A Transhumanist Wants to Teach Kids That “Death Is Wrong”

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Science Fiction League (March 1958) … The Real You (July 6, 2011 / 4 Tammuz 5771) … (Photo credit: marsmet541) (CC)

What do  you think disinfonaughts. Is death wrong, and should we teach the children that it is?

via Motherboard

Gennady Stolyarov is afraid to die, and not afraid to say so. He also strongly believes that human beings don’t have to die, or at least, will live much, much longer in the future. A writer and transhumanist activist, Stolyarov sees death as something that can be “solved” by technology and science, and one day it will possible to extend life indefinitely. To that end, he’s trying to buck the cultural perception that mortality is inevitable, and he’s starting with kids.

Stolyarov published the children’s book Death Is Wrong in November, and Zoltan Istvan, author of The Transhumanist Wager, unearthed the story in a post on Psychology Today. Now Stolyarov is promoting the book with an Indiegogo campaign, trying to crowdfund $5,000 to print and distribute 1,000 copies of the book and get the anti-death word out. (Hat tip to “The mainstream of society remains pervaded by the old death-acceptance arguments,” the campaign page explains. To get rid of these “pro-death prejudices,” the book gives an overview of the major reasons that life extension is feasible and desirable. It makes the case for immortality—for ages eight and up.

The life-extension movement is one faction of the transhumanism creed—the idea that we can transcend the limitations of being a human being by embracing technological progress. Both radical ideas are certainly gaining traction, thanks in no small part to Google’s Calico moonshot project announced last fall, an initiative to study and defeat aging, and eventually even mortality itself.

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  • Andrew

    Without death there would be no sex.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Science can’t really understand sex. And what is not understandable is useless…… right?

      • Andrew

        Seems to me science understands sex pretty well.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          I don’t know. I’m sure it knows the rules of the game and how to keep score. But the subtle tactics of the players are a little more difficult to define.

          • Thurlow Weed

            The rules are simple:

            1) If you’re hot, you get laid a lot
            2) Not hot, you become a researcher

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            You’re speaking of the quest for the game less interesting than the game itself.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      I’ve told a few of them that, too.

    • Damien Quinn

      Um……that’s illegal!

      • Andrew

        Nice to know my wording was oblique enough to enable so many fine misinterpretations!

        • wicky woo

          What Andrew means is that death is the reason why we have sex so that we can replenish our numbers. See when we grow old and die, our children and grand children then also have sex so they can have grand children and children of their own. Thus carrying on the human race….

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Why not? Even negligibly senescent organisms still have sex.

      • Andrew

        Because we’d run out of space. Sex exists, biologically, to make new organisms to replace dead ones. I believe the fading away of older generations and the rise of new ones helps not just the human race but human society to evolve.

        I have no problem with lengthening life spans as long as contraceptive methods are also improved, but someone better terraform a few new planets before we achieve immortality.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    Death is a part of life. This kind of transhumanism is either trying to keep things alive, making them decay at unforseen levels, or are dealing with things that were never alive in the first place.

    We already have plenty of cyborgs trying to avoid death. Why not try cyborgs that improve life? Personally and externally.

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      “Death is bad” is an age-old marketing ploy that religion has used.

      So, I have to wonder, what is this guy’s actual business. What’s he actually selling or intending to sell?

      He’s got the book and an Indiegogo campaign to help distribute the book.

      But, just books? Does he have a website with a subscription model? Maybe a line of custom branded “Longevity Vitamins”, or better yet, “NanoVitamins”.

      Maybe the lecture circuit?

      You know what, keep a sharp eye out for my new philosophy, book, and product line called:

      “Sunset is Wrong”.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Yes, death is a part of life. Your point being? Disease, rape, murder, natural disasters, and war are parts of life, too.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        The difference being: death is a necessity, while the others are unfortunate curcumstances. (although I think a case, that I won’t make here, could be made in favor for disease, war, and even possibly murder)

        • Jacob Stephen Cook

          Death, or at least senescence, will not be a necessity once antiaging therapies are available. Disease, war, murder, and senescence are all incompatible with the Promethean force behind civilization.

          • Andrew

            There’s as much Epimethean force behind civilization.

  • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

    The irony of wasting one’s life trying to figure out how not to die.

    • Damien Quinn

      That’s not irony. Irony is dying of a shock induced heart attack upon figuring out how you might live forever. Your statement is just a badly thought out statement which sounds vaguely profound. All human effort is wasted by your logic.

      • mannyfurious

        His comment is ironic, as is yours.

      • Elijah David Henderson

        Then what’s satire?

    • Ryan Williamson

      You’re right. It is ironic that we humans strive so hard to survive…just to be discarded like garbage. However, I’m quite glad that our ancestors did struggle to survive. If they had simply gave up, you and I would not exist today. It’s too late for them, but what of you and I? Should we just give up? I mean, it is much easier to just accept death, right?

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Accept death for what it is, yes. Give up? No. Denial and delusion isn’t healthy but neither is pure fatalism. The individual dies, but there is much left behind, and knowing what to leave and how is a much more realistic kind of immortality than anything people dream up.

        • Ryan Williamson

          I appreciate your quick response. I would like to know how you define death. There is “legal” and “permanent” death. Which one do you mean?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            That’s an interesting question. I get that there’s fuzzy wiggle room when you start delimiting it with jargon like that, but I was more thinking of the colloquial definition of death. I’m leaning towards permanent death but I don’t like to split hairs.

          • Ryan Williamson

            Thank you. I have one other question for you. Do you agree that medicine – especially lifesaving medicine – has benefited mankind?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Of course I do, but with the caveat that some solutions seem to be wrongheaded and cause more harm than good.
            (I expect you’re walking me into an “AhA!” moment and i’m curious where this is going :-P )

          • Ryan Williamson

            I don’t think you and I completely disagree.

            You acknowledged the difference between legal death — which is basically the doctor proclaiming, “There is nothing more I can do for this patient. Modern medicine is simply too primitive to save him.” — and actual death. My complaint is with the former. It is truly unfortunate that people are sent to their grave because we lack the ability to save them.

            We both agree that medicine is a good thing — especially when it can save people. I share your concern about caution; however, I also have faith in the potential of future medicine to save lives.

            I believe “immortality” is an outdated term. I prefer to use “indefinite life extension” instead. I would disagree with the person that claimed, “We shall achieve immortality in thirty years.” A statement such as that would be both impractical and ridiculous. However, I would agree and even support the person who claimed, “The promotion of regenerative medicine and good health could lead to an extended life for an indefinite period of time.”

            In conclusion, indefinite life extension is concerned with preventing “legal” death and promoting good health. An extended and potentially “indefinite” lifespan is simply a consequence.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Yeah i pretty much agree. As long as it is living healthy and well etc. thats fine. The things I have a problem with are the two common tropes in transhumanism: immortality, and the idea of “transferring” the mind into something wholly synthetic. Both, I see as fanciful pipedreams that even if successful have significant philisophical aspects that must be confronted.

            On immortality though, Once i see someone live to 200, then maybe i’ll think about someone living to 500. And if someone (after i’m undoubtedly gone) lives to 500, then maybe people can start talking of immortality; it becomes moot because to those not blessed with this long age will be almost logical thinking these 500-aged people are immortal much the same as most dogs can consider their masters immortal due differences in lifespan. I agree with the sentiment that its a sick joke to play on kids before these things have happened though.

