Why Must We Die?

Posted on 5 July 2015

Peter Thiel at The Oxford Union

Peter Thiel at The Oxford Union

“Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,”
A recent discussion was hosted by Veritas Forum between billionaire entrepreneur Peter Thiel, ardent longevity supporter, and N.T. Wright, an eminent Christian theologian, focused on the existential question of death – and thus life. 
“Many biological processes appear to be irreversible, but computational processes are reversible. If it is possible to understand biological systems in informational terms, could we then reverse these biological processes, including the process of ageing? I do think that the genomics revolution promises a much greater understanding of biological systems and opens the possibility of modifying these seemingly inevitable trajectories in far more ways than we can currently imagine.”
The greatest existential questions are going to become exceptionally relevant as we enter an age in which the previously inevitable becomes rather less so. Many people have radically different ideas about life, but should any of us be able to define it for others? The conversation between the two men displayed the stark differences in thinking between opposing camps on the subject of death, but only time will tell how our perceptions evolve as our capabilities grow. If believing something is impossible makes it so and we are indeed able to radically extend human life, then the question becomes ‘should we’ rather than ‘can we’. Like many longevity supporters, Thiel argues that we should.
“We are setting our sights low if we say everyone is condemned to a life of death and suffering.” 
Read more at Forbes

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