Perpetual immaturity is the price of immortality

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:

I am unable to agree with much of this post, but this in particular is a surprising viewpoint:

Your perspective on current events changes. Take the news media. Everything new is old after a time: you see the large-scale similarities across decades even without becoming a student of history. Today’s invasion or oil crisis is just like the one before last. Our current political leadership are stuck in the same ideological monkey’s-paw trap as their predecessors the last time their party was in power. And so on. So you tend to discount current events and lose interest in the news until something new happens. (If you’re wondering why I’m obsessively interested in the Scottish independence thing this year, it’s because it’s a disruptive event: nothing like it has happened in UK politics for a very long time indeed. It’s fresh.)

All my life I’ve wondered what it would take to get more people involved in politics, and I’ve also wondered about those who appear to be mostly apathetic but, for one particular cause, will suddenly become interested. And I suppose the above offers insight into that kind of thinking: he felt Scottish independence was a new event, so he took an interest in that issue. Why he felt this way is a mystery. Why single-issue people emotionally click with their one issue is always a mystery. Sovereignty is always under debate in the UK, in particular in regards to the debates over the UKs relationship with Europe. One could feel every issue is new, or none of it is new, but it seems irrational to focus on any one issue and say “All the other stuff is business-as-usual, but this one issue is fresh.”

These kinds of people, who get involved over a single issue, tend to be very difficult to work with at the political level, since they generally lack perspective on how a wide range of issues mesh together.

About this:

The same thing happens to one’s interest in the current celebrity culture or pop stars. I haven’t heard any of Taylor Swift’s music. Or Amy Winehouse’s. I have no idea about the Kardashians other than that they’re famous for being famous.

I’ve had exactly the opposite experience. I’ve gotten more interested in pop culture as I’ve gotten older.

I do like this part:

You’re one of them. You’re 25-60 years old now. You’re going to be 55-90 years old by then. Unlike today’s senior citizens, you don’t ache whenever you get out of bed, you’re physically fit, you don’t have cancer or heart disease or diabetes or Alzheimer’s, you aren’t deaf or blind or suffering from anosmia or peripheral neuropathy or other sensory impairments, and you’re physically able to enjoy your sex life. Big win all round.

But your cognitive functioning is burdened by decades of memories to integrate, canalized by prior experiences, dominated by the complexity of long-term planning at the expense of real-time responsiveness. Every time you look around you are struck by intricate, esoteric cross-references to that which has gone before. Every politician, celebrity, actor, blogger, pop star, author … you’ve seen someone like them previously, you know what they’re going to say before they open their mouth. Every new policy or strategy has failure modes you recognize: “that won’t work” is your usual response to change, not because you’re a curmudgeonly pessimist but because you’ve been there before.

Renewing one’s nerve tissue will almost certainly result in loss of skills and memory, so perpetual immaturity is the price of immortality. I do not regard that as a bad thing. Remember the idea “It took 170 million dead American to elect Barack Obama as President”? The idea being, after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights bill, something like 170 million Americans died before the election of 2008. And many of those who died had racist ideas from an earlier time, and they had to die before America would elect a black President. Well, it’s the same for every aspect of life: becoming immature again is a chance to learn the world over again, and updates one’s beliefs so they are in keeping with the modern world. Immaturity is an appropriate price to pay for immortality: we should want to pay this price. Otherwise, one day you wake up and its the year 2109, and you have ideas in your head that were last appropriate in 2009.