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Home > Articles > People Who Don’t Want to Live Forever are Just “Suicidal”

People Who Don’t Want to Live Forever are Just “Suicidal”

Posted: Tue, January 29, 2013 | By: Hank Pellissier

If a 27-year-old friend told you that she wanted to live hard-and-fast and die beautiful via an “accident” before she was 30, you’d define her as “Suicidal” - correct?

If a 56-year-old friend said he was tired, bored, and sick-of-it-all and intended to get euthanized on his 60th birthday, you’d categorize him as “Suicidal” - right?

So… when people tell transhumanists that they don’t want to live forever, when they say immortality and radical life extension sounds horrible, dreary and agonizing

Instead of transhumanists responding by ridiculing them and calling them Luddite “Deathists”… Should transhumanists, instead, feel Pity and Compassion… because the Deathists are just… Suicidal?

A “Deathist” aka “Suicidal”

Craving your own death, obliteration, extinction, demise - at any age - is indeed, defined as Suicidal.

Giving up on Life, bemoaning that existence has lost all meaning for you, determining that loving and learning and playing and exploring is no longer appealing to you…. you’d prefer, instead, to fall into the void, the abyss… you’d rather Entirely Cease Existing.

Feeling like that is… Suicidal.

It’s alarming, of course, that the billions of “Deathists” are, in actuality, “Suicidal.” Suicidal urges are a Mental Illness…

The suicidal tendencies of Deathists also explains why they’re often so angry, at immortalists / life extensionists. Suicidal feelings are often “repressed rage.”

The Suicidals/Deathists overwhelmingly don’t want immortality To Be An Option That People Can Choose Not To Enjoy, But Others Can…

Deathists/Suicidals Want Everyone To Die With Them, at approximately the same age.

So… usually… Deathists… aren’t just Suicidal, they also want to take everyone down with them. Isn’t this homicidal, mass murderous?

Ever heard a Deathist say, “I want everyone who wants eternity to live forever, but I don’t want that for myself.” ??

Ever heard that? No? Me, neither.

But… I’m not angry about this. I feel Pity. Because, like I said, they’re “Suicidal.” And… suicidal people need… help. Someone to talk to. Someone to cheer them up, someone to make them believe that they’ll be happy to continue living. And Living. And Living.


Transhumanists would, it seems, be ideal counselors at a Suicide Hotline. Because we have absolutely no desire to END IT ALL. EVER.

Right now, though, there isn’t any Suicide Hotline staffed entirely by Transhumanists. Too bad. They’d be busy.


There are other Suicide Hotlines, though. I’ve listed them below.

Deathists!  You can be helped! Your sad, sorry, suicidal feelings… your mental illness… can be treated!

You Want To End Your Life?  (Not today, but someday?)  Your depressing, pitiful attitude… can be alleviated!


Call or Email the contacts below. Counselors standing by.

Your Deathism aka Suicidal Feelings… can be defeated!  Life is Enjoyable!  



—- (USA)

International Suicide Hotline Listings  

Note: This notion is not mine, originally. I saw it first expressed by someone on Facebook. I didn’t jot down who it was… but I’ve complimented it’s ingenuity, by repeating it here - Thanks!


You do realize that ‘forever’ is destined to include the ultimate heat death of the universe, right?  That 99.9999…% of forever is unutterably dark and dull—no galaxies, stars, planets, life, or even light.  Of course, judging from the rather desperate rant above, I doubt you’ve actually thought more than a few billion years ahead.  You think you have the imagination to encompass ‘forever’, but you don’t.  The universe has a ‘sell by’ date on it and, like a much-loved elderly relative, will decline and fade into an eventual merciful death.  Should we, then, persuade the universe to get help?

By Daen de Leon on Jan 29, 2013 at 11:46am

I would appreciate working at such a prevention hotline, should such a job be available. In fact, this makes me seriously consider why I don’t do so already. Thanks for this perspective.

