Living 200 Years and Knowing the Date of Your Death

If you had the choice to live to age 200, would you take up that blind offer?  My beloved wife Janna would not.  She’s perfectly content with her life and, if she died today, she would feel satisfied with the accomplishments of her life.  I, on the other hand, would love to live to age 200 if, of course, there were no sort of Twilight Zone curse involved where I was confined to a bed in a coma for 125 years, or I became a pack mule in the Himalayas for a century, or if I had to live in an active sewer and never see the light of day for 110 years.

Of course, offers to live an infinity life are always initially made conditionless so you’d have to guess if you body could really sustain all those years, or if you’d have to be frozen and then unthawed later so modern medical science could resurrect you and then fix, via a DNA manipulation, what was killing you in the first place.

Would you want to live 200 years?  Or would you prefer to do your under-100 and then be done with it all?

Our 200 Year conversation led me to ask Janna if she would like to know the exact day, month and year of her death — and without hesitation she said “Yes!”  She felt knowing the exact moment of her end would help her say good-bye and wrap up any undone circles and have everything in order.

I, of course, had a more worrisome thought — that was probably still influenced by my Twilight Zone paranoia — and how knowing the exact date I would die could mean that I might live in a disaffected communicative state for 175 years waiting for the absolute end, and my life would become an unwilling, and unwitting, purgatory with no escape until said date arrived to take me away.

I can see value in knowing the moment of your ultimate end — but would I want to know the how and why I died on a certain date? I suppose wanting to know would depend upon the severity of the end. If I were to die quietly in bed, okay then. If I were to die in a vicious car fire, probably not. I know I am not answering the question…

What’s your take on this? Do you want to live 200 years?

Do you want to know the exact date of your death?

Is knowing the cause of your death important or not?

41 comments

  • I’d love to have the extra years of productivity, assuming a non-curse extension. As it is, the longer I live, the more I see that I need to learn! And yes, for sure, I’d like to know my expiration date. Since I aim to spend my last penny on my last day such knowledge would come in real handy for my financial planner! But assuming there’d be no way to avoid it, I suppose knowing the actual cause would be of little value. There’s something to be said for keeping a little mystery in life!

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    • Hi Jack!

      Right! We’d have to get rid of the curse option to really take this seriously, because we always know there’s some catch to these questions because the people who offer us extended lives always have clauses and other despicable things up their sleeves!

      In fact, I’d love to live another 1,000 years if I could remain in okay health just because I want to see what happens next. I would love to see the actual end of the world, just to know how the story ends.

      I think the one thing you’d learn living that long is to not freak out over horrible things happening because nothing ever lasts forever.

      I’d hate to live all those years alone, though. If I couldn’t have a few people with me to experience those thousand years, it would be depressing. I’d have to bury a buch of people. I suppose there would come a time when I would no longer want to make friends or re-re-re-re-re-re-marry because they’d be done in the blink of my eternal eye.

      I love your mystery angle! I suppose there are some things we are never intended to know…

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    • I agree. I do think the extra years would be wonderful to have, as long as I’m not cursed. I would definitely enjoy spending time with my loved ones on my last day, but that would probably be the only reason I want to know the exact date though.

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      • The curse is definitely the catch — which is why I would likely have to turn down the offer from my doctor, or the DNA witchdoctor, because these catches always seem to be unknown to everybody involved until later… when it’s too late.

        Somehow knowing the final ending concerns me. It’s as if the joy and the hope of living is lost and your existence becomes humdrum. Cancer? Oh, I have another 45 years. Multiple amputations from a car crash? Hmph! I’ll be fine: 31.2 more days to go! SMILE!

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  • Mine is a conditional answer – yes if I kept my current level of mental, spiritual and physical health – I have no wish merely to exist or be dependent on others – I want to LIVE. Not that worried about knowing the date and manner of my passing.

    I like Jacks financial planning ideas – spending that last penny would be such a delight – as would leaving a lemon for the taxman with a note saying now squeeze this !

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    • Nicola! Now, you raise an interesting problem. Let’s say we’re totally healthy and fine and independent — but — Hilter has been revived and we’re under an Eighth Reich world and we cannot behave as we wish. We can only do what Hitler and his ilk allow us to do. We’re fine physically, but socially, we have regressed to a point where the Holocaust is no longer the worst thing that has ever happened on earth.

