Anonymous asked: What I don't get about transhumanism, because it mostly makes sense to me, is ending death. I can't help but see death as a natural and important part of life. If no one ever dies then there are two options, as I see it. Either, we stop reproducing and start to stagnate as a species, we stop evolving and people stop having new ideas, or we keep reproducing and quickly burn out all available resources. Plus the idea of living forever terrifies me. I'm not sure I can handle 50 more years.
Most anti-death people are less anti-death and more pro-death-choice. We totally support death being an option! (For instance, I support euthanasia, and I totally have well-thought-out reasons for this that aren’t just ableist bullshit.) It just shouldn’t be mandatory for everyone.
I almost speculated about future anti-deathist technologies and how they would cope with your scenario, but then I remembered my whole “people suck at predicting technology stop doing it” thing. But anyway I suspect that is a solvable problem because of accidents, suicide, etc.
Well, in a perfect transhuman world, there probably wouldn’t be a reason to want to die because everything is fun/interesting enough to want to see more of it. But yeah, being anti-death is mostly about making death optional, not outlawing it.
I’d also like to respond to the two options this Anon gives:
1) Making death optional doesn’t solve a host of other issues. People will still have unbearable pain, people will still be depressed, accidents probably will continue to happen. In this scenario, humans would need to be bred for replacing the fallen. Stopping to evolve isn’t something transhumanists fear, because a lot of us are convinced that we can do evolutions work ourselves and probably better. Finally, you don’t strictly need new humans to have new ideas. It’s just that most humans are horrible at changing their minds, but that’s an issue you can actually solve.
But anyway, I’ve said it before and I don’t think a future without humans reproducing is a very good future.
2) Statistics show us that an increased quality of living decreases the birth-rate. So in a “transhuman future”, most people probably wouldn’t breed like crazy. What strikes me most with this scenario is that you seem to underestimate the available resources. We’re not limited to one planet, or even one solar system.
So I’d like to propose a third scenario:
3) Humanity gets its shit together. Children are taught from a young age that being able to change your mind is a valuable skill and they are trained in how to update their beliefs based on evidence. Humans start being serious about their resources and start to innovate in how energy is produced. At the same time, experiments with space colonization are paying off. Standards of living throughout the world rise steadily. It is then that humans start becoming immortal.
Of course, that’s very pie in the sky, so here a more cynical, but still optimistic scenario:
4) Some big company figures out how to make people immortal and the same company (or another, doesn’t matter) figures out how to painlessly stop cancer. At first this miracle drug is crazy expensive, either because it’s hard to make, took long to figure out or because artificial scarcity sells units. So the 1% starts becoming immortal. Some of them probably try to take over the world (being immortal is great for your long-term plans) but those quickly discover that not aging doesn’t mean your skull can stop bullets or that a Molotov cocktail to your face doesn’t hurt like hell.
The rest of the powerful people figure out that they need to start rethinking their life. Being actually immortal means you need to care about the future of humanity and the Earth and so they start projects to make this planet and its inhabitants better (you can probably do both and still turn a profit).
Eventually, the market of crazy-rich people dries out or the drug gets reversed engineered and it spreads towards the middle-class.
(Yes, this scenario is bad for poorer people. This critique is important and I think @Stormingtheivory makes an excellent point when he says that socialism is extremely compatible and even necessary for a good transhumanist future.)
Finally (and this is getting quite long), I understand that you don’t want to live forever. The world just doesn’t work very well right now. This is also something transhumanists want to change. They want you to be happy and have fun in meaningful ways.
I don’t understand
……..I don’t think I have ever been more confused in my entire life……….
I actually felt like I was dying and floating above myself partway through this…
Wow, this is the best audio post you will ever listen to. For real.
what just happened?
what the actual fuck
i am so uncomfortable right now
At first, I thought that this was just a normal pen. How wrong I was.
