morning, but as you approach the mirror, you do not see yourself there. You try to reach your face with your hand, but it is thin air. You try to scream, but no sound comes out. And so on.

Now, Descartes believes that it is indeed possible to imagine such a scenario. But, if one can imagine the existence of a person without the existence of the body, then persons are not constituted by their bodies, and hence, mind and body are two different substances. If the mind were identical to the body, it would be impossible to imagine the existence of the mind without imagining at the same time the existence of the body.

This argument has been subject to much scrutiny. Dualists certainly believe it is a valid one, but it is not without its critics. Descartes seems to assume that everything that is imaginable is possible. Indeed, many philosophers have long agreed that imagination is a good guide as to what is possible (Hume, 2010). But, this criterion is disputed. Imagination seems to be a psychological process, and thus not strictly a logical process. Therefore, perhaps we can imagine scenarios that are not really possible. Consider the Barber Paradox. At first, it seems possible that, in a town, a man shaves only those persons that shave themselves. We may perhaps imagine such a situation, but logically there cannot be such a situation, as Bertrand Russell showed. The lesson to be learned is that imagination might not be a good guide to possibility. And, although Descartes appears to have no trouble imagining an incorporeal mind, such a scenario might not be possible. However, dualists may argue that there is no neat difference between a psychological and a logical process, as logic seems to be itself a psychological process.

Descartes presents another argument. As Leibniz would later formalize in the Principle of Identity of Indiscernibles, two entities can be considered identical, if and only if, they exhaustively share the same attributes. Descartes exploits this principle, and attempts to find a property of the mind not shared by the body (or vice versa), in order to argue that they are not identical, and hence, are separate substances.

Descartes states: There is a great difference between a mind and a body, because the body, by its very nature, is something divisible, whereas the mind is plainly indivisible. . . insofar as I am only a thing that thinks, I cannot distinguish any parts in me. . . . Although the whole mind seems to be united to the whole body, nevertheless, were a foot or an arm or any other bodily part amputated, I know that nothing would be taken away from the mind (Descartes, 1980: 97).

Descartes believed, then, that mind and body cannot be the same substance. Descartes put forth another similar argument: the body has extension in space, and as such, it can be attributed physical properties. We may ask, for instance, what the weight of a hand is, or what the longitude of a leg is. But the mind has no extension, and therefore, it has no physical properties. It makes no sense to ask what the color of the desire to eat strawberries is, or what the weight of Communist ideology is. If the body has extension, and the mind has no extension, then the mind can be considered a separate substance.

Yet another of Descartes arguments appeals to some difference between mind and body. Descartes famously contemplated the possibility that an evil demon might be deceiving him about the world. Perhaps the world is not real. In as much as that possibility exists, Descartes believed that one may be doubt the existence of ones own body. But, Descartes argued that one cannot doubt the existence of ones own mind. For, if one doubts, one is thinking; and if one thinks, then it can be taken for certain that ones mind exists. Hence Descartes famous phrase: cogito ergo sum, I think, therefore, I exist. Now, if one may doubt the existence of ones body, but cannot doubt the existence of ones mind, then mind and body are different substances. For, again, they do not share exhaustively the same attributes.

These arguments are not without critics. Indeed, Leibnizs Principle of Indiscernibles would lead us to think that, in as much as mind and body do not exhaustively share the same properties, they cannot be the same substance. But, in some contexts, it seems possible that A and B may be identical, even if that does not imply that everything predicated of A can be predicated of B.

Consider, for example, a masked man that robs a bank. If we were to ask a witness whether or not the masked man robbed the bank, the witness will answer yes!. But, if we were to ask the witness whether his father robbed the bank, he may answer no. That, however, does not imply that the witness father is not the bank robber: perhaps the masked man was the witness father, and the witness was not aware of it. This is the so-called Masked Man Fallacy.

This case forces us to reconsider Leibnizs Law: A is identical to B, not if everything predicated of A is predicated of B, but rather, when A and B share exhaustively the same properties. And, what people believe about substances are not properties. To be an object of doubt is not, strictly speaking, a property, but rather, an intentional relation. And, in our case, to be able to doubt the bodys existence, but not the minds existence, does not imply that mind and body are not the same substance.

