In this question I asked:

How long would it take until we realise that on the whole world people suddenly stopped dying by natural causes?

...and now I am curious about consequences.

There will be surely a lot of insecurity about future with the overloaded world. And also kind of opposite insecurity if this undying state will last forever.

Especially I am curious about steps governments would take and about possible religious movements, because I can imagine in this field it can have a strong impact.

For more info please visit original question.

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    $\begingroup$ I recommend a short story 2 B R 0 2 B by Kurt Vonnegut. $\endgroup$ – TGar Jan 3 '17 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ It depends a lot on the amount of care people will need, or the amount of suffering if the care stops. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Jan 3 '17 at 13:07
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    $\begingroup$ Would the people keep aging? I feel like it would suck to keep aging forever and never die. $\endgroup$ – Faulkner Jan 3 '17 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ Interesting factoid. In most advanced economies these days, if you remove death by natural causes (aging, disease etc.) then life expectancy becomes about 1,000 years. $\endgroup$ – Kaz Jan 3 '17 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ The reason aging could stop at an arbitrary point could be as simple as that being the point of maturity. Simply not deteriorating due to age would suffice for the immortality thing without locking children into eternal childhood. $\endgroup$ – The Nate Jan 3 '17 at 17:07

The first thing governments would start doing will likely be to institute laws that make it illegal to have children without a government license, and make those licenses very hard to get. This in order to prevent population growth from going out of control. Of course in reality (see China's 1 child policy) it will not be perfect by far, and populations will still rise, both from people breaking the law and governments handing out more licenses than needed to balance out people getting killed anyway (say from serious accidents, it's unlikely people would become immortal to the extend that they'd survive beheading or getting burned in a lake of lava).

Another measure governments might take is prescribing forced sterilisation of the entire fertile population, with those deemed "valuable to society" getting to donate sperm or ovas for in vitro fertilisation at the government's discretion. Combine this with mandatory euthenasia for people over a set age (which would likely be the age at which people stop being tax paying workers, so retirement age), and you have a system where now the government has perfect control over who lives and dies, who gets born and who doesn't.

Government and religion both will have the same goal: getting people to willingly submit to this new and brutal regime. People being forced to let themselves be killed at an early age when they're still healthy need some other motivation than "if you don't let us kill you we're going to kill you anyway", so it will be presented as a religious duty to "make room for a new generation" or however it's worded.

Welcome to a Brave New World, where The Fifty makes sure only young and healthy people exist who do not leech the precious resources of your labour...

  • $\begingroup$ Very cool, scary, dark and pessimistic, +1, but I don't think it is realistic. So strict government role is not a popular step and I am afraid many would protest. $\endgroup$ – TGar Jan 3 '17 at 12:53
  • $\begingroup$ @TGar initially, but in many countries already there's no way for the population to effectively protest, even in theoretically free countries like those of the EU. And in countries where they could protest successfully and overthrow the government, like the US, those with the means are often so paranoid and incapable of cooperating they're easily singled out and destroyed. $\endgroup$ – jwenting Jan 3 '17 at 12:55

Magic has happened

We will notice this very quickly because those that are in charge with terminating accounts of all sorts will notice a sharp drop in work. Within less than 48 hours you can expect the news to break world wide.

This will cause immense upset (in the sense "commotion" and "attention"), because a verifiable magic event has happened for the first time in recorded history. And not just that a magician has for the first time pulled a rabbit out of an actually empty hat, but the entire planet has been subjected to this.

It is safe to say that pretty much everyone's attention will be aimed at this, trying to find answers to the obvious questions: Why has this happened? What, or who, has caused this? How long will the effects last?

Next comes the excitement and dread. Excitement that you may live on this Earth forever. Dread, for the exact same reason. Wait... what?! I am stuck on this...

enter image description here

Pale Blue Dot... a view of the Earth from the orbit of Pluto.

...like, forever? No Heaven? No rest? No shedding of this mortal flesh and ascending to the bliss of the afterlife?!

This is where the religions will be the most affected. Because not only does a lot of piety stem from our fear of dying, but also from our wariness of living on this amazing but also very small and sometimes quite dreary, dangerous and inhospitable ball of mud.

This subject alone can fill entire tomes of fiction because pretty much all religions are based on the assumption that a human life begins and then ends. The possible outcomes here are extremely broad and there is no way to tell what happens other than that there will be upheavals, where all religious institutions are standing gaping and desperately trying to make sense of the situation since people will be swarming them for answers... answers they do not have.

As for politics the same thing applies: this is a much too broad question to tell for sure. But the worry about over-crowding will most likely not be the first thing on people's minds. Instead you can expect there will be much resources spent on the questions I mentioned before: why, who, what, and for how long?

Next there will be much effort on trying to find out the actual consequences; the nitty-gritty details such as: have we only stopped dying, or have we also stopped aging? This will affect the upcoming actions a lot and before I go on to answer this question any further you need to set some parameters here or the answer will be too broad because there are too many possible outcomes.

So to summarize: this will be noticed quickly. There will be lots of attention directed at this magic event. People will be searching for answers about why this has happened, how long it will go on, and trying to find out the details of this. Religions will be left just as confused as the rest of us, and even more so when people demand answers from religion as well... answers they do not have. Politics is very hard to predict, apart from that we can expect government efforts to try to go to the bottom of this and help looking for answers.

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    $\begingroup$ You're only immortal to death by natural causes not to being hit by a bus. In the long run, the chance of accidental death goes up considerably. On the scale of a few million years your chances of being killed by an asteroid become non-trivial. And on the scale of billions of years you have to worry about your star engulfing your planet or going out. People will certainly live a few hundred or a few thousand years, but living even 10,000 years will still be very difficult. $\endgroup$ – Shufflepants Jan 3 '17 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ If I remember correctly, the average lifespan would be around 5000 years from external causes alone. Though if the magic doesn't stop aging, accidents and suicides would probably rise up after 150 years. $\endgroup$ – PatJ Jan 12 '17 at 15:02

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