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LONGEVITIZE!

ESSAYS ON THE SCIENCE, PHILOSOPHY & POLITICS OF LONGEVITY

EDITED BY: FRANCO CORTESE

2013 Center for Transhumanity


ISBN: 978-0-9919824-2-4
Published by Center for Transhumanity
Cover: Oak fractured by a lightning bolt. Allegory on wife's death. (1842) by Maxim Vorobiev
Cover Design by Wendy Stolyarov

This volume is dedicated to the 36.5 million people that will have died this year from agecorrelated diseases that are in principle preventable and unnecessary.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EDITORS PREFACE___

PART ONE: LONGEVITYS POSSIBLE PROBLEMS___

1. WONT MINDCLONES ONLY BE FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS?

MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D, MBA, J.D.


2. DESIGN AS BIOLOGY: MORE SUSTAINABLE CITIES FOR A GROWING POPULATION

RACHEL ARMSTRONG, PH.D.


3. FUTURE OF URBAN FARMING: MORE FOOD FOR LONGER-LIVING PEOPLE

FREIJA VAN DUIJNE, PH.D.


4. IF IMMORTALITY CREATES HORRIBLE OVERPOPULATION, WHAT NEW ZONES SHOULD WE

COLONIZE?
IMMORTAL LIFE DEBATE FORUM
5. SUPERLONGEVITY WITHOUT OVERPOPULATION

MAX MORE, PH.D


6. LONGEVITY LOGISTICS: WE CAN MANAGE THE EFFECTS OF OVERPOPULATION

FRANCO CORTESE
7. OVERPOPULATION & EXTINCTION

DAVID KEKICH

PART TWO: LONGEVITY PHILOSOPHY___

8. IMMORTALISM: ERNEST BECKER AND ALAN HARRINGTON ON OVERCOMING BIOLOGICAL

LIMITATIONS
JASON SILVA
9. REFUTING THE INDEFINITE LONGEVITY WILL SLOW PROGRESS CRITICISM

FRANCO CORTESE
10. LAZARUS LONG

JOHN ELLIS , PH.D.


11. TECHNO-IMMORTALISM 101: WHAT ARE MINDFILES?

MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D., MBA, J.D.


12. LONGEVITY AND THE INDIAN TRADITION

ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D


13. WHENCE COMETH DEATH?
JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D
14. DEAD AS A DOORNAIL?

PETER ROTHMAN
15. THE OBJECTIVIST-EXTROPIAN SYNTHESIS
G. STOLYAROV II
16. LET A THOUSAND TURTLES FLY IN THE FACE OF IMMORTALITY

GIULIO PRISCO
17. ARE THERE TRANSHUMANS AMONG US?

DAVID KEKICH
18. THE IRRATIONALITY OF THE VIEW THAT LIFE IS SOMETIMES NOT WORTH LIVING

G. STOLYAROV II
19. BIO-PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR HUMAN BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,


20. TRANSHUMANISM AND MIND UPLOADING ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS

G. STOLYAROV II
21. THINK

MILE
22. LONGEVITY AND JEWISH TRADITION
ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D
23. I-NESS: WHAT DOES AND DOES NOT PRESERVE THE SELF?

G. STOLYAROV II
24. HOW CAN A MINDCLONE BE IMMORTAL IF ITS NOT EVEN ALIVE?

MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D., MBA, J.D.


25. CLEARING UP COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHOLE BRAIN EMULATION & SUBSTRATE

INDEPENDENCE
FRANCO CORTESE

26. CAN CONSCIOUSNESS SURVIVE PHYSICAL DISCONTINUITY?

G. STOLYAROV II
27. IS YOUR BRAIN YOU?
DAVID KEKICH
27. PEOPLE WHO JUSTIFY AGING ARE PROFOUNDLY WRONG
MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.
28. COPING WITH DEATH: THE COSMIST THIRD WAY

GIULIO PRISCO
29. DEATH IS NOT MY BRAINS FRIEND - I BELIEVE IN NEUROLOGY, NOT IN GOD
GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D
30. THERE IS NO EXPERIENCE WORTH DYING FOR

G. STOLYAROV II
31. TO KNOW OR NOT TO KNOW?

ERIC SCHULKE
32. DESIRING IMMORTALITY

JASON XU
33. THE SUFFERING OF WHICH YOU SPARE YOURSELF THE SIGHT
MILE
34. MY FRIENDS BREAK MY HEART
DAVID KEKICH

35. THE ADVANTAGES OF IMMORTALITY

G. STOLYAROV II
36. IMMORTALITY IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME!

B.J. MURPHY
37. HOW WILL LIFE EXTENSION CHANGE RELIGION?
G. STOLYAROV II
38. ASK THE AGED IF THEY SUFFER

MILE
39. AN ATHEISTS RESPONSE TO PASCALS WAGER

G. STOLYAROV II
40. PROGRESS, HOPE & HUMAN LONGEVITY
DAVID KEKICH
41. REFUTING THE TECHNICAL INFEASIBILITY ARGUMENT
FRANCO CORTESE
42. NATURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND BUT TRANSHUMANISM IS!

ROEN HORN
43. LONGEVITY IN THE ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST AND ISLAMIC TRADITION

ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D


44. COULD RELIGIONS COME TO ADOPT A NATURALISTIC PERSPECTIVE ON RESSURECTION AND
JUDGEMENT?
G. STOLYAROV II

45. WHAT WILL LIFE-EXTENSION DO TO RELATIONSHIPS?

LINDA GAMBLE
46. WHAT WILL LIFE EXTENSION DO TO CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT?

G. STOLYAROV II
47. HUMANITYS NATURE IS TO TAKE ON PROBLEMS LIKE DEATH

MILE
48. THE GLOBAL BRAIN & ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR HUMAN BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,


49. LIFE IS WORTH LIVING FOREVER!

G. STOLYAROV II
50. AMALGAMATION OF INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION AND TRANSCENDENCE AS WE MOVE

TOWARD THE FUTURE


JAMESON ROHRER
51. DEATH COSTS THE WORLD A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY

ERIC SCHULKE AND VIOLETTA KARKUCINSKA


52. LIFE AND LIBERTY: WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?

G. STOLYAROV II
53. OCCAMS RAZOR & THE SOUL

YANIV CHEN
54. EVOLUTION: BIOLOGICAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, SOCIETAL

G. STOLYAROV II
55. REJUVENATION RE RELIGION
FRANCO CORTESE

PART THREE: LONGEVITY POLITICS___

56. DEBATE FORUM: WHICH WILL BE THE FIRST NATION TO OFFER STATE-SUBSIDIZED

IMMORTALITY TO ITS CITIZENS?


IMMORTALLIFE.INFO DEBATE FORUMS
57. THE LONGEVITY PARTY MANIFESTO

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


58. THE LONGEVITY PARTY WHO NEEDS IT? WHO WANTS IT?

ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D


59. PRIVATE OR GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR INDEFINITE LIFE-EXTENSION?

G. STOLYAROV II
60. LETTER TO SERGEY BRIN

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


61. STUDY GERONTOLOGY! THIS FRONTIER PROVIDES HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

ERIC SCHULKE
62. DEATH IS TERRORISM

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


63. INTERNATIONAL LONGEVITY ALLIANCE MANIFESTO

ILA
64. LIBERTY THROUGH LONG LIFE
G. STOLYAROV II
65. HOW MUCH DOES AGING COST YOU?

DAVID KEKICH
66. WHAT IS THE BOTTLENECK FOR PROGRESS IN BIOMEDICAL GERONTOLOGY?
FRANCO CORTESE
67. HOW TO COMMUNICATE THE LIFE EXTENSION AGENDA

PETER WICKS
68. SUPPORT LIFE, NOT WAR

TOM MOONEY
69. HOW TO GET THE WORLD TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT DEATH
MILE
70. EVERYONE MUST MAKE THEIR OWN TRANSHUMANIST WAGER
ZOLTAN ISTVAN
71. STRATEGIES FOR HASTENING THE ARRIVAL OF INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION
G. STOLYAROV II
72. TAKE ACTION!

ILA
73. TRANSHUMANISM AS A GRAND CONSERVATISM

G. STOLYAROV II
74. INVERTING A TECHNOPOLITICAL TROPE: ON THE HUBRIS OF NEO-LUDDISM
FRANCO CORTESE
75. TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT LIFE EXTENSION: IF THEY SAY NO
MILE
76. DEFEATING AGING AND DEATH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND URGENT GOAL FOR HUMANKIND

GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D.


77. INTERNATIONAL LONGEVITY ALLIANCE INITIATIVES
ILA
78. PROBLEMS WITH NIA FUNDING DISTRIBUTION

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


79. A LIBERTARIAN-TRANSHUMANIST CRITIQUE OF JEFFREY TUCKERS A LESSON IN

MORTALITY
G. STOLYAROV II
80. DOES THE WORDS IMMORTALITY & FOREVER DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD FOR OUR

CAUSE?
JOHN R LEONARD
81. HOW TO CONVINCE SKEPTICS & FENCE-SITTERS

ERIC SCHULKE
82. THE COALITION TO EXTEND LIFE

TOM MOONEY

83. WHY BIOTECH IS UNLIKELY TO BE THE WAY

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,


84. ITS ABOUT LIFE-EXTENSION, NOT ENDING PAIN AND DEBILITATION
MILE
85. MAXIMUM LIFE FOUNDATION CAPITOL WHITE PAPER
DAVID KEKICH

PART FOUR: LONGEVITY PRAGMATICS___

LIFESTYLE___

86. DEBATE FORUM: WHAT IS THE BEST LONGEVITY EXERCISE?

IMMORTAL LIFE DEBATE FORUM DEBATE


87. LONGEVITY LIFESTYLE

DAVID KEKICH
88. LONGEVITY RUNNING: LIFE EXTENSION SCIENTIST BILL ANDREWS 138-MILE HIMALAYAN

ULTRAMARATHON
JASON SUSSBERG
89. LONGEVITY & EXERCISE

DAVID WESTMORELAND
90. THE ONLY WAY TO KEEP YOUR WEALTH INTACT: KEEPING YOUR HEALTH INTACT

DAVID KEKICH

91. ENDURANCE EXERCISE STUDY SAYS 40 IS THE NEW 80

MARC RANSFORD
92. 3 WAYS ANIMAL PROTEINS JUST MIGHT KILL YOU

JONATHAN BECHTEL
93. RULES OF THUMB FOR ESTIMATING YOUR BIOLOGICAL AGE

DAVID KEKICH
94. VEGETARIANISM & LONGEVITY

JOERN PALLENSEN
95. THE CHINA STUDY: VEGANISM & LONGEVITY

JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D


96. 20 HEALTH BENEFITS OF MEDITATION

DAVID KEKICH
97. RUNNING & WEIGHTLIFTING FOR NEUROGENESIS & LIFE-EXTENSION
ALEX LIGHTMAN
98. NATURAL ANTI-AGING IS AN OXYMORON

JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D.

TECH___

99. CHEMICAL BRAIN PRESERVATION: CRYONICS FOR MIND-UPLOADERS

GIULIO PRISCO

100. MOLECULAR NANOTECHNOLOGY & LONGEVITY

DICK PELLETIER
101. PREVENTATIVE TESTING FOR AGING

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


102. 3D-PRINTED CYBERNETIC APPENDAGES

JAMESON ROHRER
103. ORGAN AND TISSUE REPLACEMENT COULD END AGING BY 2020

DICK PELLETIER
104. CREATION OF ARTIFICIAL CELLS DEALS FATAL BLOW TO VITALISM
G. STOLYAROV II
105.MEDICINE WILL TRANSCEND THE LIMITS OF BIOLOGY

DAVID KEKICH
106. SYNTHETIC BIOLOGYS PROMISE

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


107. LONGEVITY & THE TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY
DICK PELLETIER
108. LONGEVITY, DISTRIBUTED COMPUTING & VIDEO GAMES

G. STOLYAROV II
109. NANOTECH TO END DISEASE, AGING & POVERTY

DICK PELLETIER
110. BIOHACKING 101: WHY SELF EXPERIMENT?

WINSLOW STRONG
111. DIY NANOTECH DOUBLES LIFESPAN IN MICE!

GRINDHOUSE WETWARES
112. CRYONICS 101

JAMESON ROHRER

PHARMA___

113. TELOMERASE HISTORY & TIPS

DAVID KEKICH
114. SUPPLEMENTAL SKINNINESS
JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D.
115. ASTRAGALUS: IS THIS ANCIENT CHINESE HERB THE TELOMERE-ENABLER OF THE FUTURE?
JONATHAN BECHTEL
116. EXCITING DISCOVERY OF 2,000 YEAR-OLD TIBETAN ROOT

JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D.


117. THE SEARCH FOR A MIRACLE LONGEVITY DRUG TO SLOW, HALT OR REVERSE CELL

SENESCENCE
DAVID KEKICH
118. BRAIN CHEMISTRY AND LIFESPAN
JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D.

RESEARCH ___

119. POTENTIAL THERAPEUTIC APPLICATIONS OF TELOMERE BIOLOGY

WILLIAM H. ANDREWS, PH.D


120. LONGEVITY: WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS

DAVID WESTMORELAND
121. EXTREME LIFESPANS THROUGH PERPETUALLY EQUALIZING INTERVENTIONS

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,


122. DR. DAVID SINCAIR MAKES PROGRESS IN THE WAR ON BIOLOGICAL AGING

G. STOLYAROV II
123. 14 KNOWN MECHANISMS OF AGING AND THEIR SOLUTIONS

DAVID KEKICH
124. ALZHEIMERS IS A PROBLEM OF IMBALANCE, NOT TOXICITY

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


125. THE DEMOGRAPHIC THEORY OF AGING

JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D


126. EXTREME LIFE EXTENSION THROUGH EXPOSURE TO INFORMATION

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,


127. JOY IS 60% OUT OF OUR CONTROL

DAVID WESTMORELAND

128. SQUARING THE MORTALITY CURVE OR EXTENDING LONGEVITY?


DAVID KEKICH
129. PHYSICAL IMMORTALITY IS POSSIBLE: ASK TURRITOPSIS NUTRICULA!

G. STOLYAROV II
130. AN EXCEPTION TO SEVERAL THEORIES OF AGING: THE NAKED MOLE RAT

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


131. THE INTEGRATION OF STEM CELL MEDICINE

DAVID KEKICH
132. THE OCEAN QUAHOG: A CLAM THAT CAN LIVE FOR OVER 400 YEARS

G. STOLYAROV II\
133. AGING IS AN ACTIVE PROCESS OF SELF-DESTRUCTION

JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D

PART FIVE: THE ART OF LONGEVITY___

134. HEY KIDS, DONT FORGET TO TAKE MY BRAIN OUT OF THE FREEZER!

HANK PELLISSIER
135. QUESTIONS TO A TRANSHUMANIST

GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D


136. RE-LIVE/RE-BOOT
B.J. MURPHY
137. 2033 IMMORTALIST FICTION CONTEST WINNER

G. STOLYAROV II
138. OPEN LETTER TO THE CLOSED CASKET

FRANCO CORTESE
139. I WANT MY DAUGHTER TO BE IMMORTAL
HANK PELLISSIER
140. JONATHAN SWIFT'S STRULDBRUGS, IMMORTALITY, AND NEGLIGIBLE SENESCENCE

G. STOLYAROV II
141. IMMORTALIST REMIX: I HAVE A DREAM

ERIC SCHULKE
142. CYBERNETIC LOVE POEM

GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D.


143. MONOLOGUE OF IMMORTAL MAN
G. STOLYAROV II
144. JOIN IMMORTALISM, OR DIE!

HANK PELLISSIER
145. IMMORTALIST HIPHOP

MAITREYA ONE
146. HOME IS WARE THE HEARTH IS

FRANCO CORTESE
147. TRANSHUMANIST REVOLUTION

ZOLTAN ISTVAN

PART SIX: LONGEVITY POPCULTURE, PROGRAMS & EVENTS___

148. BILL GATES WANTS TO BE IMMORTAL?

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.