In more recent times, Descartes strategy has been used by other dualist philosophers to account for the difference between mind and body. Some philosophers argue that the mind is private, whereas the body is not. Any person may know the state of my body, but no person, including even possibly myself, can truly know the state of my mind.

Some philosophers point intentionality as another difference between mind and body. The mind has intentionality, whereas the body does not. Thoughts are about something, whereas body parts are not. In as much as thoughts have intentionality, they may also have truth values. Not all thoughts, of course, are true or false, but at least those thoughts that pretend to represent the world, may be. On the other hand, physical states do not have truth values: neurons activating in the brain are neither true, nor false.

Again, these arguments exploit the differences between mind and body. But, very much as with Descartes arguments, it is not absolutely clear that they avoid the Masked Man Fallacy.

Opponents of dualism not only reject their arguments; they also highlight conceptual and empirical problems with this doctrine. Most opponents of dualism are materialists: they believe that mental stuff is really identical to the brain, or at the most, an epiphenomenon of the brain. Materialism limits the prospects for immortality: if the mind is not a separate substance from the brain, then at the time of the brains death, the mind also becomes extinct, and hence, the person does not survive death. Materialism need not undermine all expectations of immortality (see resurrection below), but it does undermine the immortality of the soul.

The main difficulty with dualism is the so-called interaction problem. If the mind is an immaterial substance, how can it interact with material substances? The desire to move my hand allegedly moves my hand, but how exactly does that occur? There seems to be an inconsistency with the minds immateriality: some of the time, the mind is immaterial and is not affected by material states, at other times, the mind manages to be in contact with the body and cause its movement. Daniel Dennett has ridiculed this inconsistency by appealing to the comic-strip character Casper. This friendly ghost is immaterial because he is able to go through walls. But, all of a sudden, he is also able to catch a ball. The same inconsistency appears with dualism: in its interaction with the body, sometimes the mind does not interact with the body, sometimes it does (Dennett, 1992).Dualists have offered some solutions to this problem. Occasionalists hold that God directly causes material events. Thus, mind and body never interact. Likewise, parallelists hold that mental and physical events are coordinated by God so that they appear to cause each other, but in fact, they do not. These alternatives are in fact rejected by most contemporary philosophers.

Some dualists, however, may reply that the fact that we cannot fully explain how body and soul interact, does not imply that interaction does not take place. We know many things happen in the universe, although we do not know how they happen. Richard Swinburne, for instance, argues as follows: That bodily events cause brain events and that these cause pains, images, and beliefs (where their subjects have privileged access to the latter and not the former), is one of the most obvious phenomena of human experience. If we cannot explain how that occurs, we should not try to pretend that it does not occur. We should just acknowledge that human beings are not omniscient, and cannot understand everything (Swinburne, 1997, xii).

On the other hand, Dualism postulates the existence of an incorporeal mind, but it is not clear that this is a coherent concept. In the opinion of most dualists, the incorporeal mind does perceive. But, it is not clear how the mind can perceive without sensory organs. Descartes seemed to have no problems in imagining an incorporeal existence, in his thought experiment. However, John Hospers, for instance, believes that such a scenario is simply not imaginable:

You see with eyes? No, you have no eyes, since you have no body. But let that pass for a moment; you have experiences similar to what you would have if you had eyes to see with. But how can you look toward the foot of the bed or toward the mirror? Isnt looking an activity that requires having a body? How can you look in one direction or another if you have no head to turn? And this isnt all; we said that you cant touch your body because there is no body there; how did you discover this?… Your body seems to be involved in every activity we try to describe even though we have tried to imagine existing without it. (Hospers, 1997: 280)

