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Why Physical Immortality? - by Bruce Klein

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#1 Bruce Klein

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 11:34 AM

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It’s probably impossible to prove there's no life after death, but thanks to technological interventions immortalists aren't taking chances.

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By Bruce J Klein - home/bog
Founder & Chair, ImmInst.org

"I'm a peripheral visionary. I can see into the future, just way off to the side." The audience erupts into laughter as funnyman Steven Wright walks across the stage, stops, looks up, and dryly delivers another off-the-wall remark. "I intend to live forever," he says. "So far, so good."

Again, laughter. Most people are cynical about the idea of living forever, and poke fun at those who aren't.

But a growing band of intellectuals, calling themselves immortalist, see physical immortality as no laughing matter. To them, the possibility of living forever -- without relying on supernatural beliefs or interventions -- is as real as the nose on your face.

This begs the question: Why physical immortality? Ask immortalists and you'll likely hear something like this: Nature need not be the final arbiter of life and death.

That's the short answer. The longer one's more nuanced.

History of immortalism

The Egyptians sucked the brains and innards out of dead kings and wrapped their bodies for burial under the pyramids, all in a quest for immortality; the hope for eternal life is nothing new.

The current breed of immortalists, however, trace their lineage to the earliest days of cryonics, the practice of freezing dead people in the hopes of reanimation at a later time.

The cryonics movement grew almost entirely out the work of one man, Robert Ettinger. Author of the The Prospect of Immortality, published in 1962, Ettinger is known as the father of cryonics.

Back in the 60s, Ettinger actively promoted the idea of physical immortality through his book and by appearing on television talk shows. "Organizations sprang up immediately," recalls Ettinger. He even started his own organization, the Cryonics Institute, in 1967.

Nearly four decades later, at the beginning of the 21st Century, the immortalist movement continues to grow. Hundreds have signed up for cryonics and dozens are now chilled near absolute zero at the Cryonics Institute and a newer facility called Alcor.

Buoyed by the promise of fledgling nanotech and biotech miracles, immortalists today can easily connect the dots between theory and application.

They also see promise in existing life extension efforts. "Never before have so many people lived for so long," says National Institute of Aging director Richard J. Hodes. "Life expectancy has nearly doubled over the last century, and today there are 35 million Americans age 65 and older."

Stop the bleeding

But with all this optimism about technology's potential, the question still remains: Why physical immortality?

Think for a minute about what you remember before birth. A little hazy, right? Perpetual darkness, nothingness and oblivion are good ways to describe the prenatal void. Well, this is exactly what immortalists expect after death. In the face of this, physical immortality is a rather attractive alternative.

And physical immortality doesn't just benefit individuals. "Each one of us carries within us a complex universe of knowledge, life experience, and human relationships," says nanotechnology researcher and author Robert A. Freitas. "Almost all of this rich treasury of information is forever lost to mankind when we die."

Freitas arbitrarily equates the amount of knowledge in one's life to that of one book. Considering the fact that each year around 52 million people die and the US Library of Congress holds more than 18 million books, we have a real crisis of knowledge loss. "Each year, we allow a destruction of knowledge equivalent to three Libraries of Congress," says Freitas.

Convinced yet? Well if that's not enough to get you reaching for a multi-vitamin, consider this: Without physical immortality, we will have problems overcoming short-term thinking and action.

"Concern with the manner of our departure is dwarfed by the growing certainty that nothing follows it," suggests David Nicholas, author of a little known libertarian article entitled "Immortality: Liberty's Final Frontier." "Without the prospect of continuity there is a truncation of perspective and short-termism dominates in a hot-house world."

Reason over faith

Despite such arguments, we may never provide a fully satisfying answer to the question, "Why physical immortality?" It's likely impossible to prove conclusively that death equals oblivion.