149. SURPRISING HEALTH HABITS OF THE ULTRA-WEALTHY

DAVID KEKICH
150. LONGEVITY & THE TRANSHUMAN
CLYDE DESOUZA
151. GOOGLE WANTS TO FUND LIFE-EXTENSION START-UPS
MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.
152. WILL GOOGLES RAY KURZWEIL LOVE FOREVER?

DAVID KEKICH
153. TRANSHUMANIST MEDIA CONTENT
MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.
154. IMMORTAL LIFE INTERVIEW WITH R.U. SIRIUS, BIOGRAPHER OF TIM LEARY

HANK PELLISSIER & R.U. SIRIUS


155. ANTI-IMMORTALIST CINEMA
B.J. MURPHY
156. BAD CINEMA

MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.

157. INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT ETTINGER


GIULIO PRISCO & ROBERT ETTINGER
158. GF2045: MORE ACTION, LESS TALK!
RANDAL A. KOENE, PH.D
159. GLOBAL FUTURE GONGRESS 2045, NEWYORK CITY
WINSLOW STRONG
160. GF2045: WHAT WILL WE LOOK LIKE IN 2045?
DAVID KEKICH
161. HELP CONQUER DEATH WITH CITIZEN SCIENTIST GRANTS & RESEARCH FUNDING FROM

LONGECITY!
FRANCO CORTESE
162. SILICON VALLEY TRANSHUMANIST ESTABLISHES RESURRECTION GROUPS

JASON XU
163. THE MOVEMENT FOR INDEFINITE LIFE-EXTENSION (MILE): THE NEXT STEP FOR HUMANKIND

G. STOLYAROV II
164. CYPRUS SYMPOSION PATHWAYS TO INDEFINITE LIFESPANS

MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,

CONTRIBUTORS

APPENDIX I: ORGANIZATIONS & INSTITUTIONS OF INTEREST


COMPILED BY FRANCO CORTESE

APPENDIX II: ADDITIONAL RESOURCES ON LONGEVITY


COMPILED BY G. STOLYAROV II

EDITORS PREFACE

The eradication of involuntary death via science and technology will be the defining feat of our
century. Involuntary death and suffering is nothing less than the crisis of our times, and the
complete abolishment of involuntary aging as quickly as possible is a moral imperative if there
ever was one. 100,000 real, living people die per day from age-correlated disease and functional
decline; 3 Million people lost per month to causes that are not inevitable, but instead have
specific material causes that can be remediated and even reversed through a variety of medical
therapies already visible on the developmental horizon. Look at what humanity has done with
and on this earth the myriad ways in which we have whorled the very world itself to betterembody our values and desires. To say that continually increasing human lifespans is technically
infeasible is to laugh in the face of history, and 3 Million in-principal preventable human deaths
per month 36.5 Million deaths per year is an untenable situation in a civilization as capable
as ours.
Indefinite longevity has been a long time coming. Deaths final defeat can arguably be seen as
inherent, or at least embryonic, in the rise of modern medicine, which made it increasingly
apparent that the causes of physical disease and functional decline were physical and procedural
rather than moral and metaphysical. If the body and mind were material systems amenable to
physical changes, then what was to stop us from keeping the body in a healthy condition through
the correct series of physical manipulations, potentially indefinitely?
A body in full functional optimality has a certain set of phenotypic correlates. A body in
functional decline (i.e. having sustained accumulated damage from aging) has an alternate set of
phenotypic correlates. If we can sustain and perpetuate the phenotypes correlating with
functional optimality, then what, really, is to stop us from doing so potentially indefinitely in
other words, from removing and reversing any deviation from the phenotypes correlative with
functional optimality?
The 20th century witnessed the convergence of multiple alternative approaches to indefinitelyextending human lifespans. We see the formulation of increasingly precise tools for making
changes to the body on the molecular scale genetic engineering, recombinant DNA and gene
therapies, regenerative medicines (e.g. bio-printing, stem-cell replacement therapies) and
synthetic biology. These tools progressively developed into what can be considered the
biotechnological approach to indefinite life-extension, epitomized by Aubrey de Greys
Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence, which locates 7 major causes of aging (that

is, age-correlated functional decline for individuals, and an increase in the mortality rate as a
function of age for populations) and posits 7 distinct biomedical approaches to either reversing
the effects of those seven deadly causes or making their effects negligible.
We also see the conceptual formulation of nanotechnology first by Richard Feynman in his
seminal 1959 lecture Theres Plenty of Room at the Bottom and later developed more formally
in K. Eric Drexlers Nanosystems, which described his notion of mechanosynthesis that is,
configuring molecules through mechanical manipulation at the atomic scale rather than through
chemical reaction. This paved the way for Robert A. Freitass groundbreaking work in
Nanomedicine although Drexler did lay a conceptual foundation for the health and medical use
of nanomachines in his popular book Engines of Creation. With machines small enough to fit
inside not only our bloodstreams, but our very cells, we would appear to be able to fix almost
any sort of structural, connectional or procedural damage i.e. phenotypic deviation leading to
or correlating with aging. Indeed, with the nanotechnological approach we neednt even
necessarily understand the mechanisms underlying the formation, regulation and growth of the
disease or phenotypic (e.g. structural or procedural) correlate(s) of functional decline; if we
know the molecular structures and procedural-parameters correlating with functional optimality,
and we have machines capable of atomically-precise molecular manipulation, then we can
simply revert any such phenotypic deviations to normality (i.e. to the phenotype(s) correlating
with optimal or normative functionality), recurrently, regardless of their ultimate or underlying
cause(s).
The 20th century also witnessed the conception of a third broad approach to reversing the effects
of aging, recurrently and potentially indefinitely: Mind-Uploading, or the notion of transferring
the mind residing in or embodied by ones brain into a computer. This concept appears to have
been first introduced by J.D Bernal in The World, The Flesh and the Devil, where he wrote
for even the replacement of a previously organic brain-cell by a synthetic apparatus would
not destroy the continuity of consciousness, and continued forward by Arthur C. Clarke, who
envisioned a transfer from brain to computer in his 1956 novel The City and the Stars. The
notion was further developed by Hans Moravec in his 1988 book Mind Children, and later by
Kurzweil in The Singularity is Near. The notion eventually evolved into the contemporary
intellectual movement of Substrate Independent Minds and the academic discipline of Whole
Brain Emulation, explored by such projects and groups as Randal A. Koenes
CarbonCopies.org., the 2045 Avatar Project, Henry Markrams Human Brain Project and the
similarly-aimed recent US BRAIN Initiative.
But while progress has been and is being made, progress does not make itself. Some think that
the best approach to take is to wait it out while living as healthily as one can until the
breakthroughs are made. But progress is not some external force or thing progress is us. We are
the prime mediators of progress. Jow long it takes to achieve continually-extended lifespans is

determined by how much attention, demand and funding it receives today and tomorrow. The
bottleneck for progress in biomedical gerontology may be funding, but the bottleneck for funding
is demand, desire, advocacy and lobbying. You can have an impact on the fight to end the
finality of death as a non-scientist and non-technologist. You can write a letter to your local
politician. You can spread the word that deaths final death is finally on the developmental
horizon. You can publicly advocate for more government research initiatives, policy reports, and
feasibility studies. You can volunteer at such non-profit organizations as LongeCity or the
International Longevity Alliance. And considering that the amount of time it takes to achieve
continually-increasing longevity is a function of how hard we work for it, which is in turn a
function of how hard we demand it, advocate it and lobby for it, then working to hasten the birth
of an ageless age is one of the most ethical and noble ways that one could spend their time, in
terms of the number of involuntary-deaths prevented and the amount of suffering preemptivelynegated.
Longevity cannot be left solely to the scientist and technologist because it is larger society that
determines what is worthy of sciences surveyance, what problems are important and should get
funding in short, the scope and extent of science. We need longevity to enter the arena of
politics, of activism, of art. We need men and women of every craft to take in hand their chosen
tool and demand the right to increasingly-longer life. We need every layman to stand up and say
Down with the childhood lies of deaths inevitability, or dignity, or naturality; down with the
obscene lie that we have no choice but to lie down at long last. We are human we, who have
stood up to raise ourselves up from the very beginning. We are the species defined by our
proclivity to deny and defy definition, to say doom to duty, and finally, to say death to death.
Accordingly, this volume considers longevity from a variety of viewpoints: scientific,
technological, philosophical, pragmatic, artistic. In it you will find not only information on the
ways in which science and medicine are bringing about the potential to reverse aging and defeat
death within many of our own lifetimes, as well as the ways that you can increase your own
longevity today in order to be there for tomorrows promise, but also a glimpse at the art,
philosophy and politics of longevity as well areas that will become increasingly important as
we realize that advocacy, lobbying and activism can play as large a part in the hastening of
progress in indefinite lifespans as science and technology.
The contributors of this volume are taking part in this most righteous of plights, the fight to
finally end the fickle final night and sickly-sanctified oblivion called involuntary death. This
volume is entirely indebted to their contributions. These men and women, along with the many
researchers, advocates, activists, artists and supporters of indefinite longevity who have not
found their way into the present volume, are the true heroes of our time. And it is never too late
to join them.

FRANCO CORTESE

PART ONE: LONGEVITYS POSSIBLE PROBLEMS


OVERPOPULATION, RESOURCE SCARCITY, THERAPY-AVAILABILITY &
ECONOMIC INEQUALITY

LACE AND GHOSTS (1856) BY VICTOR HUGO

WONT MINDCLONES ONLY BE FOR THE RICH AND FAMOUS?


BY: MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D, MBA, J.D.

1987 was the first year in which one billion people boarded airline flights. In that year the
worlds population hit 5 billion, meaning approximately 20% of all people experienced a
fantastic luxury not available to historys wealthiest monarchs. By 2005 two billion people were
boarding airliners each year, and the worlds population had grown to 6.5 billion. In the short
span of years between 1987 and 2005, airline flight grew from being a right of 20% to a right of
31% of humanity, from barely a fifth to almost a third. Even assuming more frequent flights by
the wealthier, this is startling evidence of the democratization of technology.
1987 was also noteworthy as the first year mobile phone sales hit one million units. A tool for
the rich? Twenty-two years later, in 2009, half the worlds population owned their own mobile
phone. From one million to three billion in 22 years. Even assuming some rich people have two
or more mobiles, this is undeniable evidence of the democratization of technology.
As with flying and phoning, so it will be with mindcloning. At first just a few. Almost overnight
it will be almost everyone. Technology democratizes. Thats what it does. I cant think of a
technology that does not democratize. Heart transplants? The first was in 1967, and currently
thousands of poor and middle class people are getting them each year, mostly in countries such
as the United States (including at least one impoverished prisoner), but also countries such as
Vietnam and India (where the first recipient was the wife of a handkerchief vendor). The
improvement of eyesight? Eyeglasses are almost universally available, and in wealthier countries
even those in the lowest wealth deciles of the population routinely wear contact lenses or have
corrective eye surgery.
Even in totalitarian countries, technology democratizes. Citizens of non-capitalist or nondemocratic countries rarely lack TVs or radios, even if they have little interesting content
available. Aside from sub-Saharan Africa, 90% or more of all urban populations worldwide have
access to electricity, and even 50% or more have access in rural areas.[1] Even in Africa,
wracked by impediments to technological development, two-thirds of city dwellers and a quarter

of villagers have electricity.[2]


Not one single person, monarch or mendicant, had access to the magic of electricity for over
97% of recorded history. Yet, in that last three percent of recorded history since the technology
arose, it has been made available to over half the species, including the poor in the great majority
of countries. Facts such as this demonstrate that mindcloning technology will rapidly be
available to the masses.
What possible reason would there be for mindcloning technology to be a unique exception to the
overwhelming tendency of technology to democratize, especially information technology? It
would have to be something uniquely related to mindcloning. It could not be anything such as
mindcloning involving storage of a lot of personal data many companies have already
democratized that function. The only thing really unique about mindcloning is that it creates a
new form of life, vitological life.
In fact, though, there are many examples of democratized technology for creating new forms of
life. From biologically-produced new kinds of medicine (ie, creating new kinds of bacteria that
make pharmaceutical ingredients), to transgenically-produced new kinds of crops and animals,
new forms of life have in every instance been rapidly made available to far greater populations
than the rich.
Perhaps it is the fact that the mindclones will be sentient life that will be used as an argument to
restrict them to the rich? Not a chance. Humans produce sentient life by the mega-ton, from pets
to pregnancies, and there is no possible way for the rich to corner the market (nor would there be
any reason to do so). Or maybe it is the fact that the mindclones might be so smart that the rich
will want to keep all of that intelligence for their own quest to get ever richer? While I do not
doubt that they would, if they could, the historical record shows that they cant, and hence they
shant. The supercomputers of 20 years ago are less powerful than the laptops of today. Indeed, a
run-of-the-mill MacBook Pro is over 1000 x more powerful than the legendary Cray-1
supercomputer. In other words, any effort by the rich and powerful to control mindclone
technology would be as fruitless as an effort to control the Cray supercomputers of the late 20th
century other companies technologies will swirl around the controlled technology, like a
rushing river around boulders in its riverbed.
I dont believe there is any doubt as to why technology always democratizes. It is as simple as
this: (1) people want what makes life better for other people (generally this entails technology),
(2) satisfying popular wants is in the self-interests of those who control technology (both
technology originators and government regulators), and (3) over time the magnitude of these two
factors overwhelm any countervailing forces (such as cultural bugaboos or fears of losing
control). The wanted technology becomes available, either because scales of production make it

cheaper, innovation makes it more accessible [3], or officialdom finds its interests better served
by channeling rather than blocking the wanted technology.
There are two further reasons why mindcloning will be rapidly democratized. The first is that the
marginal costs of providing mindfile storage and mindware vitalizations to the billionth, two
billionth, three billionth and so on persons are virtually nil. The second reason is that it is in the
economic interests of the persons having mindclone technology to share it as broadly as possible.
Each reason will be considered in more detail below.
Lets first think about the costs of mindcloning. There are four main elements: (1) the cost of
storing a persons mindfile, estimated in Question 1 as about a gigabyte a month based on
Gordon Bells experience, (2) the cost of running that mindfile through vitalizing mindware to
set its consciousness parameters, (3) the cost of transmitting mindfile data and mindclone
consciousness, and (4) the cost of user electronics for accessing mindclones. Because the costs of
these elements are amortized across tens of millions if not billions of users, the incremental costs
of these for each person are negligible. For example, if it costs a billion dollars to create
mindware, the costs per person are but one dollar for a billion people and fifty cents for two
billion people. Assume the cost of building out a high-speed transmission network with capacity
for six billion mindclones is $6 billion. In that case, the cost is $2/mindclone for three billion
mindclones, but only $1/mindclone for six billion mindclones.
There has never been an easier thing to place in the hands of the masses than information.
Shortwave radio broadcasts cover every human in the world for the same cost as if there were
only 1% as many humans spread throughout the world. Consequently, the cost of shortwave
radio per person is less the more people who listen.
The Sirius XM Satellite Radio project I launched in the 1990s cost over a billion dollars. In a
way that was the price that one very wealthy person would have had to pay for the enjoyment of
satellite radio. It was possible to offer the service only to rich people, say for a million dollars a
year, so that they could show off their exclusive and amazing audio toy. But nobody considered
doing that for even a millisecond. Instead we priced the service around $10 a month and today
over 20 million people listen. That billion dollar project, which grew to over two billion dollars,
when divided by 20 million listeners, comes out to just $100 per person. It will be much the same
way with mindcloning.
Mindclone technology is simply the shortwave or satellite radio of tomorrow. Instead of
someone sending commoditized information down the airwaves to the masses, in the form of
broadcasts, for matriculation and selection within the brains of those masses, someone will send
individualized information down the cyberchannels to the masses, in the form of mindclone
consciousness, for refinement and enhancement via interaction with the brains of those masses.

The second factor forcing democratization of mindfile technology is the economic interests of its
creators. The more people who create mindfiles, the wealthier will be those who create mindfile
technology. This is really just Google on steroids (or Facebook, or Twitter, or Tencent, or a
dozen other competitors). It is in the economic interests of Google, Facebook, Twitter and so on
to share their technology as broadly as possible. The more people who use a social media site,
the more valuable the owner of that site becomes. This is because more people, more human
attention, translates, some way or another, into more money. And so it will be with mindfiles.
The sites, or sources, that we go to for our mindware, or for tune-ups of our mindware, or for
storage of our mindfiles, or for organization of our mindfiles, or for housing of our mindclones,
or for socializing of our mindclones those sites and sources will be valuable to the people and
companies who want to sell things to usthings like virtual real estate, and things like realworld interfaces.