          • Colby

            We’re already immortal, silly geese! Very interesting little back and forth, thanks d00dz. You two should do mushrooms together and then call me when you’re both laughing at the idea that we haven’t already discovered immortality and then got bored so the one singular being that we all are decided to play the ‘human’ dimension on the existential xbox by splitting its everythingness into faux realities for our own amusement in perpetuity.

            Or maybe medicine is real and we just have no choice but to keep believing in the reality of our current view of it. Doesn’t explain why so many different people have ingested arsenic, cyanide, LSD, etc. etc. – with zero effect. Don’t care about your explanations of coincidence or ‘exceptions’ to the ‘laws’ of our ‘universe.’ It’s all just manmade constructs to explain away the amnesia we all refuse to admit having. WE TOTALLY KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON, LET’S FIGURE IT OUT.

            There’s no formula to anything in this level of the idea of existence. There are only differences in individual understanding of the true nature of our non-reality. Everything else is us getting bored in the simulation and trying to explain it away by ‘curing diseases’ or ‘reaching the technological singularity.’ I personally think the ultimate discovery will be that there are no rules whatsoever to the reality, because it is fake and created with our SINGLE, conscious, amorphous, non-existent-yet-paradoxically-existent being. Because what the fuck else do you do with yourself if you’re all that is(n’t)?

            DID ANY OF THAT EVEN MAKE SENSE OR SHOULD I FIND HELP? I hope whoever actually read that doesn’t feel like they’ve wasted their precious time minutes.

      • Andrew

        Mannyfurious’ father passed on his genes and later allowed himself to die.

  • emperorreagan

    Sauron convinced the last king of Numenor to attack the Valar and we all see how that turned out!

  • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

    I have a feeling that if lived well, 1 human lifespan is about the right amount of time.

    • Damien Quinn

      You, sir, have little imagination.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        I think its less a lack of imagination, than a possession of judgement.

    • Calypso_1

      Perhaps in human form.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Well many non-human forms have quite a different relation to death.

    • Thurlow Weed

      And, some people can talk to god, at least so they say.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Human lifespan varies by individual, gender, socioeconomic status, time, and place. ‘One human lifespan’ could be twenty, fifty, seventy, one hundred, one hundred twenty, or, in the future, one hundred fifty, two hundred, or one thousand years.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Once (if) someone lives healthy to 100, they redefine what it is to be human. Undoubtedly there will still be people living the current human lifespan, and won’t be able to relate to the long-lived in the same way. In essence this would be the beginning of something other than human.

        • Jacob Stephen Cook

          People already live in relative health to 100. In fact, people who live to 100 are usually healthier in old age than those who live to 80 or so. Jeanne Calment was fencing at 85, cycling until her 100th birthday, walking until 114 and eleven months, and still mentally alert at 120. The human experience is not static, having continually evolved since the Neolithic Revolution.

  • Guest

    Most people are so afraid of death that they spend their entire lives living in fear, but only when I myself was confronted with the death of relative, did I have the chance to see how much false fear and how ignorant we are of Death.

    I wrote this piece and poem just a few days ago, fitting here.

    The
    worst concept ever grabbing mainstream fame is YOLO. You only live once,
    this is the very epitome of materialistic thinking. It is the
    philosophy of death and it is ruled by death. Those who seek this way of
    thinking are so far flung from any spirituality that they see this life
    as a punishment and minor reward. It is the one and only and hence it
    is to be lived in excess and fun without a shred
    of thinking going on. As death is the ultimate void to them any growth
    is seen as waste of time for at the end awaits destruction and entropy.

    “He wore on his flesh 13 a Number of Death as Bringer of Good Luck.
    The Spade was the Sword of Rebirth with which he will cut his own soul unstuck,
    it’s edge is the intellect and wisdom combined,
    it’s bite was not for cutting flesh but slicing many a lie
    his right hand wore infinity and his inner minds’ eye.
    He yelled to the horizon which marked the end of his life,
    And spoke out to Death that he’ll not be his minion and slave nor his whoring wife,
    for he his but only the Guardian to the Doorway of Life..
    So walk away from the cult of Death, are you all but only finite dreams?
    Or will you be the phoenix of rebirth and the master of it’s infinite themes?”

    • SoruhFrake

      I accidentally hit delete on this one when I first posted, instead it kept it as A guest post. Sorry about that.

  • SoruhFrake

    Our society fears death and lives in fear of death most their lives. I only realized how wrong we view death after experiencing my dad pass, how negatively we are taught to perceive death, the ignorance and refusal to look at the topic in a more positive manner than we do today.

    I wrote this piece with the poem a few days ago, fitting to this subject here.

    The
    worst concept ever grabbing mainstream fame is YOLO. You only live once,
    this is the very epitome of materialistic thinking. It is the
    philosophy of death and it is ruled by death. Those who seek this way of
    thinking are so far flung from any spirituality that they see this life
    as a punishment and minor reward. It is the one and only and hence it
    is to be lived in excess and fun without a shred
    of thinking going on. As death is the ultimate void to them any growth
    is seen as waste of time for at the end awaits destruction and entropy.

    “He wore on his flesh 13 a Number of Death as Bringer of Good Luck.
    The Spade was the Sword of Rebirth with which he will cut his own soul unstuck,
    it’s edge is the intellect and wisdom combined,
    it’s bite was not for cutting flesh but slicing many a lie
    his right hand wore infinity and his inner minds’ eye.
    He yelled to the horizon which marked the end of his life,
    And spoke out to Death that he’ll not be his minion and slave nor his whoring wife,
    for he his but only the Guardian to the Doorway of Life..
    So walk away from the cult of Death, are you all but only finite dreams?
    Or will you be the phoenix of rebirth and the master of it’s infinite themes?”

    • Gjallarbru

      I like your poem, thanks for sharing.

  • Dr. Benway

    The denial of death drives human beings to do terrible things and suffer all kinds of injustices. Better to just help kids come to terms with their mortality in a healthy and positive way i.e. no heaven/hell/endless-void bullshit

    • http://www.ContraControl.com/ Zenc

      Where’s the money in that?

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      I don’t understand; what follows death if not Heaven, Hell, nor oblivion?

      • Rhoid Rager

        exactly

  • Jason Limbert

    Not “wrong” just, to be avoided.

  • Gjallarbru

    Well, keep me off that list, I want to get “off” this ride at some point. You know, the ride that Bill Hicks was talking about? That ride was not meant to be eternal.

    To me, it’s not about dying or not, but dying well when the time comes. And yes an eternity of this world is torturous thought. Even if I’m wrong, and there is nothing else, please leave my ticket for the void.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      When what time comes? If you develop cancer, will you not undergo treatment? Do you not attempt to avoid diseases and injuries?

      • Gjallarbru

        First, most disease and injuries do not kill you, they just make your life shitty. This makes it so that death relieves you of those. Injuries do not particularly concern me. I never even once got anything more than injuries to my skin, that is even the two time I got hit by cars. I am lucky in having a skeleton which take a big load of punishment with little consequence. Hell, even a pipewrench to the head did nothing more than make me dizzy. You will have guessed that what effort I put in avoiding disease or injuries has more to do with my comfort than avoiding death itself.