Nevertheless, immortalists persist, often attacking faith in a supernatural afterlife while promoting the value of physical immortality. "Denied the prospect of survival through supernatural agency secular Western man has become psychically traumatized," says Nicholas. "Increasingly life seems meaningless and absurd, and the fear of death and nothingness lie just below the surface of everyday consciousness."

"The age-old dreams of immortality may not have been wrong but they depended more on faith than fact," Nicholas continues. "Scientific progress has now begun to allow personal immortality at least to be brought within the bounds of practical speculation."

Some, most notably George W. Bush's leading bioethics advisor, Leon Kass, are trying to prevent this speculation from becoming manifested. Kass provides a perfect antagonist figure in the immortalist saga. As an exceptional writer and speaker, he manages to do twisted philosophical handstands in praise of morally justified death.

In his book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, Kass leaves little doubt about his convictions, writing, "After a while, no matter how healthy we are, no matter how respected and well placed we are socially, most of us cease to look upon the world with fresh eyes. Little surprises us, nothing shocks us, righteous indignation at injustice dies out."

Kass isn't the first to suggest this. On the face of it, living forever seems wholly unnatural, and death seems desirable. Immortalists call this type of reasoning "deathist" thinking. As science-fiction author Alan Harrington once said, we "die before we die" and "commit suicide on an installment plan."

But turning to religion isn't the answer. "We can only engineer our freedom from death not pray for it," says Harrington. And immortality need not be bland. "Having invented the gods we can turn into them," Harrington suggests.

Maybe immortalists can be faulted for being too early in a world that embraces death as a welcome release. But being too early is a problem that forward thinkers historically have had to deal with.

So will humanity look back in 100 years and call immortalists visionary or laughable? I'll see you in 2103 to find out.

Bruce J. Klein is founder and co-director of the Immortality Institute For Infinite Lifespans, a nonprofit, online membership-based organization. You can learn more about his philosohpy at his personal website

Special thanks to Betterhumans.com and Simon Smith for collaboration on this article which can also be found: [ here ]

Building A Home For Immortals
Interview of Bruce Klein by Devon Fowler

What initially interested you in wanting to form the Immortality Institute?
Article Link

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Bruce Klein's HomePage
About Bruce, links to articles, book suggestions & other immortalist resources.

#2 caliban

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Posted 03 February 2003 - 08:04 PM

very nice piece!!

Really like the introduction, even though I have really no idea who Steven Wright is.

I usually tried to approach the topic from the other angle: "Why NOT physical immortality?"

As can be seen, the other case is not easy to make- my respects for having the courage to try!

#3 DJS

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Posted 04 February 2003 - 10:02 AM

I agree with Caliban, great article.

This guy Kass, is it his full time job to oppose people like us? Or does he have other duties as well? People like him make me very very angry. I do not mind people who are religious. The way I figure it, if it makes you happy good for you. But this guy is letting his personal beliefs impact my ability to live. The real question is, "When the time arrives that the technology start coming out that permits us to extend our lifes indefinitely what will the opposition do? Can they stop progress? Hopefully Kass will get his wish and be dead by then anyway. lol

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#4 Bruce Klein

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Posted 09 February 2003 - 11:28 PM

Ahh, Caliban.. You know who Steven Wright is...

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Steven Wright: http://www.stevenwri...ive/index.shtml

For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier...I put them in the same room and let them fight it out... So then I filled the humidifier with wax and left it on. Now everything in my house is shiny.


For a good article on Kass, check out: http://www.imminst.o...t=ST&f=67&t=446

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#5 Adorondi

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 07:41 PM

Thank you all for being here.

I have a lot of compassion for writings from Robert Green Ingersoll [1833--1899] below are two that really makes me warm inside.

Liberty is my religion
Liberty of hand and brain
Liberty of thought and labor
Liberty is a word hated by kings
Liberty is a word loathed by popes
Liberty is a word that shatters thrones and altars
Liberty is a word that leaves the crowned without subjects
Liberty is a word that leaves the outstretched hand of superstition without alms
Liberty is the blossom and fruit of justice -- the perfume of mercy
Liberty is the seed and soil, the air and light, the dew and rain of progress, love and joy

Morality is the melody of the perfection of conduct.

