What If Our Lifespan Was Much Longer?


#1

What if we lived longer?

Let’s say 1500-2000 years? Every stage of life prolonged equally (or not equally?). - Infancy, adolescence, adulthood, geriatric…

I’m not saying this is possible, we do have a time limit. We aren’t jellyfish. But maybe a starting point for comparison: our life expectancy only used to be 40-ish. Now, it is 71-72, maybe longer or shorter depending on where in particular you live … along with other numerous variables. So how have we changed from then to now? Physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, philosophically … What do you think? Would it be the same difference from 71 to 1500?

My initial thoughts are this - we’ve graduated from a primarily survival-minded state to a state which gives us more freedom. As our life expectancies grew longer, we developed a “living-routine” based on our surroundings and the times. The living routine being: birth, childhood, young adulthood, marriage, kids, old age. This gives us a paced timeline in which to live instead of meandering through life for what would seem like an eternity. Opposite from the time where the majority had primarily animal instincts consisting of survival, power, and procreation. This paced timeline, while it has it’s pros like keeping our minds and motivations occupied, it is not well-suited for all. But I suppose it has not always been that everyone is willing to live exactly like each. But I am speaking of minorities and majorities here.

The birth of the West started in the East with the Romans. I cannot begin to describe some of the fear I have for human civilization in general because of it’s history. Will we repeat it? Anywho, a longer life gives question to what to do with it. I believe the the age of living the ‘paced routine’ I spoke of earlier is fading. Younger generations don’t want to do that “shit”. Why? Why when the world is smaller? I can see all the places I want. I can have as many relationships as I want, all the tips of my fingers. This extreme is also not in my opinion healthy for a civilization either. The Western World and idealizations are filled with selfishness. There is no good for the commonwealth anymore. None too much that I can see. It is selfish. Perhaps we are reverting back to a sort of primitive based living, all about survival, power, and now, protected from procreation.

Maybe a longer life would chill us out, allowing us to see past our self-serving egos. But maybe without the progression of mankind and active discipline of human nature, a longer life would do nothing elevating. So all in all, I think we’d be the same if we lived longer. Having more years, does not necessarily mean you’ll do good things with them.

In Personality-Shaping Through Positive Disintegration, by Kazimierz Dabrowski, there’s an idea or sentence or page (I can’t remember) that is dedicated to the idea that humans must have one partner. One wife or husband. Because it is a sign of the higher being to be with one. To choose one. To dedicate themselves to one. I unfortunately can’t quote it exactly because I gifted this book years ago and have not since replaced it. This has always stuck with me. I remember it struck me at the time I read it because I think it was recorded in the second half of the book. While I was reading the first half I was like, “yes, yes, yes! This guy is awesome!” Then I came across this and didn’t have an outright opinion about it. It was more like, “Hm, interesting.” But there is something to this. Not obviously just about marriage. But to apply this statement or idea to other parts of the human experience. Positive disintegration… good stuff.

Um what am I talking about? Why did I start this thread? Ah, yes.

In a nutshell, I’m trying to ask and explore with you what human life would be like if we lived much longer. Yes the exaggerated amount of 1500-2000 years. Sorry for all of the other things in here too that may cloud the question. :blush:


#2

While you only lived till 40 or so years ago and your spouse and you might be lucky to both live that long, and one or both of you was likely to be replaced due to the ease of dying in more dangerous times… and even now, some marry later and perhaps you can make it without dying and both grow old together… I am going to say absolutely NO fecking way to living with one person for 1500 years. Like, probably you’d kill them before that time was up unless you could part ways. Not even sure I could stand myself for 1500 years… I already struggle with both monogamy and serious self esteem issues and I’m not even fifty.


#3

I read this and LOL’d!

:hugs:


#4

I think it was something by Kim Stanley Robinson I read lately that approached the long life span, and it is certainly worth thinking about. I’d like to have the energy to go more into this, but I am overwhelmed already and a lot afraid of accidentally 'sploding here since I am not doing morning pages…


#5

Take your time. This thread isn’t going anywhere. :sun_with_face:


#6

Same here. It sounds terrifying.

@Ankh I’m still trying to figure out why I’m very intrigued and frustrated by the possibility you presented here. Now I want to know!! The question is huge in its scope since life as we know it is very much shaped by the prospect of our death. I would dare hope for a more meaningful life, and more thought given to the consequences our lifestyle has on the planet, at least.

I think monogamy has never been something natural for us and will soon be replaced by something else. But I do think that the aspiration towards exclusive romantic relationships gives them an intensity (though unhealthy) that wouldn’t be the same otherwise… And that would probably not be so bad, actually.


