The Necessity of Human Mortality

| 1/21/2015 8:28:00 AM

This essay is part of a longer work about the central role of mortality in sustainability, ethics and the human experience. It is scheduled to be published as part of a new book, Heroic Compassion: Life, Death and Destiny in the Human Epoch, in 2017.

We will soon face the necessity — and the opportunity — of voluntarily limiting our own life spans for the good of others.

We are almost ready to acknowledge the necessity of our own mortality. When we do, we will finally realize the full heroic potential of our species.

Our heroic potential is based on humanity’s unique capacity for compassion and sacrifice.

Walking along the beach 

Technology is helping us live long lives. A lot of smart people are working very hard to help us live even longer, maybe hundreds of years.  In fact, human longevity may be the central preoccupation of science today. We’ve actually doubled our life expectancy in the last 150 years. Various researchers today believe we’re close to curing diabetes, influenza, meningitis, heart disease, leukemia, breast cancer and prostate cancer. The big thinkers at Google have set their sights even higher. The giant search-engine company is funding broad research aimed at preventing aging itself with a vision of a world in which no person would ever grow old or, presumably, die.

1/29/2015 1:56:30 PM

Here's an idea, lets get all the banking leaders, politicians, oil industry leaders, and those that refuse to live green to oft themselves off. If people need to be gotten rid of, why not start with the ones that cause unneeded destruction of the earth? disclaimer:(this comment was made for entertainment purposes only)

Bryan Welch
1/28/2015 5:25:48 PM

I have great news, "Anonymous" and "OrangeJello." I will go first. I will take my own life if I outlive my own chosen maximum lifespan (in the high two figures). :) And Tookiebrookie, thanks for actually reading what I had written. - Bryan

1/28/2015 8:04:27 AM

I was going to post a thoughtful rebuttal, but anonymous beat me to it! This site is great for promoting a more harmonious relationships with the earth. Now bryan welch is telling us to kill ourselves in a nice way? This is not the place for euphemisms. Call it what it is: SUICIDE. At least he is not advocating a government mandate, or is that the next step? The right to life is a natural right, above any government. No one has the right to say the earth is overpopulated. So bryan and tookie, you first.

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