        Second, depending on the cancer, I might choose an expedited exit over treatment. I see no benefit in enduring a long and annoying death. And faced with imminent death (as in real soon), I would like to choose the manner of my exit.

        Make no mistake, I do not seek death. Yet, I am not attached to life either. I am a pragmatist, and if life has reduced my body to a sickly impotence, you can rest assured I will not persue that avenue. As for an eternity of whatever this world is, no thanks.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Death will be inevitable until it no longer is. Assuming that it will be overcome in the future and teaching children that it will be is a cruel joke.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Children today will live longer than any prior generation, and possibly long enough that their lifespans could be extended indefinitely. Consider that millions of children alive today will still be alive in the 22nd century. With a century of rapid medical advancement, they could ultimately live for centuries or even millennia. That’s a real possibility, not a cruel joke.

      • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

        Methinks you missed the punchline.

  • Thurlow Weed

    Accepting death is easy. Finding a reason to live is hard. Other people attempting to find a reason to live cause most of my problems.

    • Ellen Joyce

      So true.

    • echar

      Have you chosen to be a victim of these “people attempting to find a reason to live?”

      • Thurlow Weed

        No.

        • echar

          Yet you blame them as a cause to your problems?

          • Thurlow Weed

            Correct.

  • Jason Limbert

    Well, if and when they ever are able to turn off the aging mechanism, lets see which one of these critics posting here will have the balls to pull their own plug!

    • Andrew

      You actually think immortality will be affordable to anyone but the rich?

      • Jason Limbert

        What part of my comment said anything to do with price? Your point has absolutely nothing to do with my comment, or the discussion at large.

        Anyhow, in case you didnt notice, whatever the device is your belting out these words on was also only available to the rich 30 years ago. So was electric light, stereos, fans ovens, train tickets, automobiles, flat screen TV’s, refrigeration, plane tickets, microwaves, dental, basic medecine, doctors visits, three meals a day. I could go on and on and on. All new technology is exphensive, no one is disputing that.

        • Andrew

          Yes, my comment has everything to do with your comment. Few if any of the critics posting here will be able to afford the option of living forever or pulling their own plug. So your tu quoque argument in most cases won’t even apply.

          • Jason Limbert

            None of the arguments I read based their criticisms on costs or any other logistical reasons. For the most part, they objected purely based on ideological grounds. They dont want to live forever they have convinced themselves. Fair enough, but feel it is just self deception thats all. No healthy person wants to die. Centenarians (those 100years or older), when interviewed, all want to remain living. Thats the real truth.

            Not being able to afford it, being hit by a car and killed, or drowning in the bottom of a well are trivialities that were never part of this thread until you brought them up. No one even disputes them either, its just hot air.

          • Andrew

            I didn’t bring up being hit by a car or drowning in a pool and you know it. My point is that your charge that the critics won’t “have the balls” to choose death is irrelevant.

          • Jason Limbert

            I was only giving other examples, thats all.

            I simply believe that most of the criticisms I read were ideologically flawed and self deceptive. They “dont believe” in living forever, they say, even if it were possible. They have rationalized death and, some more successfully than others, found various ways of coping with it. Fair enough, but coping with death and wanting life to be finite are two very different things indeed. In fact, “coping” with it only solidifies my view that they in fact ARE afraid of death, hence the need to cope. Transhumanists simply acknowledge this innate fear and imagine a possible solution.
            If they critics claim that they think life “should” come to an end, and that that is the only thing that makes it worth living, etc, etc, etc, than I am simply calling their bluff. I am supposing for a minute that it were possible to be indefinitely healthy, than how many of those naysayers would actually follow with their staunch convictions.

            I say not many of them.

          • Jin The Ninja

            the culture we inhabit has a very dysfunctional relationship with death and dying. the discourse of death and in this case ‘transhumanist life in perpetuity’ necessarily inhabits and represents that culture. i also know personally several non-white, non western centenarians who readily accept death, do not wish to live forever or even be young again. see how anecdotes work? if we look outside of the western mainstream judeo-christian sphere, we see a reverence, a celebration of death. and the view that death is required for a community to thrive and continue. most cultures even those within the western sphere have delineated periods of mourning- and rituals that represent the passage of life. these are requisite mechanisms for any culture. death is part of cyclical biological cycle that even at its most basal scientific level, culminates in ecological stability.

            transhumanism is the masturbatory fantasy of a small but noisy online community who seek to further divorce humanity from its natural origins- thus perpetuating the economic and social fantasies of the most rabid capitalists.
            its relationship to authoritarian, hierarchical, fascist ideologies and to extractive/consumerist technologies leave very little interpretative room.
            so while the rich are ‘early adopters’ of non-death, the rest of us can be be happy to note that if and when the technology becomes accessible to the masses- we can live forever serving our ‘newfound’ masters. maybe they can invent a brain mod that makes us more servile too.

          • mannyfurious

            Jesus Christ. I believe, in the parlance of our times, that this kind of post is referred to as a “burn.” You managed a rather convincing takedown of an entire “movement” in two paragraphs.

          • Jason Limbert

            Ideological rhetoric isn’t capable of taking anything down, it just dresses itself up that way.

          • Jin The Ninja

            isn’t the point of discourse, or rhetoric rather, to attempt to reach some sort of paradigm-defining conclusion or at the very least as an entree to new forms of thought?

            if it is not, your reply is rather ironic. this entire discussion has been ideologically divided between two camps. transhumanists and humanists.

          • Jason Limbert

            What is new or paradigm-defining about the age old deterministic cult of death acceptance? I dont mean that with any disrespect either.

            Transhumanism, being an extension of the term, humanism, I think what you meant to say was “anti-transhumanists”

            What I mean personally, is that ideology is a dangerous substitute for real objective discourse. You seem quite peaceful and safe. What if you weren’t? We both know how this thinking manifests itself in religious zealousness. Then, people who “worshipped and embraced death” wouldn’t be so safe to have around. Just look at what beliefs in the afterlife motivate people to do that jeopardize your and my safety and prosperity.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Are you a fan of Slajov Zizek?

          • Jason Limbert

            Not particularly. To be honest, Id never heard of him before. Not sure I like his “death is wrong” motto. Sounds a little zealous to me. Death is just something that happens, its morally neutral. Other than that, I have no quarrel.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Well he’s unrelated to this discussion Slajov is a philosopher that talks a lot about the evils of ideology.

          • Jason Limbert

            My mistake. But yeah, in and of itself, its passionate belief thats completely detached from reality.

          • Jacob Stephen Cook

            Choosing to not alleviate the suffering caused by senescence when the possibility of alleviation exists is not morally neutral, however.

          • Jason Limbert

            Couldnt agree more. I only disagree with the authors quasi religious zeal and how he imposes his personal moral framework over an otherwise purely natural phenomena. Its like saying, ‘volcanic eruptions are wrong’ its ludicrous. They are in my view, much like “natural” death; best to avoid where possible.

          • Jin The Ninja

            “What is new or paradigm-defining about the age old deterministic cult of death acceptance?”
            oh i don’t know. is to be born and to die not ‘paradigm defining?’

            you don’t have to ‘accept’ death. by all means- fight the good fight.

            daoists have a 5,000 year tradition of attempting to learn the secrets of internal alchemy- to overcome death and gain supernatural power, and transcendence.

            the difference is, the requirements are self-cultivation, not going to the apple store for a tune up. it actually is a process. not a ‘quick fix’ with a ‘fist full of money.’

            trans-humanism, as far as i have ever read is not related to any intellectual tradition of humanism ever extant in known history. humanism is the embrace of humanity, not the desire to discard through biotechnology. i meant what i wrote.

            i am an ideologue, but i’m also a human being. i can reconcile what it means to be alive and what it means to be human with my ‘isms,’ can you?

