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VOICE OVER: Peter DeGiglio
Can we BEAT death?? Join us... and find out!

In this video, Unveiled takes a closer look at multiple theories that seemingly PROVE that no one ever REALLY dies. But we'll ALSO take a closer look at some FAILED attempts to live forever in history!

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Theories That PROVE You Never Die (and FAILED Attempts at Living Forever)</h4>


 


Would you want to live forever? Do you think immortality is possible? And, if it were, then what would you do with infinite days ahead of you?


 


In this video, we’ll first take a closer look at a theory of quantum physics which says that there really is life after death. Then, we’re counting down the ten craziest ways in which real-world people have tried to live forever, for better or (more usually) for worse. And, finally, we’ll take an in-depth look at what the future will be like if our lives get translated into an immortal code.


 


This is Unveiled, and today we’re taking a closer look at some theories that prove you never die… as well as some failed attempts at living forever


 


What if you knew that you were never going to die? Of all the what if scenarios out there, it’s one of the most popular. And it’s never quite as easy as it first appears. Yes, never dying means you can do pretty much anything you want forever and ever. But, also, if you never die then really what’s the point in living? We’ve focussed more on the moral dilemmas in past videos, so be sure to check them out after this… but today, it’s all about making immortality actually happen. 


 


Over the last decade or so, interest in quantum physics has sky-rocketed. Scientists have unlocked the world of the very small, and with it have ushered in a new age for things like energy, computing and medicine. More than all of that, however, our growing quantum knowledge has fundamentally reshaped what we think life is.


 


The theory of Biocentrism, proposed by the US scientist Robert Lanza, principally argues that rather than the universe creating life… it's actually life that creates the universe. What we, in ourselves, call consciousness, was actually there at the beginning of everything… and it’s just that now, almost fourteen billion years later, consciousness channels itself through us, human beings. As such, we’ve come to view life (the universe and everything) through our bodies, processed by our brains… but really, to some degree, none of that is necessary. 


 


In this model, then, our brains and bodies might be viewed more like sophisticated modems, catching and translating signals, and converting those into our own life experiences. But, if the brain and body dies - if the modem is destroyed - then the signals don’t just disappear, as well. They remain, and might well be rerouted or recycled into some other host. In a biocentric reality, life is the signal. And while we may think that it’s so reliant on our bodies for continuation, it actually carries on regardless. It’s life as we don’t know it, but it’s life all the same - so the theory goes.


 


Lanza’s ideas have divided opinion since they were first put forward in the late 2000s. For some, biocentrism offers a bridge between philosophical concepts on life and death… and the physicality of it all. For others, the theory is still far too vague, with little to no evidence as to what consciousness really is. 


 


In subsequent discussions and interviews, Lanza has highlighted the famed double-slit experiment to back biocentrism up. Via the experiment, scientists can show that light and matter can be either wave or particle, depending upon whether they are observed. Consciousness creates the universe, not the other way around. Supporters also draw on the fine tuning problem for further reasons as to why biocentrism makes sense. The fine tuning problem shows that there are so many physical conditions to the universe that make it just right for life, that it seems impossibly unlikely that we should be here in a universe that’s so suited to us. When viewed bio-centrically, though, there is no fine tuning problem… because consciousness obviously would aim for a reality that works.


 


According to some, all of this inevitably leads to so-called life after death - to death being an illusion - because life and consciousness no longer end with our bodies and brains. Instead, it dissipates out of us as a kind of energy into the rest of the universe (of its own making) once the vehicle of a body is no more. Again, biocentrism is sometimes criticized for the vagueness of this aspect. Although, it’s not as though this is the first attempt to place consciousness (or a soul) beyond our physical means. Discussions of that sort go all the way back to René Descartes, at least, in the seventeenth century and the Age of Enlightenment. More broadly still, biocentrism suggests that even the underlying principle of time is merely the product of consciousness inside our current bodies creating a means through which to understand and remember. Time - and specifically the arrow of time - is then explained as a tool of our minds, rather than some kind of higher, immovable quality of the universe.


