The majority is right myth

objections to physical immortality and why they make no sense

It’s the commonly held belief that everyone has to die that leads many people to resist taking physical immortality seriously when first exposed to the concept. The suggestion that living forever is not just possible but desirable, flies in the face of just about every belief system man has devised. So if people hearing about it for the first time are intrigued or even excited, it’s quite possible that other members of their peer groups won’t be. In fact they may well be vocally negative, sometimes dramatically so. It’s a concern about this kind of peer feedback – of what another person will think – that is often the reason individuals will not allow themselves to fully explore the opportunity for unlimited living, or will keep to themselves their interest in doing so.

How often is the majority wrong?

History is littered with majority held beliefs that have turned out to be false. The Earth is flat, it’s the center of the universe and the Sun revolves around it, were common beliefs until the 16th century. The prevailing belief after Copernicus and Galileo, that the Sun was the center of the Universe, lasted almost 400 years till Harlow Shapley discovered it to be on the outer edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. Until the Wright brothers flew in 1912, it was believed impossible for man to do so. The majority thought breaking the 4 minute mile to be impossible, and then Roger Bannister ran a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds on May 6th, 1954. Since then, 1191 other runners have broken the 4 minute mark worldwide, many of them multiple times. In fact, the American, Steve Scott, has run 136 sub four minute miles.

Nobody expected the US ice hockey team to beat the Russians for the gold medal at the 1980 Olympics, or that the Dallas Mavericks would sweep the LA Lakers in the NBA playoffs this spring. But both did. The majority was led to believe that the 21st century housing bubble would last indefinitely, but it burst catastrophically and the US and worldwide economies came crashing down in 2008. And I seem to remember something of a widespread panic as midnight December 31st, 1999 and Y2K doom approached.

Truth doesn’t depend on how many people believe it.

All human progress has been inspired by the few and followed by the many. Just because a belief is widely-held is no guarantee that it’s correct. Nor is a belief wrong simply because it’s held only by a few. And as the common financial services disclaimer puts it: past performance is no guarantee of future results. The fact that up till now people have always died doesn’t mean they have to, or that they should, or that they will.

As Ray Bradbury, the famous writer, said in “Beyond 1984: The People Machines.”: “Predicting the future is much too easy . . . You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.” And I don’t see how dying is better than a future without death at the end of it, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Does the fact that the majority has been so wrong in the past mean that it’s wrong now about physical immortality being possible? Not necessarily. But it does suggest that you shouldn’t let public opinion be the reason you don’t explore further. It’s patently obvious, historically, that the belief that the majority is right is often very, very wrong.

Doug Morris is an artist, designer and writer and has worked as a mural, faux finish and decorative painter for 20 years. Find him at Beautiful Walls by Doug Morris. For more about Living Unlimited visit People Unlimited.

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