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I have in mind a protagonist who, for reasons unknown, became completely indestructible. Not only is he immune to any cause of death/damage known to mankind, he is also immune to fatigue, starvation, drowning, etc.

I first assumed that he would quickly hit the peak of human conditioning since he could train and work-out all day without stopping (let's say he is able to grow his muscles despite that requiring some level of tissue damage). However, he will never have super-strength or speed as depicted in the comics.

What would he do with his life?

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  • $\begingroup$ Will he eventually die of old age, or is he immune against that as well? Also, is he only immune against the actual damage, or also against the feelings associated to it (that is, will he still feel pain when on fire, or feel extremely thirsty after not drinking for several days)? $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 23 '16 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ @celtschk: He does not age, and is immune to both the effect and feelings associated with damage. If he were to be hit by a train, for instance, he would fly through the air as dictated by normal physics, but would feel like he just got hit by a gust of wind and fell into bed, or something like that. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 23 '16 at 6:44
  • $\begingroup$ Could you clarify. Is this guy effectively immortal? You say he's immune to death, does he age? $\endgroup$ – user10945 Sep 23 '16 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ Suggest your immortal to perform a task however difficult then let the readers evaluate it, e.g. the year is 2016 can the immortal assassinate the head of a particular state by biting etc. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Sep 23 '16 at 6:59
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    $\begingroup$ Well... he would do whatever he damn well pleases. $\endgroup$ – Burki Sep 23 '16 at 8:54
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The short time effects will depend very much on his personality. However, over the centuries, several things will happen:

  • Pain and suffering are only a distant memory. Therefore he will be unable to relate to the pain and suffering of other people. He may maintain an ethical position, but it won't be something he feels. Therefore he will not act with compassion, but with cold logic, no matter what he does.

  • As the centuries pass by, so does every person he ever knew. He will have first-hand experience that everyone he knows will sooner or later die, and he can't do anything against this. He may be able to delay the death of someone by a few years, maybe even decades, but what is a decade if you live forever? So there are a few possible results:

    • He might get obsessed with finding a cure of death.

    • In fear of the losses (he may not feel physical pain, but he surely will feel emotional suffering) at some point he might avoid building up relationships. So he'll get a lonely man, and given the previous point, probably a misanthropist.

    • He might become cynic and stop seeing a value in human life as such. Especially since his own eternal life turns out more of a burden, and he actually starts to envy the others of being able to die.

    Note that those points need not be mutually exclusive; indeed, it could be a progression: First, he starts out seeking to fight death, then, as he fails, be retracts from other humans, and finally he becomes cynic and envious. Indeed, in the long term he might do a full turn from superhero (saving people from fires as it won't hurt or kill him, etc.) to supervillain (throwing people into the fire so that when they get the grace of death, at least that death is painful).

  • On the other hand, the very fact that he's very long on earth will likely lead to him accumulating lots of wealth in the long run, and also a lot of knowledge/experience. Since knowledge and wealth always mean power, at some point in time he will become the most powerful person on earth (especially since he will survive all attempts to kill him). The results of this depends on whether he eventually turns supervillain, and whether he does so before or after he gets to power. Also, he likely will not be the person officially in power, but the one pulling the strings from behind.

  • It won't evade him forever that at some time in the future, the sun will die. Since he lives forever, he will definitely want to leave the earth before that. Even if he would not be physically harmed, being caught forever in the middle of the sun (assuming the sun eats the earth in the process) or inside a frozen planet (if the earth gets molten, but not eaten by the sun) certainly is nothing you'd look forward to. Therefore he certainly will do anything in his power to support/promote space technology, and in particular manned space travel.

  • However, no matter what he does, he won't be able to prevent the fate of the universe. So in the very long run, he'll be condemned to be eternally alone in a cold, dead universe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Well, it's time to find a way for him to find/create people similar to him so that he at least have someone to talk to during this eternity in a cold, dead universe :p (I reject any responsibility in cases of eternal feud between immortal beings) $\endgroup$ – Autar Sep 23 '16 at 12:09
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This person has immortality. Let’s call him Jim. I'll assume Jim can't die of old age. What will Jim do with all the time that immortality brings?

Regardless of what this person chooses to do. Given enough time will become good at it.


Alternative 1:

Living in the city, then will probably want some services, at least electricity for entertainment. That would suggest keeping a job. If Jim wants a woman and a family… he probably still has to work to keep the household… until he sees his family die of age, grief, and oversee his grandchildren.

Alternative 2:

But, this person has no need for cities!

Move to the wilderness, yeah, Jim can put a roof over his head because rain is annoying, not like it hurts or makes him sick. In fact, Jim can reach instant nirvana, because he being immortal has no need of material things, he can attain a live with no desires. Then he can bring Curt Cobian back… wait, that’s not right…

Alternative 3:

Immortality is boring; the best use of your time is to learn. Study all the things, master all the skills. Become the living incarnation of human knowledge. With all the knowledge he will be an oracle, whatever or not Jim seeks recognition is another thing.

Alternative 3.A:

Or perhaps Jim – with all his knowledge - can help human kind to solve the problems of hunger and scarcity.

Jim is a source of infinite energy. Sadly the energy output is low, Jim doesn't have super strength or super velocity and we already have good power plants... no need to to make him run in that giant hamster wheel for years.

Yet, Jim poseses the secret to create a perpetual motion machine, if only he could be properly studied. Would Jim agree on this? Giving a nation the chance to get a perpetual motion machine would give them a jump in any arms race... Jim wants to see wolrd peace first.

Instead Jim could research it himself, in secret, he has time to study anyway. And once he discovers it, release it on public domain for all the world.

