My Thoughts on the Demise of Death

“Since being exposed to the idea of extreme life extension, which admittedly was only several months ago, I’ve found myself reacting in a more skeptical and reactionary manner than I often do when confronted with other radical new futuristic ideas and technologies. When I read about possibilities of faster than light travel, I get excited. Predictions of nano-assemblers make me hopeful. I find designs for colonies on the Moon and Mars fascinating. But when I read about trends in regenerative medicine and nanotechnology that some experts believe will conquer death, I am not enthusiastic. Instead I become very skeptical, nervous and even angry. On one level, I am surprised that I could be anything other than overjoyed that ending death could be a possibility, I very much enjoy life and, as a living organism, I have a strong instinct to stay alive. Yet I find it extremely difficult to wrap my head around the idea of life without death.

So why does extreme life extension make me uncomfortable? I’m not, nor have I ever been a religious person, though I have respect for those who are. I was raised by two atheists with PhDs in science and I haven’t ever held out hope for an afterlife. It’s not that I don’t value human life – I value it very much. As a humanist, I believe very strongly that each human life is sacred and unique and believe it is within our power, and is indeed our responsibility, to work towards giving every person as good a life as possible. I also don’t believe I am a Luddite. I am increasingly excited about technology in general, I love my cellphone and the new snazzier one I will someday get. I love my computer and wonders of the Internet. I’m fascinated by the promise of the Semantic Web. I also embrace any technology that could cure diseases or repair injuries. But when it comes to anything that may fundamentally change the way I am or the way people are in general, I am very hesitant.

I thought it would be interesting to explore some of the reactions, thoughts and feelings I have when pondering extreme life extension, as I think they probably overlap with those of the people who have been or will be exposed to these ideas.”

(via Future Blogger. Also:“Revised Thoughts on the Demise of Death”)

5 Comments

  1. weakness embodied. feh and curses and drat upon ye supine spaniels.

  2. The horror comes from the idea that people I hate will have extended lives, that I’ll be around them for centuries.

  3. No one needs to worry too much. There will still be plenty of things to get rid of us in a world with stairs, cliffs, and heavy machinery — not to mention drugs, guns, bombs, and so on. Besides, it’s quite likely that our nanomedics might be networked by Microsoft code, potentially making the “blue-screen of death” quite literal.

  4. Anon, if you are around that long and cant figure out a way to either trap them in the phantom zone or else move to another planet, you should probably let yourself die.

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