 


But finally, Lanza’s biocentrism isn’t the only such idea toward living forever, either. The succinctly named quantum immortality model relies on that other underpinning, central concept of modern theoretical science; the multiverse. Developed out of Hugh Everett’s Many Worlds Interpretation, the idea is that for every choice or split that’s ever made… a new branch of reality is formed. These branches never cross over, but run closely alongside one another, reflecting minor to major differences as a direct result of whatever caused the split in the first place. 


 


Over the years, science fiction writers have had a lot of fun with the story potential here, suggesting that huge events could well be determined upon a person’s fleeting decision to buy an apple or a banana, for example. But what the multiverse could mean for life after death is something that science fact has pondered, too. The basic premise of quantum immortality is that, in a multiverse, there should always be a split possible through which a person survives. A re-routing through reality which means that again and again and again… they live rather than die. 


 


The idea can once more be linked back to key studies like the double-slit experiment, which apparently suggest that all options are always possible… until they’re observed and then are not. Death is still death. It’s still final, and it’s not as though (even in the multiverse) you could rewind time to make it not happen. But, after death, and if you follow the multiverse, it could be that on another level of the model, in another version of the endless realities, that particular death didn’t happen… and life still wins out.


 


The question to combine both biocentrism and quantum immortality is; could consciousness create not just the universe, but the multiverse, as well? Can life move between multiverse strands, even if physical bodies cannot? When we’re gone, will some kind of awareness - a soul, by some definitions - still remain? And, if that were to be the case, then could we (as we are) ever hope to know or understand what was happening? 


 


Physically speaking, death is the end of our bodies and our brains. Our vehicles for life are no more, and so perhaps we could never hope to understand life in quite the same way again - not unless our consciousness were to end up in another human being, but that’s a theory for another video! What’s clear is that, still, nothing is certain. Biocentrism has divided opinion in recent times, yes, but it cannot truly claim to have cracked the mystery of life and death, just yet. The same for quantum immortality, which is much more a thought experiment than a physical surety. 


 


Again, for modern day humanity, it can feel as though the search for eternal life is an everlasting quest. And that’s good and encouraging in some ways… but not so much, in others. With or without a meaning or explanation for life, we do all at least have a life to lead. With emotions to feel, roles to fulfill, and experiences to share. There are some massive and fundamental unknowns still outstanding… but until that fog eventually lifts, we can all spend our lives looking out for each other, enjoying the good times, and savoring the things that make us happy. 


 


We might well ponder our quantum condition, but life’s still what we make of it. And, remember, it could yet be that our consciousness created the universe… and that’s pretty special, don’t you think?


 


Perhaps, though, tying immortality to the vague unknowability of quantum physics just isn’t for you. Next, then, we’ll take a whistle-stop tour through some of the extreme lengths that others have gone to in history, all to try to preserve themselves. It should be said, though, that many of the attempts listed are gruesome. And, as many of the people we’ve covered have, in fact, died… they’re also attempts that ultimately failed.


 


#10: Bryan Johnson


As a tech founder and venture capitalist, Bryan Johnson has made millions creating and funding companies that drive scientific progress. Since 2021, however, a lot of his money - $2 million a year precisely - has gone towards an experimental anti-aging program called Project Blueprint. Johnson made headlines for his extreme attempts at immortality, which include consuming over 100 daily supplements, and adhering to a strict dietary and sleep regimen. At one point, the tech CEO even tried to freeze his biological clock by receiving blood plasma transfusions from his teenage son. Despite being in his 40s, Johnson claims that this project has given him the heart of a 37-year-old, the skin of a 28-year-old, and the lungs of an 18-year-old. 


  


#9: Pope Innocent VIII


Back in the 15th century, there was very little known about the practice of blood transfusion and its actual benefits. One of the earliest recorded instances of this practice reportedly involved the Catholic Pope Innocent VIII. The story goes that in 1492, the Pope became deathly ill and could hardly ingest any substance other than a woman’s breast milk. Apparently believing that blood itself held the essence of life, the Pope’s physicians attempted to restore his health by feeding him with the blood of pre-teen boys. Tragically, this effort not only failed to revitalize the ailing Pope, who eventually succumbed to a fever, but it also reportedly claimed the lives of his young blood donors. 


