Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#21
Fun question that I never answered when it was first posted. Since the thread is revived, I'll throw in my two cents.

Historically speaking, Homo Sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans all mated with one another and were capable of creating offspring. Most people I've discussed ancient history with tend to think of Homo Sapiens as "humans", or at least as "modern humans". (Though they would have considered the others "people" in the vernacular sense).

If you define "human" as distinctly primarily Homo Sapien, then I think the reason for immortality becomes an important component in determining if a given immortal individual is human.

If the immortality is biological, due to natural mutation/evolution, then they may arguably no longer be Homo Sapien, if other Homo Sapiens continue to reproduce and not have the genetic marker of immortality in their offspring. At that point, this individual may well not be human from a scientific perspective, though they may look human, and be perceived as human, by society.

If however they gain their immortality through technological (or magical?) means, then I see no reason why society would cease to call them human, other than the chance that - since we as "a people" tend to dislike those who are different from us when viewed on a large scale, that society would mark them as different and decidedly nonhuman eventually.

An interesting thought exercise! In the end, all of the answers posted here are totally valid, since at least up until this point, as far as I am aware, there are no actual immortals for this question to apply to. And certainly, as other have mentioned, each author can approach this their own way and end up with a completely believable, intriguing explanation for this question in their world.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#22
Hm, good question. But let me answer with a question of my own. How is this immortality achieved? If you are an immortal cultivator from the wixia worlds or have a curse that stops your time, and, and this is the major point, you consider yourself a human still, then so be it. You get the extended "human pass". But if immortality is achieved trough body-swapping, sucking the life of others, etc. then the answer for me is NO. And let me clarify, I am not talking about a character that gets a constant supply of cloned organ/bodyparts-transplants (this can still count as "tuning up the family ax" as @CoffeeQuills puts it), but one that has the additional ability to do the previously mentioned things. 

Furthermore, it also depends on how you define "humanity" in a particular story setting. If every human in a said world is a magic-wielding, body-swapping, life-sucking pal, then long live the new humans. 

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#23
in Supernatural or Religious Texts or Movies it is often Stated that Humans have some kind of special "Immortal Soul" that other beings dont have and often envy them for it. Like when a Devil wants to trade for it or Angels protect them because their God decreed Humans "worthy" etc.

Makes me wonder what makes it so special every time the Protagonist from story XY switches Races from "normal Human" to Uberpwnerrace123 the moment he got the chance but never tries to retain their Humanity. Like in Highschool dxd fanfics for example where they cant wait to loose their Humanity at the first chance they got.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#24
Astrowoud Wrote: Interesting.
But biology isn't everything, right? Because if you look at the way we humans live, we all know that death is coming, whether we want it to or not. We haven't seen that sort of behaviour in other animals. So is knowing you will die someday not also a major part of being human?

And about that not ageing thing: when we age we slowly turn old and start to look old as our cells start dying and stop being reproduced in full, among other reasons, so if someone is immortal, it should stop this from happening. So would that person stop ageing as well? And with all the time in the world, you are sort of a god among men. In experience at least.

But,  I really don't know.


Wouldn't an immortal feel the same ? I mean HE IS Immortal, but there should always be this innate fear of death. What if I actually die ? Maybe I'm not immortal ? Those type of questions will come up in his head one way or the other, as death, whether it's coming or not, will always be scary and will always look down on us, sure those question may not ALWAYS come up, but it's the same thing for humans, which is why for me Immortal people are just old men who feel no pain and look incredibly young.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#25
This is such an awesome question! Categorizing things is such a weirdly human thing to do, we're basically obsessed with putting things is neat and tidy boxes, just look at the whole study of Taxonomy! The vast complexities of the universe defy simple categorization but at the same time it's so difficult to understand and comprehend anything without the mental shortcuts that labels provide. I guess I've had this question on the back burner kind of ruminating on it sense i first saw the thread and there are so many amazing well thought out responses now!

As far as I'm concerned i think that humans who have been made/lucked into immortality are still human, but that they would have a vastly different understanding of what life and existence entails. And honestly so does basically every culture out there. Like, especially cultures that haven't been inundated with white western culture are so different to what i know and understand and that is amazing! If we really want to get into the weeds of the historical and political understanding and description of what it means to be human than we'll see how vastly it changes over time based on who it's profitable to exploit and enslave (not something I really want to dig into as I am certainly not an authority, though if you'd like to read more this  is a really decent article laying out the basics.)

