About
Content
Store
Forum

Rebirth of Reason
War
People
Archives
Objectivism

Post to this threadMark all messages in this thread as readMark all messages in this thread as unreadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Forward one pageLast Page


Post 40

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 1:18pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Barbara and Tibor.

 

As people who are likely atheists and who so obviously cherish and love their loves, I implore you to consider cryogenic preservation.  The rate of technological innovation in this world continues to dramatically increase.  The world of today is far better than the world of 100 years ago, and it is far better than the world of 1,000 years ago.  In our future we may see the products of men’s minds stretching to the clouds, true sky scrapers.  We may see cities spanning oceans, intelligent life spanning planets and star systems.  If you truly do not want to die, then this is the simplest and most rational manner to try to defeat death, and requires very little effort. Cryogenic suspension is not a sure thing, but it is an ambulance trip through time.  Do not be so quick to discount it, as we all know all men at one time discounted all the great things that have ever been.  They looked at the man who tamed fire and cried fowl, they looked at the men who conquered diseases and cried fowl, the looked at men who would use anesthetics for surgery or wash their hands between deliveries and cried fowl.  Every single step of medical innovation has been hesitant and delayed.  Nearly every single thing that has made our lives longer, healthier, and happier was at one time opposed by the majority of people.  The culture we are raised in shapes our perceptions and attitudes, and we all live in a culture that has brainwashed us all into thinking that death is ok, that it gives meaning to our lives, that it is natural end of things.  The key for each of us is to truly and deeply consider the reasons we hold these assumptions.  We need to rise above habitualized societal responses and make each decision a full and willful product of informed choice, not something we do merely because others do it or because our nature has inclined us to do so.   When you are facing death, make a stand against it.  Cryogenic preservation slows all your molecular interactions down to a standstill, freezing you in time.  The root of your consciousness, of who you are, the pattern of your neural connections, remains in tact, waiting to be revived when the technology is available to do so.  Drowning victims in cold war have been revived up to 40 minutes later with no brain damage, dogs have been frozen and brought back to life, mice have been put in states of suspended animation.  It is not so implausible that one day man will be.


Regards,

 

Michael F Dickey




Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 6, No Sanction: 0
Post 41

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 9:58amSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
"You yourself call it a 'shackle' - well, so is flapping your arms and not being able to fly...."

Which is why aircraft where invented, why there is space tourism (where you *can* flap your arms and fly), and why death itself (as we now know it) will eventually be conquered.

Even if not yet technologically possible, why don't Objectivists explicitly state that good health and indefinite lifespan is the ideal state of a rational being? Rand can be excused because in her time the prospect was more remote, and she lacked the scientific background and information to see it. But what of her successors? Must Objectivism always remain bound in the 20th century?

Yes, there is *tactical* value in not fretting about one's demise in the sense that panic is never a productive emotion. But this is too easily extended into a *strategic* ambivalence about death, evidenced by rationalizations defending short lifespans, and apathy toward extreme life extension measures.

I've always perceived Objectivism as aligned with meliorism not apologism. As such, Objectivists should be in the trenches with the Transhumanists and others advocating unlimited lifespans rather than teaching acceptance of the status quo. Facing imminent personal demise with dignity is one thing. Failing to acknowledge the demise of individuals as an evil to be eradicated is quite another.

---BrianW



Post 42

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 1:38pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Alec said:

 

“Michael Dickey, for crying out loud, what the hell do you expect people to do?”

 

Well, Alec, for starters, no longer being philosophical opposed to living indefinitely is a good place to start.  All else follows from that.  But why don’t you try asking yourself that question, I am not in the business of figuring your problems out for you.  I am reminded of a quote recently run on the main page of this site. 

 

“Dad," I said, "I want to go to the Moon." "Certainly," he answered . . . . "I said it was all right. Go ahead." "Yes . . . but how?" "Eh?" He looked mildly surprised. "Why, that's your problem, Clifford."

Robert A. Heinlein

Have Space Suit Will Travel”

 

I suppose his father could have said “Sorry kid, but men can’t go to the moon, deal with it”

 

If you have decided you want to fight for your life, what is a logical manner in which to do that?  It seems you have all ready figured one out.