#6 Bruce Klein

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Posted 12 February 2003 - 07:45 PM

Thanks Adorondi for your contribution.. By the way, I've added your first post to the feaured post archive. - BJK

#7 advancedatheist

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 09:38 PM

In his book Life, Liberty and the Defense of Dignity, Kass leaves little doubt about his convictions, writing, "After a while, no matter how healthy we are, no matter how respected and well placed we are socially, most of us cease to look upon the world with fresh eyes. Little surprises us, nothing shocks us, righteous indignation at injustice dies out."

Don't you just hate it when someone elevates his personal cognitive defect into a nearly "universal" philosophical principle? Apparently Kass doesn't care about the welfare of the minority of people who can keep looking at the world with "fresh eyes."

Maybe I'm not old enough yet for my psychological programming to run down (I'm a mere 43 years old), but I certainly don't feel the way Kass apparently does. The older I get, the more I'd like to learn about, explore and experience. Too bad I'm constrained financially. Lately I've come to appreciate cats, which I didn't care for previously until I let Khan move into my house. I've started listening to jazz in the past few years, a genre of music I didn't pay much attention to previously. And I've been studying up on the process of inventive problem solving.

Considering that Kass doesn't seem to experience the world directly, but rather through the mediation of pessimistic fictional portrayals of the evils of hubris, I suspect his attitude towards human potentials derives from his inability to distinguish between fantasy & reality. He started out his career as an empirical scientist, from what I've read, but somewhere along the line he abandoned the study of tangible reality and wound up in the bioethics hustle, where he's been trying to impose his arbitrary anxieties on the rest of us through sophistical arguments & the force of law. I hope not many other scientists are tempted to follow his example.

Edited by advancedatheist, 13 February 2003 - 09:45 PM.

#8 Bruce Klein

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Posted 13 February 2003 - 10:56 PM

Don't you just hate it when someone elevates his personal cognitive defect into a nearly "universal" philosophical principle? Apparently Kass doesn't care about the welfare of the minority of people who can keep looking at the world with "fresh eyes."

*chuckle* I feel so lucky to have the internet. so lucky to be alive... so lucky to have an online outlet to discuss the prospect of infinite lifespan with other objective, rational and exceedingly intelligent beings. I feel sorry for Kass. Obviously, as you suggest firstimm, somewhere along the way he gave into some silly notion. I've discussed this before, but I don't believe he is beyond change. He changed once, he can change again. He may be the last to do so however, but I'll be the first to shake his hand and welcome him onboard.

#9 Lazarus

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Posted 07 April 2003 - 12:33 AM

(with a richous fist in the air) ROck on man, I WILL be havin a beer( or whatever the popular social drink at the time is) with you in a thousand year, immortality is the way to go

#10 Mr Boot

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:43 PM

If I might submit another short answer to "why immortality?"...

We need more time to consider the question. ;)

#11 alexramonsky

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 09:10 AM

Thankyou for drawing my attention to this article. It's clear, well written, and seems the most sensible way to go for anyone wanting physical immortality. I'm a bit 'off to the side', because I don't want the 'physical' bit, consequently plastination would be a more sensible move for me than freezing, but cryonics certainly offers the best possibilities if you want to hang of to all the squishy stuff. I don't really do politics, so I can't comment on those parts.
Love the Klingon beard, by the way : )

#12 Bruce Klein

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Posted 31 July 2003 - 06:20 PM

Thanks for the feedback.. are you referring to my beard by the way? If so thanks (i think :p). Could you elaborate on your definition of 'plastination' in terms of your desired type of physical immortality?

