I'd thought for a while before deciding to get a dog because I wasn't sure if I would be able to handle the grief of outliving it.
Reading news about lives lost in a devastating earthquake or flood halfway across the globe makes me tear, so I was certain losing a pet that grew up under my care would leave me a wreck.
I then reminded myself that I would probably outlive my parents too, and maybe even some of my friends. Does that mean I should also avoid having them around and live a life detached from emotional attachments?
By and by, I've come to accept that death is an inevitable final chapter of all living beings--whether or not it comes sooner for some, and later for others.
Thanks to technological advancements, though, the end is coming later and later for most.
In a recent interview with ZDNet Asia, IBMer Kirk E. Jordan proclaimed that high-performance computing can help future generations live up to 150 years. First, I thought "wow", then I wondered if I would even want to live past 100 years.
When I was old enough to realize mortality wasn't something I could change, and that I would have only so many years to live out my one life, I began living it with more purpose and urgency.
Because we each have only on average 80 years, or if we're really fortunate, maybe a 100 years to experience life, the time we have is so much more precious and valuable. So we know to make the most of it and not waste any fretting over the little things.
But, if we had over 150 years, would we still live with purpose and resolution?
It's great that technological advancements have enabled us to receive better healthcare services, and allowed us to detect and temporarily eradicate cancer cells to give us that few more years in life that we wouldn't otherwise have had.
When I read a report last year that a couple in the U.S. forked out US$155,000 to clone their Labrador Retriever, which died of cancer in the previous year, I asked myself if I would do the same for my own canine. Absolutely not.
A clone would only be a physical replica of my dog, and not a replacement of the time we spent bonding over nightly walks around my estate or how she would press her face against mine to ask for a cuddle.
Each life is unique, and the experience we have living those few decades unique to each of us. It would be extremely unfortunate if technology is allowed to devalue it by prolonging the natural lifespan of a living being.
And think about the sheer volume of resources we'll be consuming and how congested it'll get if everyone on earth lives past 150 years. And wouldn't life get a little boring after the 125th year?
Mortality isn't something we can change, but it serves as a good reminder that we should live life to the fullest while we still have it. It's not how long we have to live that matters, but how we live.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. ~ Henry David Thoreau