          • Jason Limbert

            As I said earlier, many spiritual traditions have very admirable and impressive coping mechanisms and avenues for personal growth, transcendance, etc. for reasons unknown to me, you created this arbitrary devide between the two groups. The ONLY truly unique thing about transhumanist thought is that for the first time in human history, humankind is approaching a time when we will have considerable influence on the biological processes that we have been otherwise powerless to change.

            You create this artificial ideological barrier between technology and spirituality. If you insist on imposing that on youself, you are welcome to, but there is nothing in transhumanist though that requires a person to avoid or ignore any and all other forms of personal development. In fact, it is just another branch of it if you will, for those who are willing and/or able.

            There is also nothing in eastern thought that would necessarily exclude transhumanism as well. Eastern thought has often been very successful at incorporating and integrating modern concepts and ideas. I think you are just unconsciously injecting your own personal biases onto various spiritual traditions.

            You have a disdain it seems, of science and technology in some way or another. This constant association between the movement and big corporations is a little extreme. I presume you would accept a state of the art operation if it meant saving your life. The idea that the medical industry exists solely to maintain the business of fancy medical equipment, or as some sort of “quick fix”, some cheap kind of “shortcut”, to, you know, “real” transcendance, is a very one dimensional view to say the least.

          • Jason Limbert

            I am curious now. I have heard the Dalai Lama speak before on the subject of reconciling science with ancient world views. I have never heard him speak on transhumanism itself specifically, but based on everything I have heard, there would be absolutely no fundamental incompatability in integrating those ideas. I suggest you inquire into this. Im sure you will be unpleasantly surprised.

          • Jin The Ninja

            you need to inquire into any basic treatise on buddhist thought. transhumanism is thoroughly incompatible with buddhism’s cosmological goals at the fundamental level. buddhism concerns itself with cycles. cycles of death and birth and rebirth. suffering, IMPERMANENCE and karma. an indefinite life is totally contrary to dharma. the I in ‘immortality’ is contrary to buddhist phenomenology. if you cannot divorce yourself from yourself- you will never realise anatta. before you cite the dalai lama, whom may i add, lectures to largely non buddhist, western audience (they have all the money to buy books you see), please be aware that i’ve been a practicing buddhist for 15 years, and mere mention of the dalai lama does not in fact send me into intellectual coma, wherein i cannot think critically around certain issues. of course he doesn’t speak on transhumanism, just as he doesn’t speak for all buddhists. it seems like you are the one positing false parallels and making illogical connections to unrelated things.

          • Jason Limbert

            It would be foolish to deliberately imply to know more about him that I do, or to imply that his views on the subject have any real weight anyway. I dont believe I implied that. In fact, I am still unsure of weather or not I even take him seriously for that matter. His astonishing (apparent) lack of pretentiousness, his characteristic giggle, together, I perceived as a sobering display of humanity. His books and talks on science I found refreshing coming from a spiritual leader. A religious worldview that cannot adapt itself to an increasing body of empirical knowledge, and the implications of that knowledge, is a dead worldview in my mind. I simply feel that the Dalai Lama understands this, and I think that is a good thing. Buddhism’s cosmological goals, or conceptions of the cyclical nature of existence, as well as that of all the other religious traditions for that matter, evolved in a world where death was imminent and unavoidable. They are products of their environments and must be taken in context. Their incompatibility with transhumanism is largely irrelevant. A hypothesized world in which organic death could be indefinitely sustained, or one in which their “consciousness” could be preserved somehow genetically or technologically would render these world views somewhat impotent given their incompatibility with the said reality. As we speak, people walk the Earth with new organs grown with their own DNA. There are various implants with which the performance is skyrocketing and in some cases, already performing better than the biological originals. These are existential truths that ancient world views did not have to graft into their DNA. With no disrespect, concepts such as karmic cycles are no more relevant in this hypothesized world as a belief in the ascension, or the fear of the abrahamic god is to agnostics such as myself. Belief systems dont get a free ride, they must change with the times too in order to be relevant.

          • Jason Limbert

            It would be foolish to deliberately imply to know more about him that I do, or to imply that his views on the subject have any real weight anyway. I dont believe I implied that. In fact, I am still unsure of weather or not I even take him seriously for that matter. His astonishing (apparent) lack of pretentiousness, his characteristic giggle, together, I perceived as a sobering display of humanity. His books and talks on science I found refreshing coming from a spiritual leader. A religious worldview that cannot adapt itself to an increasing body of empirical knowledge, and the implications of that knowledge, is a dead worldview in my mind. I simply feel that the Dalai Lama understands this, and I think that is a good thing. Buddhism’s cosmological goals, or conceptions of the cyclical nature of existence, as well as that of all the other religious traditions for that matter, evolved in a world where death was imminent and unavoidable. They are products of their environments and must be taken in context. Thus, their incompatibility with transhumanism, to this extant, is largely irrelevant. A hypothesized world in which organic death could be indefinitely sustained, or one in which their “consciousness” could be preserved somehow genetically or technologically would render these world views somewhat impotent given their incompatibility with the said reality. As we speak, people walk the Earth with new organs grown with their own DNA. There are various implants with which the performance is skyrocketing and in some cases, already performing better than the biological originals. These are existential truths that ancient world views did not have to graft into their DNA. With no disrespect, concepts such as karmic cycles are no more relevant in this hypothesized world as a belief in the ascension, or the fear of the abrahamic god is to agnostics such as myself. Belief systems dont get a free ride, they must change with the times too in order to be relevant.

          • mannyfurious

            If it’s all “empty space” why do we even bother being on the Disinfo message board?

            I assume you have a life, but if you don’t, you would be able to explore many of my older posts where I continually nag this “community” about the limitations of language. However, that doesn’t mean language is a completely useless tool. It is a tool that is often used for the wrong job, and it’s a tool that is often times not all that effective even when it’s matched up with the right job, but it’s really our most pragmatic method of communicate thoughts and ideas.

            Sure, Jin’s post wasn’t the result of a scientific experiment with lots of data and math and other objective evidence. But it was a pretty accurate description of the philosophy of the movement and its shortcomings. Now, if you want to debate that it wasn’t, that’s a different story.

          • Jason Limbert

            Well, I would actually agree with most of what you said, however; ideological rants that arent grounded in some kind of concrete reality do have their obvious shortcomings.

            For Ninja to boast about transhumanisms “dysfunctionality” is not unlike some preacher telling a pair of lesbians about the dysfunctionaliy of homosexual sex. It can be very a lot of things, but informative it is not. No education on the actual subject matter happens at all. All that is learned are the preachers personal biases.

            Thus, no one reading it is actually more informed on the subject. If all the reader wants is the emotional satisfaction of knowing someone else shares their sentiments, than Ninja and others have succeeded. If the reader is seeking out a more informed decision, than they have failed.