DESIGN AS BIOLOGY: MORE SUSTAINABLE CITIES FOR A GROWING POPULATION


BY: RACHEL ARMSTRONG, PH.D.

Wafer thin artificial leaves separate with the rising sun, as buildings wake up. They continue to
follow its path over the course of the day, sucking dew and carbon dioxide out of the air. These
substances are then filtered into the fleshy fabric, within the walls of our homes, which are not
dead spaces but active processors, like stomachs that are packed with thriving microbial
colonies. They generate heat, recycle grey water and filter effluents to produce rich, native soil
that has a commercial value and is used to grow plants in green plots, or window boxes. We are
now producers, not consumers. There are no more infertile stretches of asphalt sprawled over our
urban rooftops but an expanse of vegetation that processes the citys rich chemical landscapes
and it is no longer possible to tell which of these vibrant structures are artificial, or natural.
Visionary ideas about our near-future cities help develop new approaches to underpin human
development without necessarily being constrained within the limits of what is already possible.
Modern cities are run and populated by machines to such an extent that we no longer really
notice them. And while machines are useful, they consume fossil fuels and transform them into
energy, carbon dioxide and industrial pollutants which, on an industrial scale, produces a world
that Rachel Carson noted is not quite fatal. In recent years weve looked to renewables to avoid
the need for using fossil fuels but the percentage of our energy provided by these alternatives
remains small compared with our overall consumption.
Yet, there is an alternative technology available to us, which we have barely begun to apply in its
full potential. Nature provides a rich portfolio of, sometimes unlikely, living technologies that
may shape our near-future lifestyles in new ways. The practice of biomimicry already taps into
Natures ingenuity, where for example, the Venus flower basket sponge, which has a lattice
exoskeleton, inspired the famous hexagonal skin of Norman Fosters Gherkin Tower.
While these solutions are currently realized through industrial processes we have reached a point
at the start of the 21st century, where we do not have to copy Nature but can directly design and
engineer with her processes with such precision and on a range of scales - that we can think of
them new kind of technology. Living technologies have unique properties that may enable us to
imagine and realize our urban spaces in new ways since they are adaptable, robust and have an

incredible ability to transform one thing into another. Think of how trees share common
technologies (leaves, trunk, roots) that are adapted to different kinds of environments and use of
a range of resources. For example, needle-leaved Canadian evergreens make the most of scant
sunlight and their leaf litter feeds the acidic soils that nurture networks of microorganisms, such
as, nitrogen fixing bacteria, which in turn, enriches the food for the trees. In the near future, we
will begin to tap into the technological potential of this metabolic diversity and strategically use
it within the fabric of our cities.
While trees are complex organic structures that require substantial infrastructures and resources
to nurture them, biotechnology has revealed that multicellular organisms can perform the same
kinds of processes but even more powerfully. Although these creatures cannot be seen with the
naked eye, they are much easier to keep and much more vigorous than trees.
Indeed, architects are already suggesting that microorganisms may power our cities. For
example, Alberto Estevezs Genetic Barcelona proposes that using the techniques of synthetic
biology - which enables us to grow organisms that do not exist in Nature by manipulating their
DNA trees would be engineered to produce a natural light-producing protein usually found in
jellyfish. So, not only would we be able to enjoy the mood-elevating wavelengths the light
emitted by these plants but we would also benefit from not having to rely on fossil fuels and
central power grids to provide street lighting.
In the near future our buildings may also be grown by industrial-strength microorganisms.
Some of these may form the basis of self-healing materials such as, Henk Jonkers biocrete,
where hardy bacteria are mixed into traditional cement and form plugs of solid when they are
activated by water, from micro fine cracks in the material. Other projects such as, Magnus
Larssons Dune is more ambitious and harnesses the metabolic powers of a sand-particle-fixing
species of bacteria to produce sandstone or marble in deserts, thought to be too hostile to live in.
Within modern cities, the value of harnessing the transformational powers of communities of
microorganisms, called bioprocessing, is being realized in wastewater gardens. These may be
thought of as bacterial cities within our own, which are fed with our waste organic matter and
transform it into useful substances. Rather than being noxious sumps of filth and disease, these
sewage plants are popular visitor attractions - odorless greenhouses with the look and feel of a
botanical garden. Bioprocessing units may be designed to house different kinds of ecologies to
suit particular habitats. For example, in estuary environments oystertecture, where shellfish are
farmed on sculptural metal structures, could be used in bioprocessing systems to filter impurities,
improve water quality and increase biodiversity.
These developments in living technology suggest that we will evolve solutions using the
transformational properties of natural systems. Living technologies build upon traditional skills

working in combination with new scientific knowledge. Importantly, since biology is


everywhere, these approaches are not confined to Western societies. Increasingly DIY bio
communities are learning how to hack natural systems and diversify living technology
applications. This may streamline global human development with biospherical processes so that
our lifestyles are more sustainable, less environmentally disruptive and ultimately means that our
cities are better places to live.
Perhaps the future of our urban environments will not be about designing buildings, as we know
them, but to produce synthetic ecosystems, which improve the quality of our lives.

FUTURE OF URBAN FARMING: MORE FOOD FOR LONGER-LIVING PEOPLE


BY: FREIJA VAN DUIJNE, PH.D.

Over many centuries, attempts have been made to get food production out of the cities. Produce
comes from the land and is transported into the cities. In most western cities, abattoirs have
disappeared. Markets are still there, but no longer have a central role in our shopping.
This image is starting to change again. Urban farming is emerging in all sorts of shapes. A few
examples from the Netherlands: offices that use their roof for rooftop farming, volunteer gardens
with a restaurant, like Hutspot Hotspot in Rotterdam, urban farm companies like Uit je eigen
stad, high tech indoor growing systems like Simbi City, or Plantlab. Which types of urban
farming would be around in 2020?
SCENARIOS FOR URBAN FARMING
Scenarios for the future of urban farming may help us think about the directions for urban
farming. Also it helps us thinks about ways to support different developments.
Here are the basic scenarios that we came up with. They are still in a preliminary stage. And we
welcome all suggestions for further elaboration. What do you think that might happen in these
scenarios?
THE URBAN FOOD PRODUCER
LED technology, sensor technology and all sorts of ICT applications are affordable to apply for
indoors, layered crop production. This takes place in formerly empty buildings, for which no
other use has been found. Various companies have demonstrated to be economically successful
in producing fruits and vegetables. These are high end produce, for which a good price is being
paid by restaurants and private consumers in the cities.
Businesses have started off with small production units. After the first successes, they could
make further investments and grow their business. Suppliers, service providers and other
businesses have settled next to each other to make use of each other (waste) streams, products

and services.
Consumers are involved through social media. They have Apps to see which types of produce
are available and shop directly. There are virtual supermarkets which offer the products of
several urban food producers. Products can be delivered at home through a peer to peer
deliverance service. But a network of drones for deliverance is coming up soon.
THE URBAN FARMER
The dream of the urban farmer is to reconnect city people with making food. The urban farmer
wants to share his knowledge and craftsmanship with the young and the old. Their business is a
multifunctional farm with fruits, vegetables and animals. They have various revenues. People
can subscribe to weekly food packages. There is a restaurant and catering. Crowd funding allows
people to have a share in the company. In exchange for that they receive products and they are
invited for events on the farm.
For their personnel, urban farmers rely on volunteers in addition to their regular employers. That
makes up an interesting mix of people and cultures.
The urban farmer also has a function in maintaining the public greens near the farm. Thanks to
their close connection to the people in the neighborhood, the farmer knows their demands and
wishes in relation to green areas in the city.
THE CITIZEN GROWER
Lots of people who live in cities share the wish to be active in food production. Kitchen gardens
are popular among young and old. The barren grounds and rooftops look tempting to these
gardeners. People start to ask the city government if they could use these parcels for growing
food. Some cities have pro-actively responded to this demand and made maps of available
parcels and rooftops.
People use the food that they grow to sell on neighborhood markets. Near a garden complex
there is often a restaurant, where meals are served made from fresh neighborhood produce. The
unemployed start off as waiters and other personnel in the restaurant, making it easier for them to
find a paid job later on. Schools and children are involved. They are physically active and learn
about healthy food.
City councils are happy with this movement and develop additional education programs to help
people learn about the nature of food. They also facilitate the growers movement in all sorts of
ways, for instance by making it easier for businesses to donate or act as barter in a project. In this

way the city, businesses and citizens connect through the growing of food.
THE URBAN FOOD DEVELOPER
With the latest technology the possibilities for urban food production systems have come closer,
at least in theory. This could be a solution for food supply in the cities. This means a new use for
empty building, environmental benefits through lower energy use and small food miles. These
new urban food production systems, and the knowledge to build them, could be important for
mega cities in emerging economies. This is recognized in vision documents of regional and
national governments.
Public-private initiatives aim at system solutions for high-tech large scale urban food production.
Projects aim at knowledge development and deliverables such as new applications for the design
of food production systems. One aspect of these projects concerns the dialogue with society
about new food production technologies and food production facilities in downtown
neighborhoods.
Governments also use these projects for demonstration purposes. These types of food production
systems are very innovative. Their development is an important contribution to the branding of
the region or country an innovative agri&food producer with great export potential.

IF IMMORTALITY CREATES HORRIBLE OVERPOPULATION, WHAT NEW ZONES SHOULD


WE COLONIZE?1
BY: IMMORTAL LIFE DEBATE FORUM

Although the essay by Max More included in this volume provides reasons why radical life
extension would not lead to horrific overpopulation, many critics of Superlongevity still list this
as a primary reason for they oppose significantly extending human life.
Lets just assume that population will keep increasing if that happens, where would humans
live? Do any of the options below appeal to you?
1. Colonize the oceans, with floating islands and immense ships.
2. Colonize Antarctica and other uninhabited regions, with glass-domed temperaturecontrolled communities.
3. Colonize the ocean floor.
4. Dig underground, and into mountains, like moles- build immense subterranean cities.
5. Colonize the Moon.
6. Colonize Mars.
7. Build huge satellites that each provide habitation for 100,000 people, that
circumnavigate the Earth.
8. None of the above, just ban breeding, or make people cue up for permission to
multiply.
____________________
My own preference would be to colonize tropical oceans, as soon as desalination is efficient.
Aquaculture would be easily available as both a food source and an economic option.
My second choice would be gophering into mountains.

Debate Question and introductory discussion by Hank Pellissier.

By GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI on Mar 14, 2013 at 3:21pm


____________________
Of course the premise is wrong since population growth is inversely proportional to Kilowatt
usage per capital but - if I must assume population growth then the answer would be to
genetically modify ourselves to be 6 inches tall so that we could support 60 billion with no
problem on Earth.
By JAEAME I. KOYIL on Mar 14, 2013 at 3:53pm
____________________
if I must assume population growth then the answer would be to genetically modify ourselves to
be 6 inches tall so that we could support 60 billion with no problem on Earth.
And be eaten by rats and cats?
I say Mars is the place to goif possible.
By ALAN BROOKS on Mar 14, 2013 at 8:24pm
____________________
Any or all of the above, once those options become technically feasible and have been properly
risk-assessed. But we need to think about our messaging here. One of the more credible
accusations that technosceptics tend to hurl at Transhumanists is that we are all gung-ho
technoenthuasiasts, navely dreaming our techno-utopian dreams and woefully underestimating
the risks. I can easily handle people telling me that defeating the aging process is not natural,
but when they worry about overpopulation Im more inclined to sympathise, and to the extent
that I still want to convince them Id be more inclined to try to tease out what other concerns
they might have and respond to them, rather than hitting them with a bunch of were going to
colonise other planets-type ideas.
Well, maybe I should read that Max More article
By PETER WICKS on Mar 14, 2013 at 11:43pm
____________________
Of all terrestrial locations to locate massively swelling populations the deserts seem smartest - all

exotic locations require considerable investments, deserts require the least. What is smartest and
most affordable is to dig a broad channel in a deep groove or canyon and let people live in
apartments on either side of the channel. That would filter out harsh desert sunlight and it would
mean access to straight linear roadways, and flowing water - and desert on either side to cultivate
plants and solar energy.
By letting such a canyon meander through the desert landscape it would be easy to house
millions sustainably. Travel up and down the canyon would be easy by monorail.
By KHANNEA SUNTZU on Mar 15, 2013 at 5:28am

SUPERLONGEVITY WITHOUT OVERPOPULATION


BY: MAX MORE, PH.D

Proponents of superlongevity (indefinitely extended life spans) have been making their case for
the possibility and desirability of this change in the human condition for decades. For just as
long, those hearing the arguments for superlongevity have deployed two or three unchanging,
unrelenting responses. The question: But what would we do with all that time? is one of them.
Another is the But death is natural! gambit. The final predictable response is to conjure up the
specter of overpopulation. Despite strong downward trends in population growth since this issue
gained visibility in the 1960s, the third concern remains an impediment.
Paul Ehrlichs 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb [1], ignited a trend in which alarmists
routinely ignored data and reasonable projections to scare the public. Those of us who see
achieving the indefinite extension of the human life span as a central goal naturally find this
behavior quite irritating. If baseless fear wins out, we will gain little from our personal programs
of exercise, nutrition, or supplementation. Widespread fear leads to restrictive legislation legislation that in this case could be deadly. Although the volume has been turned down a little
on the population issue, it continues to reverberate and deserves a response. The purpose of this
essay is to address the essential concerns, provide current facts, and dispel the errors behind the
overpopulation worries.
VALUES FIRST
As I will show, we have little reason to fear population growth with or without extended lives.
However, to bring into focus an ethical issue, I will pretend for a moment that population growth
is or will become a serious problem. Would this give us a strong reason for turning against the
extension of human lifespan?
No. Opposing extended life because, eventually, it might add to existing problems would be an
ethically irresponsible response. Suppose you are a doctor faced with a child suffering from
pneumonia. Would you refuse to cure the child because she would then be well enough to run
around and step on the toes of others? On the contrary, our responsibility lies in striving to live

long and vitally while helping others do the same. Once we are at work on this primary goal, we
can focus more energy on solving other challenges. Long, vital living at the individual level
certainly benefits from a healthy physical and social environment. The superlongevity advocate
would want to help find solutions to any population issues. But dying is not a responsible or
healthy way to solve anything.
Besides, if we take seriously the idea of limiting life span so as to control population, why not be
more proactive about it? Why not drastically reduce access to currently commonplace medical
treatments? Why not execute anyone reaching the age of seventy? Once the collective goal of
population growth is accepted as overriding individual choices, it would seem hard to resist this
logic.
IT IS HOW MANY, NOT HOW LONG, THAT MATTERS
Limiting population growth by opposing life extension not only fails the ethical test, it also fails
the pragmatic test. Keeping the death rate up simply is not an effective way of slowing
population growth. Population growth depends far more on how many children families have, as
opposed to how long people live. In mathematical terms, longer life has no effect on the
exponential growth rate. It only affects a constant of the equation. This means that it matters little
how long we live after we have reproduced. Compare two societies: In country A, people live on
average only to 40 years of age, each family producing 5 children. In country B, the life span is
90 years but couples have 4 children. Despite the much longer life span in country B, their
population growth rate will be much lower than that of country A. It makes little difference over
the long term how many years people live after they have had children. The population growth
rate is determined by how many children we have, not how long we live.
Even the short-term upward effect on population due to a falling death rate may be cancelled by
a delay in child bearing. Many women in developed countries choose to bear children by their
early 30s because the obstacles to successful pregnancy grow as they age. As the last few
decades have already shown, extending the fertile period of womens lives would allow them to
put off having children until later, until they have developed their careers. Not only will couples
have children later, we can expect them to be better positioned financially and psychologically to
care for them.
Almost certainly, the first truly effective technologies to extend the maximum human life span
will come with a significant cost of human development and application. As a consequence
population effects would first be felt in the developed countries. This points to another flaw in
the suggestion that extended longevity will dramatically boost population growth. The fact is,
superlongevity in the developed nations would have practically no global or local population
impact. The lack of global impact is a consequence of the small and falling share of the global

population accounted for by the developed nations. No local population boom drama can
realistically be expected because these countries are experiencing very low, zero, or negative
population growth:
The share of the global population accounted for by the developed nations has fallen from 32
percent in 1950 to 20 percent currently and is projected to fall to 13 percent in 2050. [2] If we
look just at Europe, we see an even more remarkable shrinkage: In 1950, Europe accounted for
22 percent of the global population. Currently it has fallen to 13 percent, and is projected to fall
to 7 percent by 2050. [3] To put this in perspective, consider that the population of Africa at 749
million is now greater than that of Europe at 729 million, according to UN figures. Europes
population growth rate of just 0.03 per cent will ensure that it will rapidly shrink relative to
Africa and other developing areas.
In Eastern Europe, population is now shrinking at a rate of 0.2 percent. Between now and 2050,
the population of the more developed regions is expected to change little. Projections show that
by mid-century, the populations of 39 countries will be smaller than today. Some examples:
Japan and Germany 14 percent smaller; Italy and Hungary 25 percent smaller; and the Russian
Federation, Georgia and Ukraine between 28-40 percent smaller. [3]
For the United States (whose population grows faster than Europe), the bottom line was summed
in a presentation to the Presidents Council on Bioethics by S.J. Olshansky who did some basic
calculations to demonstrate what would happen if we achieved immortality today. The bottom
line is that if we achieved immortality today, the growth rate of the population would be less than
what we observed during the post World War II baby boom. [4]
Low fertility means that population trends in the developed regions of the world would look even
milder if not for immigra-tion. As the 2000 Revision to the UN Population Divisions projections
says: The more developed regions are expected to continue being net receivers of international
migrants, with an average gain of about 2 million per year over the next 50 years. Without
migration, the population of more developed regions as a whole would start declining in 2003
rather than in 2025, and by 2050 it would be 126 million less than the 1.18 billion projected
under the assumption of continued migration.
All things considered, countries fortunate enough to develop and make available radical
solutions to aging and death need not worry about becoming overpopulated. In an ideal scenario,
life extension treatments would rapidly plunge in cost, making them affordable well beyond the
richest nations. We should therefore look beyond the developed nations and examine global
population trends in case a significantly different picture emerges.00
GLOBAL POPULATION FLATLINING

