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electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-05, 12:17 AM
This is more Philosophical if people dont mind :D

I don't really know where this question came from (not the above one BTW) because it just popped into my head. I asked a few people and they just gave me the :o face so i thought to ask the BABB as there is a wide range of ages, opinions, race's, etc. So heres the question Guys and Gals:

If we lived to 200* would we still be human?
(*still being as healthy as a 20 year old)

I would have to say no. 8-[

frogesque
2004-Nov-05, 01:50 AM
Odd question, I would have to ask, "Why wouldn't we be human?"

A giant sequoia is a giant sequoia whether it's 200 years old or 2000.

I don't think humanity can be defined by lifespan. IIRC in the stoneage 40 was quite old, today with a bit of luck you can be 80 and still quite healthy. A hundred years from now who knows what the average human lifespan will be?

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-05, 10:18 AM
The most interesting thing about this question is that it reveals that (some of us at least) believe that certain qualities qualify a thing as human, certain qualities qualify a thing as not human, and certain qualities have no bearing on the subject, but we haven't actually decided what those qualities are.

The idea that a 200 year old is no longer human seems to me absurd. At what age did the person stop being human? ("Ah, it's my 146th birthday. I was human yesterday; now I'm not.") What has age got to do with it? It's as irrelevant as font size - does a letter H stop being a letter H when it is thirteen billion miles high?

I'd suggest that what makes us human is our awareness of self and our heritage. In the distant future, one of my* descendants might be a hermaphrodite with five arms and no legs, but as long as s-he has awareness of hemself, s-he's a human.

*Not literally mine as I will die childless.

TrAI
2004-Nov-05, 11:02 AM
My guess is that it depends on how changed you are, one would still be human even if ones body was maintained by artificial means.

Of course, if your immortality is caused by something like "the dark gift" you are not really human any more. :wink: :P

Argos
2004-Nov-05, 11:21 AM
Humanity is a collection of semi-self-aware, confused, deluded and highly destructive units made up of organic material.

Disinfection of the planet will start in 200, 199, 198... 8)

Invader Spleen
2004-Nov-05, 11:25 AM
the way i see it, we will always be human, as our use of the word will evolve with us (as will the word itself no doubt), and humanity will always be humanity.

now for the above to make sense youd have to think of humans the way i do, to me humanity is our society and humans are the ones in it, i dont think of humans as a species, i see our species as Homo Sapiens, not humans, the word 'human' is more like 'people' for me in usage. In the same way i refer to myself as 'me' or 'myself' rather than my actual name, even if my name changes i will always be 'me' or 'myself'

mickal555
2004-Nov-05, 11:49 AM
Yeah, I can't see why you would stop being a person you've got to be somthing other wise, your a blob.

Wally
2004-Nov-05, 12:42 PM
What, are you assuming the human race is in reality only the "larval" stage for some other life form, and none of us have yet reached the pupal stage???

I do admit, when you look at some older folks, it definitely looks as if they're slowly encasing themselves in some sort of loose, leathery material. Hmmmm. give them another 50 years gestation, and who knows what might emerge! 8-[

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-05, 12:42 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of mentally, we are human because of the way we think. My way of thinking won't be the same as yours but we are all linked to similar processes of thinking and are all confined in a similar type of thinking. Its absurde thinking we wont be human when were 200 or 2000 or how ever old we get but if we are 200/2000 years old would we even behave like people anymore?

I'll try and explain what i mean with an example which applys to most people. There are 3 opinions on death (im generalizing greatly to show you the effect):
The first would be the youthful one (like mine) where you think your going to live for ever and never going to die.
The second would be the more midlife view where you realise your humanity and that you could die.
The third would be accepting death as inevitable.
(generalized remember)

So if we never got to the second step would we still be a human because we wouldn't be living the natural human processes. Carrying this on how would people be like after an inevitable about of dating would people just stop caring once they reach a certain age as we know happens as you get bitter old people...
Theres so many things that are a part of human life that you would lose imagine being 20 and going out to a club/concert with your great grandparents because they havent aged a day since they were 20. Plus what about all the great comedys about old age, IE one foot in the grave. Being old is part of being human if we never aged how could we still be the humans we are now.

