There's a basic human drive to continue existing.
In a dangerous situation our self-preservation instinct makes us capable of incredible feats of strength and endurance; and gets a lot of press.
What doesn't get the same attention is the persistent, long term desire to just keep existing forever.
This desire plays out in different ways for different people. Traditionally, with death in double digits inevitable, there were only a couple of different immortality tickets on offer.
Religions offered Nirvana, Heaven, and other ethereal tickets; or reincarnation for those who like it here.
The other ticket was parenthood. Your body goes in the ground but you leave copies behind, who leave their own copies, in a sort of intergenerational ponzi scheme.
Your genetic information is diluted over time, and you have no way of knowing how long the line will continue; but outside of religion it was the only ticket on offer.
A new ticket has emerged in the last few decades, and the FOMO is real. Whether we're talking a snap-frozen head in the middle of last century, or the latest advances in gene therapy, medical science has started a presale on immortality tickets, and business is booming, undercutting the popularity of the old tickets.
Will you live long enough to live forever?
What an intoxicating sales pitch. So far it's only a pitch; and being around in 2045 is much more likely for some of us than for others, which sheds some light on the different reactions and over-reactions we're seeing to Covid 19.
I'm not lining up in that queue. I'm not above it all, not by a long shot; but my bags are full.
As a Christian I'm confident of eternal life in heaven, and as a father of three healthy kids I'm well stocked with traditional tickets. I'm not in the new queue.
Don't get me wrong, if I'm still around in a few decades and somebody offers me an extra 100 years and the price is right, sure I'll dive on it; but I'm not a motivated buyer.
I'm not refreshing the screen over and over with my credit card in hand. I have other tickets.
Many don't. Religion and parenthood are on the decline in the West. The new queue is both a cause and a beneficiary of this, and I'll never see eye to eye with the desperate people staking out a spot in the new queue while I stand here with all these tickets. My luxury is their necessity.
Few in that queue would categorise it as a religion since there's no afterlife; but it's absolutely a faith. It's a faith in mankind's ability to do something we've never done before. So how does the queue look? How does one get to the front, and avoid anyone else cutting in?
They don't have anything as clear and helpful as 10 commandments; all they have is their best guess.
A history of absolute, vocal devotion to the medical community and the governments which fund it can't hurt.
Remaining childless to avoid contributing to the overpopulation of the earth.
If you're buying the parent ticket, that might cost you a place in the new queue. No self-respecting faith wants to honour an each-way bet.
Are the mask/vaccine tirades and crusades actually auditions? Are the people taking selfies with their "free" donuts simply securing their place in a queue many of us older/religious people just don't see?
Like Roko's Basilisk, every public act and utterance now will presumably be available in 2045; for the inspection of the medical experts selecting immortality candidates. Except while Roko's Basilisk encourages us to discuss it, suggesting there's a queue for medical immortality tickets is a terrible idea.
A millenial (Someone alive for a thousand years?) who even intimates the existence of the new queue outs themselves as potentially being progressive for some future reward; while alerting potential competitors to its existence.
So if they are queueing, they're not talking about it. We just have to deduce their belief in its existence from their behaviour.
Somebody in the new queue would likely be vegan and vocal about it. (cattle/farm land contributing to climate change etc) They'd happily support depopulation measures like abortion or maiming confused children with puberty blockers (fewer competitors for resources hundreds of years from now).
They'd know they're in unspoken competition with each other, so they'd ruthlessly hunt down and cancel each other over the slightest deviation from today's woke orthodoxy, and thanks to the sunk cost fallacy, the more they gave up to stay and progress in the new queue, the more they'd fight for their place in it.
With no way of knowing how far away medical immortality might be, the selection criteria by which they'll be assessed, how many others are in line ahead of them, or if they'll wake up one morning to find themselves demoted for something said or done a decade ago; we can expect them to be riddled with anxiety.
Fear of accidental death before medical immortality eventuates, will have them obsessed with rules and safety.
