Why pursue immortality?

Many of the films we have watched thus far deal with the question of human extension of life. Whether it be through cloning, movement of consciousness, or physical movement to escape certain death elsewhere, in these movies, humans always try their best to escape their own demise. It is a common narrative (if not the only one) in films for humans try their best to defy the odds and survive, so this is not a question from a popular viewpoint, but: why try at all?

It seems almost ingrained in us to desire to live over anything else, to the point where (as we saw in Advantageous and World of Tomorrow) many will consider transferring their consciousness and memories to other ‘vessels’ to hold onto some version of life. This makes sense, as biologically, life is programmed to try to preserve life, whether through adaptation or escape (in a survival of the fittest sense). Furthermore, humans often fear death (or the absence of life) as we don’t know what comes after, and we cannot remember a time when we weren’t living. However, films run with this idea to create a depiction of humans fighting against the most impossible obstacles to live, and I wonder why there is no room for the consideration of death as an alternative to the struggle.

If one could continue to live as they did with no harm or setback, this of course would be the ideal solution. But as we have seen in WALL-E, the human pursuit of existence came with the loss of knowledge and awareness. In 28 Days Later, there is an everyday struggle to live from not only the threat of man-eating creatures, but also the fear of your fellow man, resulting in a sort of inevitability of escape. In Snowpiercer, those that survive are subjected to the whims and beliefs of those higher in the social hierarchy. In Advantageous, those that live longer have fewer opportunities, especially if they are not wealthy. In World of Tomorrow, the living clones are not exact copies and lose many memories of the original person.

In all of these cases, the people that adapt or move to survive experience a loss of humanity, self, and emotion — so do they truly live?

What is the cost of survival? Is the extension of life still rewarding as ‘life’ if the life is not distinctly human as it were previously?


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