Furthermore, even if an incorporeal existence were in fact possible, it could be terribly lonely. For, without a body, could it be possible to communicate with other minds. In Paul Edwards words: so far from living on in paradise, a person deprived of his body and thus of all sense organs would, quite aside from many other gruesome deprivations, be in a state of desolate loneliness and eventually come to prefer annihilation. (Edwards, 1997:48). However, consider that, even in the absence of a body, great pleasures may be attained. We may live in a situation the material world is an illusion (in fact, idealists inspired in Berkley lean towards such a position), and yet, enjoy existence. For, even without a body, we may enjoy sensual pleasures that, although not real, certainly feel real. However, the problems with dualism do not end there. If souls are immaterial and have no spatial extension, how can they be separate from other souls? Separation implies extension. Yet, if the soul has no extension, it is not at all clear how one soul can be distinguished from another. Perhaps souls can be distinguished based on their contents, but then again, how could we distinguish two souls with exactly the same contents? Some contemporary dualists have responded thus: in as much as souls interact with bodies, they have a spatial relationships to bodies, and in a sense, can be individuated.

Perhaps the most serious objection to dualism, and a substantial argument in favor of materialism, is the minds correlation with the brain. Recent developments in neuroscience increasingly confirm that mental states depend upon brain states. Neurologists have been able to identify certain regions of the brain associated with specific mental dispositions. And, in as much as there appears to be a strong correlation between mind and brain, it seems that the mind may be reducible to the brain, and would therefore not be a separate substance.

In the last recent decades, neuroscience has accumulated data that confirm that cerebral damage has a great influence on the mental constitution of persons. Phineas Gages case is well-known in this respect: Gage had been a responsible and kind railroad worker, but had an accident that resulted in damage to the frontal lobes of his brain. Ever since, Gage turned into an aggressive, irresponsible person, unrecognizable by his peers (Damasio, 2006).

Departing from Gages case, scientists have inferred that frontal regions of the brain strongly determine personality. And, if mental contents can be severely damaged by brain injuries, it does not seem right to postulate that the mind is an immaterial substance. If, as dualism postulates, Gage had an immortal immaterial soul, why didnt his soul remain intact after his brain injury?

A similar difficulty arises when we consider degenerative neurological diseases, such as Alzheimers disease. As it is widely known, this disease progressively eradicates the mental contents of patients, until patients lose memory almost completely. If most memories eventually disappear, what remains of the soul? When a patient afflicted with Alzheimer dies, what is it that survives, if precisely, most of his memories have already been lost? Of course, correlation is not identity, and the fact that the brain is empirically correlated with the mind does not imply that the mind is the brain. But, many contemporary philosophers of mind adhere to the so-called identity theory: mental states are the exact same thing as the firing of specific neurons.

Dualists may respond by claiming that the brain is solely an instrument of the soul. If the brain does not work properly, the soul will not work properly, but brain damage does not imply a degeneration of the soul. Consider, for example, a violinist. If the violin does not play accurately, the violinist will not perform well. But, that does not imply that the violinist has lost their talent. In the same manner, a person may have a deficient brain, and yet, retain her soul intact. However, Occams Razor requires the more parsimonious alternative: in which case, unless there is any compelling evidence in its favor, there is no need to assume the existence of a soul that uses the brain as its instrument.

Dualists may also suggest that the mind is not identical to the soul. In fact, whereas many philosophers tend to consider the soul and mind identical, various religions consider that a person is actually made up of by three substances: body, mind and soul. In such a view, even if the mind degenerates, the soul remains. However, it would be far from clear what the soul exactly could be, if it is not identical to the mind.

Any philosophical discussion on immortality touches upon a fundamental issue concerning personspersonal identity. If we hope to survive death, we would want to be sure that the person that continues to exist after death is the same person that existed before death. And, for religions that postulate a Final Judgment, this is a crucial matter: if God wants to apply justice, the person rewarded or punished in the afterlife must be the very same person whose deeds determine the outcome.

The question of personal identity refers to the criterion upon which a person remains the same (that is, numerical identity) throughout time. Traditionally, philosophers have discussed three main criteria: soul, body and psychological continuity.

According to the soul criterion for personal identity, persons remains the same throughout time, if and only if, they retain their soul (Swinburne, 2004). Philosophers who adhere to this criterion usually do not think the soul is identical to the mind. The soul criterion is favored by very few philosophers, as it faces a huge difficulty: if the soul is an immaterial non-apprehensible substance (precisely, in as much as it is not identical to the mind), how can we be sure that a person continues to be the same? We simply do not know if, in the middle of the night, our neighbors soul has transferred into another body. Even if our neighbors body and mental contents remain the same, we can never know if his soul is the same. Under this criterion, it appears that there is simply no way to make sure someone is always the same person.

However, there is a considerable argument in favor of the soul criterion. To pursue such an argument, Richard Swinburne proposes the following thought experiment: suppose Johns brain is successfully split in two, and as a result, we get two persons; one with the left hemisphere of Johns brain, the other with the right hemisphere. Now, which one is John? Both have a part of Johns brain, and both conserve part of Johns mental contents. So, one of them must presumably be John, but which one? Unlike the body and the mind, the soul is neither divisible nor duplicable. Thus, although we do not know which would be John, we do know that only one of the two persons is John. And it would be the person that preserves Johns souls, even if we have no way of identifying it. In such a manner, although we know about Johns body and mind, we are not able to discern who is John; therefore, Johns identity is not his mind or his body, but rather, his soul (Swinburne, 2010: 68).

Common sense informs that persons are their bodies (in fact, that is how we recognize people ) but, although many philosophers would dispute this, ordinary people seem generally to adhere to such a view). Thus, under this criterion, a person continues to be the same, if, and only if, they conserve the same body. Of course, the body alters, and eventually, all of its cells are replaced. This evokes the ancient philosophical riddle known as the Ship of Theseus: the planks of Theseus ship were gradually replaced, until none of the originals remained. Is it still the same ship? There has been much discussion on this, but most philosophers agree that, in the case of the human body, the total replacement of atoms and the slight alteration of form do not alter the numerical identity of the human body.

However, the body criterion soon runs into difficulties. Imagine two patients, Brown and Robinson, who undergo surgery simultaneously. Accidentally, their brains are swapped in placed in the wrong body. Thus, Browns brain is placed in Robinsons body. Let us call this person Brownson. Naturally, in as much as he has Browns brain, he will have Browns memories, mental contents, and so forth. Now, who is Brownson? Is he Robinson with Browns brain; or is he Brown with Robinsons body? Most people would think the latter (Shoemaker, 2003). After all, the brain is the seat of consciousness.

Thus, it would appear that the body criterion must give way to the brain criterion: a person continues to be the same, if and only if, she conserves the same brain. But, again, we run into difficulties. What if the brain undergoes fission, and each half is placed in a new body? (Parfit, 1984). As a result, we would have two persons pretending to be the original person, but, because of the principle of transitivity, we know that both of them cannot be the original person. And, it seems arbitrary that one of them should be the original person, and not the other (although, as we have seen, Swinburne bites the bullet, and considers that, indeed, only one would be the original person). This difficulty invites the consideration of other criteria for personal identity.

John Locke famously asked what we would think if a prince one day woke up in a cobblers body, and the cobbler in a princes body (Locke, 2009). Although the cobblers peers would recognize him as the cobbler, he would have the memories of the prince. Now, if before that event, the prince committed a crime, who should be punished? Should it be the man in the palace, who remembers being a cobbler; or should it be the man in the workshop, who remembers being a prince, including his memory of the crime?

It seems that the man in the workshop should be punished for the princes crime, because, even if that is not the princes original body, that person is the prince, in as much as he conserves his memories. Locke, therefore, believed that a person continues to be the same, if and only if, she conserves psychological continuity.

Although it appears to be an improvement with regards to the previous two criteria, the psychological criterion also faces some problems. Suppose someone claims today to be Guy Fawkes, and conserves intact very vividly and accurately the memories of the seventeenth century conspirator (Williams, 1976). By the psychological criterion, such a person would indeed be Guy Fawkes. But, what if, simultaneously, another person also claims to be Guy Fawkes, even with the same degree of accuracy? Obviously, both persons cannot be Guy Fawkes. Again, it would seem arbitrary to conclude that one person is Guy Fawkes, yet the other person isnt. It seems more plausible that neither person is Guy Fawkes, and therefore, that psychological continuity is not a good criterion for personal identity.