We have seen that we have no reason to hesitate in prolonging life even if population were to
grow faster due to higher fertility rates. But does the developing world, with or without cheap,
ubiquitous life extension, have much to fear from a population explosion? Are populations
growing out of control in those regions? The fad for popular books foretelling doom started in
the 1960s, at the tail end of the most rapid increase in population in human history. Since then,
the poorer countries, well below us in the development cycle, have also been experiencing a
drastic reduction of population growth. This is true despite major relative life extension - the
extra decades of life bestowed by medical intervention and nutrition.
Taking a global perspective, the numbers reveal that the average annual population growth rate
peaked in 1965-1970 at 2.07 percent. Ever since then, the rate of increase has been declining,
coming down to 1.2 per cent annually. That means the addition of 77 million people per year,
based on an estimated world population of 6.1 billion in mid-2000. [3] A mere six countries
account for fully half of this growth: India for 21 percent; China for 12 percent; Pakistan for 5
percent; Nigeria for 4 percent; Bangladesh for 4 percent, and Indonesia for 3 percent. China has
markedly reduced the average number of births per woman over the last 50 years from six to 1.8.
Starting from the same birth rate at that time, India has fallen much less, although still almost
halving the rate to 3.23 percent. If these trends continue up to 2050, Indias population will
exceed that of China. [5]
Despite the fecundity of these top people-producers, the overall picture is an encouraging one:
The total fertility rate for the world as a whole dropped by nearly two-fifths between 1950/55
and 1990/95 - from about 5 children per woman down to about 3.1 children per woman. Average
fertility in the more developed regions fell from 2.8 to 1.7 children per woman, well below
biological replacement. Meanwhile total fertility rates in less developed nations fell by 40
percent, falling from 6.2 to 3.5 children per woman. [6]
We can expect population growth to continue slowing until it reaches a stable size. What size
will that be? No one knows for sure, but the best UN numbers indicate that population may peak
at as low as 8 billion people, with a medium projection of 9.3 billion and an upper limit
projection of 10.9 billion. [2;7] The medium projection also points to global population peaking
around 2040 and then starting to fall.
I wrote the first version of this paper in 1996. In revising it, I found it interesting that, less than a
decade ago, the higher projection allowed for 12 billion or more. Demographers had continued
their long tradition of over-estimating population growth. This effect seems to have been
reduced, but take all projections (especially those longer than a generation) with a healthy dose
of skepticism.

FORCES OF POPULATION DECELERATION


Why, though, should we expect people in less developed countries, even given contraceptives, to
continue choosing to have smaller families? This expectation is not merely speculation based on
recent trends. Sound economic reasoning explains the continuing trend, and makes sense of why
the poorer nations are only just beginning to make the transition to fewer births.
Decelerating population growth appears to be an inevitable result of growing wealth. Early on in
a countrys developmental curve, children can be regarded as producer goods (as economists
would say). Parents put their children to work on the farm to generate food and revenue. Very
little effort is put into caring for the child: no expensive health plans, special classes, trips to
Disneyland, X-Men action figures, or mounting phone bills. As we become wealthier, children
become consumer goods. That is, we look on them more and more as little people to be
enjoyed and pampered and educated, not beasts of burden to help keep the family alive. We
spend thousands of dollars on children to keep them healthy, entertain them, and educate them.
We come to prefer fewer children to a vast mob of little ones. This preference seems to be
reinforced by changing tastes resulting from improved education. The revenue vs. expense
equation for extra children further shifts toward having fewer offspring as populations become
urbanized. Children cost more to raise in cities and can produce less income than in the country.
Fertility declines for another reason: As poorer countries become wealthier, child mortality falls
as a result of improved nutrition, sanitation, and health care. Reduced child mortality in modern
times can come about even without a rise in income. People in poorer countries are not stupid;
they adjust their childbearing plans to reflect changing conditions. When child death rates are
high, research has shown that families have more children to ensure achieving a given family
size. They have more children to make up for deaths, and often have additional children in
anticipation of later deaths. Families reduce fertility as they realize that fewer births are needed
to reach a desired family size. Given the incentives to have fewer children as wealth grows and
urbanization proceeds, reduced mortality leads to families choosing to reduce family size.
Economic policy helps shape childbearing incentives. Many of the same people who have
decried population growth have supported policies guaranteed to boost childbirths. More than
that, they boost childbearing among those least able to raise and educate children well. If we
want to encourage people to have more children, we should make it cheaper for them to do so. If
we want to discourage fertility, or at least refrain from pushing it up, we should stop subsidizing
it. Subsidies include free education (free to the parents, not to the tax-payers), free child health
care, and additional welfare payments to women for each child they bear. If parents must
personally bear the costs of having children, rather than everyone else paying, people will tend to
have just the number of children for whom they can assume financial responsibility.

Even if there were a population problem in a few countries, extending the human life span would
worsen the problem no more than would improving automobile safety or worker safety, or
reducing violent crime. Who would want to keep these deadly threats high in order to combat
population growth? If we want to slow population growth, we should focus on reducing births,
not on raising or maintaining deaths. If we want to reduce births, we might voluntarily fund
programs to provide contraceptives and family planning to couples in poorer countries. This will
aid the natural developmental process of choosing to have fewer children. Couples will be able to
have children by choice, not by accident. Women should also be encouraged to join the modern
world by gaining the ability to pursue vocations other than child-raising.
OVERPOPULATION DISTRACTS FROM REAL PROBLEMS
Major downward revisions in population growth - throughout the UNs sixteen rounds of global
demographic estimates and projections since 1950 - have drained the plausibility of any
overpopulation-based argument against life extension. We can better understand the real
problems that are talked about in relation to overpopulation instead as issues of poverty. Poverty,
in turn, results not from having too many people, but from several major factors including
political misrule, continual warfare, and insecurity of property rights.
As Bjorn Lomborg points out, we find many of the most densely populated countries in Europe.
The region with the highest population density, Southeast Asia, has about same number of
people per square mile as the United Kingdom. Although India has a large, growing population,
it also has a population density far lower than that of The Netherlands, Belgium, or Japan.
Lomborg also notes that Ohio and Denmark are more densely populated than Indonesia. [3]
We should also recognize that most population growth takes place in urban areas, which provide
a better standard of living. As a result, most of this planets landmass will not be more densely
populated than it is today. Over the next three decades, we can expect to see almost no change in
the rural population of the world and, by 2025, 97% of Europe will be less densely populated
than today. [8] We should celebrate the urbanization trend since even the urban poor thrive better
than they would in the country. The causes of this include better water supplies, sewage systems,
health services, education, and nutrition. [9] Oddly enough, serious infectious diseases like
malaria are less threatening the closer buildings are together (and so the smaller the space for
swampy areas beloved of mosquitoes and flies). [10]
SUSTAINABILITY AND THE GREAT RESTORATION
The future could be far brighter than the eco-doomsters have long portrayed it. As Ronald Bailey
[11] reports:

Jesse Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment at Rockefeller University,
believes the 21st century will see the beginning of a Great Restoration as humanitys
productive activities increasingly withdraw from the natural world.
If world farmers come to match the typical yield of todays US corn growers, ten billion people
could eat amply while requiring only half of todays cropland. This is one way in which
technological advance in farming will allow vast expanses of land to revert to nature. Transgenic
crops could also multiply todays production levels while solving several significant
environmental challenges. [12]
Visions that emphasize human ingenuity and opportunity have a far more impressive historical
record than those that emphasize human passivity and helplessness. Paul Ehrlich is a classic case
of the latter type and you have only to browse his dark, alarming books to recognize how
consistently bad he has been at making environmental predictions. In a 1969 article, Ehrlich
predicted the oceans dead from DDT poisoning by 1979 and devoid of fish; 200,000 deaths from
smog disasters in New York and Los Angeles in 1973; U.S. life expectancy dropping to 42
years by 1980 because of pesticide-induced cancers, and U.S. population declining to 22.6
million by 1999. [13] Ehrlich famously lost a ten year bet against cornucopian economist Julian
Simon (and refused to renew the bet). In 1974, Ehrlich recommended stockpiling cans of tuna
due to the certainty of protein shortages in the USA. And so on.
As Bailey explains [13], contrary to Ehrlich:
Instead, according to the United Nations, agricultural production in the developing world has
increased by 52 percent per person since 1961. The daily food intake in poor countries has
increased from 1,932 calories, barely enough for survival, in 1961 to 2,650 calories in 1998, and
is expected to rise to 3,020 by 2030. Likewise, the proportion of people in developing countries
who are starving has dropped from 45 percent in 1949 to 18 percent today, and is expected to
decline even further to 12 percent in 2010 and just 6 percent in 2030. Food, in other words, is
becoming not scarcer but ever more abundant. This is reflected in its price. Since 1800 food
prices have decreased by more than 90 percent, and in 2000, according to the World Bank, prices
were lower than ever before.
A reading of economic and social history quickly makes one thing plain: throughout history
people have envisaged overpopulation. Even the great nineteenth century social scientist W.
Stanley Jevons in 1865 claimed that Englands industrial expansion would soon cease due to the
exhaustion of the countrys coal supply. [15] However, as shortages developed, prices rose. The
profit motive stimulated entrepreneurs to find new sources, to develop better technology for
finding and extracting coal, and to transport it to where it was needed. The crisis never happened.

Today, the USA has proven reserves sufficient to last hundreds or thousands of years. [16] If one
resource does begin to run low, rising prices will encourage a switch to alternatives. Even a
vastly bloated population cannot hope to exhaust energy supplies. (Solar energy and power from
nuclear fission and soon fusion are practically endless.) So long as we have plentiful energy we
can produce substitute resources and even generate more of existing resources, including food.
Even if population were to grow far outside todays highest projections, we can expect human
intelligence and technology to comfortably handle the numbers.
Human intelligence, new technology, and a market economy will allow this planet to support
many times the current population of 6.2 billion - it can support many more humans than we are
likely to see, given trends toward lower birth rates. Many countries, including the USA, have a
rather low population density. If the USAs population were as dense as Japan - hardly a
crowded place overall - our population would be 3.5 billion rather than 265 million. If the USA
had a population density equal to that of Singapore, we would find almost 35 billion people here,
or almost seven times the current world population. New technologies, from simple
improvements in irrigation and management to current breakthroughs in genetic engineering
should continue to improve world food output. Fewer people are starving despite higher
populations. This does not mean they are feeling satisfied. Millions still go hungry or are
vulnerable to disruptions in supply. We need to push to remove trade barriers, abolish price
controls on agriculture (which discourage production and investment), and pressure governments
engaging in warfare and collectivization to change their ways.
POLLUTION
Nor should we expect pollution to worsen as population grows. Contrary to popular belief,
overall pollution in the more developed countries has been decreasing for decades. In the USA,
levels of lead have dropped dramatically. Since the 1960s levels of sulfur dioxide, carbon
monoxide, ozone, and organic compounds have fallen despite a growing population. Air quality
in major urban areas continues to improve, and the Great Lakes are returning toward earlier
levels of purity. [17] This is no accident. As we become wealthier, we have more money to spare
for a cleaner environment. When you are longing for food, shelter, and other basics, you will not
spare much thought for the environment. So long as mechanisms exist for converting desires for
cleaner air and water and space for recreation into the things themselves, we can expect it to
happen.
Most effective at spurring the positive changes are markets - price signals creating incentives for
moves in the right direction. If polluters must pay for what they produce because their activity
intrudes on the property rights of others, they will search for ways to make things with less
pollution. Pollution problems do exist. Most of them can be traced to a failure to enforce private
property rights, so that resources are treated as free goods that need not be well managed. Fishing

in unowned bodies of water is an example of this. The desertification of collectively or


government owned land in Africa is another. We can be reasonably confident that the trend
towards less pollution with greater population will continue. However, complacency is out of
place. We should press for responsible management of resources by privatizing collectively
owned resources to create incentives for sound management and renewal.
So long as we continue to allow freedom to generate more wealth and better technology, we can
expect pollution to continue abating. More efficient recycling, production processes that generate
fewer pollutants, and better monitoring and detection of polluters, along with economic
incentives making each producer responsible for their output, will allow us to continue
improving our environment even as population grows. Assuming that we achieve complete
control of matter at the molecular level, as expected by nanotechnologists, we will have the keys
to production without pollution. Another product of molecular manufacturing will be the
disappearance of most large-scale, clumsy machinery. Less and less land will need to be used for
manufacturing equipment, making more room for people to enjoy. Some manufacturing will be
moved into space. The result of these and other changes (some of which are already underway)
will be the freeing of the Earth from unwanted, but previously necessary, means and by-products
of manufacturing.
The population issue raises numerous factual, economic, and ethical concerns. I urge the
interested reader to check into the sources listed in the References, especially the essays by Jesse
Ausubel [18] and the books by Bailey, Lomborg, and Simon. [3;19;20-25] I have only sketched
lines of thinking showing that we would be severely misguided not to push for extended life out
of fear of overpopulation. Let us move full speed ahead with extending life span: Once we have
vanquished aging, I would expect other threats to life, such as war and violent crime, will
become even less acceptable. We can look forward to a long-lived society better off than
previous generations; not only in economic well being, but also in security of life and health.
REFERENCES
[1] Ehrlich, Paul R; The Population Bomb (1968); Sierra Club-Ballantine
[2] World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision (2001a); United Nations Publications
[3] Lomborg, Bjorn; The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World
(2001); Cambridge University Press.
[4] Olshansky, SJ; Duration of Life: Is There a Biological Warranty Period? in: The
Presidents Council on Bioethics (2002) Washington, DC.
[5] World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision, Additional Data (2001c); United Nations
Publications.
[6] Eberstadt, Nicholas; Population, Food, and Income: Global Trends in the Twentieth
Century in: Bailey (1995).
[7] World Population Prospects: The 2000 Revision, Annex Tables (2001b); United Nations

Publications
[8] World Urbanization Prospects: The 1996 Revision (1998); United Nations Publications
[9] The Progress of Nations (1997) UNICEF.
[10] Miller, Jr. Tyler G; Living in the Environment: Principles, Connections, and Solutions
(1998); Wadsworth Publishing Company.
[11] Bailey, Ronald; The End Is Nigh, Again in: Reason (2002); June 26.
[12] Rauch, Jonathan; Will Frankenfood Save the Planet? in: The Atlantic Monthly (2003);
October.
[13] Bailey, Ronald; Eco-Scam (1993); St. Martins Press.
[15] Jevons S; The Coal Question: An inquiry concerning the progress of the nation and the
probable exhaustion of our coal mines (1865); Kelley Publishers.
[16] http://www.eia.doe.gov/
[17] Taylor, B et al. Water Quality and the Great Lakes in: Michigans Opportunities and
Challenges: Msu Faculty Perspectives, Michigan in Brief: 2002-03. Public Sector Consultants,
Inc.
[18] Ausubel, Jesse; The Great Restoration of Nature: Why and How in: Challenges of a
Changing Earth (2002); pg.175-182 // Proceedings of the Global Change Open Science
Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2001, 10-13 July) edited by Steffen, W & Jaeger, J &
Carson, DJ & Bradshaw C; Springer http://phe.rockefeller.edu/sthubert/hubert.pdf // Ausubel,
Jesse; Where is Energy Going? in: The Industrial Physicist (2000);
[19] The True State of the Planet (1995); edited by Bailey, Ronald; The Free Press
[20] Simon, Julian L; Resources, Population, Environment: An Over-Supply of False Bad
News in: Science (1980, Vol. 280); pg.1431-1437
[21] Simon, Julian L; The Ultimate Resource (1981); Princeton University Press
[22] Simon, Julian L; Forecasting the Long-Term Trend of Raw Material Availability, in:
International Journal of Forecasting (1985, Vol. 1); pg.85-109.
[23] Simon, Julian L; Population Matters (1990); N.J.: Transaction
[24] Simon, Julian L; Bunkrapt: The Abstractions that lead to scares about resources and
population growth, in: Extropy (1993, Vol. 11); Summer/Fall 1993, pg.34-41.
[25] The Resourceful Earth (1984); edited by Simon, Julian L & Kahn, Herman; Basil
Blackwell, Inc.

