Who wants to live forever?
These were the words of Freddie Mercury’s famous song of the same title. When I first heard this song, I had that stinging feeling… “Death conquers all.” Or, Mors Omnia Vincit, as the Romans might say. It’s that gloomy, morbid truth that wraps itself around your entire nervous system for a moment in time when you realise that not even the most beautiful aspirations of art, like Freddie’s, can cheat the sands of time. Or, can they? Perhaps, at least, science can, even if art falls short.
Are we living in an age where the first baby who will live forever has already been born? The more I spoke to people about this, the more I met with opposition. People evoked to me that they thought it was unnatural, ghoulish or against the “circle of life” to live forever. If you feel this way, I respect that. But I believe the option should be available for people who want to achieve biological immortality. I have feared death from a young age. This is a music page, in fact, dedicated to my quest as a singer-songwriter, and the associated artistic projects that have either stemmed from or been spurred adjacent to it. So what does a rant about biological immortality have to do with anything? Well, everything.
A good friend of mine used to remind me that “Ars Longa, Vita Brevis” – art is long, life is short, the notion that your art will outlive you. But what kind of life will it live? Will it be like Freddie, and meet people in their heartbroken moments that a mortal coil burns? Everything posthumous has this inflection, forever. Perhaps, the ultimate achievement as an artist would be to remain alive forever, just like the art – who knows – either way, as I continue to try and express my creative vision outwards the world, I can’t help but remember that the artist is inseparable from the art. Do I have a charity to serenade? Not at the moment (I have in the past been fortunate enough to partner with cat rescue organisations, although it was a strange time for me, and nothing much came of it – but it’s the thought that counts, is perhaps the secret there).
But, what I do believe I have is a “meta” argument for charitable preoccupations. That is to say, when I was about 15, I was an avid high school debater, and I remember an adjudicator awarding me the merit of being a “logic god” for my all-encompassing observation and argument in a debate about climate change that the climate arguments are ones that supersede others, because if we don’t have a planet to conquer poverty, world hunger et. al upon, then these are rendered meaningless plights. I feel like biological immortality beckons the same merit, of one being a logic diety! After all, if we all die, then what’s the point of anything? People can foster fanciful notions about generating a condition of life and quality of existence for the next crop of human beings to outlive them, but, isn’t it a false romance? After all, you can’t perpetuate this romance one you are rotting in the grave. What’s better, perhaps, is that we stay alive to watch our noblesse oblige’s take hold and fruit around the planet.
These are mind-bending questions for some, but for others, they are an automatic excitement. For some, it’s natural to want to live forever – to see the story of civilisation out and to keep growing and to have a “life’s work” that doesn’t limit to a lifetime – imagine the brilliant minds that could keep inventing and transforming our world if they weren’t cursed to die? At least let’s keep the brightest people alive, right? And then you construct a continuum, I think, and remember that all people have something to contribute. It’s an easy thought experiment. But I won’t spend this page’s paragraph trying to persuade the determinists that we are supposed to accept death. Rather, I’d like to enlist the converted, or, preach to them, and say to those people who are reading this who are tittilated by the notion of living forever that the writer is for it – but doesn’t know how to advocate for it.
It’s true, I attempted to organise a documentary about biological immortality by contacting all of the major universities in South-East Queensland, and, to little avail. One university only was interested, and the rest – even the CSIRO – admitted they had little to offer to this topic. Maybe it’s true, my hunch, that this is an international community of thinkers only – at least in the English-speaking community – and that it is early days. Or, my other hunch, that Australia doesn’t have a lot of time for this topic. I sound unpatriotic. Not at all. We will get there, I believe. And we have wonderful sciences of many kinds that I do not mean to denigrate. I wish simply to have advocacy for one in particular – longevity sciences.
So, where to now? Do I want the people I love and care about to die? Can you separate the artist from the art? No. It’s impossible. This all naturally becomes an extension of my music, which is why it belongs on alexedwardsmusic.com. The singer is now embroiled in the dilemma of how to perpetuate the human lifespan. Is it some kind of meeting point of AI, cloning sciences, android philosophies? Who knows. The discussion is too interesting to subvert. So, what will this page hold in the future? I am not sure. But for now, I wanted to etch a mark of seriousness, and maybe even generate a public conversational topic.
Do you want to live forever?
I’ve placed the above video for your viewing purposes… as a fellow aspirant of “longevousness” I assume! After all, perhaps the Living Forever Era really is closer than we thought, if we can begin to transit brain science enough to model consciousness and more.