In virtue of the difficulties with the above criteria, some philosophers have argued that, in a sense, persons do not exist. Or, to be more precise, the self does not endure changes. In David Humes words, a person is nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other with an inconceivable rapidity, and are in a perpetual flux and movement (Hume, 2010: 178). This is the so-called bundle theory of the self.

As a corollary, Derek Parfit argues that, when considering survival, personal identity is not what truly matters (Parfit, 1984). What does matter is psychological continuity. Parfit asks us to consider this example.

Suppose that you enter a cubicle in which, when you press a button, a scanner records the states of all the cells in your brain and body, destroying both while doing so. This information is then transmitted at the speed of light to some other planet, where a replicator produces a perfect organic copy of you. Since the brain of your replica is exactly like yours, it will seem to remember living your life up to the moment when you pressed the button, its character will be just like yours, it will be every other way psychologically continuous with you. (Parfit, 1997: 311)

Now, under the psychological criterion, such a replica will in fact be you. But, what if the machine does not destroy the original body, or makes more than one replica? In such a case, there will be two persons claiming to be you. As we have seen, this is a major problem for the psychological criterion. But, Parfit argues that, even if the person replicated is not the same person that entered the cubicle, it is psychologically continuous. And, that is what is indeed relevant.

Parfits position has an important implication for discussions of immortality. According to this view, a person in the afterlife is not the same person that lived before. But, that should not concern us. We should be concerned about the prospect that, in the afterlife, there will at least be one person that is psychologically continuous with us.

As we have seen, the doctrine of resurrection postulates that on Judgment Day the bodies of every person who ever lived shall rise again, in order to be judged by God. Unlike the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, the doctrine of resurrection has not been traditionally defended with philosophical arguments. Most of its adherents accept it on the basis of faith. Some Christians, however, consider that the resurrection of Jesus can be historically demonstrated (Habermas, 2002; Craig, 2008). And, so the argument goes, if it can be proven that God resurrected Jesus from the dead, then we can expect that God will do the same with every human being who has ever lived.

Nevertheless, the doctrine of resurrection runs into some philosophical problems derived from considerations on personal identity; that is, how is the person resurrected identical to the person that once lived? If we were to accept dualism and the soul criterion for personal identity, then there is not much of a problem: upon the moment of death, soul and body split, the soul remains incorporeal until the moment of resurrection, and the soul becomes attached to the new resurrected body. In as much as a person is the same, if and only if, she conserves the same soul, then we may legitimately claim that the resurrected person is identical to the person that once lived.

But, if we reject dualism, or the soul criterion for personal identity, then we must face some difficulties. According to the most popular one conception of resurrection, we shall be raised with the same bodies with which we once lived. Suppose that the resurrected body is in fact made of the very same cells that made up the original body, and also, the resurrected body has the same form as the original body. Are they identical?

Peter Van Inwagen thinks not (Van Inwagen, 1997). If, for example, an original manuscript written by Augustine is destroyed, and then, God miraculously recreates a manuscript with the same atoms that made up Augustines original manuscript, we should not consider it the very same manuscript. It seems that, between Augustines original manuscript, and the manuscript recreated by God, there is no spatio-temporal continuity. And, if such continuity is lacking, then we cannot legitimately claim that the recreated object is the same original object. For the same reason, it appears that the resurrected body cannot be identical to the original body. At most, the resurrected body would be a replica.

However, our intuitions are not absolutely clear. Consider, for example, the following case: a bicycle is exhibited in a store, and a customer buys it. In order to take it home, the customer dismantles the bicycle, puts its pieces in a box, takes it home, and once there, reassembles the pieces. Is it the same bicycle? It certainly seems so, even if there is no spatio-temporal continuity.

