Friday, July 07, 2017

The Latest in Boredom Extension

I overslept for some reason. However, I awakened with a post on my mind. Or at least I thought it was a post. As it stands, it's more of an idea for a post, with insufficient time to flesh it out. If only I had endless time!

Instapundit often links to articles on the latest ideas in life extension. I'll admit to having dabbled in it since my early 20s, ingesting various antioxidants, phytochemicals, anti-inflammatories, microbrews, and other magic potions.

Do they work? Well, it's difficult to conduct a randomized double-blind controlled study on oneself. But I mainly do it for reasons of general health and hypochondria, not because I want to live forever. Also, I try to do anything that can give the old melon a boost, even if it's at the margins.

It seems to me that the desire to live forever must relate to the decline in religiosity. There is a widespread belief among atheists that people are religious mainly because they fear death -- or in other words, it's just a secret desire to live forever, or life extension by another name.

I can say without hesitation that if I were given the choice of a greatly extended life without God, or of the usual four score and change with God, I would choose the latter. Why?

Because a life without God, no matter how long, would be intolerably boring. Nothing would mean anything. The life of the spirit, which is the most interesting adventure there is, would be off the table. Therefore, what would I do with myself?

By the way, this presupposes that if I were an atheist I would be an honest one. I would understand the implications, which, if seriously entertained, lead to futility, despair, and pointlessness. Basically you are reduced to a life of raw sensation. Anything above that would just be pretending. But that gets boring rather quickly.

Interesting how that works. I'm a big baseball fan, and the Dodgers are having their best year since I've been alive. In fact, they're doing so well that it's almost... boring, something I would never say if they were in second place, or a few games out of a wild card spot. Similarly, pursuing terrestrial immortality can be interesting. But having it? Boring!

What would I do with my mind if I couldn't use it to explore the wild Godhead? I have a painfully low threshold of boredom. Frankly, almost everything bores me. And yet, I am almost never bored. But that is thanks to God. So, if there were no God, I would die of boredom. In that context, life extension would only rub it in.

Put it this way: because God exists, I'm getting a kick out of this terrestrial life. But for the same reason, I wouldn't want it to go on forever. Conversely, if God didn't exist, life might not go on forever, but it would sure feel that way.


ted said...

Frankly, almost everything bores me. And yet, I am almost never bored.

Exactly. Even if I'm fixed on something interesting, it would only hold my attention for so long if there wasn't a larger context that made the particular whole.

Gagdad Bob said...

Exactly. God is the context for everything, the keystone. Remove it and the whole building collapses to the ground.

Petey said...

Truly, it is like nihilists stealing the metaphysical area rug that pulls the cosmos together.

robinstarfish said...

This reminds me of something Chesterton said, and I'm sure to butcher it since I don't remember it exactly. To wit, that God creates every moment anew, and as we grow old, the Father is younger than we are.

I'll bet it's from Orthodoxy, which I had marked up so much that nearly nothing remained un-underlined, but I can't find it on the shelf. Probably lent it out years ago.

I saw this concept in action this past week. One of our dear friends died of pancreatic cancer several days ago. Her husband is a hospice chaplain and my best old friend. Charlie told me that as she died, she woke up from her near-coma and gazed towards the sky with a glow on her face. He said she looked as young as she'd ever been.

Gave me chills, it did. She's gone further up and further in, where boredom is a long-forgotten dream. That's the kind of life extension I can believe in.

mushroom said...

I saw a similar thing to what Robin describes when my mother-in-law passed away at 90. I have a picture of her and my wife taken a few days before her death where she looks really old and sick. But when I was called into the room as she was dying, I remember thinking her youth has been renewed as the eagle's, just like Psalm 103 says.

I do the same thing on vitamins and exercise and trying to maintain my strength. Overhead presses, in particular, hurt a lot more than they used to. Don't worry about living long, just live strong.

Olden Ears said...

I never followed any sports until this year. Got so sick of politics, I began a subscription to MLB.TV and, no longer living in So. Calif. but having grown up there, decided for sentimental reasons to follow the Dodgers. Watch them nearly every night. I had no idea they would perform like this. It's not boring, but it's entertaining along the lines of "how long will this go on?" Still, Thursday night's game was exciting. And was that Ann Coulter sitting behind home plate?

julie said...

Yes, to all of the post. If it all comes down to nothing, what point would there be in joy? Living longer would just be a hellish dragging out of nothing.

Re. things that give life to the years, I recently rediscovered b-vitamins, this time in the form of biotin. Good stuff - I had forgotten how wonderfully they help with an assortment of bodily systems; my ability to even has improved dramatically, which makes everyone happier.

Gagdad Bob said...


That's Cody Bellinger's mother. Nice looking woman.

I know what you mean about the heroics. Last night's game might have taken the prize. It was like this in 1988, with lots of come-from-behind wins. I'm just afraid they're peaking too early. There are no trophies for first place at the all-star break. Among other issues, they could clinch it by early September and get flat, as almost happened to the Cubs last year.

I follow baseball because it's nice to have problems that are completely insignificant.

Gagdad Bob said...

I just started taking biotin a week ago, in the effort to fight back against hair loss. If it has no effect, then maybe I'll shave my head and go for the menacing look.

Gagdad Bob said...

In addition to megadoses of all the vitamins & minerals, I take... let's see, ginkgo, turmeric, fish oil, milk thistle, baby aspirin, CoQ10, and a few others.

julie said...

Yes, definitely helps for hair. That's why I started it, too. Also seems to be good for skin, nerves, sleep, moods...

Only problem I had was that it seemed to interfere with magnesium absorption. Restless leg symptoms came back. Now I take it in the morning instead of at night with the magnesium, which helps.

julie said...

Another good one for respiratory and sinus irritation (and supposedly general inflammation) is quercetin.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic post, and great topics. I'll have to add my two cents worth....

Death: The human body and mind consists of components which don't always share the same motives and desires. The spirit can face death without perturbation. The emotions generally don't want it, except that can reverse under duress and then they do. The subconscious mind can seek it and fear it at the same time.

The body, down at the cellular level, abhors death. The cells always protest any encroachment on their nutrition, hydration and oxygen supply very, very loudly. This is programmed into every cell to keep the whole organism engaged with living. The will to live is a very carnal, physical thing.

Van Harvey said...

"Frankly, almost everything bores me. And yet, I am almost never bored."

Yep! No God, no meaning, no possibility of interest. If you can't pursue what is truly meaningful, then all you've got is what stimulates you, which requires more and faster each time... the ever increasing pace of which promises to bore you to death.

OTH, if you can pursue what's truly meaningful, you can do so even while tying your shoes, which means that even the most boring things, don't have to be boring.