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Dear Terry

I wouldn't hope too much for it.

It's quite likely that, if medicine and health and living conditions keep improving, then the average age at which humans die will continue to rise--maybe eventually to be more than a hundred.

But, it is very unlikely that we will ever be able to prevent the sort of wear and tear on our bodies that can't be completely repaired. So sooner or later, no matter how long we lived, we would eventually wear out and die.

I think what is most important is the quality of life. Most people like the idea of living to a ripe old age if they are healthy and well during that time.

And most people, when they are old and wise enough realise they have lived long enough. They have had their turn. It was good while it lasted. But life will go on all right without them. They have made their contribution.

But there is one other 'science-fictiony' way to look at it. Some people wonder if we could ever live inside a computer. Could all our memories and personality be put inside a computer that was so powerful that the virtual reality we lived in seemed just as real as the real world? Then could we live forever? Could we have back-up copies made of ourselves--just to be safe?

Well, that sounds fine in theory. The trouble is, a computer that could make all the calculations to mimic real life would have to be about as big as the universe is anyway.

As a woman writer said once about the universe: 'One of the damned things is enough.'

The other problem is change.

But who are you, any way? Who or what is the real you that would like to live forever?

It seems in the end there are more questions here than answers.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

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