#13 alexramonsky

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Posted 01 August 2003 - 02:02 AM

Oh yeh! The beard is cool...I can't do the beard thing, see, because some of it grows black and the other bits grey...in patches. From a distance it just looks like rats have been nibbling it.
Plastination...check out:

I want freeze-drying after that and a laser slice/scan.
...Unless of course I don't get that decrepid before someone can whack me up a com port. : )

#14 fdotseth

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 07:27 PM

Why not talk more about the requirements for immortality? What has to be overcome? Here is where I am - at this moment!
Our thoughts are far more powerful than we understand.
The requirements for immortality are:
1. Trust in myself. 2. Believe in my thoughts. 3. Live in the here and now with expectations and plans for continuation. 4. Information must be overridden. (I have been taught to believe that I age. This was a detrimental imposition. I did not age. I developed until about the age of 26. During and after that time in my existance I replicated myself - total replication taking approximately 7 years.) 5. I must feed my body with proper nutrients.
It takes work to overcome - but it can happen. Just remember, TRUST in yourself comes first.

#15 alexramonsky

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Posted 10 September 2003 - 07:56 PM

Interesting...I find it hard to understand how to use 'trust' in this way, because trust is for me allied irrevocably to ability. For example, I would probably not trust myself to fly a space shuttle right now, but I would trust myself to make coffee without spilling it everywhere. I can't separate the two.
Ditto, 'believe' in my thoughts...I believe my thoughts exist, obviously. Whether or not they are accurate or correct remains to be seen when the proof is in. It doesn't matter if they're wrong because I can replace them as I learn more...are you just saying hree, 'self esteem is a good idea?' If so, I certainly agree.
Whenever I'm asked 'Do you trust so-and-so?', I have to reply, 'To do what?' To be competent in a crisis? To keep integrity as a priority? To be capable of being honest?
How can I trust someone when I know nothing about their ability? Wouldn't that be either blind faith or wishful thinking? : )
Ah, now you're going to tell me I'm cold hearted : )

#16 bacopa

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Posted 12 September 2003 - 11:20 PM

I agree

Edited by dfowler, 22 September 2003 - 06:58 PM.

#17 Sophianic

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 12:16 PM

It’s probably impossible to prove there's no life after death, but thanks to technological interventions immortalists aren't taking chances

Logically, no one has an obligation to disprove a negative. The onus of proof remains with those who assert the positive: if you say there is life after death, you must provide evidence in support of that assertion ~ evidence that conclusively demonstrates it.

#18 Lazarus Long

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 12:32 PM

Well said Soph and exactly why it is a demand of theists and politicians that we take ideas ON FAITH when we skeptics ask to question motives, interests, objectives, methods, and more salient issues.

"Faith based reasoning" isn't just illogical, it is inherently corrupt. You see individually we have the "right, if not the responsibility" to demand behavior in accord with our beliefs but when a second, or outside party attempts to demand you behave in accord with their beliefs they are shifting the onus of proof away from where it actually belongs, on them.

It is their responsibility to show cause in a rational manner, not by mere appeal to text. This issue is not only about an "afterlife" and death, it goes directly to the manner that we live our lives. Consider it the fine small print of the social contract.

#19 gandalf

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 08:48 AM

Once again, I am astounded by the clarity of thought, even between individuals of differing views. I am impressed and humbled.

As to the question that leads this discussion, I have my own views, which probably will recieve much of the same thoughtful criticism I've seen so far and I will prefface my remarks with the statement that I welcome such. I am always seeking a better understanding of all of these issues and hold no "truth" already learned sacred.

First off, I am a forty-nine year young kid with a propensity for living life to it's fullest, seeking knowledge, understanding and friendship. I would love to maintain my continuity in this form for as long as I am able to keep it functioning comfortably. On the other hand, I can understand that many might feel that past a certain point, death might be a release from the symptoms of aging. I myself have felt many of these sysmptoms and often express my desire for a younger body.