      We can’t suicide our way out — that’s part of signing the long-term life contract — so we have a bunch of years left with Hitler and all his followers in charge, because, they too, accepted the 1,000 year deal, and so they’re here just as long as us — and they’re in no hurry to get humane any time soon.

      Now what?!

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      • Add social to the conditional contract …………… GRIN

        Seriously though – that would affect my mental and spiritual health so would be covered by my conditional contract.

        The other option I guess would to become a hermit if there were any room left on the planet to do such a thing.

        Maybe this is the lesson to be learned LIVE life now – we are not promised forever.

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        • Excellent points, Nicola!

          I like the Hermit idea.

          I’m convinced Jesus Christ, The Man, will never walk the earth again — because science won’t want to spend the time and money on bringing him back because they can’t mess with that sort of inhuman success. Part II would be highly anticipated, but, in the end, a disappointment, because nobody could live up to the hype. Why build Him to failure?

          That said… Hitler will certainly live again, because science will want to talk to him and study him and “find out what went wrong.” Was it environment or predestiny? Can we re-wire Hitler to be the Second Coming? It will all turn out horribly in the end, because the courts will stop science, and “allow Hitler to be Hitler” — to preserve his human rights — and we’re right back in the thick of it with all the killing and fires and world domination and such. We never learn from failure.

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          • That is kind of damning in itself – we will not go back and look at someone who has in some cases been a force fo good – yet we will go back and look at someone who was undoubtedly evil.

            I can remember one thriller that flirted with the idea of finding the remains of Jesus Christ and the arch villain of the piece is so impatient that he takes a crowbar to the chest holding his remains and they go POOOOOF into dust and all is lost.

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          • Exactly! We don’t seek out goodness, we want to explore the dark side. The evil among us is the evil within us!

            I can imagine the scene: Hitler’s reconstructed sperm ready to impregnate Beyonce’s donated egg, with the scientist whispering to his horrified son, “Let’s just see what happens…” as the sperms drips from the end of the needle” and, as you said, “poof!” — there goes the world as we know it as a young Hitler is born to be a farmhand in a Paul Harvey commercial and he rises up from the alfalfa to kills us all, all over again.

            I’m sure this is all being brewed right now in some barn in Nebraska.

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          • would that be a “distant” family barn ??? Have you unwittingly released your devilish plot to take over the world ??

            PS are you sure it is Beyonce and not BOO BOO !!!!

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          • I cannot comment on any of the truthful accusations you are making against me and my simian plans to rule the world! SMILE!

            Oh, but you trumped me on the Boo Boo for Beyonce! I’d go back and edit my comment to put in “Boo Boo” — but too many people have seen you genius comment!

            So, yes! Hitler becomes his own father and his mother is Honey Boo Boo!

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          • I would say that this dastardly plan has to be foiled BUT for one thing – I think Honey Boo Boo genes migh cancel out the Hitler gene !

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          • Ooo! I think you are right about that, Nicola!

            I have to say, though, if I had to spend 1,000 lonely years with either Beyonce or Honey Boo Boo, I would pick the Boo over the Butt — because she’s funnier and real and, in some ways, way more talented!

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          • Hermit option – hermit option !!!!!!!!!!!

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  • As with all good discussions on the web, Hitler eventually enters into it. What did the internet do before there were Nazis!?

    Guess we’ll just have to spend our remaining years fighting the good fight, easing suffering, and trying to bring a little joy into a sometimes joyless world… so how much has changed?

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    • Yes, Jack, Hitler is everywhere! Don’t you watch the Twilight Zone? The future is always filled with Nazis!

      BTW, I forgot to mention you broke your glasses and you can’t read any of the books in the library, OR use Google or read anything on the Internet!

      As well, you are the last of your kind alive, and the world is filled with snakes that follow you around, and you forgot how to swim, so you can’t even cross the moat to join the fairy princess you think you see waving her hair at you from a stone window.

