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Life expectancy and war

Discussion in 'Philosophical Forum' started by Marl, May 28, 2007.

  1. Marl Now with added S? Engine!

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    A thought occurred to me earlier. Would humans be less willing to wage war if our current life expectancies were doubled, or even tripled? What if we lived five times as long as we currently do?

    It seems like a reasonable thought to me. I would be less willing to risk my life in a war during my late teens (most soldiers are recruited/conscripted during their late teens/early twenties) if I knew I had another 200-300 years of life still left to live. Would generals be so happy to commit to wars of attrition? Surely governments would be much more stable if they were in it for the long term, dealing with terms of office lasting decades or so? Murder would be so much more reviled, because instead of stealing 60 odd years of life, you'd be stealing 300 years of life. I'm not saying that would make it more valuable - but the murderer would be depriving the person of much 'more', in terms of time. Surely, the knowledge that you have so much more time to live would prevent people from so eagerly marching to the front line to be pawns in the greatest of games, war?

    And yet, history shows this to not be the case. It seems that regardless of medical advances extending our lifespan, people are still willing to go to war. The second world war, the most destructive conflict the world has ever seen, occurred midway through the last century - a time when technology and medicine ensured a much longer life for the people of the time than their ancestors. It seems that as our lives extend, so too does the opportunity to insult your neighbours, leading to conflict.

    So, I pose to you this question: If the average life expectancy of a human being was three hundred years, instead of a measly 60 or so, would we (as a race) be so eager to risk our lives in warfare?

    Personally, I think we would. People will do anything if you give them a good enough reason to.
     
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  2. Amaretti No strong feelings whatsoever

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    I don't think there's much difference between losing 60 years or 600. That fact is you're still dying before you're even to the halfway point of your life, and if that hasn't discouraged war by now I don't think it will, even if life expectancy was extended.

    But if our great leaders had to be on the front lines as they used to be in the olden days, I'm sure the number of wars would drop dramatically. Can't really see George Bush wanting to wage a war if he had to get stuck in himself.
     
  3. Serena_Ahnell You Trust Me, Don't You Baby?

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    I don't think so. People who enlist are looking for education/job opportunities, security, protecting family/friends/country/ideals. I don't think that life expectancy is plays too big a role.

    Now, if we took away all the modern technology that goes with war and stuck leaders and all the people who sign off on going to war and on the front lines and equipped all of them with swords and various gardening utensils and let them hack each other apart... I'm sure they'd be a little less eager to go to war.
     
  4. Ranger Samson Member

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    200-300 years? Unless God decides we can live that long it's nothing but fantasy.
     
  5. Toad Hermit Member

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  6. Marl Now with added S? Engine!

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    Do you... understand the concept of a "hypothetical situation"?

    Indulge my fantasies, please. It's the concept I'm interested in. I want to see how many people consider their chances of survival when they go to war (or indeed, how many care).
     
  7. mislead it's just Che Guevara

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    No. Not many people are actually able to process the inevitability of their own death until they're 60 or so, much less account for life expectancy and whatnot. Now, if we were talking immortality, then it would've been a completely different pair of shoes...

    One's own death is a completely unimaginable, incomprehensible event. Even if you tell yourself "Yes, I'm probably going to die within the next ~60 years.", it'll just be a false realization, a meaningless set of words. This is why most of us live completely oblvious to the possibility of death. It's probably a subconscious self-defense mechanism, and a good one at that.
     
  8. Esponer Brief Intermission

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    Future technology is of course very difficult to predict, so all I can say is that there are concepts with some early evidence of plausibility that could lead to extended lifespans. I can't say, "We'll live that long in 200 years" or even "We'd have the technology to live that long in 200 years", but I can say that it's na?ve to ignore the possibility.

    There certainly is some level of power that humanity cannot surpass and that is only the realm of hypothetical divinities, but we do not have the knowledge to draw that line.

    On the original topic, I don't think that a person's life expectancy much affects their willingness to go to war, or throw others' lives away, nor do I think there would be more social outrage at murdering someone with a life expectancy of 300 years than murdering someone with a life expectancy of 60. After all, are you less outraged if a murderer kills and mutilates a terminally ill cancer patient than a healthy 22-year old student?

    The only way it'd reduce war, I think, is if lifespans like that would tend to lead to enlightened elders who would restrict war by democratic or other means.
     
  9. AbnormallyNormal 1 + 2 + 3 = 1 * 2 * 3

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    yeah i dont see how life expectancy by itself would end wars but it may contribute to that
     
  10. Goodfellow .

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    He talked about a god right:neutral?

    Yes that was kinda mean:rofl
     
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