Nevertheless, there is room to doubt that the resurrected body would be made up of the original bodys same atoms. We know that matter recycles itself, and that due to metabolism, the atoms that once constituted the human body of a person may later constitute the body of another person. How could God resurrect bodies that shared the same atoms? Consider the case of cannibalism, as ridiculed by Voltaire:

A soldier from Brittany goes into Canada; there, by a very common chance, he finds himself short of food, and is forced to eat an Iroquis whom he killed the day before. The Iroquis had fed on Jesuits for two or three months; a great part of his body had become Jesuit. Here, then, the body of a soldier is composed of Iroquis, of Jesuits, and of all that he had eaten before. How is each to take again precisely what belongs to him? And which part belongs to each? (Voltaire, 1997: 147)

However, perhaps, in the resurrection, God neednt resurrect the body. If we accept the body criterion for personal identity, then, indeed, the resurrected body must be the same original body. But, if we accept the psychological criterion, perhaps God only needs to recreate a person psychologically continuous with the original person, regardless of whether or not that person has the same body. John Hick believes this is how God could indeed proceed (Hick, 1994).

Hick invites a thought experiment. Suppose a man disappears in London, and suddenly someone with his same looks and personality appears in New York. It seems reasonable to consider that the person that disappeared in London is the same person that appeared in New York. Now, suppose that a man dies in London, and suddenly appears in New York with the same looks and personality. Hick believes that, even if the cadaver is in London, we would be justified to claim that the person that appears in New York is the same person that died in London. Hicks implication is that body continuity is not needed for personal identity; only psychologically continuity is necessary.

And, Hick considers that, in the same manner, if a person dies, and someone in the resurrection world appears with the same character traits, memories, and so forth, then we should conclude that such a person in the resurrected world is identical to the person who previously died. Hick admits the resurrected body would be a replica, but as long as the resurrected is psychologically continuous with the original person, then it is identical to the original person.

Yet, in as much as Hicks model depends upon a psychological criterion for personal identity, it runs into the same problems that we have reviewed when considering the psychological criterion. It seems doubtful that a replica would be identical to the original person, because more than one replica could be recreated. And, if there is more than one replica, then they would all claim to be the original person, but obviously, they cannot all be the original person. Hick postulates that we can trust that God would only recreate exactly one replica, but it is not clear how that would solve the problem. For, the mere possibility that God could make more than one replica is enough to conclude that a replica would not be the original person.

Peter Van Inwagen has offered a somewhat extravagant solution to these problems: Perhaps at the moment of each mans death, God removes his corpse and replaces it with a simulacrum which is what is burned or rots. Or perhaps God is not quite so wholesale as this: perhaps He removes for safekeeping only the core person the brain and central nervous system or even some special part of it (Van Inwagen, 1997: 246). This would seem to solve the problem of spatio-temporal continuity. The body would never cease to exist, it would only be stored somewhere else until the moment of resurrection, and therefore, it would conserve spatio-temporal continuity. However, such an alternative seems to presuppose a deceitful God (He would make us believe the corpse that rots is the original one, when in fact, it is not), and would thus contradict the divine attribute of benevolence (a good God would not lie), a major tenet of monotheistic religions that defend the doctrine of resurrection.

Some Christian philosophers are aware of all these difficulties, and have sought a more radical solution: there is no criterion for personal identity over time. Such a view is not far from the bundle theory, in the sense that it is difficult to precise how a person remains the same over time. This position is known as anti-criterialism, that is, there is no intelligible criterion for personal identity; Trenton Merricks (1998) is its foremost proponent. By doing away with criteria for personal identity, anti-criterialists purport to show that objections to resurrection based on difficulties of personal identity have little weight, precisely because we should not be concerned about criteria for personal identity.

The discipline of parapsychology purports to prove that there is scientific evidence for the afterlife; or at least, that there is scientific evidence for the existence of paranormal abilities that would imply that the mind is not a material substance. Originally founded by J.B.S. Rhine in the 1950s, parapsychology has fallen out of favor among contemporary neuroscientists, although some universities still support parapsychology departments.