      I’m quite certain Hitler will be reincarnated. It’s inevitable because it is so unthinkable. It’s the ultimate test of science to see if they can re-create him to be the opposite of what he was — they will want to reform him on a DNA level but, as the Twilight Zone has taught us — it’s impossible to change evil, and so Hitler lives again, non-reformed, but SuperHuman, and invincible, and he’s going to spend all the money you were saving for your last day on tattoo guns and lemons!

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  • Hmm… as a subject of the topic, I have to say, after reading all of this, that I am happy I stood by accepting my life as it is — no apes for Hitler babies for me! — and I do like the idea of spending every penny earned by the time you die.

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  • UPDATE:

    It has been suggested to me By-She-Who-Shall-Remain-Nameless, that I might have been too manic or hard on Jack with my glasses comment. So, to clarify, it has nothing to do with Jack or his Gravatar-With-Glasses, but rather with the Twilight Zone and a famous Burgess Meredith episode called “Time Enough at Last:”

    Henry Bemis, a bookish little man with thick horn-rimmed glasses wants only one thing out of life; the time to read. Reading is his only passion in an otherwise mundane existence…yet, it’s almost an impossibility due to a shrewish wife who deems reading silly…a boss at the bank who’s interested in efficiency not education…and the unrelenting hands of the clock. Now all that is about to change. As he does everyday, Bemis sneaks down to the vault to read during his lunch hour, but today when he emerges from his private sanctuary, he will enter a new world. A world that might or might not fulfill his life-long dream.

    http://twilightzone.wikia.com/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last

    Here’s the killer scene from the episode that explains it all!

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    • That is, in fact, my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone. Thank you.

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      • I think it is one of my favorites, too, though Shatner made some excellent shows for Rod like, “Nick of Time:”

        Newlyweds Don and Pat Carter are en route to a New York honeymoon when their car breaks down in a small Ohio town. Waiting for repairs to be made, they grab lunch in a local diner. Don’s always been superstitious—the rabbit’s foot and four-leaf-clover charm on his keychain bear witness—so it’s no surprise when he’s drawn to the penny fortune-telling machine on the table, complete with tiny devil’s-head bobbing atop it. Although the answers are maddeningly general, Don becomes increasingly convinced that the machine is predicting his future—and increasingly unwilling to leave. Only the future will tell, but it’s possible that neither he nor his wife will ever get out of town…or the Twilight Zone.

        http://twilightzone.wikia.com/wiki/Nick_of_Time

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  • Nicola!

    We finally ran out of reply room! SMILE!

    I’m all with you on the Hermit option! Ha!

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    • Does that mean we beat WP ????

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      • Yes! We pounded the comments thread until WP.com cried and made us start all over again! GRIN!

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        • DING DING Round two – you can share your cave with three people – not family – who would they be and why would you choose them ?

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          • Hmm… three people, eh? I won’t say Boo Boo or Beyonce — because we already touched that third rail — so I would say I would want people with the following skills: A carpenter (Not Jesus); a farmer (No Dodge Ram Truck); and a doctor (No Barn Fertility clinicians need apply!). That should cover all the human needs and necessities to keep the whole body up and working for the future.

            And you? What three people would you choose?

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          • One difference from you – engineer instead of carpenter !

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          • Yeah, that’s good. Engineer.

            I wanted to say “plumber” and then “carpenter/plumber” — but I settled on just carpenter because, in the Hilter Ape era, I doubt we’ll have electricity or even running water, so in my Hermit life I want a living structure and a bed and table and chairs and I know a carpenter can build all that while a plumber cannot and I’m not sure an engineer could, either.

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          • I purely went for engineer as I hoped they could work with materials other than wood – maybe I underestimated carpenters or over estimated engineers !

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          • Yah. I’ve been trying to figure out where you were going with the engineer. If the future starts now or regresses, then I’d want a carpenter. If the Hermit life begins in the future and we’re flying spaceships, then I’d take the engineer.

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          • I was going for a broader brush – hopefully covering more options !

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  • We did it again, Nicola! End of the line for comments! Round 3 commence! SMILE!

    I like how you think about your Engineer!

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  • Um…. 200 years? Only if I can get to live in Mars….then it will be different. Is Nasa listening?? :)

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