          • Jin The Ninja

            comparing ‘transhumanists’
            as a group to a denigrated minority is: intellectually bankrupt and dishonest
            at the highest level. a ‘transhumanist’ is an ideological category- a subculture (at best)- not a visible group. you are not in some weakened position of political and social determination. you’re basically a minor current of futurism, that reconciles itself as a political party- and thus- YES, you do have to defend yourself and your party line against critique. like all ideologues do. it’s a pretty abhorrent argument actually, and to be called a ‘preacher’ with a hate-on is so grossly offensive.

            writing a post re: ‘the problems inherent in transhumanism” that spanned 3 paragraphs- is not beating a blind and wheelchair bound 10 year old. grow up, and have enough intellectual wherewithal to weather some engaged discussion.

          • Jason Limbert

            It was never my intention to suggest the movement was some disempowered minority. Nor was it my intention to compare you to a bigoted preacher. I was merely demonstrating the inherent lack of information contained in purely ideological leanings. Nothing is actually learned about the subject itself, only insight into the ideologues personal biases, be they good or bad. In my view, all you did was make fun of the idea, albeit, eloquently.

            I expect that from Disinfos, Facebook community, but I turn to the site itself for more enlightened views. Most comments were rather disappointing and fell short. If it has become a political movement, thats news to me, but that just detracts from the main issue. It is really nothing more than the natural extension of modern regenerative medicine and related technologies. You may as well include all of the miracles of modern medicine we currently use as well. A heart transplant or any comparable life saving life extending procedures currently being used are just as much a product of transhumanist thought as any future yet to come around technologies. I dont know how you can separate the two. People generally dont want to die. Not if they are happy and healthy. And certainly not if they have the means to maintain that state. If health can be maintained indefinitely, where do you insert a cut off point? 90, 100, 150?

            In the past, ideologues such as yourself may have seen this cut off point much earlier as it was normal many years ago often due to the lack of proper diet, nutrition, life saving surgeries, medications, etc, for people to rapidly start the onset of old age much sooner than today, on average. Now people in their 80’s run marathons. With respect, I need to ask. Where is your ideal cutoff point? Any age you may give will, in the grand scheme of things will always seem completely arbitrary given the hypothetical potential of the discussion.

            Also, I noticed some alluding you made to this having something to do with maintaining corporate powers and such. Really? I know this is Disinfo and all, and I know that obviously certain powers will be maintained in certain technology sectors as a result, but come on. Thats taking conspiratorial thinking to its silliest extremes.

          • Jin The Ninja

            appreciate the love. i don’t know if what i wrote was fully realised or articulated, but i also would concur i made some pretty cogent points, and problematised some of the TH rhetoric.

            who am i kidding? i love an audience, and i love to be well-received;)

          • Jason Limbert

            To your very first point I would agree, but perhaps you never saw my later post that referred to the acceptance of and coping with death that every culture of the world has, in various ways done, some more successfully than others. This is simply a fact, and again, I would agree. However, accepting and coping with death does not require by extension that therefor, death is a good thing, or that we should want, desire, or celebrate it, necessarily. The fact that many cultures have evolved very effective spiritual traditions that are very good at coping with the inevitability of death only shows that they have evolved very effective spiritual traditions that are very good at coping with the inevitability of death. Great, if you cant beat it, join it. I can respect and appreciate a worldview without agreeing with it. I am not suggesting that people who “want” to eventually die, shouldn’t be able to, or anything close to that.
            A spiritual worldview that not only copes with, but in some cases can inverse the normally unpleasant anxieties that are only natural is a testament to the worldview for sure. The fact that these well tuned and finely honed traditions exist in the first place is in my view, a reinforcement of my earlier statement that I think living things actually DO think death sucks, hence the brilliant coping mechanisms devised all over the world. Its often what saves our life in an often perilous and unforgiving world. The fact that these traditions exist is not an argument for why breaking from them is inherently wrong, silly, fantastical, materialistic, or anything else. They only exist in light of the unpleasant facts that they have evolved over time to help people cope with.

            I don’t think you need to separate eastern and western world-views to make your point. If transhumanism is in your view, just a fantasy (currently it simply is), it is not motivated by anything different than what motivated the idea of “the assention”, or karmic cycles. These too are fantasies, albeit older ones. But I do not necessarily think that all fantasies are a bad thing. (Thats another discussion altogether) As you say, people need to cope, they need to accept inevitabilities in life. Again, accepting inevitabilities does not by extension demonstrate anything more than the ability to accept inevitabilities. What if they can be made non-inevitabilities? Then what?

            Based on some things you said about transhumanists in general, I would suggest you delve a little deeper. I myself have followed these currents for about 10-12 years now, seen public talks, discussions, etc, the characterization you give of megalomaniacal capatalist tyrant’s is, Im sorry to say, laughable, no less, false. The inclusion and incorporation of technology by society is obviously a prerequisite of this “species” of transhumanist thought for sure, but to try to blend this with some rhetoric about being separated from or “natural origins” is weak. Here, you use the term “natural” like the department of national security uses the term “terrorist” full of connotation and lacking any concrete defenition. Nature is not just waterfalls rainbows, and breast fed babies. This luddite idea that scientific ideas are somehow “unnatural”, or divorced from nature, is juvenile. In fact, science is the one discipline of man that is entirely bound by mother nature and he laws. It is the study of nature, and only nature, not just “pleasantries”. Outside of nature science has no jurisdiction. It doesn’t even exist. Its offspring, technology, is also 100% encapsulated by nature and her laws.

            You have pointed out the fantastic potential of spiritual paths that can overcome some of life’s most difficult situations. You have not demonstrated, other than just disagreeing with it, how transhumanist thought is inherently “dysfunctional” or “unhealthy”. Like nature, I assume you would connote your own ideas and attribute them tho those notions as well.

          • Jason Limbert

            One more thing just out of curiosity. Supposing the technology exists, is widespread and readily available. You are happy, healthy and enjoying life.
            When you gonna pull the plug?

          • Jin The Ninja

            nature is not technology, nor is it science.

            nature is the natural world, and we occasionally inhabit that world, more often than not we plunder it. science is one paradigm of understanding that world, a good paradigm, but hardly the only, and hardly the most realised.

            there is no ‘east vs west’ dichotomy. i often rally against such a division of intellectual spheres, would never endorse such an idea, and did not write anything suggesting as such. in fact i was actually referring to “ATR” or “ADR” “african traditional religions”/ “african diasporic religions” like candomble, voodoo, palo, lukumi etc.
            however it relates to a wide range of beliefs both western and non-western-
            and when i mentioned mourning, i was referring to irish and italian traditions.

            i am not a luddite, i am happy to embrace technology that is appropriate, ethical, and substantive. i read anarcho-primativists to understand them better (the better to argue with), not to join their ranks. don’t name call it’s not polite.

            i have a spiritual worldview that necessitates a working relationship with the earth. whether that is rainbows, waterfalls (i don’t live hawaii), death or birth. it’s not my fault if you aren’t aware of what that means semantically or spiritually.

          • Mr Grim

            Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jin, for your para beginning with “transhumanism is the masturbatory fantasy…”. That will, in all seriousness, be my go-to summary on this subject from here on in.

          • Jin The Ninja

            thank you;)

      • Jacob Stephen Cook

        Yes, I do, since I understand that technologies fall in price. For instance, sequencing a genome cost $100 million in 2001 but now costs $1,000.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          you have to understand the reasoning behind the falling in price though. Sequencing the genome the first time was expensive at first because they had to design the methods of doing so. It got cheaper because they were essentially selling the techniques and a data-analysis platform. Its similar, but not exactly the same as the pricing of software. Expensive development, cheaper when you mass produce the product.