 

“Constantly "fighting" against death (when done by anyone other than scientists) does not amount to fighting *for* something, and is usually a distraction”

 

Then become a scientist and study senescence.  Or, you could just sit back and hope other people fight your battles for you.  But right now everyone who would prefer to live but isn’t much interested in putting in the effort to doing something about it is placing all their hopes in the hands of scientists who are almost unanimously philosophically opposed to immortality.  Also, one needs to have a scientific mindset, not a university doctorate to fight that battle.  Unless you are prepared to tell me that no great scientific advancement ever came from the mind of anyone except a university doctorate.  Conversely, your statement is a convenient excuse for doing nothing, amounting to ‘no matter how hard I try I can’t make any difference’  Again, strange words coming from an objectivist.  Now, If you want to say ‘na, I don’t feel like trying’ that is entirely different. 

 

 “And anytime you find yourself concocting a word like "deathists" -- it's a good indication that you probably shouldn't continue writing”

 

Alec, words are used to conveying ideas, not the other way around.  The word death has a clear meaning as does the suffix ‘ists’.  That you understand exactly what I mean is reason enough to continue using that word, even if the folks at Merriam Webster don’t have it in there yet (try looking up ‘selfish’ before you extol the purity of word definitions and usage)

 

Michael F Dickey




Post 43

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 1:41pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit


Yes, there is *tactical* value in not fretting about one's demise in the sense that panic is never a productive emotion. But this is too easily extended into a *strategic* ambivalence about death, evidenced by rationalizations defending short lifespans, and apathy toward extreme life extension measures.

I've always perceived Objectivism as aligned with meliorism not apologism. As such, Objectivists should be in the trenches with the Transhumanists and others advocating unlimited lifespans rather than teaching acceptance of the status quo. Facing imminent personal demise with dignity is one thing. Failing to acknowledge the demise of individuals as an evil to be eradicated is quite another

Well said Dr. Wowk.  You have put a much clearer voice on the ideas I was trying to convey.

Michael F. Dickey




Post 44

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 1:59pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael,

Your idea that everyone should become a scientist, out of an obsession to prevent death, speaks for itself. I suppose I should give up everything I *live for* to try and prevent death. Otherwise, I'm an apathetic "deathist."

Alec





Post 45

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 2:11pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael FD, I appreciate the passion you have in trying to get your points across, but in this instance, it's not helping your cause to come out combative. You're not going to move people your way if you drive them away. Turning this thread into a flame war will do exactly just that.

Stop assuming that we here are proselytizing the "Death is OK" argument. The accounts posted here are mostly personal. For people already seriously contemplating their mortality, your hypertensive stance could be deeply offensive.

You seem to have calmed down by your post [40]. Hopefully, that would steer this thread to more productive channels.

I've read the link to Alcor you have posted. The technology they offer is intriguing, but still very far from being mature. I understand that they must sever my head while I'm still alive, then 'vitrify' it. That really walks the euthanasia tight rope. There will also be serious legal challenges to this (what is the 'legal standing of a vitrified head?). And social issues; the scenario of being revived in a world 500 or so years from your own is both exciting and unnerving.

Is vitrification/hibernation/freezing the closest to the 'it' thing right now? I was imagining something more along the lines of anti-oxidant or gene therapy.

I have not read the extropy forum link you have provided. That has to be the most user-unfriendly forum I have ever seen. Jef Raskin's early demise must have been hastened by webpages like that.

Just a check on your blood pressure:
They looked at the man who tamed fire and cried fowl...
Prometheus: Turkey, yes; vulture, no.



Seriously (and I do mean seriously), you have a lot of things to offer us here. Don't throw it to the flames. Keep your chin (and sense of humor) up.



Post 46

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 2:14pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec said:

Michael,

Your idea that everyone should become a scientist, out of an obsession to prevent death, speaks for itself. I suppose I should give up everything I *live for* to try and prevent death. Otherwise, I'm an apathetic "deathist."

Alec

I suppose since you jumped into this conversation late you might have missed earlier posts.  I am by no means saying everyone should do that, I was pointing out something that someone could do. 

