Could Extraordinarily Long-Lived Humans Conceal Themselves?

Suppose some genetic mutation resulted in a group of humans living to 400-500 years. Could such people conceal their gift of near-immortality? And, would ordinary humans be jealous of these people? Would someone living to such an age be extraordinarily wise?
I was thinking of Robert Heinlein’s “METHUSELAH’S CHILDREN”. It would be an interesting situation.

Not that I expect(ed) you to look (or even think of looking), but I had a similar thread on this in IMHO a few years back. There’s some interesting discussion there that might serve as answer, or at least as a jumping off point.

Did you see a movie from a couple years back titled “The Man from Earth”? Similar idea, with a very interesting explanation.

We’ve been doing pretty well for the past couple of centuries. But there’s always a rogue in the group. Tina Turner will be dealt with shortly.

You consider 400- to 500-year lifespans “Near Immortality”? Wow. Then even mere humans must look like the Unknowable Celestials to fruit flies.

I think it would depend on what happens as a result of their aging. Do they age in some way that doesn’t impact their vitality? Wrinkles, excessive scars, loss of pigmentation, extra hair growth, hair loss? I’ve seen people that look incredibly healthy but also look old.

However, I’d postulate that a very long lived person would be able to hide themselves due to a much greater level of knowledge than those younger. If you were as vital as a thirty year old at 120, you’d have a distinct advantage and probably would have developed some acting skills over the time. If a group of immortals chose to hide themselves, it’s likely that they’d have some sort of method of faking identities and such. Where you’d get caught is interfacing with the government in some way. One could hide themselves deep within a byzantine corporate hierarchy for those purposes. Kind of like a gangster, have people run your corps by proxy and let them know that you can end their reign if they ever go off the reservation and try to cut you out.

Not plural. There can be only one.

It’s likely that we do. I seriously doubt a fly can even begin to contemplate a human lifespan. It’s all relative.

Until the twentieth century, and well into it, you could simply move to somewhere no one knew you every 20-30 years.

I don’t think it’d be a problem at all- but you would have to live in one of the more disorganized developing countries and you’d have to keep moving. Most of the people I knew in Cameroon didn’t even know their birthdays or exact age. Birth certificates were routinely faked (usually to allow people to stay in high school past the age limit) and plenty of people never had any documentation at all.

Your best bet may be to adopt or otherwise acquire an infant the same gender and race as yourself, raise him or her through school and to adulthood, then kill them, take their identity, move to a new city and seek out another adoption agency.

Grim stuff, but compared to you, the kid’s got the lifespan of a housefly, anyway.

I was born about 10,000 years ago . . .

Some people lived extra long in Tom Robbins’ Jitterbug Perfume. They had to move from town to town when people got suspicious.

I don’t see any reason you’d even need a (legal) identity. Set up a trust fund which owns the house you live in, the car you drive, whatever. Correspond only through mail. Get them to send you a credit card for the trust’s bank account. Every 30 years or so, ask for a new card for your kid. If you want to move, you can just get them to buy a new house, in the trust’s name, and never own anything that requires records. Be a legal nonentity. The only issues I can think of are getting pulled over/arrested by the police, which could get sticky, but what are they going to do if you honest to god don’t have an identity? You might get some jail time for whatever they’re arresting you for, if convicted, but as far as I know it’s not illegal to not have a SSN or driver’s license.

Three things that would not be fun for 400-500 year life spans:

#1. Spending age 40-80 going through puberty.

#2. Spending age 350-400 going through menopause. (for the ladies)

#3. Possible erectile dysfunction starting at about age 300. (for the men) :frowning:

This is exactly the premise of Poul Anderson’s excellent book The Boat of A Million Years.

Short summary of his “answer”: Yes, up until the 20th century. Nowadays, in developed countries, maybe not so much.

Depends. If we were talking about a very short number of people, and for some reason all of them were intelligent enough not to spill the beans (you may think “who would do something that stupid?”, but then you probably can’t imagine who would go to the Jerry Springer show either.), maybe.

Problem is that, ulike characters in books or movies, we are surrounded with relationships. Wouldn’t you tell the truth to a lover, or a best friend? If enough people were Long-lived humans, word of mouth would eventually make the idea much more common.

No, they couldn’t, unless they lived in exclusion in the wild sans all contact with society.

I wonder if there aren’t sufficient number of long-lived people if they couldn’t start a cult compound somewhere isolated. In America there isn’t as much day-to-day scrutiny over wacky religionists, so you could spend years without anyone suspecting anything, and your refusal or slowness in dealing with official government identification could be passed off as against your religion. Since who knows who gets born and dies in those compounds, passing yourself off as your son or daughter might be easier.

Of course if your compound is raided, little scrutiny suddenly becomes massive countrywide media scrutiny.

Two thoughts:

  1. As mentioned in the linked thread, people would hesitate to believe a person can live this long.
    So if you’re ever found out via birth certificates or other official records, they’d just assume there was some error in the records, or fraud. And then they’d update the records to give you a sensible DOB.

  2. I wonder whether the human mind is equipped to live that long. Could we really store hundreds of years of memories? Could we stay sane? Would we become bored or unmotivated?

Note: It may sound like I’m one of those people who argue that immortality would suck therefore it’s great that we live as long as we do. I just want to be clear that in my view, our lives are incredibly short, and death sucks…