 


#8: James Strole 


The Coalition for Radical Life Extension is an American non-profit that strives to eliminate “the suffering of aging”. To his credit, the organization’s founder, a real-estate investor named James Strole, actually walks the talk. Strole’s quest to significantly increase human longevity was reportedly inspired by his grandmother’s death during his childhood. He has since become a life-extensionist, with a rigorous health regimen. Strole ingests about 70 supplements, including a diabetes drug hailed as “the aspirin of anti-aging,” as well as pills that nourish his brain and energize his mitochondria. He also claims to bolster his immune system by taking a cold swim every morning, and frequently uses a pulsating electromagnetic mat that he insists “opens up the veins”. 


  


#7: Diane de Poitiers


Just like the outrageous regimen of tech billionaires today, the elite in 16th century France had their own miracle product for eternal youth: drinkable gold. Diane de Poitiers, a royal mistress to King Henry II and a highly influential figure, may have met her end due to this so-called elixir. De Poitiers reportedly consumed the substance regularly to preserve her famed beauty. She is said to have had the looks of a 30-year-old even well into her sixties, seemingly lending credence to the drinkable gold’s power. However, in 2009, experts analyzed her remains and discovered unusually high levels of gold in her hair. They believe that instead of granting her immortality, ingesting the substance actually led to de Poitiers’ demise.


 


#6: Alexander Bogdanov 


The quest to preserve life through blood transfusions may have started with Pope Innocent VIII, but it certainly didn’t end there. In the 1920s, Russian revolutionary and physician Alexander Bogdanov began working on a method to achieve eternal youth through blood transfusions. Following a series of experiments, Bogdanov claimed that infusions of younger blood had not only rejuvenated his appearance, but had also significantly improved his declining eyesight. However, these transfusions would ultimately prove fatal for Bogdanov. In 1928, he received blood from a student who had both malaria and tuberculosis. Although the student eventually recovered from the illnesses, Bogdanov wasn’t as fortunate. He passed away in April of that year. 


  


#5: Peter Thiel 


Following in the footsteps of Alexander Bogdanov, American billionaire Peter Thiel seems to have zeroed in on blood transfusions as the way to extend his life. Estimated to be worth over $9 billion, Thiel reportedly aspires to live until he is 120 years old. This desire drove him to invest in anti-aging research from as early as 2006. He has also admitted to ingesting human-growth hormone pills to maintain his bone and muscle health. Thiel has since focused his attention on parabiosis, which is the scientific term for the rejuvenating blood transfusions. He has even taken further steps to cryogenically preserve his body, hoping to be revived in the future if he doesn’t hit his longevity goal. 


  


#4: Sam Altman 


Paying a company to kill you just so you can live forever might sound bizarre. But that’s what tech billionaire and OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, is doing. Well, for the most part. Precisely, Altman paid $10,000 to the startup Nectome to end his life and upload the contents of his brain to a computer, where they can be stored forever. The company claims that with their special embalming fluid, they can “preserve your brain well enough to keep all its memories intact”. But this technique is only viable if the brain is fresh, hence, Nectome has to terminate the participant’s life beforehand. In 2018, Altman became one of only about two dozen people to sign up for the procedure. 


 


#3: Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard 


This Mauritian scientist gained notoriety for his unconventional methods and eccentric behavior. In the world of hormone study, he is famous for the Brown-Séquard Elixir, which he claimed could make people look younger and live longer. In his later years, Brown-Séquard began injecting himself with extracts from the testicles of guinea pigs and dogs. He posited that these substances boosted his strength and enhanced his sexual performance. However, as he was the only participant in his experiment and there was no way of validating his results, the elixir was derided in the scientific community. Brown-Séquard’s testicular extracts may have made him stronger, but they failed to grant him any substantial longevity, as he died at the age of 76.  


 


#2: Elizabeth Báthory 


Regarded by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female murderer, Elizabeth Báthory is said to have tortured and killed as many as 650 girls and women. Due to her status as a Countess in Hungary, Báthory seemingly evaded the law for years, until she was finally arrested in 1612. During her trial, numerous witness statements were presented, though many have since been disputed as they relied on hearsay. One popular claim among witnesses was that Báthory regularly bathed in the blood of her young victims in order to maintain her youth and beauty. As punishment for her alleged crimes, Báthory was confined to a castle for the rest of her life, eventually passing away at age 54. 