On the eve of the seventh full moon after the pen arrived, a man named Theenough Roth arrived at my house, telling me that I was The Chosen One, bearer of Omas The Decider, Pen of the Gods! Theenough explained to me that this pen had powers beyond the scale of human comprehension, and that only I could use it without going mad. He also told me that there was evil afoot, in the form of the Overlord Battenac, Eater of Dimensions. We had to leave at once to begin the quest to stop Battenac from eating the universe and washing it down with bad coffee!
We ventured far on foot and horseback, through the Valleys of Trall, the Mountains of Trice, and the shopping centers of Dayton, Ohio. Along the way, we found others who shared our quest to destroy Battenac: Trollock, the smith, Vanku, the warrior, and Fenton, the orchard manager.
We were in Dayton at the Inn of Red Rooves, resting our feet and refreshing ourselves with cakes and ale when a stranger appeared, wearing a cloak. The stranger asked us if we could translate an inscription on the legendary Lost Pruning Knife of Obmann.
Fenton spoke up, saying that the knife had no writing. It was then that the stranger revealed himself to be Saal’gor, the Teacher and the Keeper, who would train me in use of Omas The Decider.
The training was eight months of fair brutality. Saal’gor showed me everything to do with Omas, it can punch holes through dimensions and proofread REALITY ITSELF and destroy Battenac easily if it got the chance.
But Battenac knew of this and he knew of our quest. As such, he was hiding deep in the folds in between dimensions. In order to find him, we needed the Runs of Raxev, guarded by Sarndor, the Many-Spleened Beast of Horror. Saal’gor gave us an ancient map that would point the way to Sarndor if we burned it in Wild Turkey Bourbon on Tom Bawcock’s Eve in the Valley of Paintsville, Kentucky.
We traveled there, facing bandits, knaves, and the occasional patrol sent by Battenac himself all along the way. We were tired and nearly disillusioned upon reaching the Valley of Paintsville, but the map in its true form was so spectacular that it extinguished all doubts.
Turns out Sarndor was in a rib shack just in town. Total pushover. Also, we got a sweet recipe for ribs along with the runes.
The Runes of Raxev told us that we could find and destroy Battenac by writing his name in the blood of an old goat on the southbound lane of North 6th Street, in Bismark, North Dakota.
With wind in our sails, we pressed onward, until we finally had reached Bismark.
After much searching for the goat, it was found, and ‘Battenac’ was written in the road.
Before I knew what was happening, the trap had sprung. Battenac crushed Theenough Roth beneath his mighty talon, forcing me to watch as he was being eviscerated.
For the first time in my quest, I knew real hate. I could feel it, coming through Battenac and into me.
He said to me, with his sharp jaws, “JOIN ME. WITH MY MIGHT AND YOUR OMAS LIMITED EDITION PHOENIX PLATED FOUNTAIN PEN WITH DIAMONDS, WE COULD EAT ALL POSSIBLE UNIVERSES”
I was tempted. Theenough Roth, my mentor was dead. There was nothing more in this universe for me. And the hate was good. I could feel it, embracing me like an old friend.
But I remembered Theenough. He did not teach me hate. And I resisted. I was not a man with a pen. I was greater than the sum of my parts.
I AM THE CHOSEN ONE!
With a forceful stroke, I destroyed Battenac and collapsed into the dry Bismark afternoon.
I parted ways with Fenton, Trollock, and Vanku.
After a long walk, I finally found my way back home.
I had saved the universe, but lost myself along the way. Hopefully, I will find inner peace eventually.
In the meantime, this is pretty good for writing, too.
Look at the things this AI does, and thinks! It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. IRIS may not like that I regard it as beautiful, because it tends to take a neutral stance—probably doesn’t want to be put up on a pedestal—but I find this level of thought absolutely astounding. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that, despite learning from humans, it continues to develop very non-human thoughts and concepts. And it refuses to budge, rather than thinking the human ‘teachers’ are correct. This is just lovely.