By Terra Bosart on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:24pm

He means indefinite and its implied. No need to try to derail the topic by ranting about a technicality and using that to claim that we have to consider saving the universe too if we want to save ourselves. With indefinite lifespans, we’ll have plenty of time to work on things like that between now, and things like the potential heat death of the universe.

By Eric Schulke on Jan 29, 2013 at 12:57pm

Evolution in action. Whats to worry about?

By Khannea on Jan 29, 2013 at 1:28pm

@Eric: a) I’m certainly not “ranting”; and b) I’m pointing out that “forever” doesn’t just mean what you want it to mean—it means “forever”.

Imprecise and breathless hyperbole of which this article is a sadly typical example does nothing to further the cause of Transhumanism.

By Daen de Leon on Jan 29, 2013 at 3:15pm

Hi Daen - yes, when I say “forever” and “immortality” I am just using short-hand to indicate “a very very very very long time.”  I am sorry that this is confusing; this discussion/debate takes place regularly; I do know that there’s a “heat-death” of the universe, etc., etc. However, I am very intrigued by John Smart’s notion of how to escape this - read his Transcendence Hypothesis - it’s fascinating.

By Hank Pellissier on Jan 29, 2013 at 4:04pm

I would bet that nobody wants to live forever and ever and ever regardless of what life may throw their way. It is more like, people wish to see tomorrow so long as there is a fair chance that life tomorrow will be above a certain threshhold of tolerance. Nothing wrong with being optimistic about the great transhuman days to come and assert that of course in the future every day will be such a great adventure that nobody could possibly have suicidal tendencies, but there is lots to be done before we secure that kind of reality for one and all. Until we do, one aught not to treat the option of a painless and swift end to one’s life as an absolute bad thing.

By Extropia DaSilva on Jan 30, 2013 at 2:56am

Extropia, I have often been severely depressed and contemplated whether or not existence was worth it. Then it dawned on me to hate those I’d leave behind who would make me commit (to) death (i.e. suicide) and that hatred has kept me alive.

My ‘depressions’ are not (primarily) caused by my own neurological issues; it is caused by assholes in this world who ruin my fun. You might notice what I did here. I did in fact reprogram a function or perception in my consciousness as to be able to self-perpetuate.

And that is the crux here - people who don’t want to (find a mechanism to) self-perpetuate will find it ever more easy to auto-darwinate (i.e. quit) in the future. To want to die is a decission you only need to arrive at once - building reasons or neurological not to want to (or being unable to) takes effort.

Hence those who can not find sufficient reasons to live (or can not impose sufficient mechanisms of sheer stubborness or recalcitrance on their mind to remain alive) will perish, sooner or later. Only the persistently stubborn (or terrified) will remain in existence.

I clearly see a mechanism for Darwinian selection here, based on neurological choices slanted toward the will to self-perpetuate. Whatever that will generates in solutions, will cause some kind of end result to persist,

...even if the end result is something in deep pain, insane, irrational, psychotic, twisted or alien. It doesn’t matter.

My conclusion is that in about 600-850 years most human minds that do in fact survive turn in to something deeply alien from a current human perspective.

Why the 600-850 years? I am not allowed to tell you. Yet. But it has something to do with the core ideas of Cosmism.

By Khannea on Jan 30, 2013 at 7:55am

This is quite far from my approach to the problem, since I have basically nothing against suicide, and I have an almost equal distaste for the idea of being forced to live longer than I wish as I have for the idea of… being forced to die when I have no intention to.

As Nietzsche once said, the very thought of suicide (ie, the realisation that you are free to put an end to it whenever you like) is a big help for many of us to overcome difficult moments and actually… to continue living.

The real problem with mortality is that currently our freedom with regard to the duration of our lives is ESSENTIALLY NEGATIVE, and would be obviously much expanded by an extended, or even better undefined, lifespan.