Argos
2004-Nov-05, 12:48 PM
You will be surprised (as I was) when you realize how fast phase 1 turns into phase 2. :)

Carpe diem

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-05, 01:06 PM
What, are you assuming the human race is in reality only the "larval" stage for some other life form, and none of us have yet reached the pupal stage???

I do admit, when you look at some older folks, it definitely looks as if they're slowly encasing themselves in some sort of loose, leathery material. Hmmmm. give them another 50 years gestation, and who knows what might emerge! 8-[

Funny you say that, if we never did age we would never find out what comes after which from all the people i know they believe in an "afterlife" of some kind if we were never to die would we lose the notion of an "afterlife" which is a human thing. Our ancestors used to do the more animal thing of just leaving them dead where they dropped to ceremonial burials, also kind of brings elephants into that as they build elephant graveyards and set the bones out in certain ways... maybe we are not the only spiritual beings here. If i was going to say inteligent i'd include mice :wink:


You will be surprised (as I was) when you realize how fast phase 1 turns into phase 2. :)
well im at stage 1/3 already so i hope i just skip the 2nd step all together :lol:

dvb
2004-Nov-05, 09:34 PM
Just watch star trek if you want to learn about humanity. :P

snowcelt
2004-Nov-05, 10:08 PM
I was thinking more along the lines of mentally, we are human because of the way we think. My way of thinking won't be the same as yours but we are all linked to similar processes of thinking and are all confined in a similar type of thinking. Its absurde thinking we wont be human when were 200 or 2000 or how ever old we get but if we are 200/2000 years old would we even behave like people anymore?

I'll try and explain what i mean with an example which applys to most people. There are 3 opinions on death (im generalizing greatly to show you the effect):
The first would be the youthful one (like mine) where you think your going to live for ever and never going to die.
The second would be the more midlife view where you realise your humanity and that you could die.
The third would be accepting death as inevitable.
(generalized remember)

So if we never got to the second step would we still be a human because we wouldn't be living the natural human processes. Carrying this on how would people be like after an inevitable about of dating would people just stop caring once they reach a certain age as we know happens as you get bitter old people...
Theres so many things that are a part of human life that you would lose imagine being 20 and going out to a club/concert with your great grandparents because they havent aged a day since they were 20. Plus what about all the great comedys about old age, IE one foot in the grave. Being old is part of being human if we never aged how could we still be the humans we are now.

I tried to read your last paragraph at least four times and I still have no idea what you mean. Would you consider a dictionary? Would you consider your audience? I find this thread intriguing. EMP. Take a shot at syntax, grammar, and basic spelling please.

NoXion
2004-Nov-05, 10:20 PM
Well what does it mean to be human? take a walk in the park, wander around a party, look around your workplace. What do you see humans doing? You see them interacting with each other and immersing themselves into extelligence, that is to say, the collective modes of thought, culture, customs, mannerisms and knowledge that the human race as a whole possesses. Something that is in constant flux and is greater than the sum of it's parts. Since this changes over time, so the meaning of humanity changes.
We are what we we used to be, what we are now, and what we will become.

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-06, 03:56 AM
I tried to read your last paragraph at least four times and I still have no idea what you mean. Would you consider a dictionary? Would you consider your audience? I find this thread intriguing. EMP. Take a shot at syntax, grammar, and basic spelling please.
Okay i'll try and type it out a bit better i was just babbling on.

If we never got to the second step (awareness of death) would we still be human because we wouldn't be living the natural human processes.

There are so many things that are a part of human life that you would lose if we never aged. Imagine being 20 and going out to a club/concert with your great grandparents because they havenít aged a day since they were 20, it wouldn't be right as all age groups would be able to mix. Our elders are meant to be older and not coming out partying with you on a weekend.

If this makes better sense then great if not PM me and i'll try and explain it when it's not late (like now) or i'm not in a rush (like before).