LONGEVITY LOGISTICS: WE CAN MANAGE THE EFFECTS OF OVERPOPULATION


BY: FRANCO CORTESE

By far the most predominant criticism made against indefinite longevity is overpopulation. It is
the first potential problem that comes to mind. But fortunately it seems that halting the global
mortality rate would not cause an immediate drastic increase in global population; in fact, if the
mortality rate dropped to zero tomorrow then the doubling rate for the global population would
only be increased by a factor of 1.75 [1], which is smaller than the population growth rate during
the post-WWII baby-boom. Population is significantly more determined by birth rate than by
death rate, simply because many people have more than one natural child. This means that we
should not see an unsustainable rise in population following even the complete cessation of death
globally for a number of generations. We will run into problems 3 or 4 generations hence but
this leaves us with time enough to plan for overpopulation before were forced to resort to more
drastic solution-paradigms like procreation-bans and space colonization.
Moreover, there are a number of proposed, and in some cases implemented, solutions to existing,
contemporary problems that can be utilized for the purpose of minimizing overpopulations
detrimental effects on living-space and non-renewable resource constraints. These contemporary
concerns include climate change and dependence on non-renewable energy sources, and they are
only increasing in the amount of public attention they are attracting. While these concerns and
their potential solutions were not created by overpopulation or with overpopulation in mind, the
potentially negative effects of an increasing global population can be effectively combatted all
the same using such contemporary methods and technologies. Thus we can take advantage of the
solution-paradigms developed for such contemporary concerns as climate change and
dependence on non-renewable resources, and borrow from such movements as the sustainability
movement and the seasteading movement, so as to better mitigate and effectively plan for the
negative repercussions of a growing global population caused by the emergence of effective
longevity technologies.
In a session with The Presidents Council on Bioethics (as it was composed during the Bush
Administration), S. Jay Olshansky [2] reported calculations he performed indicating that
complete cessation of the global morality rate today would lead to less population growth than
resulted from the post-WWII Baby Boom:

This is an estimate of the birth rate and the death rate in the year 1000, birth rate roughly 70, death
rate about 69.5. Remember when there's a growth rate of 1 percent, very much like your money, a
growth rate of 1 percent leads to a doubling time at about 69 to 70 years. It's the same thing with
humans. With a 1 percent growth rate, the population doubles in about 69 years. If you have the
growth rate if you double the growth rate, you have the time it takes for the population to
double, so it's nothing more than the difference between the birth rate and the death rate to
generate the growth rate. And here you can see in 1900, the growth rate was about 2 percent,
which meant the doubling time was about five years. During the 1950s at the height of the baby
boom, the growth rate was about 3 percent, which means the doubling time was about 26 years. In
the year 2000, we have birth rates of about 15 per thousand, deaths of about 10 per thousand, low
mortality populations, which means the growth rate is about one half of 1 percent, which means it
would take about 140 years for the population to double.
Well, if we achieved immortality today, in other words, if the death rate went down to zero, then
the growth rate would be defined by the birth rate. The birth rate would be about 15 per thousand,
which means the doubling time would be 53 years, and more realistically, if we achieved
immortality, we might anticipate a reduction in the birth rate to roughly ten per thousand, in which
case the doubling time would be about 80 years. The bottom line is, is that if we achieved
immortality today, the growth rate of the population would be less than what we observed during
the post-World War II baby boom.
We would eventually run into problems, of course, a century down the road, but just so you know
the growth rates would not be nearly what they were in the post-World War II era, even with
immortality today.

In other words we will only have increased the doubling-time of the global population by a factor
of 1.75 if we achieved indefinite longevity today (e.g. a doubling time of 140 years in 2000
compared to a doubling time of 80 years). This means that we will have two to four generations
worth of time to consider possible solutions to growing population before we are faced with the
hard choice of (1) finding new space and resources or else (2) limiting or regulating the global
birthrate.
An alternate study on the demographic consequences of life-extension concluded that
population changes are surprisingly slow in their response to a dramatic life extension. The
study applied the cohort-component method of population projections to 2005 Swedish
population for several scenarios of life extension and a fertility schedule observed in 2005,
concluding that even for very long 100-year projection horizon, with the most radical life
extension scenario (assuming no aging at all after age 60), the total population increases by 22%
only (from 9.1 to 11.0 million) and that even in the case of the most radical life extension
scenario, population growth could be relatively slow and may not necessarily lead to
overpopulation. [2]. The total population increase due to the complete negation of mortality
given by this study is significantly lower than the figure calculated by Olshansky.
Finding innovative solutions to new and old problems is what humanity does. We have a variety
of possible viable options to increase the resources and living space available to humanity

already. Moreover, there are several other contemporary concerns that are invoking the
development of technological and methodological solutions that can be applied to our own
concerns regarding the effects of overpopulation. Surely we can conceive of optimal solutions to
these problems (and the more pressing a given problem is, the more funding it receive/s and the
faster it is accomplished) and take advantage of the growing methodological and technical
infrastructure being developed for related and convergent problems within the time it will take
to feel overpopulations effect on living space and resources.
We could, for instance, colonize the oceans [3, 4, 5], drawing from the engineering, construction
techniques used to build, maintain and safely inhabit contemporary VLFSs (Very-LargeFloating-Structures). 75% of the Earths surface area is, after all, water. This would increase our
potential living space 3-fold and I say potential because we surely dont currently maximize
living space on the 25% of the Earths surface occupied by land. Furthermore, humanity has as
yet barely ventured beyond the surface of the earth which is a sphere after all. There is nothing
to prevent society building higher and building deeper. Indeed, with contemporary and projected
advances in materials science and structural engineering, there is no theoretical limit to the
height of structures we can safely build the space elevator being a case in point. And while
there will indeed be a maximum size wherein building higher becomes economically prohibitive
(a limit determined to a large extent by the materials used), contemporary megastructures [6]
indicate that very large structures can be built safety and cost-effectively. Underground living [7,
8, 9, 10] is another potential solution-paradigm as well; underground structures require less
energy, are protected from weathering effects and changing temperatures to a much greater
extent than structures exposed to the elements, and are less susceptible to damage from natural
disasters. Furthermore, there are a number of underground cities in existence today [11], with
existing techniques and technologies used to better facilitate contemporary underground living,
which we can take advantage of.
In fact, the problem of limited living space is a contemporary problem for certain nations like
Japan, and active projects to combat this growing problem have already been undertaken in
many cases. This means that there will be an existing host of solutions, with their own
technological and methodological infrastructures, which we can benefit from and take advantage
of when the problematizing effects of growing global population become immediate. Not only
can we take advantage of the existing engineering-methodologies developed for use in the
construction of VLFSs, but we can also take advantage of the growing body of knowledge
pertaining to megastructural engineering and even existing proposals for floating cities [12, 13,
14, 15, 17, 18]. Another possible solution is artificial islands [19].
Furthermore, in recent years the topic of Very-Large-Floating-Structures [21, 22] has
experienced a surge of renewed interest occurring in tandem with the increasing interest in
seasteading [23, 24], that is, the creation of very-large-floating-structures for reasons of

political sovereignty as well as to allow corporations to get around the laws of a given nation by
occupying an area outside of exclusive economic zones. This renewed interest can only increase
the amount of attention and funding these concepts receive, in turn increasing the viability of
VLFS-design and their underlying structural-engineering and energy-production concerns.
Another contemporary movement that will prove advantageous for our own concerns with the
effects of overpopulation on living-space, working-space and resource-space is the growing
green movement and sustainability movement. The problem of resource scarcity is already upon
us in many areas, and there exists contemporary motivation for finding more resource-efficient
ways of making energy and producing goods, and for lessening our dependency on nonrenewable energy sources. Climate change has only become an increasingly predominant
concern in international politics, and many incentives exist to lessen our dependence on nonrenewable energy sources as well as to lessen the environmental impact of contemporary
civilization, which is itself another oft-touted problematic-concern possibly resulting from
overpopulation. Developments in these areas are only set to continue, for reasons wholly
unrelated to the effects of overpopulation, and when those effects come to the fore we will have a
collection of existing methodologies that can then be harnessed to lessen the impact of
overpopulation on living space and resource scarcity.
The predominance of these problems, as well as the amount of attention and funding they are
expected to receive (and thus the viability of their potential solutions), will only increase as we
move forward into the future. The solutions we have to the potential problems of overpopulation
namely resource scarcity and lack of living space will not only increase as the effects of
overpopulation get closer, but the technological and methodological infrastructures underlying
those solutions will also become more tried, tested and robust, fueled by contemporary concerns
over decreasing living space, climate-change and resource scarcity.
While space colonization is the most frequently-proffered technological solution to the
possibility of future overpopulation, I think we will turn to various Earth-bound solutions to
increasing humanitys available living space, as well as the space available for agricultural labs,
that is the manufacture of food-stuffs, or indoor farming systems [25, 26, 28], before colonizing
the cosmos becomes an economically-optimal option. I think these sorts of solutions will be
employed long before humanity if forced to either regulate the birthrate or move into the cosmos.
Moreover, people who wish to have children will have incentive to support politicians running
on policies promoting new solutions to decreasing living-space. Consider the number of U.S.
taxpayer dollars spent during the Space Race, with no immediate material or scientific benefit
(other than to prove it could be done, as well as to maintain rough militaristic equality with the
USSR to some extent, as the state of rocket technology was indicative of the state of ballistic
technologies like missiles). If humanity is forced to choose between having children and

receiving the medical treatments that will keep them from dying, surely people will be motivated
to fund initiatives and projects aimed at solving the problems of decreasing living space and
increasing resource-constraints due to a growing global population.
It is important to remember that the largest increase in life-expectancy we have experienced
historically was followed by a drastic decrease in birthrate over the next few generations
thereafter. Before the industrial revolution, English women had on average 6 children. In 2000
the average was less than 2.

Figure 1: English Fertility Rates in England, 1540-2000

Note: GRR = Gross Reproduction Rate, NRR = Net Reproduction Rate


Source: Wrigley et al. (1997) p. 614. Office of National Statistics, United Kingdom.

The drop in birthrate following the industrial revolution has several causes. Chief among them is
the fact that children were considered to some extent as assets, helping with maintaining the
family livelihood, often by doing agricultural work on a family farm or to help with household
chores (which were much more extensive then). Another large determining factor is a high rate
of child mortality; thus families would have multiple children in anticipation of losing some to
death. But with a rise in living conditions, the child mortality rate dropped drastically and as a
result we stopped having more kids in anticipation of some of them dying. Moreover, we started
treating children less as assets and more as people to nurture and raise for their own sake. Longer
lives, and less susceptibility to death in general, appears to have made us better parents.

Thus it is not only possible but probable that we will see a similar drop in the birthrate as a
consequence of a significant future increase in average lifespan, with people having children
much later in life, when they are more financially stable and when they have done all the
commitment-free things theyve always wanted to do. Without a looming limit on ones
available reproductive lifespan, there will be no pressing motivation to have children before its
too late and this alone could very well facilitate an unprecedented decrease in the Total
Fertility Rate (TFR) of the global population.
Evidence indicates that the drop in birth rate was neither limited to England, nor an isolated
result of the Industrial Revolution. A net drop in the TFR seems to be a longer-term trend
concurrent across the globe. It is likely that the drop in the TFR is due to the same factors as the
drop in birth rate following the Industrial Revolution increasing life expectancy and
continually-improving living conditions allows people to have children without expecting a
portion of them to be lost to child, to have them for the sake of having children rather than as
assets to aid in maintaining the family livelihood, and to have children later in life due to the
increase in ones reproductive lifespan that comes with increasing life-expectancy. The fact that
the drop in TFR is not an isolated historical event is advantageous because the global population
is affected by birth rate much more than by the mortality rate. Hence we may see a continuing
decrease in the TFR occur in tandem with increasing life expectancy, leveling out the imbalance
created by a mortality rate of zero by a larger than has been heretofore anticipated.

Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook.

Let us suppose, for a moment, the worst: that indefinite longevity is achieved and we completely
ignore (i.e. fail to plan for) overpopulation until its effects start becoming readily apparent. Even

in this seeming worse-case scenario, overpopulation is not likely to result in any great tragedies.
In such a case we would be forced to limit the global birthrate until we are able to implement the
solutions that would allow us to sustainably procreate again. If people have a strong enough
desire to continue having children, then they will express their demand and politicians will
consequently base their policies upon deliberative initiatives to increase available living and
agricultural space and get elected if the desire to freely procreate is strong and widespread
enough. Failing to plan for overpopulation will simply be a wake-up call, letting us know that we
should have been planning for its effects from the beginning, and that we had better start
planning for them now if we want to continue to freely procreate.
Thus while overpopulation is the most prominent and most credible criticism against continuallyincreasing lifespans, and the one that needs to be planned-for the most (because it will eventually
happen, but it will lead to sustainability, resource and living space problems only if we do
nothing about it), it is in no way insoluble, nor particularly pressing in terms of the time
available to plan and implement solutions to shrinking living-space and resource-space (i.e. the
space occupied by resources such as food, energy-production, workplaces, etc.). We have a host
of potential solutions today, ones we can use to increase available living space without regulating
the global birthrate, and decades following the achievement of indefinite lifespans to consider the
advantages and disadvantages of the various possible solutions, to develop them and to
implement them.
So then: wherefore from here? Overpopulation is still the most prominent criticism raised against
indefinite longevity, and if combatted, it could lead to an increase in public support for the
Longevity movement. You might think that the widespread concern with overpopulation due to
increasing longevity wont really matter, if they turn out to be wrong, and overpopulation isnt so
insoluble a problem as one is inclined to first presume. But this misses a crucial point: that the
time it takes to achieve longevity is determined by and large by how widespread and strongly
society and the members constituting it desire and demand it. If we can convince people today
that overpopulation isnt an insoluble problem, then continually-increasing longevity might
happen much sooner than otherwise. At the cost of 100,000 deaths due to age-correlated causes
per day, I think hastening the arrival of indefinite longevity therapies by even a modest amount
is somewhat imperative. Hastening its arrival by one month will save 3 million lives, and
achieving it one year sooner than otherwise will save an astounding 36.5 Million real, human
lives..
Thus, we should work toward putting more concrete numbers to these estimates. How much
more living space can be feasibly created by colonizing the oceans? How deep can we really dig,
build and live? How high can we safely build? Is there a threshold height or depth where
building higher or deeper becomes too economically-prohibitive to be worth the added living,
working or resource-space? What are the parameters (e.g. material strength/cost ratio, specific

structural design) determining such a threshold?