Parapsychologists usually claim there is a good deal of evidence in favor of the doctrine of reincarnation. Two pieces of alleged evidence are especially meaningful: (1) past-life regressions; (2) cases of children who apparently remember past lives.

Under hypnosis, some patients frequently have regressions and remember events from their childhood. But, some patients have gone even further and, allegedly, have vivid memories of past lives. A few parapsychologists take these as so-called past-life regressions as evidence for reincarnation (Sclotterbeck, 2003).

However, past-life regressions may be cases of cryptomnesia, that is, hidden memories. A person may have a memory, and yet not recognize it as such. A well-known case is illustrative: an American woman in the 1950s was hypnotized, and claimed to be Bridey Murphy, an Irishwoman of the 19th century. Under hypnosis, the woman offered a fairly good description of 19th century Ireland, although she had never been in Ireland. However, it was later discovered that, as a child, she had an Irish neighbor. Most likely, she had hidden memories of that neighbor, and under hypnosis, assumed the personality of a 20th century Irish woman.

It must also be kept in mind that hypnosis is a state of high suggestibility. The person that conducts the hypnosis may easily induce false memories on the person hypnotized; hence, alleged memories that come up in hypnosis are not trustworthy at all.

Some children have claimed to remember past lives. Parapsychologist Ian Stevenson collected more than a thousand of such cases (Stevenson, 2001). And, in a good portion of those cases, children know things about the deceased person that, allegedly, they could not have known otherwise.

However, Stevensons work has been severely critiqued for its methodological flaws. In most cases, the childs family had already made contact with the deceaseds family before Stevensons arrival; thus, the child could pick up information and give the impression that he knows more than what he could have known. Paul Edwards has also accused Stevenson of asking leading questions towards his own preconceptions (Edwards, 1997: 14).

Moreover, reincarnation runs into conceptual problems of its own. If you do not remember past lives, then it seems that you cannot legitimately claim that you are the same person whose life you do not remember. However, a few philosophers claim this is not a good objection at all, as you do not remember being a very young child, and yet can still surely claim to be the same person as that child (Ducasse, 1997: 199).

Population growth also seems to be a problem for reincarnation: according to defenders of reincarnation, souls migrate from one body to another. This, in a sense, presupposes that the number of souls remains stable, as no new souls are created, they only migrate from body to body. Yet, the number of bodies has consistently increased ever since the dawn of mankind. Where, one may ask, were all souls before new bodies came to exist? (Edwards, 1997: 14). Actually, this objection is not so formidable: perhaps souls exist in a disembodied form as they wait for new bodies to come up (DSouza, 2009: 57).

During the heyday of Spiritualism (the religious movement that sought to make contact with the dead), some mediums gained prominence for their reputed abilities to contact the dead. These mediums were of two kinds: physical mediums invoked spirits that, allegedly, produced physical phenomena (for example, lifting tables); and mental mediums whose bodies, allegedly, were temporarily possessed by the spirits.

Most physical mediums were exposed as frauds by trained magicians. Mental mediums, however, presented more of a challenge for skeptics. During their alleged possession by a deceased persons spirit, mediums would provide information about the deceased person that, apparently, could not have possibly known. William James was impressed by one such medium, Leonora Piper, and although he remained somewhat skeptical, he finally endorsed the view that Piper in fact made contact with the dead.

Some parapsychologists credit the legitimacy of mental mediumship (Almeder, 1992). However, most scholars believe that mental mediums work through the technique of cold reading: they ask friends and relatives of a deceased person questions at a fast pace, and infer from their body language and other indicators, information about the deceased person (Gardner, 2003).

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Grissom and Willows return to help the CSI team solve a catastrophic case that paralyzes all of Las Vegas, on the special two-part series finale. Past and current series stars scheduled to appear include William Petersen, Marg Helgenberger, Ted Danson, Jorja Fox, Eric Szmanda, Robert David Hall, Paul Guilfoyle, Wallace Langham, David Berman, Elisabeth Harnois and Jon Wellner. Also, Melinda Clarke returns as Lady Heather. (Part 2 of 2)

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