If you have decided you want to fight for your life, what is a logical manner in which to do that?  It seems you have all ready figured one out.

 

“Constantly "fighting" against death (when done by anyone other than scientists) does not amount to fighting *for* something, and is usually a distraction”

 

Then become a scientist and study senescence

You could also, as I have suggested in other posts, contribute time, effort, or money to organizations that support life extension. 

 

Or you could do nothing.

 

Michael F Dickey




Post 47

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 2:43pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Michael FD, I appreciate the passion you have in trying to get your points across, but in this instance, it's not helping your cause to come out combative. You're not going to move people your way if you drive them away. Turning this thread into a flame war will do exactly just that...Seriously (and I do mean seriously), you have a lot of things to offer us here. Don't throw it to the flames. Keep your chin (and sense of humor) up.
Point well taken num++.  I apologize for coming off in such an intense manner. 


I've read the link to Alcor you have posted. The technology they offer is intriguing, but still very far from being mature. I understand that they must sever my head while I'm still alive, then 'vitrify' it.

That is not at all the case, they do not touch you until you are legally dead, and then, (going from memory) they work as quickly as possibly to chill you to just above freezing and then pump your blood full of a cryoprotectorant, which is merely something that inhibits crystalization.  After that the head is severed and then it undergoes the vitrification process (I am not sure how they accomplish that, in industrial systems extremeley rapid cooling can vitrify metals, and sometimes extreme pressures can be used)  They are working on a method to vitrify the entire body as well.  But if the idea of getting your head severed and frozen disturbs you, read up on the process that Funeral homes go through to prepare a body for burial.

"And social issues; the scenario of being revived in a world 500 or so years from your own is both exciting and unnerving."

I find it very exciting.  The world has advanced so much in the last 100 years, I can not imagine what 500 years will do.  But I seriously doubt it would take that long, considering the rate of technology progress.  Check out Ray Kurzweil's excellent article on that subject.  The Law of Accelerating Returns


Is vitrification/hibernation/freezing the closest to the 'it' thing right now? I was imagining something more along the lines of anti-oxidant or gene therapy.
I think it's the best thing for people who are close to death right now.  And there are companies other than ALCOR that perform this service as well. 


I have not read the extropy forum link you have provided. That has to be the most user-unfriendly forum I have ever seen. Jef Raskin's early demise must have been hastened by webpages like that.
It is primarily a mailing list, there is a more user friendly forum version of it but I dont know it off hand.   Peruse the extropy web site for more information.

Regards,

Michael F Dickey






Post 48

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 2:49pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Life simply 'is' - it is an integral aspect of the universe... death is merely the conclusion of it.. in no way it 'makes life worth living'.... to make it worth living is the valuing of it by that which has it - it is not an automatic.... so the continual attempt at claiming that to accept death is a cowardly act, is to deny the reality of it as an integral aspect of life... sure, like conquering diseases and improving health, one can extend the presence of life, and thru practicalizing materials - as in making airplanes - can enhance the quality, but - the bottom line is that death is an integral aspect of that part of the universe called 'life'... extending the presence of life is not seeking to 'defeat' death - one does not defeat a cessation, only to defer it... 



Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 49

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 3:07pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Alec said:
 "...for crying out loud, what the hell do you expect people to do?”
The single most powerful thing that Objectivists could do is join this philosophical "battle for man's mind" by explicitly supporting unlimited lifespans as the ideal state of existence for rational beings.  Immortalism, as a philosophy, derives immediately from the Objectivist understanding that life is prerequisite for all other values.  Immortalism is as philosophically important to individualism as capitalism, but only in this century is the issue becoming more than academic.  For Objectivists to remain sidelined on the issue would be as strange as Objectivists remaining silent on market economies as division of labor was being invented.

"Natural cycles" are for unthinking plants and animals, not humans.  There is no law of physics that says thinking beings must always age and die, anymore than there is a rule in chess that says all games must end in fool's mate.  We will learn-- are learning --to play longer games.  This process will go faster if the small minority that recognize the importance of such developments stand together in promoting unlimited lifespan as the right and proper state of human existence.