I believe, in this sense, that I would qualify as "emortal" in that I see no reason, medical science being on the trend it now is, for my body not to be able to recover from many of the symtoms of ageing within the span I may well be able to keep it relatively healthy. After which, well, we will see.

On the other hand, I don't think I would like to linger on in an aching husk that can barely be trusted upright without support. And I also know that even a healty and active individual is subject to the foibles of the uncertainty principle; busses might run one down, stray bullets, meteors, natural "disasters" of all ilks may befall one at any time. Part of the adventure of life is not always knowing the outcome of a choice. Often, the unspoken "law of nature" amounts to: choose wrong and die.

Then there is the fact that, at least in my own heart of hearts, there are justifiable reasons for "giving" my life in the pursuit of any goal I feel worthy of that sacrifice. That could amount to some cause, or just an instant choice to save another life.

Now, here comes the part that I'm sure will get a few of you stirred up. I have no fear of death itself. I fear being old and weak and useless. I fear having no purpose I consider valuable or important. For myself, I find that purpose in doing what I can for those around me. I don't fear death because I have a personal subjective experience, unprovable to any but myself, that convinces me that something about me CANNOT die, in the sense of ceasing to exist.

The personality that is known now as Jim (or Gandalf, depending on who you ask) will only persist as long as this vehicle exists. Yet this personal experience has demonstrated to my satisfaction that there is somewhat more to "ME" than just this existance.

Now, now, I know this is way out there, to many of you. Let me try to explain.

First, I am an electronics/control systems engineer. I deal in practicalities where any assumptions can cause disasters, fatal ones. So I have to understand the the laws of physics and their inviolability. I have done much research into the fundamental structure of the universe from a practical standpoint and have come to some interesting conclusions.

First, that no given level of understanding of any part of our physical universe will NOT be at some point superseded by a clearer or fuller understanding of that aspect of reality.

Second, at a quantum level all things, energy and matter in our universe is intricately connected to every other, in a way that today seems magical. To paraphrase A.C.Clarke, Any sufficiently advanced concepts, applied in manifest form out of context with an understanding of them, will appear indistinguishable from magic by the observer.

Now I must digress a bit in order to try to establish that my reasons for "believing" in an existance beyond death go beyond wishful thinking.

On the connection thing. When I was studying electronics in the Naval schools, the emphasis was on troubleshooting. This was something most had great difficulty doing, but for some reason I found it very easy. You see, when I looked at a system, I saw the whole system. Symptoms of a malfunction seemed to me to point obviously to the part of the system causing the problem, allowing me to quickly isolate problems.

Naturally, this served me well and I became somewhat of a phenom as a troubleshooter, both in the military and afterwards. Besides the equipment I was originally train upon, it became quickly apparent that I could do the same, given enough information in the form of manuals and test results, for any equipment. This carried over into pnumatics and hydralics in the industrial setting as the years went on and I found myself as a shift tech for a huge power plant for many years.

It was around this time that I began to examine how my own talent worked, to maybe hone it and improve on it. What I began to realize is that I could actually "feel" in a sense, the way the system was responding to input. By trying an experimental change in a set point, I could see how the system responded, using that data to find trouble point in complex systems.

One could easily say that it was because of some uncouncious hyper-awareness of the readouts, as I was scanning recorders, lights, and other indicators as I did this, but often as I walked through the plant to test a hypothasis, I would get a feeling or sense of how it was really working. I cannot describe it well, as it was a type of awareness I don't believe many get to experience. But I can say that I saw temperatures and flows in a way that was not visual. I heard the same in a way that was not audible. By trusting this feeling, I solved potentially dangerous problems before they had even caused a loss of production. The only "proof" I can offer is the fact that it worked.

I redily admit, in this context, that such experience does not prove a thing and can be subject to many interpretations. This interpretation works for me because the practical application of my understanding of it has repeatable results for me over a long period of time. Also it does not address the life after death issue; it is intended only to demonstrate a sense of the connectedness of things that transends any ability of proof that is not subjective. It is a totally experiencial understanding.