#7

Yup!! Life would be paced much differently. And that’s why I added this for fun -

In this examination, try playing around with unequal lengths to the phases of life. Maybe infancy is 10 years … maybe adulthood, before marriage is 100 years or 200 years. See how fun this is? :upside_down_face:

See and this refers to what I said here:

I think, ultimately, a longer life would do nothing more than it is currently doing. Something has to change. We have to consciously alter our natural tendencies. It’s a real mind-fuck when you start to really think of it.

Sometimes I think “natural” is hard to define for humans. -Although, I used it just above. It seems that when I use the word ‘natural’, I think of nature. And I feel man is only half nature. I would like to hear some examples of what you predict to be the “something else”.

I have very conflicting ideas in my head all the time. There is a side of me that believes life is accomplished alone. Our paths are our own. We are born alone, we die alone. We walk the path of the other side alone. While some might look at this as depressing, I do not. However, there is also a side to me that realizes “alone” is impossible. It is impossible for growth. And we are a species that demands constant growth, in one form or another. There is something highly elevating feeling about claiming a partner for life. Hmm… I dunno. Too many racing thoughts. I understand where you’re coming from when you say you’re intrigued and frustrated at the same time. Ha!

I hope more join in. I know it can be a frustrating task to try to hypothesize something like this when an answer is felt unobtainable. But through exploration, I think a lot of people can find some meaning.


#8

Hehe, this is neverending. :slight_smile: There’s also this feeling that you’ve already answered it all, so I’m left a bit disoriented here.

Change will inevitably happen (just like in your example with the rise and fall of civilizations), but I don’t expect it to take the form of consistent, concentrated effort of every little individual. I rather see it as an ideological shift that would force it upon us. What I mean is, for instance when discussing ecology, of course you can try to educate people about recycling and all the environmental-friendly alternatives, but there’s nothing more effective than shaping a society where that is the only alternative. Because right now you might have the theoretical freedom of making the environmental-friendly choice, but if you have to go against what has been designed for you to be the easiest (cheaper, more accessible) choice in order to do it, what are the real chances for it to happen, really? I’ll stop here because I can’t go on without getting too political about it and I don’t have the strength to go there at this time.

I’m curious what you mean when you say man is only half nature. I think I might have an idea, but I could be wrong. It makes me think of those evolutionary biology comparisons to explain human behaviors, (e.g. man has to spread his seed) to which I want to scream: yeah, some animals also eat their offspring, but we aren’t doing that, are we? And so I think you mean that we have altered our natural state and environment? When I was saying monogamy is not natural for us, I guess what I meant is that it’s not working, it feels like a Disney narrative that we want to believe in and strive for, but fail to put in practice and then we lie to ourselves and others to perpetuate the myth.

I don’t have an answer to that, but what I had in mind was this realisation that our current model is failing and that we want our partners to be everything. I was also thinking about Esther Perel’s talks, do you know her? She speaks of how romantic love has been made to replace religion, to take over the role of the tribe, and give us meaning, belonging and transcendence. I love her take on love and relationships: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iu9_8Vsmtk

I have also had these conflicting ideas. And while there is a part of me that will always yearn for that one partner, I feel it in my gut that the healthiest thing to do (at least for me personally, especially as a sexual enneatype 9 with a habit of fusing with someone else in order to get a sense of being) is to learn to exist and be enough on my own. Which does not exclude having a partner, but it should come second or after the individual work has been done, so that the other doesn’t come as a distraction.


#9

Do you think it’s related?


#10

Probably, but how and why?
I am monogamous, have been for well over 20 years and probably will be for this lifetime. It is only in my mind that I struggle with it, or to be more precise, struggle with what others need from me. I wonder if by 1500 years I could learn to just live and let go. At this moment I very much doubt it.

I just became a grandmother. I am so grateful she is well and strong. I feel so fortunate. I feel she is so fortunate that she has this big family who loves her so much already. Look at me. I am so thankful she is here, that she made it. I do not take that for granted. Never. No guarantees, no promises, but I asked that she come and learn, come and teach, come and play, and she was given. And so I promise as I have before, to be here.
This is the way it goes. More if you are lucky. More to love. More to share yourself with. More to do for and do with.
I wish so much sometimes for space and time. And yet I see that I cannot wish for it truly. That it is I that sits myself in the midst of this life. Perhaps it would be kind of awful if one day I was not longer so relieved and so grateful for more. If I lived so long that I forgot to beg the universe to grant new parents and grandparents the monumental and gravitas gift they wished so dearly for.
I am tired. I live tired. My son is tired but as yet has no idea how tired tired can be. But tired is the thing you want, not emptiness, not time that is free of what you most wanted.
I struggle with having, evidently, but it is a good struggle to have. I have many loves to occupy my time and space.
I think I went somewhere else with the question, but it all matters.


#11

Beautiful! Congratulations, Tiny!
I think this is a wonderful post. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: