The last generation

use this link Samuel Scheffler’s article “The Importance of the Afterlife. Seriously.” NYU Law Magazine, 2014, describes a scenario from P.D. James’s novel Children of Men, in which humans are inflicted with irreversible infertility and there is no one under the age 25 on earth.  James says that this would likely produce widespread depression, anxiety and despair making some people seek consolation and some to take pleasure in whatever they can – although it would all have the backdrop of sadness and pain. However, I believe the impact on humans is conditional on the demographics of the existing population.  If the youngest people alive are still near 25, then theoretically there is still a large population of people that have many years to live.  Given our actions tend to be relatively short term focused, there would be many not drawn into despair and will continue to give importance to their activities and projects.  However, if the youngest population was say over 60, it would definitely be a different scenario and all activity would seem total unimportant and futile and there would be widespread depression as everyone just waits for the demise of the human race.

funny christian dating stories for teens But do assume that the population is currently like the former. It would change most people’s perspective on their activities, but not necessarily make them stop due to the feeling of lack of importance.  Many of our activities revolve around our children and their children.  Creating homes and wealth to pass on; gaining wisdom and knowledge to transfer to them.  All such activities would become totally futile and lose their importance completely.  But the projects and activities that are for ourselves, for our own personal experience and fulfillment – should not be compromised. It will still be a joy to travel around the world and experience nature, it will still be fulfilling to create art and music. We see these activities as part of our life on this earth. This should apply to those who believe in the after life as well as those who don’t.  If you don’t, then you seek these activities for personal satisfaction while alive. If you believe in the after life, you may believe that the after life if not dependent on our material bodies on this material earth and thus the lack of fertility does not matter and our souls will still continue somewhere, somehow, benefitting from the rich experiences we gained while alive. But then I think of my mother. A famous poet and writer (who passed away recently). It was extremely important that she left an enduring legacy on this planet with her writings so that generations to come could enjoy it. That was her stamp on humanity which created her personal sense of immortality.  If the scenario above happened in her lifetime, there is no doubt she would lose all importance of the value of her writing and fall into deep despair.

While my former argument is based on the assumption that human individualism will allow most to continue to find value in our activities, Mr. Scheffler believes these assumptions are oversimplified and that removing the assumption of an ongoing humanity, the confidence in our purpose will erode .  But from the latter example of my mother, clearly Mr. Scheffler is correct insofar if a person’s purpose is undeniably dependent on the existence of future generations.