On the subject of something surviving the end of this body's coherence. Well yes. That something isn't the me everyone has come to know and love/hate. It is something that I percieve as the subtle matter, perhaps other dimensional in nature, that underlies the manifest and visible parts of reality described by so many of our modern physicists.

[ A moments digression here: my understanding is that many modern quantum physicists have postulated no less than seven layers or levels to this reality, though it escapes me at the moment why]

Anyway, if there is some sub-structural reality underlying the 3-d immersed in time part we normally percieve, I am sure that this is the source of this sense I have of some larger "self" that has a continued existance independant of the apparently many manifestations or lives it travels through time in.

Again, I can offer no proofs outside of my own subjective experiences and those can again be subjected to many interpretations, not necessarily the one I ascribe to it. Yet I have "remembered" things that are verifiable (and have been) that of course I could not have been witness to as they took place before "I" was born.

Ok, maybe there is some unconcious way we can tap into memories of others or of those that have passed and it has nothing at all to do with having lived as someone else before. Maybe I'm just deluded and have had a few lucky coincidences that reinforced that delusion. But I am considered a very stable person by those who know me and am well known for pointing out harsh reality to others when flights of fancy ignore the underlying realities visible to all. Delusional is not something normally ascribed to me.

On the other hand, excentric and a little out there are terms used in context with myself. When a practical understanding of history or an old process seems to me to come in the form of memory of having actually been there and done that (no, I was not ever anyone from history, so I lack that particular delusion), I have quit questioning it's source. When I am able to verify that understanding and find it accurate, it tends to reinforce the "memory" as such. This may also be deluding myself, but it does not feel so to me.

Most of the immortalist and even emortalists I have so far read hear seem to believe that nothing exists beyond their current manifestation of what they consider to be their root self. This may be true. It obviously is, even within my understanding, since the form I now have and the life I now lead will not be in existance at some point (hopefully not soon; a few thousand is my goal for now). But this sense of a greater being, larger in the sense of accumilating experience across many lifetimes, sticks with me and gives me a comfort that I am somehow truly immortal, in the very real sense that nothing can destroy the core being that I AM.

None of this proposes any need for faith in anything. I am not simply seeking a comfortable way to avoid dealing with the oblivion that will one day take Jim out of the world. But I like Jim. I like my life. I feel I can do with it much much more than I have and would like to maintain a continuity of life for as long as is practical. It is certainly very convenient not to have to deal with figuring all of this out (most of it at least) each time around all over again. But I don't fear the end of Jim. I relish every moment I have, even when I'm depressed or bummed out about things. Those moments of boredom that go with hanging around are only spurs to find something worthwhile to do.

As long as I can be useful to myself and others, I wanna keep going! I don't wanna die! But if death comes, I won't regret it or cry about it. I will take another run at my existance and once again try to find the reason for it all.

In love,
Gandalf the Grey Wonderer

#20 Bruce Klein

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 10:02 AM


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. You have writing style that's enjoyable to read. I hope your wish to live for at least a few thousand years, comes to pass.

#21 gandalf

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Posted 10 November 2003 - 09:23 PM

Thank you for the kind welcome. Like Till, I have been heavily influenced by RAH and try, in my own poor way, to include many of the values I have learned through reading him and many others as a very young boy. One of the things he taught me as young as seven was to value personal honesty, as it is the only "truth" we can ever really know.

In Love,

#22 binanarysplit

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Posted 27 December 2003 - 12:33 PM

Hm. I don’t know that anyone will read this, but maybe that is just where I should put my first post…

Like BJKlein, I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts. I also appreciated your careful emphasis on the subjectivity of certain definitions of immortality, connectedness, etc. None of the following is really meant to disagree with you, either. I’m just being chatty.