First, we need to collect and analyze the feasibility studies that have already been undertaken on
floating cities, artificial islands, VLFSs and the new solution-paradigms that are emerging to
combat the contemporary concerns of sustainability and resource scarcity. In short, we need to
compile data from the feasibility studies that have already been done, and the projects already
implemented. Then we need to plan and commission further feasibility studies, undertaken by
engineers and geologists, to build upon the work already accomplished in feasibility studies
pertaining to existing designs for floating cities and other Very-Large-Floating-Structures. We
need to put some numbers to the cost the additional space for food, resources, work and livingspace necessitated by widely-available life-extension therapies. We need to do some hard
calculations to show that the effects of overpopulation are problems that can be solved using
existing megascale-engineering and construction techniques and materials, safely and
economically. We need to show the world that it has more space than it ever thought it had, and
that such solution-paradigms as cosmic colonization and procreative regulation are neither the
only ones, nor necessarily the most optimal ones. We need in short to show them that, in this
case, where theres a will theres a way, and that the weight of waiting is too high a price to pay.
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OVERPOPULATION & EXTINCTION


BY: DAVID KEKICH

Will we be the next endangered species?


Yes and no.
Every time a radical new idea or trend emerges, naysayers spring from the woodwork, wringing
their hands over all the dangers these changes will carry with them, and try to rally the masses to
stand in the way of progress.
The concept of conquering death may frighten them more than even the Industrial Revolution. If
you read your history, youre aware of the ridiculous predictions of mass unemployment and
widespread starvation. Of course the same history books show the exact opposite results.
And so it is with super longevity.
What are we going to do with all the people? A bigger population will chew up our resources
until theres nothing left for anyone. And of course there are more objections.
On the surface, these knee-jerk reactions seem logical (assuming letting billions die to make
room for even more future victims is a moral and rational solution).
Lets look at the logic behind these objections:
Take overpopulation, which according to conventional wisdom, would result in disappearing
resources. Eliminating death, at least from biological malfunctions, could eventually lead to
extinction, if, and only if, open-ended lifespans end up meaning a swelling population wont
sustain itself with the ability to produce enough food, energy, etc. to manage the growth.
We need to either control our environment or control growth. Unless we dont produce enough to
sustain life, it will wither and die and we will as a species, disappear from the face of the earth.

And the Luddites (those opposed to many new technologies) love to point this out to all who will
listen. But we will sustain life and possibly manage population growth as well (uncontrolled
population growth is almost certainly overstated too). In fact, the very technologies that will
allow us to overcome aging should solve the perceived problem of limited resources. The same
was true for the technologies which sprung from the Industrial Revolution.
Our sights are set higher now too. Where the power loom was all the rage in the 19th Century,
now were on the verge of space colonization. The universe may be infinite too. If so, it would
allow for limitless growth. Even if the universe is finite, its unimaginably large. And if we did
some day see that continued growth would ultimately mean death, then we should be smart
enough by then to preserve our existence.
The most glaring observation of history is that it repeats itself. Are we doomed to not learn from
history and keep making the same mistakes? Or will enhanced wisdom accompany our prospects
of super human intelligence?
I wonder what the Luddites will scream about tomorrow if Luddism survives intelligence
enhancement.
Now lets get back to the question of whether humans will be the next endangered species.
That depends on your definition of human. Were our distant ancestors human? Evolution has
taken us from root-grubbing grunting hominids, fighting it out with the other primitive animals,
to 21st Century meatbags reaching for the stars.
Now that we started down the path of accelerating self-driven evolution, in the next hundred
years, humans may change more than we did in the last million.
Then does that mean we wont be human? This evolvement is typically referred to as
transhumanism which leads to posthumanism. So the question is, will we still be human? Since it
depends on your definition of human, you decide.
The point is, well be better in nearly every way. For those who dont agree, they can choose to
be left behind.

PART TWO: LONGEVITY PHILOSOPHY

THE DREAM [PAOLO AND FRANCESCA] (1909) BY UMBERTO BOCCIONI

IMMORTALISM: ERNEST BECKER AND ALAN HARRINGTON ON OVERCOMING


BIOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS
BY: JASON SILVA

The mindset of an Immortalist is pretty simple and straightforward: death is an abhorrent


imposition on a species able to reflect and care about meaning. Creatures that love and dream
and create and yearn for something meaningful, eternal and transcendent should not have to
suffer despair, decay, and death. We are the arbiters of value in an otherwise meaningless
universe.
The fleeting nature of beautiful, transcendent moments feeds the urge for man to scream: I was
here; I felt this and it matters, goddamn it! In the face of meaningless extinction, its not
surprising that mankind has needed to find a justification for his suffering. Man is the only
animal aware of his mortality - and this awareness causes a tremendous amount of anxiety,
anxiety that we have to do something about.
As a child I wanted to understand the world. Nothing much has changed. The sense of urgency
has not dissipated. Im still running around desperately trying to understand things. To have
emerged - to be self-aware, to know that I know that I am - all these things were troubling
mostly because they fueled the panic over having some semblance of control over my
experience.
When I first understood what love was, on a visceral level that was when I first grasped the
concept of death. Death felt real when I pondered losing someone I loved. It was unbearable to
imagine that everything and everyone I loved was temporary, even as a young child. Very early
on, I comprehended mortality intellectually. I suppose many of us repress this awareness and
comfort ourselves with stories, orthodoxies, and songs but I couldnt. That felt like a cop out.
We can dance, skydive, travel, drink wine, get high But when we pause for just a moment - a
faint disquiet begins to intrude.
The philosophy that accepts death must itself be considered dead, its questions meaningless, its

consolations worn out. - Alan Harrington, The Immortalist


If we lacked humor, given the fundamental terrorizing incongruity of mortality awareness in
creatures who dream of immortality, it is questionable whether human beings would have
survived at all. - Neil Engee, Laughing At Death
The common reaction to seeing a thing of beauty is to want to possess it; and yet our real
desire may be not so much to own what we find beautiful, but rather to lay a permanent claim to
the inner qualities it embodies. We want to give our experience of the sublime weight in our
lives. - Alain de Botton
A person spends years coming into this own, developing his talent, his unique gifts, perfecting
his discriminations about the world, broadening and sharpening his appetite, learning to bear
the disappointments of life, becoming mature, seasoned finally a unique creature in nature,
standing with some dignity and nobility and transcending the animal condition, no longer a
complete reflex, not stamped out of any mold and then the real tragedy: That it might take sixty
years of incredible suffering and effort to make such an individual, and then he is good only for
dying. - Ernest Becker discussing Andre Malraux
Not that my life isnt sunny and lusty, packed with fascinating hours. It is. Everybody has the
chance to turn his span into an adventure, filled with achievement and love-making. We can
dance, skydive, float in space, build marvelous jetliners, travel, drink wine, get high, write poems
together, and more. Weve never had such a variety of music, art, and dance as today. But when
we start to grow a little older - and when we pause for just a moment - a faint disquiet begins
to intrude on all our scenes.
Alain de Botton, in his book The Art of Travel, says, If our lives are dominated by the search for
happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest in all
its ardor and paradoxes than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an
understanding of what life might actually be about, outside the constraints of work and the
struggle for survival. I would go further and say that when we travel we are so immersed in the
present moment; so fully stimulated by the newness of the here and now that for a while we
step off the moving walkway that carries everyone else towards death. Movies like Richard
Linklaters Before Sunrise always made me feel this way. It involved two people falling in love
while traveling and exploring a new city and it was intoxicating. That one night tasted like
forever. That was a sampler of immortality, and sadly, it ended all too soon.
The psychologist Ernest Becker wrote in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Denial of Death,
that in the face of an acute and agonizing awareness of his mortality, man has developed three
main devices to sustain his sanity: the Religious, the Romantic, and the Creative. These illusions

act as temporary solutions to the problem of death. Lets take a look at each one of these in turn.
THE RELIGIOUS SOLUTION GOD WILL SAVE US
The Religious Solution has man inventing the concept of God and projecting onto it the power to
grant us what we all really want - the ability to bestow eternal life on ourselves and our loved
ones, and to be free from disease, decay and death. The belief in an all-powerful God made
perfect sense during the dark ages when people lived short, miserable, disease-ridden lives. With
no explanation for their suffering, people were better able to bear their hardships by having faith
in God and believing that - in the end - their God would save them.
However, God never came. Suffering persisted, and people lived and people died.
In an age of science and reason, however, the Religious Solution has all but become obsolete.
The irrationality of religious dogma has become clear in our modern time of scientific
enlightenment, and rather than alleviating our anxiety it has only served to exacerbate it. In
his book The Immortalist. Alan Harrington wrote, Anxiety increases with education. As we
grow more sophisticated, ever more ingenious rationalizations are needed to explain death
away. Man still needs something to believe in, it seems.
THE ROMANTIC SOLUTION - LOVE IS ETERNAL
Enter the Romantic Solution - the second illusion identified by Becker. When we no longer
believe in God, we then turn our lovers into gods and goddesses. We idolize them and write pop
songs about being saved by their love. For a little while, we feel immortal like gods beyond
time. Once we realize what the religious solution did, we can see how modern man edged
himself into an impossible situation, says Becker. He still needed to feel heroic to merge
himself with some higher, self-absorbing meaning, in trust and in gratitudeYet if man no
longer had god, how was he to do this?
The answer to Beckers question is simple. Man did it by turning his beloved into god: If the
love object is divine perfection, then ones own self is elevated by joining ones destiny to it,
Becker continues. All our guilt, fear, and even our mortality itself can be purged in a perfect
consummation with perfection itself. And the Oedipus complex can now be understood for what
it really is, says Becker, another twisting and turning, a groping for the meaning of ones
life. If you dont have god in heaven, an invisible dimension that justifies the visible one, then
you take what is nearest at hand and work out your problems on that.
Harrington offers his own take on the Romantic Solution to demonstrate how romance manifests
itself. Sensuality may turn into a feverish hunt for rebirth, says Harrington. In carrying on this

search, men and women depend increasingly on sexual symbolism. The sexual partner turns into
a stand-in for various dream figures, phantasms in a stage-managed resurrection. These figures
are all agents of immortality to be conquered or succumbed to many times over, in order that the
pilgrim without faith may symbolically die and live again.
We all know how this feels. Jose Ortega y Gasset calls it the beaming forth of a favorable
atmosphere. But it goes way further than that. When in love, Becker says, man can forget
himself in the delirium of sex, and still be marvelously quickened in the experience. We are
temporarily relieved from the drag of the animality that haunts our victory over decay and
death. When in love, we become immortal gods.
But no relationship can bear the burden of godhood. Eventually, our gods/lovers reveal their clay
feet. It is, as someone once said, the mortal collision between heaven and halitosis. For Ernest
Becker, the reason is clear: It is right at the heart of the paradox of man. Sex is of the body and
the body is of death. Let us linger on this for a moment because it is so central to the failure of
romantic love as the solution to human problems and is so much a part of modern mans
frustrations.
This is the revelation we all come to in a romantic relationship when sex is revealed to represent
species consciousness = a mere process of reproduction in service of propagation, rather than
in the service of man as a special cosmic hero with special gifts for the universe Man is
revealed to be a mere link in the chain, with no lasting purpose or significance. Passionate love
then tends to transition into housekeeping love - boredom and routine coupled with the
impossible standards we have for our lovers collides in a flurry of disappointment, and perfection
begins to show its cracks.
This is why most marriages end in divorce and why love doesnt ever quite seem to last forever.
THE CREATIVE SOLUTION MY ART WILL LAST FOREVER
At this point in his analysis, Becker identifies the last illusion man has devised the Creative
Solution. He explains our urge to leave a legacy = to create a great work of art that has lasting
impact and value, something that carries our signature and lives on after were gone. This is the
artists way of scribbling Kilroy was here on the wall of the final and irrevocable oblivion
through which he must one day pass, Harrington explains. This is quite touching and clever, and
not surprising, but ultimately it fails where it counts: you still die.
The absurdity and ache of our condition can be summed up by the opening line from the awardwinning 2006 documentary Flight From Death narrated by Gabriel Byrne, To have emerged
from nothing; to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feeling; an excruciating yearning

for life and self-expression. And with all this; yet to die. Human beings find themselves in quite
the predicament. With our minds we have the capacity ponder the infinite, seemingly capable of
anything, yet were housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping, decaying body. We are godly,
yet creaturely. Heres the trailer for Flight from Death:
The rationalization of death as a good thing is no more than a complacent nodding resignation
unto nothingness - just another device to justify and put the absurdity of our mortality out of our
minds. Religion often goes farther in this glamorization of oblivion. In his essay, The Ideology
of Death, the philosopher Herbert Marcuse explains our bizarre rationalization of death, The
exhortation to make death ones own is hardly more than a premature reconciliation with
unmastered natural forces. A brute biological fact, permeated with pain, horror, and despair, is
transformed into an existential privilege. From the beginning to the end, religion has exhibited
this strange masochism.
Neil Engee, in his essay Laughing at Death, amplifies this theme, The dread of death is
terrifyingly magnified when we consider the possibility that our life and death could be
insignificant in a meaningless indifferent universe. Participation in the transcending cultural
drama lends us meaning and enables us to keep such dark concerns out of mind, unconscious,
suppressed by the security blanket of social verities enfolding us in comforting embrace.
There are other ways we hide from mortality in contemporary life. The disco has become an
electric art form, Harrington rails. We loosen our anxieties with the help of enormous guitars
in a temple of fragmentation. These assaults on our senses all have one purpose, to smash the
separateness of everyone present; to expose feeling and break through thinking; to make us live,
in the phrase of Alan Watts, a perpetual uncalculated life in the present all this too amounts
to one more attempt to hide from the end; a sort of electronic Buddhism in place of sequential
perception.
THE IMMORTALIST SOLUTION OVERCOMING BIOLOGICAL LIMITATIONS
The Immortalist Solution is simply this: the time has come for man to get over his cosmic
inferiority complex. To rise above his condition and to use technology to extend himself
beyond his biological limitations. We must never forget we are cosmic revolutionaries, not
stooges conscripted to advance a natural order that kills everybody, says Harrington.
While Ernest Becker identified our need for heroism and our extensive attempts to satisfy it
symbolically, Alan Harrington proposes that we move definitively to engineer salvation in the
real world. He proposes that we move directly to physically overcome death itself, Spend the
money, higher the scientists and hunt down death like an outlaw. Where some cry heresy and
gasp in protest at the pretense of playing god, Harrington simply states, The truth is, of

course, that death should no more be considered an acceptable part of life than smallpox or polio,
both of which we have managed to bring under control without denouncing ourselves as
pretentious.
Harrington also suggests that what must be eliminated from the human drama is, the
inevitability of death as a result and natural end of the aging process. He is speaking of the
inescapable parabolic arching from birth to death, being alive now, ungoverned by span, cycle
or inevitability. Civilized mans project will no longer be, as Freud suggested, to recover his
lost childhood, but rather to create the adult equivalent: an immortal present free from the fear of
aging and death, Harrington continues.
Harrington also rails against any philosophy that teaches complacency. All philosophical
systems insofar as they teach us sportingly to accept extinction are a waste of time, he writes.
The wisdom of philosophers may nearly always be found trying to blanket our program to
conquer death. He critiques men that propose surrendering to the eternal now, stating, Alan
Watts and Norman O. Brown write passionately, with intimidating erudition, about the
unimportance of erudition. Supremely self-conscious and egocentric men advance themselves,
their systems and anti-systems, never stop talking, all the while insisting that the mind should be
retracted, the intellect forsaken, and that everyone should instead worship the sensuous present.
Harrington then continues by critiquing those who embellish nothingness. He says, Voices
preaching false consolation will not help us, no matter how skillfully and soothingly they arrange
nothingness. This includes thinkers like Alan Watts, who claims, death seems simply to be
a return to that unknown inwardness out of which we were born. Harrington dismisses such
statements as verbal valium when he states, This may be appraised as fine writing, but it serves
also to glamorize death, and therefore, in the context of humanitys mission to conquer death, to
weaken and tranquilize our rebellion.
Harrington is not the only one who thinks this way. Eternity, eternity! that is the supreme
desire! The thirst of eternity is what is called love among men nothing is real that is not
eternal, says Miguel de Umamuno in his book The Tragic Sense of Life. Our anguish as
human beings is articulated by this rant. Unamuno continues, The world is made for
consciousness A human soul is worth all the universe.
IN SUMMARY
The Immortalist point of view can be summarized as a project that uses technology to
Individualize eternity, to stabilize the forms and identities through which the energy of
conscious life passes. This is hardly a stretch for human beings, says Harrington: We have
long since gone beyond the moon, touched down on mars, harnessed nuclear energy, artificially

reproduced DNA, and now have the biochemical means to control birth; why should death itself,
the last enemy, be considered beyond conquest?
Once again, to quote Harrington, Salvation belongs to medical engineering and nothing else;
mans fate depends first on the proper management of his technical proficiency; we can only
engineer our freedom from death, not pray for it. The beautiful device of tragedy ending in
helplessness has become outmoded in our absurd time, no longer desirable and not to be
glamorized. The art that embellishes death with visual beauty and celebrates it in music belongs
to other centuries. Anything that celebrates or bemoans our helplessness has gone as far as it can.
We are done teaching accommodation to death and granting it static finality as the human
condition.
In closing, I want to leave you with this biting and eloquent passage I read somewhere on the
Internet:
There is nothing about death that is less than abominable. I am forever bewildered by the
placating palaver wasted in efforts to quell this irrational horror. The cessation of all that is, the
chasm that devours every memory, every fleeting intellection, every redeeming fragment of
meaning and love and lust and friendship and hunger and hopeless vitality, and reduces it all to
the inconceivable cosmic ash of nothingThat is my enemy.

REFUTING THE INDEFINITE LONGEVITY WILL SLOW PROGRESS CRITICISM


BY: FRANCO CORTESE

We are all still children. As far as the Centenarian is concerned, the only people to have ever
lived have been children and we have all died before our coming of age.
What if humans only lived to age 20? Consider how much less it would be possible to know, to
experience, and to do. Most people would agree that a maximum lifespan of 20 years is
extremely circumcising and limiting a travesty. However, it is only because we ourselves have
lived past such an age that we feel intuitively as though a maximum lifespan of 20 years would
be a worse state of affairs than a maximum lifespan of 100. And it is only because we ourselves
have not lived past the age of 100 that we fail to have similar feelings regarding death at the age
of 100. This doesn't seem like such a tragedy to us but it is a tragedy, and arguably one as
extensive as death at age 20.
Another reason informing our concern with death at age 20 and our relative ease with death at
100 is the notion of living long enough to do enough. Death at age 20 for the most part seems to
preclude such experiences as parenthood, to birth a child and watch him grow into personhood.
Thus whereas a 100 year old will have had enough time to have children, to watch them grow, to
work and to enjoy the fruits of their labor through leisure in retirement. Our ignorance regarding
the real scope of possibility, of possible experience and possible modes of existence also informs
our relative unconcern with death at age 100. We feel that there is a limited number of things for
one to do in life, or at least things that are qualitatively unique enough to be considered as being
truly distinguishable from the rest.
But we couldn't be more wrong. It's hard to step outside culture sometimes, and easy to naively
look upon a foreign culture as embodying but a very limited number of archetypes and
stereotypical caricatures of their true depth and diversity. There are more contemporary cultures,
traditions and conditions that can be practiced and experienced than years to actually do so.
Likewise, there is more history to learn about than time available. The current breadth and depth
of the world and its past are far too gargantuan to be encompassed by a mere 80 years. If you
really think that there are only so many things that can be done in a lifetime, you simply haven't

lived long enough or broadly enough. There is more to the wide whorl of the world than the
confines and extents of our own particular cultural narrative and native milieu.
More than this, the startling diversity of the world and stark heterogeneity of history is only set to
continue its upward growth into spaces unknown as we move into the plethora of futures before
us. More information is being produced than can be kept up with. Culture has always been
changing, but today the pace of that change is swifter than ever before. The thought that boredom
would ever be an issue to longer living people is simply laughable. Not only does the world
currently contain more than it is possible to know in a single century, but it is accumulating ever
more depth and diversity every day, and at an accelerating pace. You couldn't catch up with
history in the first place, and you're sure to gain more ground to cover than you can possibly
encompass, faster than you can get a hold of it, as life expectancy experiences further increases.
Another condition informing our concern with death at 20 and our relative unconcern with death
at 100 is the decline of function as we age. Bodily suffering and functional decay increase as one
grows with age, and often we look upon the elderly as beings more defined by their
encumbrance, by what they have lost, than by what they still possess. What will life be like, we
wonder, when bodily motion becomes a battle, and when the simple experience of motion in an
embodied world is complimented at every turn and twist by heat, friction, and pain? When living
as we once did when young becomes a labor, and leisure is really just that? Or perhaps worse,
when our minds begin to fall out from under us, to fail, as we are left to look on in horror from
the inside-out looking-in. Lucky for us, we're wrong; and even if we weren't, we are still lucky
that it is a transient tragedy, a temporary and ultimately remediable one.
These men and women are more than the sum of what they have lost. They are living, breathing,
thinking and valuing beings. They are! It's as simple and stunning as that: they exist! To think
that they might be better off, happier, in the rest of death and quiet of last breath to think that
they are beings defined most fundamentally by suffering, and by a comparison of what they no
longer are, is not only wrong but perverse. They are living, and life so long as it's lived should
never be defined by suffering, by a lack or comparison of what it isn't, but rather by what it is
and still is. There are exceptions of course; rapidly debilitating disease, unremitting pain,
incomprehensible horror at the slow decay of mind. But I would argue confidently that the
elderly are not in constant woe of that which they can no longer do. Like living beings, they deal
with it and continue on in the business of being. To consider the elderly as waiting for the rest
and peace of death is a dangerous and ugly notion, and one very far from the truth.
Luckily, functional decline as a correlate of age is on the way out. We will live to 100 not in a
period of decline upon hitting our mid-twenties, but in a continuing period of youthfulness.
There are no longevity therapies on the table that offer to truly prolong life indefinitely without
actually reversing aging. Death and aging are not separate things or processes; death is when

aging has won the battle. Aging is slow death, and a truly-indefinite delaying of death ipso facto
necessitates a reversal of aging, and a remediating of the physiological conditions that ultimately
lead to death (i.e. what we colloquially call aging). To think that we will be prolonging our lives
not as youthful beings of whatever physiological age we so desire but instead as elderly, ageravaged beings patching new holes and bracing old crutches is to some extent mistake the cause
for the symptom. If we prolong life significantly, we will prolong the healthy portion of our lives
first and foremost. The centenarians of next century will look as healthy as the 20-year-olds of
last.
Thus, one of the impediments preventing us from seeing death at 100 as a tragedy, as dying
before ones time, will be put to rest as well. When we see a 100 year old die in future, they will
have the young face of someone who we feel today has died before their time. We won't be
intuitively inclined to look back upon the gradual loss of function and physiological-robustness
as leading to and foretelling this point, thereby making it seem inevitable or somehow natural.
We will see a terribly sad 20 year old, wishing they had more time. We will be able to envision
with vivid viscerality the bright and buoyant things they could be doing were they not bedridden
and stricken with sickness unto death.
Moreover, that gradual decline into visually-apprehensible old age also highlights another
impediment to seeing the elderly as continually-growing beings with a future to look forward to
rather than fight against. The gradual decline of our mental faculties makes it seem that we
would be accumulating experience and memory at a deficit, cumulatively losing the ability to
think, judge, remember and experience. Thus old age conjures to mind more senility than
wisdom for many people.
This too is less true than delusive. Again, this type of thinking is engendered by comparing what
they seem to be with what they arent or once were. In any case, it will be even less true in the
future, when longevity therapies restore our mental health to its youthful glory. Then, the
prospect of ever-continuing experience and personal growth, ever-accumulating wisdom and
knowledge, ever sharper consideration and discernment is not so intuitively-improbable. The
claim that we can in fact continue to grow in how smart, ethical, knowledgeable and deliberative
we are will not be so easily balkable when ones physiological state ceases to be an indicator of
their chronological age.
Another common criticism of indefinite longevity in regard to the downfalls of old age comes
from Max Plancks statement that science progresses one funeral at a time; that men and women
of a given generation become so attached to their theories that they remain attached in the face of
contrary evidence, and it takes their very death for new theories to be embraced by new
generations unencumbered by the consideration that after all this time I might actually be wrong
after all. From this sentiment follows the criticism that significantly extending the average

human lifespan will slow progress in science by preventing the death those grafted unflinchingly
to a given theory. I would argue that such a sentiment stems from the view of the elderly
previously defined and defied, namely as beings more defined by what they have lost than by
what they have, as beings fighting against the grain of growth. To view the elderly as continually
growing beings forces one to see this criticism as somewhat nave.
Along another line of argumentation, if we assume that this observation is correct and elderly
academics refusing to let their own cherished theories die at the hands of the new is a real
concern only aggravated by the coming of longevity therapies, then we still have reason to
believe that longevity therapies can change the nature of the game by a large enough extent to
negate these problematic concerns.
If someone refuses to consider in light of new evidence or perspective that their theory is wrong,
refuses to allow the series of thought leading to the realization that all they have worked for is of
lesser importance now, the most obvious cause of discontent would seem to be the notion of their
own onrushing death. If my theory is wrong, there isnt time or perhaps just youthful vigor
enough to do it all over again from scratch. Someone worked his lifetime to achieve recognition
in his field, and with his death so close around the corner, he faces the prospect of having all that
work and worth be devalued by new developments. A scary thought, and the notion that people
willingly or subconsciously refuse to consider facts that undermine their theory, and its perceived
worth in their field, is least conceivable under such conditions. Thusly considered, Plancks
notion doesnt as nave as it first seemed.
But this is the very concern set to be alleviated by longevity therapies. If the concern with being
wrong is most impacted by ones impeding death, and the fact that one wouldnt have the time or
energy to create another groundbreaking paradigm upheaval in their chosen field should their
namesake-theory prove to be mistaken, then the arrival of longevity therapies should not only
fail to exacerbate and aggravate this situation, but indeed may even ameliorate or negate it,
allowing people to let their theories go under the comforting thought that they have all the time
in the world to do it again.
My friend and peer Gennady Stolyarov II combats this criticism admirably, arguing that such
instances occur due to the functional decline that comes with graceless old age, due to senility
and a loss of mental flexibility. I think there is definitely some weight and worth to this
consideration. And luckily, this too is a concern that is alleviated rather than aggravated by the
introduction of longevity therapies. Longevity therapies will increase our healthy lifespans rather
than stretch out the slow rot of our old age, as remarked earlier. Thus the longevity therapies that
many critics argue could exacerbate this progress-stalling state of affairs could, along yet another
line of argumentation, constitute the very thing that jolts this state of affairs into reform. If
senility and loss of mental flexibility contributes to Plancks notion that life (or more properly

the absence of timely death) forestalls scientific progress, then longevity therapies may constitute
the source of senilitys demise and mental flexibilitys restoration.
In any case, even if we accept Planks notion as true, and conclude that indefinite longevity will
aggravate rather than alleviate this state of affairs, faster progress in the sciences or the
humanities is no justification for simply doing nothing to negate physically-remediable sources
of death and disease.
It seems to me a truism that we get smarter, more ethical and more deliberative as we age. To
think otherwise is in many cases derivative of the notion that physiology and experience alike are
on the decline once we peak in our mid-twenties, downhill into old age which does
undoubtedly happen, and which inarguably does cause functional decline. But longevity
therapies are nothing more nor less than the maintenance of normative functionality; longevity
therapies would thus not only negate the functional decline that comes with old age, and with it
the source of the problem arguably at the heart of the concern that longer life will slow progress
even more, but might even constitutes the only foreseeable fix to the problem by definition,
because indefinite longevity is defined as (or more properly, synonymous with) the maintenance
of normative functionality, a.k.a. the indefinite prevention of functional decline. There is no
reason to expect that, in a time where we age without functional decline, the ethicacy and
experience of each human being wouldnt increase as we age just as they arguably do as we age
from two to twenty to thirty.
Increasing longevity will not bring with it prolonged old-age, a frozen decay and decrepit delay,
but will instead prolong our youthful lives and make us continually growing beings, getting
smarter and more ethical all the time. Indefinite longevity will not slow progress, it will
accelerate it! Instead of the having thinking, being beings die after ten-score decades, they can
continue to think and be. They can build upon the edifice of their existence and experience
continually, reaching height unheralded in flighty fits and bounds. Moreover, increasingly more
and more people may very well be a boon to the momentum of progress. It could be argued that
the increasing rate of progress was aided by the increase in global population that preceded it,
providing not only more people to have more thoughts, but more people to challenge existing
thought and to feedback accordingly in forward fashion. Statistically speaking, more people
should mean more ideas, and more ideas should mean more good ideas, all else being equal.
Thus indefinite longevity will better progress, not deter it, and will do so on the scale of both self
and society. We will continue to grow, to learn and to yearn. But more than that we will
continue to be and that in itself is cause for good pause. In all our worry about stalled progress
and boredom, we forget that even if indefinite longevity didnt bring with it a host of advantages
and boons to the boom of progress and exalted strife intrinsic to life, the ability to simply

continue being is incommunicably better than the alternative, which does nothing but put an end
to all other alternatives.

LAZARUS LONG
BY: JOHN ELLIS , PH.D.

Arguments about the future are barred in philosophy as unprovable. This bars most religions, and
futurism.
In Transhumanist religions mysticism is replaced by science-fiction & speculation.
80% of people have a deep capacity for complex irrational belief. Society needs to satisfy this, or
they will descend into mental illness.
THE LAZARUS LONG DELUSION
(i.e., I am old and I dont want to resurrect.)
Unbiased judgment is only possible in a state of well-being, on the whole. The mind in a
suffering body deludes itself of its impartiality.
A surprising number of people dont want resurrection because they are unaware of this
delusion.
I have found only two reasons for this:
1. When young they realized that death was inevitable and so they have programmed themselves
to accept death. Challenging death causes revolution in their psyche which is stressful.
2. They are unaware of the bodys effect on their reasoning. They havent read Time Enough For
Love by Robert Heinlein. Lazarus Long is centuries old and commits suicide. Before the suicide
is complete, police bots find and rejuvenate him. He feels great and wants to live again. This
must happen to everyone, I believe, because we are beings bonded by biological urges that filter
into us as our mind.
Nature has built us with a progressive death wish as we age, to make our degeneration into death

bearable. Some Freudians call it Thanatos.


Libido, the opposite, is what you see in young animals bouncing around. When you are
resurrected (to youth) your body will be full of libido and you will want to live.
People confuse death with the cessation of suffering. You dont need Death to stop suffering: to
stop suffering, you need full health and peace.
The only honest way to test it is to try both states:
1. Try being Dead
and
2. Try being young again.
See which you prefer!
Im not kidding. That should be possible in systems well within the skills of quantum
archaeology.
Some people are locked in ego and may find it hard to believe their essential tastes and drives are
products of biology, biology of chemistry and chemistry of physics.
Some organized groups centuries old will challenge this, but my experience in studying them is
that they change when and how they have to, in order to survive. They are already doing it.
When people are resurrected in front of your eyes, false assumptions will crumble and the prodeath memberships will ebb away.
The profound change in our psyche is that death cant exist, since science is likely to resurrect us
in an infinite multiverse, where anything that can happen, and does happen.
Soon aging and ill health as we know it wont exist, and everything we have accepted as
immutable facts will be laughed at:
In those days you know, people used to DIE.
The word DEATH will have to take on a new meaning.
Life-ism is not a challenge to morality; it is one of the most moral attempts so far using mans
technology.

