Maybe you rubbed a lamp and got a genie out of it. 3 wishes you say.
“Genie, I make my first wish! I wish… for IMMORTALITY”.
How will you verify that you’ve got the “ideal” scenario as per what you wanted?
I think there’s several forms of immortality. But I have difficulty in believing the logic of an “immortality serum” or “I wish for immortality!” or suchlike. Let me explain what I mean. I think the easiest way to define it would be though the ‘level of comfort’ each form of immortality offers.
The most fundamental, if you will, is one that permits you to live forever. So I guess survival through the memory of others is one way to do this; create an event so awesome that you’re remembered forever.
The next kind perhaps is one that allows the brain to survive forever. Let’s call this Scenario #1. Presumably this would some limitations: Aging will continue, so past maybe the 80s you’d be a decrepit walking corpse suffering from the troubles of aging – endlessly, until consumed by disease or physical damage. Perhaps even after this the brain would continue to function – so being buried would mean you’re stuck in a dark box forever, or being burned would mean you actually feel the burning & pain as your brain is destroyed by the fire… I.e. possibility of a post-death suffering scenario.
Painful & distasteful. I agree. But this is likely the most primitive and most basic form of immortality possible (if at all it is possible).
The next – more comfortable form – Scenario #2 – is likely one that prevents aging. Of course disease and accidents can still cause death (in which case the post-death suffering scenario can still happen). Also you won’t get to choose your body’s effective age; if you consume the immortality thing at age 80 your body would remain 80 for as long as you live.
An even more comfortable form – Scenario #3 – of this would preventing aging and include immense regenerative ability. That is – injuries would heal rapidly, and infinite protection from virus, cancer, auto-immune disorders or other life threatening diseases and conditions would be granted. This is the one they speak of in works of fiction like Highlander of course.
Now… Imagine you’re given a vial of clear fluid and told “This is an immortality serum. Drink it and be immortal!”. What would you do?
Or to be more specific – how do you verify the claim of immortality granted by the serum? Would you take the risk of (for example) killing yourself to verify if it works? What if you end up in scenario #1 – stuck at the bridge between life and death until every neuron rots away?
On the flip side, if you choose not to undertake the “risky self-assessment” – and instead have a test subject imbibe the substance for you, how many years will you wait before you’re “sure”? And in that case if you wait till age 80 (and are convinced when your test subject does not age or die) – will you then quaff the pretentious potion yourself and risk a Scenario #2? You know – the one where you remain the same age as when you drank the serum.
What would YOU wish for. And if you did chance upon the desire to live forever, what would you do when you find your loved ones dying around you – and then 100+ years in the future start seeing your kids, grandkids, etc fading away before your very eyes.
Sucks to live forever, don’t it.