01101001
2004-Nov-06, 04:44 AM
I don't think your thesis has any merit.

Is a two-year-old not human?

If a 150-year-old wasn't human, in your book, what would you call it?


If we never got to the second step (awareness of death) would we still be human because we wouldn't be living the natural human processes.

We'd be humans who never got to the "second step". So?

Put some young people on a deserted island, so they live life never seeing anyone die. Are they not human? If so, after they see one or more of their comrades die, and finally generalize the concept to themselves, do they instantly become human?

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-07, 03:55 PM
I don't think your thesis has any merit.

Is a two-year-old not human?

If a 150-year-old wasn't human, in your book, what would you call it?

Well i would have to say we wouldn't be human in the terms we know now.


Put some young people on a deserted island, so they live life never seeing anyone die. Are they not human? If so, after they see one or more of their comrades die, and finally generalize the concept to themselves, do they instantly become human?

The young people would be of Homo Sapien origin but they wouldn't be Homo Sapien by the meaning of the words. Homo Sapien means knowing man (IIRC) these young people would not be homo sapien until they had seen the death of their comrades because they would be living in a world of ignorance and unknowing. This is my view on it and if we were to live forever i would have to say we wouldn't be Homo Sapiens anylonger because we wouldn't be understanding some of the basic things of what being Human is.

R.A.F.
2004-Nov-07, 04:22 PM
Even with an extended life-span and being "stuck" in "stage one"...

What about accidental deaths?

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-07, 05:06 PM
There are too many variables and too many undefined terms to make the original question meaningful. To be worth answering, we'd need to know:

Is the young-looking 200 year old descended from people like us? Is he (or she) aware that he's descended from people with lifespans typically less than 100 years?

What is his expected lifespan? (You can't say "forever" because sooner or later the universe itself will end.)

What is your definition of human?

It's lame to say, "He wouldn't be human because his experience of certain things is different to ours." I know that if my heart stops, there is a chance I will be resuscitated. I don't live in fear of the black death. I have a reasonable understanding of why the sun shines, why the moon goes through phases, and what causes eclipses. I am sitting in my dining room typing my thoughts, knowing that what I type will be read by people on other continents, and I take this for granted. All these things would have been inconceivable a few centuries ago.

Compared to this, you come up with some pretty small potatoes. A bloke will be able to go out clubbing with his granddad. Wow.

I mean yes, that sort of thing will bring about social changes. And it's true that an awareness of growing old has motivated us to deal with the prospect in a variety of interesting (and sometimes funny) ways. But before you can say that stops us being human, you need to establish what makes us human in the first place.

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-07, 05:19 PM
Even with an extended life-span and being "stuck" in "stage one"...

What about accidental deaths?

Well one short story i read had a technology in which everyone had an implant in their brain and when they died their consciousness was "pulled" out of the body into a satellite in orbit. A new body was then cloned from their DNA which was stored in a central matrix and then 12 hours later they where put back into a body. This lead to things like people changing their place of residence killing themselves and being cloned in Tokyo and then changing it again to get back to New York. If we ever managed this death would be nothing more then a myth to most people.

Accidental deaths without the above could still be quite common but people would only have to be more careful not to die but this would still be people "stuck" in "stage one". Everyone would still conceive the arrogant notion of "it could never happen to me" like most young people have which tends to be lost when we grow older and experience things, One of these would be death.

CTM VT 2K
2004-Nov-07, 05:22 PM
Even with an extended life-span and being "stuck" in "stage one"...

What about accidental deaths?

A while back I heard about a study done on this. Supposedly, if we had no "normal" age limit, and the only causes of death were accidential (i.e. getting hit by a bus, tripping down a flight of stairs etc.) the typical life expetancy would be somewhere around 500 years. Think about all the people who die from accidents before their "natural" expatancy of about 75. In a world where you wouldn't die of age-related diseases, death would still be a fact of life - but it would be a bit more traumatic for the survivors.