          Life extension in its current incarnation as just an extension of medicine gets more expensive as the patient gets older. Life extension i would also suspect to work out in a utopia where theres no pollution, and high quality social interaction at every turn, where noone has bad habits like smoking and drinking. But stressors on the biological system are innumerable, and we live for quite a long time despite them already.

    • mannyfurious

      My old man let himself die instead of doing the simple–but he felt, undignified–act of seeing a doctor.

      Not everyone’s afraid of death.

      • Jason Limbert

        Nothing wrong with that. If I was bedridden and unhealthy with no end in site, thats what I’d do to, but thats not what this article was about at all was it!

  • mannyfurious

    Death is “natural” and therefore speaking to whether it is “right” or “wrong” is literally gibberish.

    Still, these transhumanists are delusional oafs. When science can figure out whether I should be eating eggs or not, then maybe I’ll start giving some credence to these kinds of conversations.

  • thisbliss

    And what had Elton John to say about all this? that’s right…its the circle….the circle of life

    • Mr Grim

      I prefer his notion of a candle in the wind.

  • Boring conversation anyway

    “Death is a mug’s game.”

  • Ellen Joyce

    Not all trans-humanists want to live forever, that’s for sure. Just sayin.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      True, but the loudest ones seem to. Also the biggest cheerleader Kurzweil does.

    • SoruhFrake

      Yeah but this sicko Staloyarov is a grown man afraid of death supposedly mature, trying to instill his own fear into another 1000 children for free and hopefully(if it goes as he plans) scaring the shit out of all others with a fragile mind into being scared of death……

      Bravo…whenever I was confronted with true knowledge it seems to have the opposite effect, rather than instill fear it seems to loosen fears grip. Selling a book that instills fear is in my eyes propaganda. The church and their stories of hell seem to have lost their punch, so lets keep the same propganda going under version 2.0 fear death not cause of hell, but fear death cause of death.

      • Jacob Stephen Cook

        He simply wants everyone to remain alive and healthy for as long as they wish.

  • Jin The Ninja

    hatred of death creates the MOST unhealthy and unproductive living of life. without beginning there is no end, all meaning of human existence would be forfeit under such a paradigm.

    also i laugh, heartily, at the phrase “transhumanist activist.” fascist android post *italics* post-modernists. lol.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Increasing lifespan does not forfeit all meaning.

      • Jin The Ninja

        artificial immortality does.

  • terrasodium

    when julian huxley coined the term “transhumanism ” to replace the WW II industrial era term ” eugenics”, he likely wasn’t considering that the 99 percenters of the population were going to be the benefitiaries of the technologies, popular imagination is the stock and trade of tax free research and development , wouldn’t it be awesome to have people like henry kissinger around forever.

  • BuzzCoastin

    if death is wrong
    then is life right?
    could it be
    that death is right
    and life is wrong?
    or maybe
    right is wrong
    and wrong is right?

    o my god
    save us from the immortal herd
    amen

    • Andrew

      The herd is an individual.
      And the individual is a herd.
      There are no exceptions.

      • BuzzCoastin

        au contraire mon frere

        • Andrew

          Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      If you think life is wrong, you’re free to die.

  • BuzzCoastin

    au contraire mon frere

  • Rhoid Rager

    This is a form of child abuse. It is as bad as scaring a child with a vision of hell so that they will act a certain way in life. In fact, it might even be worse than that, because it imbues their manipulable minds with grandiose ambitions that will certainly lead to great disappointment, perpetual dissatisfaction with their current life, cognitive dissonance everytime they reflect on the fact that something else must die for them to eat, constant anxiety throughout their life that they or others have not made enough efforts to ‘eradicate’ death, among a whole host of potential mental issues. This is a reprehensible project.

    • B.J. Murphy

      This is an abhorrent attempt at “critiquing” Gennady Stolyarov’s viewpoint of death. What do you say to past life-extension research and achievements? Those presiding in the first year of the 20th century, what do you believe they’d say that a hundred years from now their average lifespan will nearly double? I’m guessing a similar remark to yours – outright death apologism and denial.

      As Transhumanists, our goal isn’t “immortality,” but of each individual being empowered to the point where they, themselves, can make the decision of how long they wish to live, when they wish to die, etc. Not have it dictated by a biological clock or freak accident.

      It’s quite obvious you don’t desire living past age 100 – and that’s okay! That’s your choice. But then, that’s what we’re fighting for – for you to have an actual choice! If a person wishes to live to age 80, that is their choice; age 100, that is their choice; 500, their choice. Hell, if a person wishes to live like Methuselah, that would be their choice!

      Children shouldn’t be taught that death is okay. They should be taught that death is a cruel facet of life and that they have every right to neglect it for as long as possible. Children should be taught that they can live as long as they want so long they fight for it; that death isn’t some thing that naturally happens in a few decades, but is a disease that can be cured! We’re offering them a way to fight for life, and yet you wish to correlate those attempts with “scaring a child with a vision of hell”? You couldn’t be more wrong.

      • Rhoid Rager

        Not that I give any credence to the viability (pun intended) of that technology, but make a distinction between life-extension and immortality in your argument, please. If you are promoting the latter, then that’s foolishness. However, if you are promoting the former, then my argument about this being child abuse has merit. This is because death cannot be avoided, yet the plan is to give it an inherent normative value of ‘bad’ to impressionable minds. A similar project has been (is being) undertaken with sex, and it has not led to positive cultural results so far.

        Death is not cruel; however, the circumstances of death _can_ be cruel. Educational focus should be on ameliorating culture so as not to generate such cruel circumstances of death. The quality of life must be raised for all through education, before fanciful dreams of living 800 years can come to fruition. Stable use of technology is reliant on favourable (stable and less-conflictual) social conditions as much as it is on human ingenuity.

        • SoruhFrake

          First we need to learn not to fear Death and confront it openly before we try to turn our backs from it completely and cheat it.

          I agree with what you have said here especially your last paragraph!

        • Jacob Stephen Cook

          That today’s children will live longer than any previous generation is a fact, not a hope, and since millions of today’s children will be alive in the 22nd century, having benefited from a full century of medical advancement which may be quite rapid, achieving indefinite lifespan is a possibility worth considering along with interplanetary colonization. Gradually physically and mentally deteriorating is cruel. We must ameliorate both biology and culture. Radically extended healthspans will dramatically increase quality of life and productivity, and radically extended lifespans will be essential for deep space journeys.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            You do know that they hypothesize that the majority of my generation will be the first in maybe centuries to have actually a -shorter- lifespan than their parents right?

          • Rhoid Rager

            You obviously have not given much consideration to the social, technological, epidemiological and agricultural implications of the major energy crisis bearing down on your species at the moment.
            I hate to break this to you, but if you’ve ever plotted rising life spans, population numbers, technological advancements etc. on a graph against the extraction rate of oil, you’ll find that they overlap quite snugly. Your species has squandered millions of years of accumulated energy in less than 160 years, and the best you’ve been able to do up until the current peak phase of this energy drawdown is put unmanned probes on a couple planets and create enough weaponry to eradicate almost all life on this one. Not to mention your species bumbling attempts at creating a logistics system to supply food and energy to the ‘deserving’ minority reliant on the very energy resource you are about to see decline. Do you honestly think you are mature enough as a species to cooperate well enough in conditions of real scarcity during the decline of oil energy to continue to advance technologically? Human social skills have been put on the back burner in favour of short-term prosperity brought to you by oil. If it’s not the break down of your fragile just-in-time logistics system, it will be your pure incompetence with technology, such as Fukushima, that all but eradicates you.

