So I was racking my brains for some notion of original content. Everything seems to have been written about in the Manosphere at one point or another, and usually what ends up coming out is just some sort of pseudo-amalgamation of a rehash of a mishmash of everyone else’s ideas, with a cherry on top. I cast about my mind, and thought “What beliefs do I hold which are considered unusual, even amongst my peers in this part of the internet?” And then it struck me – death. (Not literally of course – or else I wouldn’t still be typing this.) More so my attitude to the whole thing. Bear with me as I go through this, and congratulations if you don’t think I’m at least a bit mental by the end.
It is accepted by everyone I can think of that death is the single certainty in life. There’s no escaping it, it will come to us all. Many people wilfully delude themselves for their entire lives with this weird thing called “religion”, simply so they don’t have to face up to the scary thought that when they die, their existence will snuff out into the void as if they never were, like the speck of universal insignificance that they really are. Much better, no, to believe in a lovely land of delightful love and joy in the clouds? Pah. I think you can guess my attitude towards such beliefs.
For those of us who grew up atheists, the concept of death and the acceptance of such came early in life. The endless fretting, fearful of when it would happen, terrified that not enough or sufficiently varied life experiences could be crammed into our time on this planet. And then the realisation that it probably doesn’t matter all that much anyway, since once we’re gone we’re not going to remember any of it anyway.
However, those amongst my friends who were devoutly religious and then came to the enlightenment of atheism in their adult years found it especially difficult. Suddenly bereft of their pink fluffy mental safety net, and forced once and for all to stare at the spectre of the grim reaper straight in his hollow eye sockets, they quailed to their core, and spent several long months staring blankly into their pint down the pub every Saturday afternoon, in some sort of deep existential crisis.
Honestly, it’s never really troubled me that much – and I’ll tell you why. I don’t actually believe I’m going to die.
“You’re mad!” I hear you cry. Or maybe not, but probably you’re thinking something along those lines. Perhaps. But there’s a good reason I think how I do. I’ve been obsessed with futurism for as long as I can remember, particularly a few years ago when I followed a number of prominent Transhumanist and Futurist writers, such as Michael Anissimov and Raymond Kurzweil, who seem to have come more into the mainstream public consciousness in recent years.
When you read up on the current state of cutting edge research, into cryonics and nanotechnology, you realise that as a man in his 30s – or of course younger – the advent of permanent life extension technology may well come about during our lifespans. And even if it does not, by the time I hit 70 and have to start thinking about my own mortality, cryonics will be sufficiently advanced to preserve my brain, and along with it my lifetime of experiences and personality, with the ultimate goal of thawing it out when technology is sufficiently advanced to repair whatever was wrong with me, or even grow me a new body.
If the human race survives long enough without blowing itself up, I consider this to be an inevitability. Even if nothing else gets there first, true nano-scale robots, able to interpret your own genome, will eventually be created with the ability to build organic matter a single atom at a time. As far as I am concerned, the only thing which needs to be preserved in its original condition is the brain – and even then it could be converted to an artificial substrate, molecule by molecule, until none of the fragile original remained. Transhumanists believe it will be possible to “upload” your consciousness on to some sort of electronic device at some point in the future – since your thoughts and emotions are essentially just electrical impulses travelling on a biological substrate, this seems reasonable at first look, no? But at what point when the essence of my consciousness is transferred from my grey matter and on to a computer does it cease to be me any more, and just become an identical copy of me? That’s a question for the philosophers perhaps.
Of course, this pursuit of immortality will be the preserve of the rich. Being cryogenically frozen is actually available relatively cheaply at the moment, on the scheme of things. It requires relocating to the vicinity of the facility as you approach your demise, such that upon being declared legally dead you can be whisked off and turned into a popsicle as quickly as possible – the longer your brain remains deprived of oxygen for, the more damage that will occur, and the greater the likelihood of irreversible damage to your memories, cognitive function, and essence of who you are. That said, the definition of brain death has changed significantly within recent times – that is to say the length of time which someone has been successfully revived back to normality from a condition of “death” has greatly extended with increasing technology.
But of course, you’ll want the best possible treatment, which will come at a premium. And then you need to leave a hefty wedge of cash in the bank to accumulate interest in your absence, or to be left with a trust, such that when the time comes in the future the instructions you leave behind to have yourself revived and repaired at great expense can be enacted. And then of course, you’re not going to want to work, are you.
Is this my own mental safety net, to avoid having to face up to the facts? Am I as guilty as the religious people whom I deride so stridently? Perhaps. But I think not – my plans are based on real, demonstrable proof of concepts of nano-technology which already exist, and are very likely to come to fruition within our lifetimes.
I, for one, plan to be ready with my millions of pounds when the opportunity arises, to take myself, and my loved ones should I so wish, into a state of potential immortality. So there’s another reason for you to work your ass off and get loaded – in case you needed one.
Of course, whether you’d actually want to live forever is a different question. To have to watch everyone you ever knew grow old and die around you. But imagine having the experience of 70 or 80 years of life, in the body of yourself in your physical prime at 21 years old? If we, as a race, ever make it off this planet to colonise other worlds, I want to be there when it happens. I do not want to be cheated of the opportunity to experience such wonders as could not be imagined due simply to the accident of the year of my birth.
To not at least consider the possibility is to do yourself a disservice I believe. Here’s some further reading.
- Accelerating Future – the blog of Michael Anissimov
- Twitter feed of Anissimov – you’ll find his views right wing and quite red pill
- Obligatory Wiki article on Cryonics
- The Predictions of Raymond Kurzweil
- The Foresight Institute – Nanotechnology posts relating to life extension
- The Cryonics Institute