Background: I am currently tossing around a concept in my head about a species that, for lack of a better term, is immortal. "Death" to them is only in reference to their physical body and is largely seen as an inconvenience more than anything else. Assume that they, as a sentient species, have no knowledge of any sentient species, since that makes it fairly easy.

Questions: What would such a species be motivated by? What would force them to advance and thrive?

For a human, it would be their own survival and the survival of their progeny, but it isn't exactly a threat for an "immortal" species.

Edit: For all intents and purposes, the idea I have been kicking around is that this race would be about as advanced as humans. They have infinite time, but they haven't spent infinite time.


marked as duplicate by Vincent, bowlturner, Samuel, Vulcronos, Gilles Feb 10 '15 at 20:06

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  • $\begingroup$ So what does bodily death mean? How are they impacted? Can they influence the mortal world? Are you simply looking for what would intrinsically motivate an immortal race with no external pressures to advance? $\endgroup$ – James Feb 10 '15 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean something similar to the Elves in LOTR where elves simply do not die naturally? Or do you mean it is literally impossible for bodily death to occur? $\endgroup$ – JDSweetBeat Feb 10 '15 at 16:34
  • $\begingroup$ Basically, their body exists in the mortal world but when their body dies, either by old age or some traumatic event, they are essentially kicked out of the mortal world until their body is "born" again. I haven't wuite worked out the mechanics of the rebirth. $\endgroup$ – Jake Feb 10 '15 at 17:18

Pretty much what drives humans except progeny:

  • Knowledge: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Who are we? Are we alone? ... you name it. Exploring the Universe, the mechanism of immortality, the origins of the species are all lengthy tasks.
  • Pushing boundaries: While physical boundaries are not really relevant, I assume that new experiences will still be a strong motivator - bungee jumping, base jumping, flyboard, alcohol, drugs... it will take a lot of time to develop and experience all of these. There would possibly be a constant drive for creating and experiencing new things.
  • Spiritualism: Humans rarely experience inner peace (being one with oneself and so on). I believe that this may actually be impossible no matter the length of one's lifespan.

It is quite interesting that this question is more about human psychology than anything else. Most people already live as though they are immortal, so your answer is already there.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Just the last sentence deserves huge +1. Totally agree. We all want to go to heaven, but no one wants to die $\endgroup$ – Pavel Janicek Feb 10 '15 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @PavelJanicek Exactly! And we all live as if any mistake we make in our lifes will last forever, but the fact is that for us it will only last for a lifetime. $\endgroup$ – dmg Feb 10 '15 at 15:16

Curiosity. The need to know more. The desire to understand something. Of course being immortal there is plenty of time to look into what ever question comes to mind.

Fighting Ennui could be another, 'what is the point of continuing?' Not falling down the whole of depression as a race.

Creating, life, other simpler intelligence, playing god with them, see what they do with different stimuli. Are they mice in a maze? or Pets to be trained? or children to raise?

Boredom, trying to find something new to keep ones interest in bothering to live. 'Q' in Star Trek is an excellent example of this, they are immortal, bored and very powerful, so they 'play' with others. Since they have done it all, they look for new experiences.


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