          • Jacob Stephen Cook

            I readily admit our species (‘your species?’ Are you an alien?) has made many mistakes and faces many challenges, but we’ve survived and progressed for a hundred millennia, and I see no reason to stop trying to improve. Once neural interfaces are sophisticated enough to enable simulated reality, we’ll be able to consume far less energy.

      • SoruhFrake

        As if common people are going to be able to afford any of those hightech life extension practices. I can assure you the transhumanist agenda will be the future of capitalism and reliance on the state, I’m sure once we reach a certain point on that path you will be offered a choice of different versions of Upgrades etc which I’m sure will be all rather pricey. And if you happened to be someone unable to afford the higher models, I can already see the maintenance cost those people will have for running their new enhanced bodies/Body-parts.

        The elite of today who already don’t seem to die fast enough, look at the bloody queen, those buggers will be empowered, the ones responsible for our mess will profit. They too fear Death. As much of the world has begun to fear it. Sadly most people today do nothing with their life they spend 40-50 years slaving for someone doing barely any personal growth and then passing away old and sick having run in circles. Give a person like that 500 years to live and it wouldn’t change much either. Once we reach that state of technology and our elite actually gets to use it I doubt civilization would survive much longer than 50 years.

        • Jin The Ninja

          exactly.
          the costs would be in the millions.
          are banks going to have ‘body mod credit lines?” what happens if someone defaults?

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            There was a (shitty IMO) cult opera film about that.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzgpU25C6fg

          • Jin The Ninja

            ugh paris. there was also that horrifically stupid jude law movie about synthetic organs that very much parallels this line of thinking…

            i also wanted to say that if i was overly harsh or rude (even mildly) in our previous discussion towards you. i strongly apologise. i was in a defensive mode. if you want to have a discussion re: whatever issues or subject- i totally am open to that, and respect you as a long-time poster. i still disagree of course;) but there is no reason why an exchange cannot or could not be enlightening and productive.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            I’m on the same page. I apologize as well; that discussion did get a bit heated (and sometimes I lose track of what devil I’m advocating). I honestly cannot remember what our dispute was exactly since we tend to argue with each other despite having similar final conclusions. I suspect it was something nit-picky on my part. Sometimes I’ll argue to have fun, and sometimes I do it to make a point, but bad things happen when I try to do both at the same time.

        • Jacob Stephen Cook

          The middle classes of the developed world – hundreds of millions of people – are able to afford millions of dollars of medical treatment through health insurance, and I see no reason why life extension therapies wouldn’t also become available to them eventually. Sequencing a human genome cost $100 million in 2001, now costs $1,000, and in another decade, could cost $100 or less. Eventually, even the poor could afford life extension, just as they have access to medical technology beyond even the wealthiest a century ago.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            You know how insurance works right? Theres no such thing as a free lunch.

          • Jacob Stephen Cook

            Yes; distribution of expenses. Life extension won’t be free, but it can be affordable, and preventing senescence would dramatically reduce disease incidence and would be more cost effective than all our current stopgap measures.

      • Jin The Ninja

        the transhumanist ‘agenda’ is the empowerment of the individual through consumer technology and corporate ‘innovation.’ (read capitalism).
        this strikes me as entirely parallel and probably intersecting with the favoured mantra of our times, “individualism through consumption.”
        yeah, dude, my iphone does not make me ‘special.’ and neither would an iphone implant. do you really want to cede your body and consciousness- their sovereignty over to corporate powers? do you really want to trust in them to provide, not only the technology inherent in the transhumanist plot, but also the healthcare and technological well-being required? the US can’t even provide a basic level access to healthcare as it is. get real. we live on a planet of finite resources, and finite beings. we aren’t meant to live forever.

        “death apologism” – you mean acceptance of a natural biological process? if you fail to see why such a treaty on human and biological nature would be abhorrent- it is in the language of transhumanists themselves where one will find the answer. you fear something- that whether one ascribes spiritual value to or not, is a function of the natural world. that is a bit insane.

        if you want to make me johnny mnemonic, cool. however i don’t want to be (or face anyone in a dark alley) who is the street preacher.

        • Ryan Williamson

          I’m curious. If given the opportunity to experience an indefinite lifespan (provided there are no consequences), would you take advantage of it?

          • Jin The Ninja

            no.

          • Ryan Williamson

            Why?

          • Jin The Ninja

            because consciousness is not solely defined by the physical existence.

          • Ryan Williamson

            Interesting. Does that imply a spiritual immortality?

          • Jin The Ninja

            i couldn’t say. i am not dead.

          • Ryan Williamson

            True.

            You argued that consciousness is not solely defined by the physical existence. Do you care to elaborate?

          • Jin The Ninja

            it’s relatively difficult to put a religious label on my afterlife beliefs. my heart is daoist, my mind is buddhist, and my hands are occultist. my beliefs generally fall into an esoteric philosophical category. i take ATR beliefs pretty seriously, and i know quite a bit about neo-paganism, catholicism, neo-platonism and various magico-religious and ecstatic traditions. i’ve been to orthodox, spiritualist, unitarian, and native american churches. i believe in reincarnation. i’m a mild psychonaut. spiritual experiences are consciousness: they don’t ‘exist’ in the physical. if i tell you i’ve seen ghosts, know them to be real, know things to exist outside of measured reality, it doesn’t matter. i can’t quantify it- it is your sovereign right to do and believe what you want with your consciousness. and that is the problem, i cannot nor do i look to scientific materialism to define consciousness. nor would i look to futurist scientific materialism to define human experiences.

          • Ryan Williamson

            How diverse! You seem like an open-minded person.

            I understand your point of view. Consciousness is a freak of nature ( a welcome one) that science has yet to explain. I simply know that I value my consciousness, and I will fight to protect it. Do you feel the same way?

          • Jin The Ninja

            i believe it’s important to protect the sovereignty of consciousness, but like i said before- the physical body is not the sole experience of consciousness.

          • Oginikwe

            Because we need to make room for new people and take another spin on the karmic wheel.

          • Ryan Williamson

            New people will have no problem finding room.

          • Andrew

            Yeah, sure.

          • Ryan Williamson

            Why do you feel this way?

          • Oginikwe

            This a a very deep, complicated subject to try to do justice to in the a few words on a message board but that seldom stops us. :) I feel the way I do because these are my values and beliefs.

            Death is a part of life and it is extreme hubris and selfishness to demand more than our share of everything: we are not gods and need to get over our self-importance. It is a strong metaphor that the minute we have a child, we are dead to this world because the future resides in them. Each new generation has flown higher than the generation before and hanging around with dead ideas is not good. Technology is now the new god, and we need to be careful that we don’t wind up like Promethus with a vulture eating our livers all day and regenerating overnight only to do it all over again for all eternity. Eternity that isn’t meant to be ours: we’re animals, like it or not.