---BrianW 




Post 50

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 4:38pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
This is my response to Michael Dicky:


.



Post 51

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 4:38pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
The single most powerful thing that Objectivists could do is join this philosophical "battle for man's mind" by explicitly supporting unlimited lifespans as the ideal state of existence for rational beings.


Well said, Brian. I don't see how anyone in the biotech age can respect the feckless philosophy-by-thesaurus approach that calls death a "completion" instead of an "end," as if that made any difference. Hell, Lucretius could have said something like that! Until Objectivists get up to speed with our planet's truly advanced thinkers who advocate conquering aging and death through technological means, they won't sound credible with their talk of Objectivism as "a philosophy for the 21st Century."



Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 5, No Sanction: 0
Post 52

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 6:13pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael D:
What have I misunderstood? 
I would say just about everything concerning the other posters on this thread from what I have read. But lets see your next statement.
It’s pretty clear that the vast majority of people in this thread are a’ ok with ceasing to exist, and some in strange twisted ways feel it actually gives value to the very values it destroys. 
Ummmm...
 
Yep. You're dead wrong. You have no idea of what you are talking about.
 
Michael




Post 53

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 6:54pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit

Ummmm...
 
Yep. You're dead wrong. You have no idea of what you are talking about.
 
Michael

Nope, I am completely right.  There, now just because we say something doesnt make it so.  I have cataloged each and every comment that was made that supports my previous conclusion, and represented the two catagories people who accept death generally fall into.  You have done nothing to counter those comments besides merely asserting that they are wrong. 

From post 30

“Whenever I consider that experience I realize that all this is borrowed time for me”

 

“All things are impermanent: love, the internet, good wines, a child's laughter...but really it is the impermanence of these things that make them special”

 

“The ending of something is not the destruction of something, but the conclusion of it - life by its nature has to have a conclusion, just as it has a beginning.....”

 

“a person with a good outlook on life will gradually come to terms with the fact that he or she will die and, while never abandoning the quest for living and, indeed, for thriving, such a person will not protest or concoct fantasies in order to manage the fact of impending death”

 

who taught that all that fretting about one’s death is pretty useless and is merely going to contribute to making one’s life more unhappy than it has to be.”

Since I have clearly misunderstood what people were saying, please let me know how these comments do not fit into either of these catagories

A) some variant that makes life worth living (e.g. all things with beginnings have ends, the impermanence of things is what gives them value, a reference point to truly value life from.
B) something they would prefer to avoid, but are content in doing absolutely nothing to avoid it.

Thanks

Michael F Dickey 




Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 3, No Sanction: 0
Post 54

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 7:22pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Impermanence is an aspect of identity, not value, for impermanence is an aspect of the dynamics of the universe - nothing is permanent except the fundamentals of the universe, for its constituent combinatings alter according to the respective durations of these fundamentals' arrangings. galaxies come and go, planets come and go, biologicals come and go - life comes and goes, including human life.  Even the elements come and go - only the fundamental constituents are permanent.

So the quest for immortality is a fantasy, a square circle, and those who crave it are the ones who truly fear death.




Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 16, No Sanction: 0
Post 55

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 7:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Michael D,

Oh, that's easy. All of those quotes fall outside the two categories you state. Everyone single of them. Wanna know why? Simply put each one into context.

Since I am convinced you have no idea of what I am talking about, I will give you an example right under your very nose. I am certain that every one of those posters feel, on contemplating their own demise, very similar to what Barbara has so eloquently stated:
I think -- I hope -- that at the end, my final thought will be how much I have loved this beautiful green jewel of a planet, how passionately I have loved the days of my life, good and bad, happy and painful, and I will not tell myself that I want to leave this world and the people who have helped to make it, and my life, so infinitely precious.
That is what a good death will be in rational self-interest terms.

Please notice that she stated:
(1) "at the end," and "my final thought," so she is aware of the inevitability of death;
(2) "my final thought will be how much I have loved...," which continuation is one hell of an inspiring homage to valuing life (Barbara, you are quite a dame //;-); and
(3) "I will not tell myself that I want to leave this world..." which eloquently states her unwillingness to resign herself - better yet, surrender her will - to death.

