233 SOME PROBLEMS WITH IMMORTALISM Ben Best In the Land of Oden / There Stands a Mountain / A Thousand Miles in the Air. / Once every Million Years / A Little Bird comes Winging / To Sharpen its Beak on that Mountain. / And when that Mountain / Is just a Valley / This to Eternity shall be... / One Single Day. I heard this English translation of an Austrian folksong during my second year of university, and it still strikes a deep emo- tional resonance within me. I have craved to live for eons since I was a small child, and evocations of the expanses of time draw me with a hypnotic power. Long before I heard of cry- onics I had a rich fantasy life and I would imagine myself hap- pily surviving alone after the rest of Mankind had passed from the scene and the planet Earth had been turned to volcanoes and fire. But, although I place no limits upon how long I want to live, I believe that there are good reasons for believing that immortalism is an unrealistic goal – and even a self-defeating goal. ‘Forever’ is not just a long time; it is eternity and there- fore beyond realistic conception. There are mathematical models that can be used to calculate valuations in infinite time: I would rather be given $1 today than $1 in one year’s time. Similarly, the value of being alive