When we achieve the potentially unlimited lifespans that are predicted by futurists, there comes the question of whether we’ll want to remain living forever. Will we eventually tire of reading or experiencing every “human” drama, or start to find the almost overwhelming amounts of information and new worlds somewhat passe?
Alternatively some ageless immortals (i.e. us, since we’ll likely be the first generation to have access to indefinate lifespan technologies) may go temporal jumping. They’ll suspend themselves and then rejuvenate themselves every century/decade/millenia to see what’s going on.
If this is point is reached, then will we decide “I’ve seen enough in this universe, the only unknown frontier that holds any appeal is that between life and death”? Maybe we’ll start to see suicide in a new light, that of someone who has experienced the physical universe as fully as they can and now is just ready to move on.
Maybe the collective, like right now, will decide suicide is not allowed. It could be for more selfish reasons than because society thinks suicide is wrong and that the person must be mentally imbalanced, it might be that we want to maintain the wealth of information, experience and pattern that is stored within a being many millenia old. A compromise may be reached where the pattern of mind is stored but is not activated, so that information may still be retrieved but the mind is static and essentially dead. But assuming we could simply revive an individual with a stored pattern (likely if we make the transition to electronic or hybrid mental substrate), then in medical terms the person wouldn’t be dead, since doctors declare death when they despair they are unable to restore brain activity. For someone who chooses to become inactive, this wouldn’t be the same as suicide since the pattern of that person still exists whereas suicide would destory the pattern.
Will we be comdemned to eternity when immortality/indefinite lifespan is commonplace? A new wave of thrill-seekers may catch on to extreme sports in a way to flirt with death, yet due to the potentially godlike restorative powers nanotechnology the only really extreme sports will be solar-flare surfing and black hole skimming.