 


#1: Qin Shi Huang 


Qin Shi Huang was the first emperor of the Qin dynasty in China, ruling from the age of 13 until his death at 49. The emperor was reportedly so terrified of leaving this world that he actively sought the elixir of life in his later years. His quest reportedly led him to ingest mercury, thinking that it would grant him immortality. Needless to say, this failed to work. In 210 BC, after serving as emperor of a unified China for 11 years, Qin Shi Huang’s worst fears came to pass, as he fell ill and ultimately passed away. Although the exact cause of his death is technically unknown, it is believed to be linked to mercury poisoning. 


 


Clearly, there’s been a lot of grisly goings-on in history, all in the name of living forever. But, for the most part, the predictions for the future aren’t quite so… unpalatable. Particularly when it comes to bridging the gap between our organic bodies and the vast, glimmering landscapes of technology. So, finally, what if we could digitize ourselves in the future, as a growing number of pioneers believe we will?


 


A complex organic machine, this structure that we call home is capable of functions and feats that, although usually taken for granted, are nothing short of awe-inspiring. From its basic automated processes like breathing to its ability to respond to a person’s specific needs (like those of a long-distance runner or bodybuilder), the human body is both incredible and incredibly adaptable. And yet… it is not without its shortcomings. 


 


The human body can heal itself, but it can’t replace a severed limb. When appropriately cared for, the body can be kept running for decades, but aging and illness are inevitable. Blessed as we are with highly developed brains, we navigate our time on this earth carrying a weighty mental burden - the knowledge that our corporeal existence is fleeting. We’re doomed to die and we can’t help but think about it. And so, for millennia, humans have endeavored to extend their lives as long as possible, or better yet, indefinitely. 


 


It’s a long and storied history of attempting to cheat death. In the early 20th Century, doctor and philosopher Alexander Bogdanov claimed to have found the key in blood transfusions - only to later die from one. Qin Shi Huang, the legendary Emperor who unified China, died in 210 BC, reportedly as a result of drinking a mercury-based “elixir of life”, and he wasn’t the only Chinese emperor to meet this fate. Even Sir Isaac Newton spent significant time in the field of alchemy, pursuing the philosopher’s stone and, by extension, immortality. 


 


While we can laugh at these ludicrous concepts in hindsight, we’re still pursuing the same goal today. Regenerative medicine is already doing things that sound like they’re straight out of science fiction. Artificial organs, both inorganic and lab-grown, are in development, giving rise to hopes that when crucial organs begin to fail, they might soon be easily replaceable. Other researchers, like geneticist Dan Rokhsar, are looking to sea anemones for the answer - given that these animals are functionally immortal. Others yet are developing anti-aging drugs to tackle the issue at its very root rather than combatting its symptoms. 


 


But what if the key isn’t in preserving the body, but moving beyond it all together? As we develop an ever greater understanding of our brains and how they function, it becomes increasingly less hard to imagine that we could eventually transfer not just our memories to a digital medium, but our entire consciousness. It’s called digital immortality, and depending on who you ask, it’s inevitable. According to futurist Ian Pearson, it will be a reality as soon as 2050. Meanwhile, Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov is committed to making it happen by 2045. Of course, these progressive thinkers have their work cut out for them. Considering Moore’s law of ever rapidly increasing computational power, we will likely have the machines to handle it, but biotech capable of interfacing with the brain and transferring all that organic information… that’s a whole other story. 


 


Brain-computer interfaces (or BCIs for short) are being tested, but with more straightforward tasks in mind, like helping to bridge the gap between brain and limb following neural damage or a stroke. Such developments are undeniably groundbreaking, but seem rudimentary compared to a full brain transfer. There are pioneers out there, like Theodore Berger, pushing BCI development in the direction of memory storage, but until we can figure out how to safely preserve brains at death, digitally map them, and design programs allowing said consciousness to “run”, digital immortality still feels far away. 


 


While we’re waiting for science to catch up to science fiction in that regard, leaps and bounds are being made in the world of digital archiving. Detail-oriented databases preserving the thoughts, memories and feelings of individuals are already a reality. It doesn’t scratch the immortality itch, but it does take the concept of “legacy” in interesting directions. Facebook profiles and other such social media accounts already live on as digital windows into the lives of the recently deceased. But services like Eterni.me are taking it a step further, by compiling the information about you online for you to curate, add to, and (should you choose), share with family and friends when you pass on. There are even plans to create an avatar that resembles you, who will serve as the interface through which those with access can navigate your digital backup. That final detail has admittedly made some people uncomfortable. 


