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  1. Thought provoking I grant you, though not sure I get the argument entirely. Your scenario offers no clue to how such a society came about. In the short term, a big brother society being life’s timekeeper has already, in a sense, happened in Nazi Concentration Camps, though I know the analogy is not 100%. How they met their end is a matter of historical record. That is the only way it could work IMO. It’s just not a vote winner for governments or even despots to put such a thing to their people as a universal pre-requisite: You lose office in the former, and get a grenade shoved unexpectedly down your pants in the latter.

    In any society, even totalitarian regimes there have to be winners and losers; someone would have to gain, surely for a society (though not one we would recognise) to continue. How such a world wide consensus might be reached I couldn’t even begin to surmise; though I guess it’s an attractive plot line for near future sci-fi writers.

    On the other hand, we all know pretty much when we’re going to die. Statisticians, Insurance Company bean counters et al can pretty much tell you within a few years or so, once you’ve answered a few lifestyle questions. What seems to be vexing you is whether, if such a thing could be known, what would be the subsequent reaction of any individual voluntarily wanting to know the time of their demise down to the very last second? I doubt such knowledge, even if available, would be taken up on any great scale. So once revealed, would it have an impact on society at large? In this case I would think society would carry on much as before. To quote a football adage, ‘no player is bigger than the club’.

    But if, and only if….Anarky rulz OK!!

    1. Thanks for the reply!

      I hadn’t really thought through how a society would be able to understand to within one year how long somebody had to live, though as you infer, it’s likely to happen as scientific advancement progresses.

      If knowledge that this ability got out, there might be a great deal of social pressure for people to understand how long they have, it would begin to raise the questions in people that this post raised in me as I thought about it. Perhaps the power structures (overt or covert depending on how much conspiracy you can take) might want to understand who and who shouldn’t be given great office, and beyond that, might see the economic ramifications of discriminating on ‘End Day’ purity rather than racial purity, as you imply with the Nazis.

      I disagree it wouldn’t make much difference, particularly where the End Day wasn’t far off. To know that my son has ten, even twenty five years to live would fundamentally alter my relationship with him, and unless I kept it from him, though my behaviour would surely manifest in some way that would cause him concern, the things I say, the way I am around him, would also alter the way he felt about his own life and what he could and should try to achieve. While there’s any doubt, we cling onto the hope that we’ll have ‘a good innings’, we effectively behave as if we’re immortal. As you say, we probably have a very good idea even now, but not good enough to tip the balance. Nevertheless, it feels like it’s worth asking ourselves what our priorities are, as we would were we in possession of the End Day.
      Cheers, Adrian

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