When a person is young, they typically have parents and grandparents, and sometimes great-grandparents. Often, before a person has children of their own, they expirence the deaths of some or all of their grandparents. If we use a round figure of 30 as the time from birth to having children, that means at 60 your first grandchildren are born. At 90 your great-grandchildren. If we use 20, then 40 is the first grandchildren, and 60 is the first great-grandchildren - 80 is the first great-great grandchildre (and beyond current average life-expetancy). If you lived to 200 years, thats a great deal of living ancestors and decendants (in either round figure). 500 even more.

With the current limits, people learn to face death after 70-100 years as a natural part of existance. You learn to start the grieving process early. When my last grandparent died a few years ago, my family had been preaparing for it for several years (She had MS, and was hospitalized). When my first grandparent died, it was from a heart-attack, and he went without warning. When my friend died in a plane crash, it was similarly without warning, and more tragic because he had so much life ahead of him.

In a world of only accidental (or also absent Age Related deaths from diseases etc.) deaths, every death is a tragic cutting short of a life. One day, a 147 year old is going to concerts, cycling through the countryside, enjoying life, the next he's unexpectedly dead. The fact that he's 147, not 27 does almost nothing in this setting to help people cope.

When you hear that an 88 year old has died of almost any reason, you may gain some comfort from the fact that they had a good life, and beat the averages. When an 18 year old dies of almost any reason, nobody thinks they had a good life - they think the 18 year old had their life cut short. If there was nothing besides accidental deaths preventing you from living forever, every death is a life cut short.

R.A.F.
2004-Nov-07, 06:16 PM
Darn you, CTM VT 2K...I was just going to say something like that. :)

...I might add that I agree with Paul Beardsley. This question is meaningless unless EMP can define what being "human" is.

electromagneticpulse
2004-Nov-07, 06:51 PM
Darn you, CTM VT 2K...I was just going to say something like that. :)

...I might add that I agree with Paul Beardsley. This question is meaningless unless EMP can define what being "human" is.

I think the key thing to being human is trying to understand more about ourselves and about other things/people. We know without social interaction people begin to get mental disorders from lack of stimulation, so social interaction is a fundamental of being human. Not including the need for a partner to reproduce.

I don't think i should be the only one on here to define what "humanity" is as then it is an extremely bias view. My definition of what it is to be human will be different to someone else's here but if we put enough together that everybody roughly agrees on then we would be able to discuss changing the variables like life span.

Paul Beardsley
2004-Nov-07, 08:19 PM
I don't think i should be the only one on here to define what "humanity" is

But you're the only one on here to say that certain arbitrary things (such as a long lifespan) stop you from qualifying as human.

I've already offered my own definition: to be human means you have an awareness of yourself, and you have human heritage. By "human heritage" I mean your existence came about as the result of some act (including but not restricted to sexual reproduction) carried out by any member or members of the species that is generally recognised as the human species at the time of writing.

mickal555
2004-Nov-07, 08:30 PM
I don't think your thesis has any merit.

Is a two-year-old not human?

If a 150-year-old wasn't human, in your book, what would you call it?

Well i would have to say we wouldn't be human in the terms we know now.


Put some young people on a deserted island, so they live life never seeing anyone die. Are they not human? If so, after they see one or more of their comrades die, and finally generalize the concept to themselves, do they instantly become human?

The young people would be of Homo Sapien origin but they wouldn't be Homo Sapien by the meaning of the words. Homo Sapien means knowing man (IIRC) these young people would not be homo sapien until they had seen the death of their comrades because they would be living in a world of ignorance and unknowing. This is my view on it and if we were to live forever i would have to say we wouldn't be Homo Sapiens anylonger because we wouldn't be understanding some of the basic things of what being Human is.
I have never died or experienced the deth of sombody douse that make me less of a human? That would be the last of the 3 major bad things that can happen to you emotionally(two have allready happened) if somone I know died I don't think I am ignorent of death it scares the bajibes out of me instead of thinking it won't happen to me I think jeez it could happen to anybody(ie. me) .