I saw nothing in the posts or posters you cited that made me think that any of the them feel otherwise - not even Tibor, who wrote the article you condemn. But since you are hell bent on fabricating enemies you can then destroy with your erudition, I am not so sure that this context means anything to you.

So argue on, man! Babble to your hearts content! Make up your straw men and women and save the day! Attack the windmills of hypocrisy with the lance and steed of unimpeachable whatever!

(This particular straw man [me - yours truly] talks, though. He says that you do not have a clue as to what you are arguing about. And... [sigh]... you do so very very much of it...)

Michael



Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 56

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 8:26pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
A few other considerations:

If we can prolong our lives indefinately, how do we deal with population issues? Do we continue to reproduce?

How do we deal with progress? Would the "elders" be resistant to changes proposed by the next generation to a point where nothing could advance? What would it mean for generational issues?

Is the quality of life more important than quantity of life?

Why would someone who's had a hard life want to live indefinately? Why would a concentration camp inmate want to live if there was no hope of freedom? Why would Galt, tortured and forced to see his values destroyed, want to live? There are issues of context, as Galt points out in ATLAS.

I remember Ayn Rand saying that after her husband died, she had lost her highest value, her ideal man, and that there was not much holding her here. I would feel the same way if I were unable to write or listen to music anymore. "Without music, life would be a mistake."

Again, not answers, just thoughts for discussion.



Post 57

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 8:28pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Assuming indefinite length of life, then reproductivity would most likely inverse...




Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Sanction: 4, No Sanction: 0
Post 58

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 8:37pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
Since I have clearly misunderstood what people were saying, please let me know how these comments do not fit into either of these catagories

A) some variant that makes life worth living (e.g. all things with beginnings have ends, the impermanence of things is what gives them value, a reference point to truly value life from.
B) something they would prefer to avoid, but are content in doing absolutely nothing to avoid it.

Apparently this whole issue of death is very black and white to you. If someone is not at the extreme end of wanting to do scientific experimentation of getting their heads cut off, cryrogenics and stuff, you accuse them of not valuing their life/not wanting to avoid death. 

Two words:  You're wrong.

I can't speak for everyone here, but from what I gather, people do care and do take action. By action, I am talking about actual lifestyle changes that will prolong life. For example I recently quit smoking. Will that make me immortal, no. Will it prolong my life, most likely.  I also have made other changes and see a chiropractor three times a week. Look at the new Solo Fitness club, see people taking an interest in life affirming changes.

There are tons of things people do, and certainly are not content with giving the sanction of the victim when it comes to death.  I can only speak for MSK and myself when I say that we plan on utilizing the best technology available and not give up without a fight...and we would consider cryrogenics in certain instances.

Futurama is one of the best cartoons on TV, and Vanilla Sky is a cool flick, but please separate fantasy from reality. 

Live long and prosper \\//





Post 59

Thursday, May 5, 2005 - 8:36pmSanction this postReply
Bookmark
Link
Edit
robert malcom wrote:

"So the quest for immortality is a fantasy, a square circle, and those who crave it are the ones who truly fear death."

I'm not sure who started it, but all this posturing about who really fears death is quite silly. Didn't Barbara herself already say that her own death will be regrettable? As Alcor says on their website, "If a strong will to live is no more than an expression of cowardice, then why treat any serious illness? A rational desire to continue living is not the same as an irrational fear of death."

Literal immortality is a straw man, just as perfect instantiation of any value is a straw man. Does the inability of humans to be rational at all times negate the ideal of being rational? Does the difficulty of preserving information for eons negate the ideal of preserving great art or great ideas as long as possible? Does the inability of life to exist forever (if indeed that is the case) negate the ideal of people living as long they please? Of course not.

An ideal is just that. Life is a process of identifying and striving for ideals. The ideal of "immortalism" is that no one should ever die against their will. The fact that such an ideal can only be approached, never fully reached, is beside the point.

---BrianW



Post to this threadBack one pagePage 0Page 1Page 2Page 3Forward one pageLast Page
User ID Password reminder or create a free account.