They wouldn't want their immortality tickets lost to the highest bidders, so they'd be passionate about meritocracy and equality, pushing political agendas that take money from the wealthy to fund science and medicine, while electing leaders running on socialist platforms. Either we need to have done away with money by 2045, or money has to be irrelevant in the new queue.
Does this look like somebody at peace with their own mortality? I'm not in any way mocking this lady. She's clearly having a difficult time coping, and if it weren't for the tickets I'm holding I could very easily share her mindset.
There but for the grace of God go I.
What scares me about all this, is how vulnerable that makes them to the threats of the state; and how ready they are to embrace a social credit system like the one in China. They're already acting as if it's in place.
Formalising it would do them a huge favour, taking much of the ambiguity away.
They're also playing with much higher stakes. The state can only take a few decades away from me, and it has to kill or imprison me to do so; it can take hundreds and hundreds of years away from them. It doesn't even need to kill or incarcerate them.
It can just bump them to the back of the queue and watch nature take them in their first century.
They're not just facing the organic threat of dying before 2045; they're also facing the threat of arriving healthy and being denied treatment.
Our fear of death has been weaponised against us for thousands of years.
The state's always threatened to punch our immortality tickets early, now it's selling tickets, too. That makes it more dangerous than it's ever been; and somewhat ironically more vulnerable than ever before.
The state is a belief system, imposed on believers and non-believers alike, by armed zealots.
What happens when those zealots, imagining living forever; are asked to attack individuals who already have their traditional tickets in hand?
When the bullets start flying, which side will have the heroes?
I expect the state will offer shorter deployments; Five year's exemplary service and you can retire, while offering priority position in the new queue.
Will armed service to the state become the minimum criteria for common folk to qualify for medical immortality?
If so, how do you think the lady in the elevator will fare?
Will she have spent decades chasing a goal only to find the cost of the ticket getting higher and higher until she can't afford it?
Will we see the most vocal, consistent, virtuous, brave, eloquent, chaste defenders of the state become the new 1%?
What about this guy? Do you think he has a wife at home, tracking her cycles, hoping to get pregnant?
They even have an Ark.
The wealthy can atone for their greed by subsidising the virtuous as they escape together. Why does that sound familiar?
Many older people, even non-religious and childless folk aren't in the new queue simply because they've seen enough snake oil in their time to smell it from a distance.
Maybe they're resigned to their own mortality, or maybe they've just been paying attention long enough to know that wherever there's a desperate need, some con man is going to set up shop and offer vague promises to perhaps, possibly, one day fill that need. They know a cult when they see one.
If you've been trying to jostle to the front of that queue, there are a few things you need to know.
The people who want to control you, have spent most of your life planting these seeds of hope in your mind. You haven't been a passive observer of news; you're the target audience for a slow burn sales pitch.
Accidental/workplace deaths are on the decline; but it's never been easier to kill someone. Anybody can 3D print a fully functional semi-automatic rifle from home, with minimal skills and no special parts; and this technology is only going to improve in the next few decades.
What if its too dangerous to be a policeman, and the nation state has collapsed by the time 2045 rolls around?
The tech might still be getting funded, but you know it's rolling out to the rich first. You don't just need to be virtuous, you need to also have faith that a powerful meritocracy will be in place at the time, to award those tickets to the virtuous at the expense of the wealthy.
Then you need to hope that the wealthy don't thin the queue by eliminating the virtuous ahead of them.
If you carefully examine this idea, you'll understand that in order to actually, personally achieve medical immortality a lot of stuff has to happen, and a lot of other stuff has to not happen.
Even in the unlikely event medical immortality actually becomes available in your lifetime, there's an excellent chance that like any new technology; it's quickly scaled up and disseminated to everyone, cheaply. Making it less scarce than you've been lead to believe.
You might find you sacrificed your freedoms, integrity, conscience and friendships for something readily available to all. Living forever, among people who hate you.
A Faucian pact.