As was lightly hit upon earlier in the thread, I want to note that each of us must come to terms not only with our own immortality, but also that of any Other… external body… probably person. It was previously stated that it is illogical (among other things) to ask another to adopt behavior based on our own beliefs. Similarly, when considering the application of immortality (referring to drastic change in social practices, particularly law, when the achievement of immortality takes its initial form) it would seem necessary to limit that working concept to the physical.

You might still be aware of You after You die, but I am not. Some would disagree, as they are perfectly welcome to do. As far as I’m concerned, though, You are solely that which I can perceive through empirical means. And I care as much about You as I do for myself.

So how does this influence my thoughts on immortality? I’m not sure. I was going somewhere when I started writing this – something about law, a response to the “why physical” as opposed to the “why immortality,” I dunno – and I invite anyone else to pick it up.

~ Binanary Split

#23 7000

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:28 AM

Physical immortality is an avenue for those that couldnt stand the risk of life after death.Most especially if you dont beleive in ''if i die, i will surely achieve immortality propably in another form''.

#24 7000

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Posted 16 February 2004 - 01:32 AM

Tios alpha and omega concept tells you more about the origin of physical immortaliy.conerstonex@yahoo.com

#25 daraknor

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 03:57 PM

Gandalf: Being able to grok a system is a useful talent, I seem to share it to some degree. The problem is there are so many systems these days in computing, and things change so fast. I have started to rely on more intuition mixed with finding out which ssystem is having the issue (client vs server, driver or architecture, etc). I say intuition, but there is probably a bayesian reasoned system that underlies my guesses. Interesting enough, I apply a different philosophy of computing and problem solving for different operating systems and architectures.

As for "Why Physical Immortality" I say we don't know enough about what we would be giving up. Why do we dream? What if we don't dream in robot bodies? My mother gave me an interesting inspiration after describing strange dreams. I thought about the Creativity AI using Neural Networks, and the difficulty of creating new methods in traditional AI. Maybe dreams are how we derive new methods, mixing together unrelated information. Maybe we dream answers.

What if, by becoming something else, we loose our capacity to grow beyond a certain point? I am interested in staying as a human for a while longer too. I think we need more time to figure us out, to reach enlightenment or a plateau. Some people stop changing, stop growing. The rest of us don't seem to have enough time to change and grow.

#26 Bruce Klein

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Posted 02 March 2004 - 09:08 PM

Thanks Daraknor,

You bring us some interesting and perceptive questions. And I tend to agree that sleep and dreams allow the mind to internalize impressioned information throughout the day by way of chemical connectedness. Also, without enough sleep most humans will die.

However, I can leave my computer on all day and night.. and it doe's just as well and absorbers just as much information as when i first got it.

While my brain has evolved over many generations to cycle with the sun/night and sleep/wake.. we've invented a thinking machine that doesn't have this limitation=computer. Thus, I would expect that when we merge Mind + Machine, the need to sleep/dream will lessen as a need to learn.

#27 daraknor

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Posted 03 March 2004 - 12:04 PM

To be fair, the Creativity AI built on a neural network does something similar to what I describe, but it is apparently only building neural networks of content, and not of methods. I don't believe in mysticism, but I also don't think that we really understand what our bodies do.

In India, Yoga has been a science of experimenting on yourself for over 4000 years. I think they are closer to understanding how and why our bodies function, while western medicine is closer to answer "what happens when X" situations. We may simply be a collection of brainchemistry that can be modeled on a computer. I am not sure, and I want to know before giving up what I already have. Ideally, I would like to see a bidrectional passing of information, to store my culmulative experience.

There was a book about that, although it did not appear so at first. "Glory Road" by Heinlein has a government based on a person imprinting previous monarchs, and those monarchs culmulative wisdom and experience are available to the ruler. Hebert talks about "serial lifetimes' in the Dune series, exploring a great deal of the ramifications of diverse experience. I definitely look forward to that.