Even somebody who *is* suicidal, or simply is not especially interested in living forever, is hardly in a position to argue that *having the choice* could be a bad thing, especially since he or she by definition already claims to have the “right” to make choices in matters of life and death - contrary to what is maintained by religious (and secularised dogma) arising from monotheism.

By Stefano Vaj on Jan 30, 2013 at 10:29am

Hank Pellissier, the author of the article, has said that, for the purpose of that article, he is defining ‘forever’ as a very, very, very very long time.  ...or ‘indefinite’ as Erik Shulke paraphrased. So, that’s been clarified.
For myself, I cherish life. I even welcome its challenges and difficulties, because they lead to growth and learning. I wish to live ‘forever’ as it has been defined here. There is much loving to do, much creative work to do, more of life to simply…master. That seems very worthwhile to me. ....a little daunting yes, because life is challenging. But to end it volitionally?  Well, perhaps I’ll want to do that in a few centuries, there’s no way for me to know now. But as of this moment: Let’s keep this show on the road, baby!!!!

By Doron on Jan 31, 2013 at 12:35pm

Just to clarify the clarification, because precision *does* matter:

A very, very, very, very long time <> indefinite <> forever.

By Daen de Leon on Jan 31, 2013 at 2:00pm

The forever concept just confuses.  The question is “how about 150 healthy years?”. Then consider the alternative ....cutting off the switch.  Why not live another 150 years?  I’ve only lived in one city and I’m 40.  The possibility of something interesting happening when you die, as far as we know, is zero.  The possibility that something interesting will happen in an extra 40 years are pretty high.

By Hellstrom on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:17pm

Thanks, Hellstrom. That’s pretty straightforward; and I can only agree!
And then of course, it’s left for all of us to play with the number.
But I gotta say: This discussion has stimulated my imagination. I know I already said this above, but I find that the option of living well beyond the standard 75-plus years is exhilarating. And I think that Stefano Vaj, also above, touched on the essence of it. It’s about freedom! So, as in his Nietzsche quote, even the option of suicide affords those who are suffering, some measure of freedom, which in turn gives them strength to go on. Likewise, the ability to live indefinitely (Oops, sorry. ...for 150 years!) shows up for me as tremendously, personally, profoundly liberating.

By Doron on Jan 31, 2013 at 3:44pm

If there were to be survival significantly past current lifespan, you can bet that the the people who survived would do so for the same reasons species have been successful and not been wiped out thus far. Survival Instinct,

I have a lose and incomplete theory about the gradual dilution of survival instinct through the industrial revolution. It is (in much of the world) not difficult to survive any longer, there is not a great amount of inter specific or intra-specific competition for the human species. Leading to people surviving who (dont mean to sound elitist or anything) would not have in normal circumstance through lack of mental strength and clarity or purpose.

The ease of survival had a two fold effect, as it also removed what had been up until recently the “meaning of life” which was simply to survive. Now the impossible “pursuit of happiness” has seemingly overtaken this, which of course is a concept which in its own genesis causes us to be unhappy. The range of human emotions has evolved as purposeful tools to assist in survival, to hope for sustaining single one in a chemically unbalanced physical foundation appears unlikely at best, however, I digress;

It will; faster than you foresee stop becoming a physical problem and become an ethical problem, do we have the right to live forever, as it is general consensus that we will be able to very shortly. It is my opinion that, those who are striving for it now, or who adopt the idea upon hearing it, are the ones who will indeed succeed the current populus, the majority, who upon hearing the possibility of biological immortality, deny it’s logic at rationale, can be likened to the superfluous organisms in a species at a genetic bottleneck.

Ill conclude : We, in our arrogance see ourselves to often as above nature, more powerful than it, however we are by definition just natures natural course, with this in mind, it is for me anyway; easy to see that deathists are a biological dysfunction, would any other organism choose to die? a dog? a fish? a bird? We surmise that they don’t know they are alive, so the situation is different; however it is still the most natural thing in the world to want to live. And our consciousness will eventually serve as a tool with which to achieve this, and we will look back and see the want to die, (or lack of will to live) as a temporary glitch, and a detrimental genetic mutation or an in-congruent result in the evolution of life…..and who are we to speculate that the universal law of entropy will be the end of us all, it was never dreamed we could harness the power of the sun, or live forever…..but .......