He will lead human kind to become a Type II civilization and beyond.

Alternative 3.B:

World peace never came. When human kind has finally destroyed itself and aliens come to visit the now desolated planet… they will find Jim come Jim can tell them about how the empires rises and falls, and tell how people once loved and raged war.

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  • $\begingroup$ this is really close to my initial exploration! His name is Jim, by the way. He had to watch on helplessly as modern civilization was destroyed by a nuclear apocalypse (he was buried under rubble, and couldn't escape for a few years) and is now on the search for survivors. Can't help wondering if things could have played out differently though, hence the ask. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 23 '16 at 6:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Xenocacia ok, let's call him Jim. $\endgroup$ – Theraot Sep 23 '16 at 7:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Xenocacia Somewhere - and for the life of me, I can NOT remember where - I read/saw (?) a discussion of why immortality would be bad, and the general consensus is that the odds of being buried alive and trapped for a significant period of time rose to an almost certainty. How does Jim keep his sanity if he's trapped under Pompeii's volcanic ash (or something similar) for a thousand years? Wish I could cite the reference... it was an interesting conversation/read. $\endgroup$ – Ghotir Sep 23 '16 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Ghotir: the way it happened to Jim, it was already after several decades of him coming to terms with his immortality. Also, he was by nature a very calm and stoic person, I assume that helped. Lastly, he kept himself occupied by very slowly digging his way out - being indefatigable allowed him to claw, dig, and punch his way out steadily. $\endgroup$ – Xenocacia Sep 23 '16 at 16:00
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They'd have to hide

As the described being is pretty much indestructible and indefatigable, they'd have to be on the run constantly. Maybe hide in a cloister or similar, retreat from society - living normally would have them end up in research programs and eventually under constant governmental surveillance or even strapped to fancy no-so-fancy machinery so generations of scientists can probe and cut them up. For Science1.

1You Monster.

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    $\begingroup$ Good luck cutting up an indestructible man (and yes, user27589 specified "he", so no point in being gender-neutral). $\endgroup$ – celtschk Sep 23 '16 at 6:18
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    $\begingroup$ @celtschk even then they will shed tissue and hair as well other organic material in their waste. Also I reserve myself the right to use gender-neutral pronouns where I see fit for them in text I write up. It's just the way I roll $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Sep 23 '16 at 6:22
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Let's think of a normal, average person. Not someone who lacks intelligence to do something with his life; not someone suffering from some psychological disorder. Just the "average Joe", like you or me.

That person would probably begin by experimenting with what he could do. Like teenagers, he would try to find his identity by trying out different stuff. Some of that would be extreme (like taking drugs or having random sex is extreme for the average teen), some of that would be functional (like working in different jobs in the holidays is for a teen).

Eventually that person would form some idea of what to do with his life. Given a social conscience he might try to use his special ability for some greater good. Maybe he would get into politics, become some sort of scientist or explorer, or build a company that does more than just make money, because his outlook is so long term that it has to be sustainable. He would probably write books and be a public figure, too. Maybe not right away, but eventually.

As a normal person, this person needs human company. For that reason he will not be antisocial or abusive more than the average person. He will want friends, a partner, people he can trust with his concerns, fears, wishes, dreams, etc. He might want to have a family and children. Actually, given his long life, it is unlikely that he will chose to never have children.

The fact that the people he cares for are physically hurt in accidents or by illnesses and eventually die makes him even more caring. He might want to find out what made him indestructible to help everyone else achieve that state, too. And, failing that, he might become even more opposed to everything that causes suffering, from war to poverty, and the human greed and stupidity behind it. Again, this will cause him to get into politics, science, religion, etc.

Finally, other people will notice that person's specialness. He will be unable (and likely unwilling) to hide it in the long term. He will become one of the most important persons. People will look to his guidance. They will hate and abhorr him, as well as love and admire him. He will be some kind of guru, prophet, Jesus, even if he does not want to and tries to avoid it.

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It is very much dependant on personality. Some could be eager to learn as much as they can, some could be lazy as Xxy described. And dot_SpoT has a point, too, about the need to hide.

What I think could happen (let's say this might be what I'd do): Become a thrill seeker, doing ever weirder things to get a kick. Start with normal bungee jumping, followed by doing it the original way with lianas like some native tribes did, then perhaps without a rope or whatever.

He could find jobs that are real dangerous and well paid so he has money to spend. Or he could become a merc and fight in wars with a suicide vest in case he's in danger of being caught.

He would, most likely start setting up fake identities posing as his own son, like vampires do in some movies. That would let him game the system by investing money and be rich after some generations.

In the end, he might end up loathing society enough to work towards WWIII because he recognizes that earth would be better off without mankind as it is.

Or he could build a home deep down on the ocean floor where nobody bothers him. He can't be killed by the pressure an he doesn't need air, after all.

Or he could apply to be one of the first astronauts to fly to mars and make it his home. With or without the other astronauts.

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Depending

I think i would be as lazy as now, i would not study all things in life just because i have time for that, also with every new born generation he would get more and more dumb, kids in school learn much more faster, and if there is something new they would learn it super quick and you would need to learn all the basics, then maybe you got it but maybe there is something new again and all people know about it, you need to learn it with your basic knowledge, it would be a hard time.

I think he would do things to enjoy life, how else would he pass time?
People around him die, he would need to find every generation new friends or live alone.

But i think he would do at least all the things he dreamed of as child or adult.

But this is all depending on the kind of person, imagine a business person he would use this to build a rich company and maybe the most worthy company. Imagine a scientists he would use this to learn everything about his favorite topic, and so on.

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