Posted: Wed, June 26, 2013 | By: Indefinite Life Extension
by Eric Schulke and Violetta Karkucinska
We take off our blindfolds when we are born. Here we are, on the planet earth, gifted with hands, feet, organs, eyes, ears and more. Our senses are the blueprint on which we construct our life. We build complex tools and create industry and technology. We possess so many reality-sculpting capacities. Life brings energy and power—like a drug within a drug. It encompasses everything from the largest trees to the smallest fish, and even includes microscopic amoeba and single-celled organisms. Opportunities are goodness itself—something from nothing—extropy from entropy. It’s evolution and development. While we are here we have these magnificent opportunities—for the time being.
Death is on its way. It will be here soon. As it draws near it gradually saps our potential and ultimately slams the door shut forever. It comes for the laborer, it comes for the scholars, it comes for the children; it comes for everyone. It dissolves the generations. For most of us it’s like getting slapped in the face when we reach the end. It’s horrific. This ghastly torture is the flame that our species was forged in. Like a steely blade we pull our destiny out of the flame—it’s long, solid and sharp—but unable to perform its job indefinitely.
How much would you be able to accomplish, how many dreams would you make come true for yourself and for all of humanity, if your sword wasn’t wrestled away by death?
Death wastefully terminates great minds, the architects of our world, the problem solvers, the boundary expanders: Copernicus, Einstein, Newton, et al.. It cuts short the lives of animals such as the majestic butterflies, fish and birds. It kills the beauty around us in the natural world and in people. Death, the dying process, it is our enemy. Death is our ultimate foe.
For many centuries procreation has been our genetic strategy in obtaining a type of immortality. It keeps humanity moving forward. The question is, do we need it at the same level as our ancestors? Today people don’t have the necessity to procreate for the sake of the species. Some say death is necessary to make room for new generations so they can bring infusions of new insight and create progress. What about the insights and progress lost from those with more experience and knowledge?
Procreation is compelling for some people who truly want to bring new life into the world. For others it’s about blindly keeping up with tradition. If we don’t need it for survival then it is a time-consuming tradition that wastes valuable energy. Not only that, it treats women like procreation machines. Is it much different than a farm? Is that what humanity is reduced to? Are we farm animals?
Our tradition of procreation asks us to ignore the powerful opportunities we’ve unlocked. It is our duty to weigh the pros and cons. Ancient people needed procreation to perpetuate the species. Today we have a choice. We can forgo procreation in favor of exploring the universe. We can focus our energy instead on unraveling the mysteries of space, quantum physics, and more. We’ve evolved past the need to be farm animals and to a level where we can be the masters of our destiny.
The vast majority of people don’t think responsibly about death. Many don’t really think about death until faced with it. The loss of a loved one, a friend, or family member usually brings it home for us. When we consider the tragedy of parents taken from their children too early, of young people cut down in life from an illness, or of newborns who perished, we’re confronted with the pain of death. How many tiny, stony graves have you passed while mentally blocking out the grief that threatens to overwhelm you? How devastating is it imagining the potential contributions that have been turned to dust? As you rebel against the Grim Reaper who strikes down the young you should also take a stand against the Reaper who strikes the old. Don’t you wish you had your grandparents’ support and wisdom? Don’t you mourn for the contributions they’re also unable to make?
We suffer without the previous generations. Our leaders, builders, founders—the people whose toil, tenacity and intelligence gave us the marvels of the world we live in today—are sorely missed. We suffer as a society with them. Their loss is at a level we can’t even begin to calculate.
What if Einstein had died of pneumonia as a child? What if Shakespeare had been cut down in his early days? Imagine what Steve Jobs could have done with another 50 years—or more. These deaths are a major detriment to the human race. What if people could extend their lives and use their experience to improve the human condition?
Our fate doesn’t need to be the same as our predecessors’. We’re on the verge of taking the next step in evolution. Because of trial and error the best methods of indefinite life extension are being selected for and rising to the top.
We’re taught that our existence follows a distinct timeline. Our youth is often cut early as we are pressured to “keep up with the Jones’”. People are called “immature” when they “act too young for their age” by holding onto to the wonderment of youthful exploration. We expect people who are barely adults, usually around the age of 18, to establish their life path by choosing a college career direction. How fair is that? How much opportunity do we forgo by conforming to a society that accepts death as part of its culture without even questioning it?
Just as we find our wings we are expected to seed the ground and take root. Many of us accept this without a fight, however we need to organize, mobilize and work together to tear the Grim Reaper down. We need to give a damn about our lives and show we are grateful for our opportunity to exist in this wonderland of a universe.
Why can’t we oppose the propaganda that others call “nature” and instead do our “own thing”? We need to be our own thinking beings, individuals not swayed by a hive mentality. To be successful we need to transcend the group.
Let’s not strive to be like animals, to eat, sleep, procreate and die in good order. Let’s celebrate by letting our colors show and striving for more opportunities. This is what distinguishes us from the animals. Experimenting, trying new things, trial and error, making mistakes and learning from them—this is how organisms evolve. It stands to reason this is the same way that knowledge also evolves.
What is the cost of death? What opportunities extend beyond death? We can’t see an end to the boundaries that come with indefinite life extension. The possibilities are worthy of exploration.
Science shows us that age-related diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative calamities developed as human life grew longer. As the afflictions that used to kill us age 40, 50 and even 70 became manageable we became able to live long enough to be done-in by these new beasts lurking in the shadows.
Evolution wasn’t pressured to select these debilitating diseases of aging out of the gene pool. Since our ancestors typically procreated and died before they got to the point where they would develop an age-related disease they weren’t a factor. It stands to reason that these ailments aren’t supposed to kill us; historically they don’t unless we grow very old. This means we don’t have to accept them as the “natural” causes of death.
Furthermore, who would give into the subjugation of happenstance and randomosity controlling their death? Would you bet your life on a black jack table? On a coin flip? Why not? That’s the same reason why we won’t let aging and disease roll the roulette tables of our lives. The cost is too great. We’d rather be in control, wouldn’t we?
Is death what we want? Are we really that eager to continue a tradition that includes the denial of the opportunities in our future? Don’t we deserve more? How can it be fair for us to perish at the height of our development, to start decaying at the moment we finally begin to understand the world? It’s not about stopping the new generations; it’s about saving them too, and staying with them longer. It’s about helping them discover more and teaching them at an earlier stage in their life, and about sparing them the pain we went through when we lost our relatives. We will spare them the devastation felt when we lost the knowledge, insights, and experience of our predecessors.
Indefinite life extension is about all the opportunities before us. It is about the miracles that we can create when given the chance to explore existence beyond its traditional boundaries. It’s about us joining together to support the research and development needed to make this possible for the benefit of ours, and tomorrow’s generations.