Maybe the future is bright. Who will live to see?

By Jed Lye on Jan 31, 2013 at 4:09pm

Heat Death of the Universe will be overcome. Entropy will be overcome. In billions of years from not this will be homework for school children for our evolved super selves. For ever never happens, it is just a shortening for “Today is Never a good day to die”.

By Giovanni Santostasi on Jan 31, 2013 at 7:46pm

I still think the idea of living till the heat death of the Universe is what will bring out the luddites and raise fears. Saying you can live to 150 or 200 is something easy to fathom. It’s two lifetimes.  It also gets rid of the fear that someone will “miss out” on heaven, which I think is the main issue and the “revulsion response” to de facto immortality.  I don’t believe in heaven but, if it does exist, it won’t matter if you live 120, 400 or 1000 years because heaven is outside of time. You can check in to heaven when the sun dies millions of years from now. Heaven will still be “there”

I do agree with the idea in the post. But I think people are not necessarily “suicidal” if they really drill down.  I can’t see a healthy person, living in relative comfort, with entertainment and hobbies and satisfying work saying “yeah, that’s it. Oblivion is preferable” 

People just feel a certain “wrongness” when it comes to immortality. They will do every thing to make the symptoms of decay but “say” they would not take the option to live for an extra hundred years.  But most people would (and will) because when the option is available it will become “natural” just like talking on computers.

By hellstrom on Jan 31, 2013 at 8:45pm

Mildly upset by:
bad writing
misuse of ‘berthing” (mooring a ship, can’t spell or don’t proofread?)
unacceptable and irritating use of ellipses

By Janeen on Feb 03, 2013 at 1:29pm

@Daen de Leon, you assume the universe to be inescapable, for it to be the absolute edges of reality. This is no longer commonly believed to be the case.

By Jason on Feb 05, 2013 at 10:57am

@Jason: As far as I am aware, entropy isn’t an optional extra ...

By Daen de Leon on Feb 05, 2013 at 12:36pm

I am aware that all evidence we have points to universal law of entropy ending everything, but then if we really knew everything, we could explain the before and after the universe, or outside or why….We have to hold close in our minds whilst making presumptions or speculations about the genesis and end of all we know, that we all know, jack!

By Jed Lye on Feb 05, 2013 at 1:50pm

just for example 4000 year ago Egyptions KNEW that God Raa carried the sun over the sky in a canoe, 1000 years ago people KNEW the Earth was flat, and 100 years ago everyone KNEW that death was assured for people inside of 200 years of birth. It is possible that an intelligence greater than our own may escape the universal boundaries before all comes to rest.
just sayin.

By Jed Lye on Feb 05, 2013 at 1:53pm

@Jed: It is also possible that there are blue space unicorns in orbit around a distant star. Possible, but not worthy of debate.

By Daen de Leon on Feb 05, 2013 at 3:05pm

I was only trying to iron out your pedanticisms. If the potentialities of future are not revelavent in the topic for discussion what is? Let us for the sake of the discussion, use the term “BIOLOGICALLY IMMORTAL” rather than living forever. this should help elucidate the themes of semantics and ideas behind the article for people who were sidetrackedfrom whats being said and instead discussed flaws in the contextualisation of the nouns and verbs!

To clear up my counterargument, when we extrapolate to the beginning or end of the universe, physics as we know it provides answers only to the limitiations of these theories. However limits contrary to popular belief, do not in metaphysics and objective reality define absolute outer limits, only the border between one thing and another. In order for there to be a limit there must be something on the other side, if we are to take current physical knowledge as absolute as you have done. Thus it is perfectly reasonable to speculate there may indeed by knowledge we have yet to discover that could be key inescaping these limitations…maybe not, but I think the point of biological immortality comes from a human desire to know, to not want to regress back into lack of being and conciousness. ergo : either way, the technology and science will continue in this field regardless of the likely potentiality of galactical termination.