            Reincarnation is the only thing that makes sense to me, thus the karmic wheel. Learn our lessons of this life and move on to the next.

          • Jin The Ninja

            reincarnation makes the most sense to me as well.

          • Oginikwe

            My father was a white supremacist who was an equal opportunity hater: he was also misogynistic and homophobic. I used to tell him he was coming back as a black lesbian, which really angered him. ;-D He died in Jan. of ’97. Now, I’ve started keeping an eye out for a young black lesbian who wants to be my friend.

          • Jin The Ninja

            that would be the singular definition of karma;).

          • Rhoid Rager

            And me. I feel the force of experience transcends physical matter, and naturally lends itself a cycle so as to continually hone itself. I also feel that matter exists to be experienced. Perhaps I’m just delusional, but such a perspective makes the sufferings of life all that more bearable.

          • Jin The Ninja

            there is something so much more edifying about reincarnation than eternal salvation or damnation. you make an interesting wordplay with buddhist phenomenological terms: suffering is the only constant, delusion is the state of reality. interesting to note, that most early x’tian groups and most ‘gnostics’ also believe in reincarnation. it’s about 2 shades of god from universal. that’s good enough for me.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            The concept of death is really eking out the esoteric belief structures of disinfonauts eh?

          • Rhoid Rager

            it’s our only reference point. call it a way point, if you will. took the death of my parents to teach me the only lesson that matters–it’s coming no matter what.

          • echar
          • Jacob Stephen Cook

            Reincarnation is completely unscientific. If you accepted empirical reality instead of indulging in fantasy, perhaps you’d reconsider your position on life extension. Who or what decides what our ‘shares’ are? Are past and ongoing advances in life expectancy hubristic? Was Jiroemon Kimura hubristic for living to 116? Was Jeanne Calment hubristic for living to 122? Prometheus brought humanity fire; surely you don’t mean to say we’d be better off without it? Parents are not dead to the world; they continue to be productive and enjoy life. If our only purpose is to procreate, we are but copy machines.

          • Oginikwe

            You seem to have difficulty with metaphors.

          • Rhoid Rager

            ‘If you accepted empirical reality instead of indulging in fantasy, perhaps you’d reconsider your position on life extension.’
            I hope there was at least a little bit of irony intended with this little nugget.

          • Jacob Stephen Cook

            How long of a lifespan would you accept, then?

          • Jin The Ninja

            the problem is: by leaving it up to the mechanisms of capital and the consumer (i.e. the individual)- someone with enough means can carry on indefinitely provided the technology and structures are in place to do so. we have sovereignty of body and consciousness, and inevitably what we choose to do with that is our right, but we also have social and moral obligations- that in a post modern world are largely ignored.
            selfishness is very meaningless trait that could be amplified by this sort of technological materialism. the problem with TH is that you don’t even consider the sociological, cultural and ecological ramifications of what you propose. nor do you want to engage in that discussion in a meaningful way.

          • Andrew

            Imagine how much power immortal elite could hoard in a finance capitalist society.

        • Jacob Stephen Cook

          We don’t accept the natural biological processes of disease, disability, and retardation, so why should we accept senescence? Are we insane to fear death and destruction from tsunamis, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions, which are also functions of the natural world?

          • Jin The Ninja

            TH’s are insane to fear the biological process of death. however you psycho-spiritually, psycho-socially, or religiously deal with death and destruction is up to the individual. it’s not only a little problematic to compare the artificial prolongation of lifespan to natural disasters. you see, in any natural disaster it is poor people who are affected first, and last. and it is rich people who will benefit most from TH’s consumer capitalist agenda.

          • Rhoid Rager

            many of us do accept disease, disability and ‘retardation’ (i didn’t think anyone still seriously used that word…). to not accept such and agitate over what could have been or what might be is antagonistic to living one’s life now.

  • Virtually Yours

    Is death natural? Inevitable? Perhaps it is nothing more than an ancient subroutine within the holographic simulation of our universe…a fatalistic feedback loop. Can it be hacked? We should not be afraid to ask these questions, nor should we demonize those who have the courage and integrity to pursue them…

    On a more practical level, there is also Turritopsis dohrnii (the immortal jellyfish) to take into consideration. From a biological standpoint, these fuckers can just keep going and going, assuming they don’t get eaten, squashed, sick, etc. So it would seem that nature has figured out a clever way to cheat and has even given us a little gelatinous clue…

  • Anonymous

    If you want to live forever, stop sinning, Sin is the root cause of death, is the disease we need to fight. Cause you are right, death is unnatural and an unnecessary evil.

  • RedneckCryonicist

    Stolyarov has his heart in the right place, but I don’t see how he can reconcile his idea with his day job as an actuary. He must realize that if you can fix your probability of dying per year at at constant rate, instead of increasing monotonically per year after the age of 10, you would have a “half life” of living only a few centuries, at most.

    Specifically, if you had the constant probability of death per year of a 25 year old man, you would have odds of 1 out of 2 of living 500 years – an impressive increase on current life expectancy, but hardly “immortality.”

    Besides, we don’t have any way of testing life extension therapies on humans faster than the rate at which humans happen to live, which blows up these nonsensical IBAD predictions by transhumanists – “Immortality” By Arbitrary Dates, like the currently popular 2045. Plenty of people alive in 2014 will live another 31 years any way through natural maturation and aging; they won’t mysteriously “become immortal” by making it to January 1, 2045. It would make more sense to schedule a reality check in the 23rd Century. If you could survive to a year like 2245 in good shape, perhaps you’ve figured out what you had to do so far to overcome the major causes of decline and death.

    At least we have one practical option in the here and now. Some neuroscientists and cryobiologists want to try to turn death from a permanent off-state into a temporary and reversible off-state by pushing hard on current and reachable brain preservation techniques. They have set up the Brain Preservation Foundation to raise money for incentive prizes towards this goal. Michael Shermer, the American critic of pseudoscience and editor of Skeptic magazine, serves as one of this foundation’s advisors, so he apparently considers the idea scientifically defensible.

  • RedneckCryonicist

    The gospels provide evidence that the Jesus Plan doesn’t work. Assuming that both Jesus and Lazarus existed historically, and that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, what happened to Lazarus afterwards? Either Lazarus died later, which shows that his resurrection didn’t catch. Or else we have to postulate that in 2014, Lazarus in his deathless body still walks the earth like a character from Highlander or something.

    I’ve never heard a good explanation from a christian apologist about this anomaly. Even christians in the early church a few generations after Jesus’ time on earth should have noticed this. Did the theologian Augustine of Hippo, who lived in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries CE, ever ask and try to answer this question, for example?

    • Jacob Stephen Cook

      Lazarus’ resurrection was intended to allow him to live to old age, not to live indefinitely.

  • Hoarfraust

    “Death is wrong”. Don’t human beings spend enough time arguing with reality?

  • RedneckCryonicist

    I don’t know about the “forever” part. But I can think of things to do lasting several centuries, at least, assuming I could stay in good physical and cognitive shape.

    • http://leftistconservative.blogspot.com/ Leftist_Conservative

      you need the pull of true immortality to get the masses into immortalism. Read your bible.

  • howiebledsoe

    A start up of $5000 for a 1000 print run? My neighbors kid is doing that, too.

  • Ryan Williamson

    Thank you for this excellent post.

  • bodge

    This guy lives in La La Land.

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