A digital life as described in "Otherland" may not be too bad. I am not so sure about "Neuromancer".

#28 Elohim

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 03:59 PM

You bring us some interesting and perceptive questions.  And I tend to agree that sleep and dreams allow the mind to internalize impressioned information throughout the day by way of chemical connectedness.  Also, without enough sleep most humans will die. 

However, I can leave my computer on all day and night.. and it doe's just as well and absorbers just as much information as when i first got it.

While my brain has evolved over many generations to cycle with the sun/night and sleep/wake.. we've invented a thinking machine that doesn't have this limitation=computer.  Thus, I would expect that when we merge Mind + Machine, the need to sleep/dream will lessen as a need to learn.

Quite an interesting theory.

In addition to being (seemingly) a time of subconcious organization, sleep is also used as a stress reliever and escape. I, myself, love sleeping! When in a mech body or virtual existance, would the majority of our species opt to give up their normal sleep cycle, or would we almost need to have a preprogrammed randomizer that gives us a sleep cycle of 8-10 hours just so we could take a break from "life"?

Assuredly we would have VR programming to simulate different experiences, but it's intriguing to think that we would opt to give up something that many people look forward to at the end of the day-- sleep. Escape.

It's even more intriguing to theorize about what could replace sleep as that escape.

#29 7000

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Posted 04 March 2004 - 08:18 PM

There is no dream in physical immortality unless there is a voluntary death and you can get a dream then someone have you connected back to reality.In physical immortality, beleif is not dynamic.If you do not have the beleif in a dream, you don't have the priveledge to hinder its reality when what looks like dream happens.
The different now is the dynamic in mortal humans.That is if you do not have the beleif in a dream, you have the priveledge to hinder its reality.The implication of this is that mortal human has the ability to have something even when they are instinct to NO knowledge.This is equivalent to computers that has something when it is instinct to NO knowledge.

In mortal body, sleep is a point of decision without knowledge.Sleep is when human is not instinct to something.When you sleep, you have no instinct, you have no knowledge of what is happening around you and you cannot keep the memory of what is happening 'cos you have no knowledge again.Hence, knowledge will be a creat knowlegde and creat knowledge is no knowledge.Also when you sleep, you can wake up and you might not depending on the programe of something.But programe of something is human.Hence, programe of something is you.However, human has a beleif which is dynamic and the beleif is a programe of something.Hence, human is dynamic.

PHYSICAL IMMORTALITY IN IMMORTAL BODY:If you sleep,that means you die 'cos you are no more connected.It is what is programe[that is what you dream]if possible that you will know when you are connected back.You will always remember all what is programe on you [that is the memory] this is because beleif is no more dynamic.Either you have the beleif in the programe made on you or not it will always works and you will always keep the memeory of every new programe.
However, technology will be so much advanced in the nearest future so that you will not die even when you want to die.Everybody will be its brothers keeper.If someone else do something, that means you have done it also.The implication of this is that if someone is no more connected, the whole world is no more connected.

I will say:Programe is a dream and it is a creat knowledge that has not recreat knowledge.
Past memory is a programe and it is a stored memory which is a creat knowledge that cannot recreat knowledge without an experience something.
Recreat knowledge is a present memory and it will always lead to a future memory when there is something.
Mean while, human can have something without beign instinct to something but computer cannot have something without beign instinct to something.
If human is experiencing something without knowledge it is living but if computer is experiencing something without knowledge it is not living.
In conclusion, computer is not complete without knowledge.But human could be complete without knowledge.However, every experience something has a beleif.
Human is a beleived something because of its dynamic ability.If computer experience something, it will lead to the internet of the future.

Edited by 7000, 13 May 2004 - 09:47 PM.

#30 jasonmog

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Posted 04 June 2004 - 02:57 PM

A bit hard to read, but I get your point, 7000. I, myself, have also pondered the comparison between sleep and death. Any one else want to touch on this relation?

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