So, not much of a concrete answer, but that's just my two cents.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#26
Sereminar Wrote: This is such an awesome question! Categorizing things is such a weirdly human thing to do, we're basically obsessed with putting things is neat and tidy boxes, just look at the whole study of Taxonomy! The vast complexities of the universe defy simple categorization but at the same time it's so difficult to understand and comprehend anything without the mental shortcuts that labels provide. I guess I've had this question on the back burner kind of ruminating on it sense i first saw the thread and there are so many amazing well thought out responses now!

As far as I'm concerned i think that humans who have been made/lucked into immortality are still human, but that they would have a vastly different understanding of what life and existence entails. And honestly so does basically every culture out there. Like, especially cultures that haven't been inundated with white western culture are so different to what i know and understand and that is amazing! If we really want to get into the weeds of the historical and political understanding and description of what it means to be human than we'll see how vastly it changes over time based on who it's profitable to exploit and enslave (not something I really want to dig into as I am certainly not an authority, though if you'd like to read more this  is a really decent article laying out the basics.)

So, not much of a concrete answer, but that's just my two cents.


I agree, and I think that what makes people believe that people who were fortunate enough -or unfortunate- to become immortal are not humans is their lack of fear of death, I mean what makes life, well, life, is that it's finite and that you have to cherish every moment of it, but then I disagree in that statement, as even if you have not encountered death yet, or there is proof that you will never do, is not a good enough reason to be unafraid, or unaffected by how old you are, because you will still have those what ifs in your mind that will make you concerned about your demise.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#27
i think immortal humans would suffer A LOT if they stay "Human" as we know it and just dont die. Just look at the old timers we have today. A few Decades in and your thinking is rigid and you dont want change, you know everything better, old is better than new you cant accept what youngsters tell you is superior etc.

And that kind of mentality is already apparent with Humans that do die. Now imagine what kind of person you would be if you live forever.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#28
I like to approach the concept of immortality and the associated humanity with a societal and individual aspect.

If the Immortal hasn't changed from their human nature with outwardly shown physiological differences, nor has their train of thought and the way they perceive the world and people around them differed from their previous way of life, then the Immortal is still human inside - hence - they accept the idea of their humanity.

Yet if the Immortal abandons the idea of humanity with absolute conviction, their human nature is gone - hence - they aren't human.

Though I could imagine an Immortal formerly human being outwardly perceived as an Immortal due to the societal, philosophical, and biological differences associated with the concept. I would like to think of the nature of being 'human' as a coin spinning in the air as the sides of the inner thought and societal influences balanced against each other as the coin fell faster and faster before finally either the Heads or Tails fell, and the winning side in this fight for identity would vanquish and the Immortal would assume an identity depending on the influence of his own thoughts and the reactions from the world at large; from the Heads or Tails.

Re: Can someone who is immortal still be considerd human?

#29

Astrowoud Wrote: This is an interesting question if you ask me.

On one side: yeah, your biology stays the same and therefore you are human. Or maybe something like: if your immortal then you could say that your body is paused at the moment of gaining said immortality. Therefore you must still be human because you were human first.

On the other side: Death is something that is intrinsically connected to humanity. We've kept ourself busy with it for as long as we can think. We've gone so far as to call those who passed away immortal in the realms of the dead. We've created a thought that says we have a 'soul' while we don't have anything to prove that we do. In some cases, we've considered people who are in the stories immortal, as gods!
And gods aren't human, right? So if death no longer has a say in you, can you still be considered human? Or have you transcended to a different being?

I've had this question on my mind for a while now and have had a few interesting debates considering it. But in the end, I don't know. I can't seem to choose a side. So if you have an opinion on it, please share it, I'm curious.

But to



If you are immortal, do you lose the ability to feel pain? I feel like the fear of pain outweighs death; at least to me. It depends on what you do during your time of immortality. The guidelines for immortality are a big thing. Say, for instance, you make a deal with the devil for your soul. Your soul will be in Hell, and you are just an empty vessel above, meaning you are no longer counted human in a way. But if you are immortal with the same guidelines as human (i.e. you can feel pain, you can age, you can love) then you are still human. And if we were to change it where you were on a sort of godly like level, or a vampire, something around those myths, then you would no longer be human.