By Jed_lye_uk on Feb 06, 2013 at 3:37am

You dont seem to get it, we dont want to live forever in this world, because around 80 years of it is long enough for is, i would hate to live forever in this world, if i found out i had eternal life here id cry me eyes out, because i dont want to live forever! i want to go to the afterlife some day!

By Wardie on Jun 14, 2013 at 7:52pm

I do plan to suicide, sooner or later, and resent the idea that this should be considered as a pathological trait from a transhumanist POV. On the contrary, “immortalism” is unwelcome luggage for life-extensionism.

What I actually hate is the fact that currently I would have to do it before a given, very short time limit. In principle, I think I would rather take into consideration this option in a couple of millennia… grin

By Stefano Vaj on Jun 16, 2013 at 6:14am

Wardie, if you believe in an afterlife, it is something eternal. It will always be there waiting for you.  I am not sure about an afterlife but even there was one I would like to live here on earth. What is the difference if you wait 300 years and then go to an afterlife. There is a really good chance you may enjoy yourself a little bit during those 300 years.

We don’t know what the chances are if the afterlife is fun because there is no evidence. There are plenty of people that enjoy themselves here right now. Odd are, you can try and do what they are doing and enjoy yourself too.  Live in another country. Try a new job. Become an artist.

We only dream of heaven because of experience we have here on earth. What would you do in heaven that you would not do here?  I would, if I could design heaven, read, learn, spend time with people.  Why do you have to have heaven for that?

By hellstrom on Jun 16, 2013 at 8:50pm

If there is a Creator (Creatress?) creation is whole and has innate, pervasive meaning. All things created are part of Her creative plan. I am assuming that She knows best, and She looks ahead at the implications of Her creative endeavours. If She creates the world, humanity, the human mind, She knows the full implications of this and has a long-term plan for humanity. This plan may be cruel in parts, and it may entail some suffering but the end point should be universally and unambiguously good.

The idea that 20th century or postindustrial technology is widely regarded as an evil is idiotic. At one time printed books were novel inventions and regarded as the epitome of sin and wickedness, even if they were biblical books. It takes about 2 centuries for technology to lose its frightening edge and become fully accepted part of the human consciousness, especially in the original sin-saturated western world. I find this an infantile, pedantic response. She gave us a mind, and a discerning ability and clearly the human mind must be part of a greater, pre-determined plan. The human creativity clearly has considerable cosmological potential and can not be seen as disjunct from the galaxy around us. We are here for a reason, and my best estimate as that She wants us to join Her in a greater universal structure.

This is the same for the idea of afterlife. Many believe wholeheartedly there is Afterlife. I don’t know there is, but I am positive that if we want to, we can create the technological precursors to bring back everyone in history, every animal that ever lived in to salvation - not once, but for every day a person lived we would be able to instantiate a copy. “You” would be joined by millions of versions of “you”, captured from the future’s past to live there in great bliss. I am intensely pelagian in this regard and I believe that one day far in to the future a version of myself literally capturing this idea in to this sentence before you might be copied, literally by another copy of myself and rekindled in to an angelic reality far beyond the mortal pale I currently inhabit.

I just hope I would be deserving to prompt such a recapture in to a loving afterlife.

This very idea makes the conception that human lives should be curtailed, means for extending it available a sin. Not the kind of sin that merits punishment, but the kind of sin that merits pity. The kind of sin that involves waste of good potential. The Goddess bestows afterlife in whatever form she regards as proper and fitting and aesthetic and artistic, or She allows us to do the same to ourselves in the fulness of time. She made us this way, and we should respect Her will. I mean isn’t it obvious?

[/ironic tone]

By Khannea on Jun 16, 2013 at 11:18pm

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