 


In the Black Mirror episode “Be Right Back”, a grieving woman is signed up for a service that creates a chatbot simulator based on her departed boyfriend’s social media. Things quickly escalate from there. Cautionary tales be damned however, as companies are racing to make this a reality. In 2016, a woman named Eugenia Kuyda brought her dearest friend, Roman Mazurenko, back to life as a chatbot that had been fed his old texts, and according to her, most people close to the deceased found conversing with the bot to be therapeutic. 


 


Though we’ve still got a long way to go before we can create living backups, it also feels like an inevitability. And once we have them, it seems unlikely that our digital selves will be content to lead an entirely disembodied life. The next logical step on the path to digital immortality... is digital reincarnation. If regenerative medicine will soon be able to grow full-sized, fully-functional organs, how long will it be before scientists are growing whole bodies from the ground up? Once the computerized brain is perfected, it’s just a matter of making it more compact and connecting it to a lab-grown body. Of course, in this bright future, you may opt for a fully synthetic body with more bells and whistles. Who knows! This idea of body transfers is something that has been explored at length in the Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs series, and the Neftflix adaptation of these novels, “Altered Carbon”. In this futuristic sci-fi setting, a person’s consciousness is stored in a small device known as a “stack”. Even in the event of an accident, so long as the stack, stored at the base of the neck, remains undamaged, you can live on in another body. It’s a thrilling and admittedly tantalizing concept, but one that, as seen in the show, comes with a lot of consequences. 


 


Overpopulation is already a growing concern on our planet. Flash forward to a future in which this tech exists, and the situation is likely to have gotten worse. If every person who died continued to exist in virtual space, the digital immortality wouldn’t really create any spatial problems. If everyone had the ability to take physical form however, overpopulation would likely reach a crisis point. Much as China has established laws limiting the number of children per household, a world in which nobody dies would eventually have no other option but to take similar measures. Who knows, having kids could even come with the condition that you accept an expiration date.Then again, with populations currently declining in many countries, this might not prove problematic for a very long time. Suffice it to say, the economics of such a world are difficult to predict. 


 


As explored in “Altered Carbon” however, the disparity between rich and poor would likely be exponentially worsened, as immortality would almost certainly come with a high cost - and those who succeeded in life could continue to flourish and see their investments grow. Immortality could very well elude all but the richest. Of course, at the other end of the spectrum, it would be a whole new world of crime. Imagine if, rather than mugging or killing you, someone stole your body? 


 


The questions posed by this distinct brand of digital immortality are many. At the end of the day however, just like we’ve done every other time there has been a major upheaval of civilization, humanity would likely adapt and survive. But what would happen to the individual and the concept of personhood? Legally, medically, socially, even psychologically, we are defined first and foremost by our bodies. Yes, religion has long distinguished between the corporeal and spiritual, but to have to process the distinction between body and mind in such a literal and immediate way would make for an unprecedented human experience. Could your mind even handle such a change, or would it break? Even if the process could go off without a hitch, what would that make us? Can pure sentience, untethered and capable of hopping from one shell to another, even still be called “human”? 


 


The future is impossible to predict, and in terms of humanity's quest for immortality, it's tough to say what will get there first... more traditional medicine, or computer science. Either way, given how long humankind has been struggling to come to terms with their own mortality, you can be certain that the hunt for the fountain of youth will continue, and that the reality of a digital backup is more a question of "when" rather than "if".


 


So, what’s your verdict? On the in-built possibilities of quantum phenomena… and on the utopia/dystopia split in a future world where digital death never happens? And how about with our list of the ten craziest attempts to live forever in history and the modern day - what’s your view there?


 


For now, there’s no doubt that human society will continue to strive for life everlasting, in one form or another. As our civilization tries to survive, it’s an essential part of what makes us… us. Linking together science, technology, myth and superstition, some believe there’s no greater challenge. Some insist that there’s no more urgent question than; how are we going to, finally, beat death?

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