WHY YOU SHOULDNT COMMIT SUICIDE


1. Because suffering is going to be reversed. You wont have had it. The present you is not the
final judge of reality. Like winding a film of history back, history is likely to be changed and the
suffering taken out, without any loss of identity. This is a hard area in philosophy and outside the
scope of this essay.
2. Because you wont have any say in what the world will become.
3. Because suicide doesnt give you rest, or relief: you think youll just cease to exist, but
actually, youll be resurrected.
If you die, you will probably be resurrected, but the world in which you surface will be built by
other people using artificially intelligent machines.
Your return is unlikely to be unconditional at first: you may have to obey the laws that have
evolved while you were not there.
The maximum game strategy is to survive as long as you can.
Many will not have to die, but just get rejuvenation. They will be able to control investments and
some may influence policy.
Suicide might only be useful as last resort but attempting it is illegal in many nations. Feeling
you dont want to live is a normal part of the spectrum of human emotions.
Depressed, we have the Lazarus Long delusion that life isnt worth it. When were not
depressed, we dont feel that at all. If depression persists you could have a treatable illness and
should seek help. Over the counter anti-depressants can lift someone out of suffering quickly.
There is a cost/benefit judgment of living/not living, but life-ism certainly could be part of that
process.
Logically, there is no longer a terminal illness.
We are immortal whether we like it or not!

TECHNO-IMMORTALISM 101: WHAT ARE MINDFILES?


BY: MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D, MBA, J.D.

A mindfile is the sum of saved digital reflections about you. All of the stored emails, chats, texts,
IMs and blogs that you write are part of your mindfile. All of the uploaded photos, slide shows
and movies that involve you are part of your mindfile. Your search histories, clicked selections
and online purchases, if saved, are part of your mindfile. Your digital life is your mindfile.
Gordon Bell, a computer pioneer, has been digitally documenting every aspect of his life for
years. He wears a device around his neck that photographs his surroundings every time there is a
change, logs his GPS coordinates and records his voice and certain medical parameters. His
entire mindfile is accreting at the rate of about one gigabyte per month. In 2010 a gigabyte of
memory costs less than a dollar, so an entire lifetime mindfile costs less than a months rent in
most apartments.
Most people do not want all of their life going into a mindfile. But virtually everyone wants
some of their life mindfiled. Common sense says to safely store your precious photos in a server
elsewhere rather than risk their loss in a plastic photo album. Lists of friends and dates are so
much more convenient stored digitally than on scraps of paper. So long as the digital reflections
of our lives cannot be used against us or to annoy us such as by the government or
advertisers we are happy to let an ever-larger mindfile of us accumulate.
Your mindfile is accumulating regardless of your awareness of it. A reasonable estimate is that
people send or answer a few hundred emails a month, excluding spam. In addition, we all
regularly make at least a dozen or so online searches, purchases, and banking transactions. Some
of us share a photo a day; others of us perhaps five a month. Over the course of a decade, these
thousands of emails and other digital samples of your behavior create a mindfile more detailed
than the most researched biography. An expert team would know you almost as well as you
know yourself if they had this mindfile to peruse. They could predict what you would probably
do, how you would likely react and whom you might be thinking about. From your mindfile,
they would have your profile.
Your mindfile leads to your profile in large part because we all live in a cultural context. We all

share a large body of common knowledge with those who live in our same place, or have our
same job, or are part of one of our social networks. If you live in LA, you know what freeways
are, and you hate getting stuck on them. This is true for you even if you never mentioned it in
your blog. But if you liked freeways, there would be evidence of that oddity in your uploads into
your mindfile, such as a text or twitter message. Hence, piggy-backed onto our mindfiles are vast
assemblages of common cultural information.
Now it is certainly the case that much of the information that would be in our mindfile is
continually erased. Text messages are rarely stored, search engine companies have been
pressured to erase identifiable information, and some people declare email bankruptcy by simply
deleting all their messages in exchange for a fresh start. On the other hand, much more
information is accreting to our mindfile than is being erased. We store lifetimes of information
on flashdrives, memory sticks, laptops, external hard drives and distant cloud computer server
farms. Our mindfiles may be as scattered as our brains, but they are there just the same. Were we
motivated, we could merge into a master mindfile the digital reflections of our lives scattered
across dozens of devices and websites.
Organizations are now forming to hoover-up our dispersed digitalia. Numerous photo-sharing
and video-sharing sites provide us the opportunity to upload, organize and comment upon our
imagery. Social networking sites enable more photo and video uploading, as well as running
conversations with friends and connections to different sub-networks of interests that define our
life. Blogging companies have digitally immortalized the dear diary journal that is so essential
to biographers efforts to determine the personality and motivations of their subjects. Companies
such as Apple and Google offer us the option to co-locate or back-up all of the above mindfiles
in their safe computing cloud a mindfile on a magic carpet ride.
Finally, there are organizations specifically devoted to helping people create a single coherent
digital back-up of their mind. These purposeful mindfiles, at websites such as glogger.net,
lifenaut.com and cyberev.org, handle not only photos, video, friends, and journals, but also
psychological tests, lists of favorites and other personality profile tools. Why would anyone want
to back-up their entire mind, as opposed to simply saving their favorite pictures, movies and
conversations? There are at least five different kinds of motivations.
For some the reason is to create a kind of living memorial of themselves, for the benefit of
children, grandchildren, and friends. These purposeful mindfile websites offer a customizable
avatar (animated image), combined with a chatbot (conversational software program), that
uses all of the information uploaded about a person to chat online the way the creator would chat
if he or she were online. The customizable avatars even give the same kind of facial expressions
and mannerisms as would their human creator. These mindfile websites allow someone to say I
was here with the best tools that consumer technology has to offer.

A second reason people use mindfile websites is that they simply enjoy the creative process of
making a digital replica of themselves. Rather like scrapbooking on steroids, mindfile creation is
an artistic hobby centered on your own life. The goal of the endeavor is for your mindfile-based
avatar or chatbot to be the most realistic one about, the one able to win praise from other
mindfile aficionados and perhaps even contest awards. The mindfile websites offer an array of
personality tests, conversational learning tools and memory repositories so that the mindfile
hobbyist can create an ever-more realistic cybernetic portrait.
Third, mindfile websites are being marketed to busy people as email screening, web crawling
and online shopping tools. Once you create your mindfile on these sites, and set its parameters, it
can begin screening and even answering your email, very much as you would personally. In a
similar fashion your mindfile can handle other virtual tasks for you without anyone being aware
(or caring) that they are dealing with your cyberspace agent rather than yourself. The more time
you spend building up your mindfile agent, the more useful it will be to you.
Fourth, there are the gloggers. These are committed believers in sousveillance, the practice of
streaming the video of ones every waking moment to a massive social networking site for
gloggers everywhere. Sousveillance entails everyone watching everything, a horizontal and thus
democratic form of digital monitoring. It is quite unlike surveillance, which involves Big
Brother watching everyone else, as is the case with most CCTV and security monitoring
systems. Gloggers generally wear souped-up glasses (or goggles) with built-in audio-video
recording capability that sends whatever it is you see and hear to your mobile phone or a hard
drive, from which it is transmitted onward to the glogger.net website.
It is argued that everyone will be safer, and freer, in a sousveillance society. Unfortunately, one
of its pioneers, Prof. Steven Mann of the University of Toronto, has faced numerous legal
challenges to his insistence on keeping his goggle-based video running in public lavatories,
police stations and other camera-unfriendly spaces. In his view this amounts to discrimination
against the differently abled, which in his case is being wedded to a cybernetic appendage.
Clearly, though, gloggers have the most extensive mindfiles.
Finally, geek futurists are motivated to use mindfile websites. These (mostly) guys realize that
intelligent avatars are the next wave. They are early-adopters who want to be among the first
people to sport a software agent that looks, acts and even thinks just like they do. They realize
that software which actually thinks like a human known as mindware is not yet available.
However, geeks can tell by the trends in software capability that mindware will be here soon.
Mindfile development and testing is as close as we can get to the real thing today. It is like
toying with personal computer building kits in the 1970s before Apple and other companies sold
consumer desktops in the 1980s.

It should be noted that it takes no more effort than a daily hour in the gym to create a purposeful
mindfile more reflective of you than the best biography. For example, in one hour a day, over a
period of five years, you would have 2000 hours of your life on video or 100,000 uploaded and
described photos. A leading social scientist, William Sims Bainbridge, has created over 100,000
online questions, and associated psychometric analytical software, that he believes represents a
persons entire general set of feelings, beliefs, attitudes and values. Each question asks how
positively or negatively you feel about a topic, and how important that topic is to you.
Completing just 50 of these a day about an hours effort at most would complete them all in
five years. A daily mindfile workout might consist of a short video, a few uploaded photos and a
few Bainbridge questions. After a decade or so, your mindfile would be quite complete.
Alternatively, you will get to pretty much the same place if you are a regular online social
networker. Its just like the difference between people who stay fit with a machine-driven routine
and others who do so with regular pick-up games.
So, we are all creating voluminous mindfiles, albeit haphazardly, unintentionally and dispersed
among IT companies. Some of us are centralizing our mindfiles, such as with a single provider of
cloud computing services. A few of us are focusing on making our mindfiles as true to our minds
as possible. This can be done with online personality profile and avatar training tools. It is a
revolutionary development that much of the content of most peoples minds is being saved
outside of their bodies. Even more fundamental is the prospect that these mindfiles can, with
mindware under development, be used as the basis for recreating the mind from which they
came.

LONGEVITY AND THE INDIAN TRADITION


BY: ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D

Does the pursuit of longevity, or even radical longevity, have future in India? The following
article will consider this question mainly in ideological, cultural and historical terms, rather than
in terms of analyzing current technological and demographic trends. In demographic terms, as
was also noted earlier, the life expectancy in India is still relatively low compared to other
countries (about 65-66 years), yet it is clearly on the rise [1] and no limit can be set for this
increase. Important innovative initiatives for research of aging and longevity are on the way,
such as International Longevity Center India [2], whose purpose is To work towards healthy,
productive and participatory aging [in other words for healthy longevity]. Also the future of
general biomedical research in India, including
longevity research, looks bright. According to one
analyst, India is a promised land, offering much
in the medical and scientific research [3].
Yet, apparently, the biomedical research of aging
and longevity, has not yet received a considerable
attention in India, judging from the absence of
dedicated research institutes or governmental, or
even large private, programs to address this issue
[4].One suggestion why this negligence happens
was that the research of aging and longevity is
somehow incompatible with Indian traditional
values. It is sometimes assumed that Indian
cultural beliefs are opposed to preservation of the
material body, due to the belief in the transience of
the body and reincarnation. The belief in the
supremacy of the spirit and mind over matter and
body supposedly makes maintenance of the body
unimportant.
As formulated by Prof. Kalluri Subba Rao, Hon.

Coordinator for Center for Research and Education in Aging (CREA) University of Hyderabad
[5]:
The summary of [this] argument was simple and straightforward. In India we have the faith that
this life is only a transitory phase of never ending cycle of birth and death. Everyone who is born
is certain to die. In fact, according the Indian ethos, everyone should strive to attain
janmarahityam or moksha a state where one becomes free from the cycle of birth and death.
Under these circumstance why to worry that we are aging which inevitable? Instead, one should
adopt vanaprastha and indulge in such activities that might take one nearer to moksha or even to
moksha itself. Therefore, it is silly for any nation to spend a good chunk of its resources on
finding out how we become old and die.
Yet, apparently the above argument against
longevity research presents a very
incomplete and even distorted view of
Indian cultural tradition. As a matter of fact,
in Indian tradition, particularly in the
religious tradition of Hinduism (or rather in
the variety of religions of India designated
by this term), the pursuit of longevity and
even radical life extension has been a
persistent theme since a very early time.
EXEMPLARY CASES:
The entire Book 9 of The Rigveda (c. 17001100 BCE) is dedicated to praises of the
immortality-giving Soma plant [6].(The
plant is called Haoma in ancient Iranian
(Aryan) religious sources, such as Avesta, c.
1200-200 BCE.)
In India, the immortal Rishis, Arhats, and
the Ciranjivas (the extremely long-lived
persons) are revered to the present. Their
extreme longevity is often attributed to Amrit

or the nectar of immortality a

revered and desired substance.


The traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda, or the science of (long) life, includes a special
field of Rasayana, mainly dedicated to rejuvenation.

According to one of the earliest Ayurvedic texts, The Sushruta Samhita (Sushrutas Compilation
of Knowledge, c. 800-300 BCE) [7]:
Bramha was the first to inculcate the principles of the holy Ayurveda. Prajapati learned the
science from him. The Ashvins learned it from Prajapati and imparted the knowledge to Indra,
who has favored me [Dhanvantari, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the protector of life and the
giver of Ayurveda on earth] with an entire knowledge thereof. This knowledge was in turn
disclosed by the holy Dhanvantari to his disciple Sushruta.
(Notably, within the Trimurti Hindu Trinity: Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and
Shiva the destroyer the deity mainly associated with Ayurveda is Vishnu the preserver, while
some of his devotees, such as Narada can live even through destruction and creation of worlds. A
following incarnation of Vishnu is said to be Kalki, the machine man [8].)
According to the Sushruta Samhita, human life can be normally prolonged to 100 years. Yet,
with the use of certain Rasayana remedies (such as Brahmi Rasayana and Vidanga-Kalpa), life
can be prolonged to 500 or 800 years.
And the use of the Soma plant, the lord of all medicinal herbs (24 candidate plants are named),
is followed by rejuvenation of the system of its user and enables him to witness ten thousand
summers on earth in the full enjoyment of a new (youthful) body.

Churning the Ocean of Milk Asuras and Devas working together to prepare the elixir of
immortality

Also according to another foundational text of Ayurveda, The Charaka Samhita (Charakas
Compilation of Knowledge, c. 300-100 BCE), the normal human life-span is 100 years. Yet, the
users of an Amalaka Rasayana could live many hundreds of years and the users of the
Amalakayasa Brahma Rasayana could reach the life-span of 1000 years.
The great sages, who grasped perfectly the knowledge of Ayurveda, attained the highest wellbeing and nonperishable life-span [9].
The ancient Indian tradition abounds in medical achievements, which are perceived as positive
and desirable!
In the ancient Indian epic of the Ramayana (often dated c. 400 BCE, and sometimes purported to
relate to events occurring 4,000 and even 5000 BCE), the monkey king Hanuman uses the
Sanjeevani plant (translated as One that infuses life and commonly identified as the lycophyte
Selaginella bryopteris, growing at the Dunagiri (Mahodaya) mountain in the Himalayas) to
revive Ramas younger brother Lakshman, severely wounded by Ravan [10].
Also according to the Ramayana, the mutilated nose and ears of the asura princess Surpanakha,
sister of Ravan and Khara, could be restored [11].
Actual methods of skin transplantation to adhere severed earlobes and restore mutilated noses are
described in the Sushruta Samhita [12].
According to the epic of Mahabharata (commonly dated 400-500 BCE and attributed to Vyasa),
the body of the Magadha king Jarasandha, could be fused from two halves and completely
regenerated [13].
Thus life-extending, rejuvenative and regenerative technologies have been vividly envisioned in
Hindu tradition.
Buddhism too has a strong connection to the pursuit of longevity.
The Great Buddha who grants Longevity is Amitbha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, also known
as Amityus, the Buddha of Infinite Life. Those who invoke him will reach longevity in this
realm, and will be reborn in Amitabhas PureLand (Sukhvat or Dewachen in Tibetan
Buddhism) where they will enjoy virtually unlimited longevity. This pure and egalitarian land of
longevity was created by Amitabhas avowed devotion and perseverance. One of the mantras in
Amitabhas praise is Om amrita teje hara hum (Om save us in the glory of the Deathless One
hum). Many Buddhist mantras for longevity are recited, dedicated to the great healers of old, so
that a portal to their wisdom may be opened and, through their compassion, suffering will be

abolished and health and longevity reached in this world.


Yet also, material means for rejuvenation and life-extension have also been developed by
Buddhist physicians [14]. Of course many methods of traditional and Ayurvedic medicine
currently practiced yet require thorough testing [15].
Crucially, the vision of advanced medical technology and the idea of a significant, even radical
extension of healthy life-span, in this world, are deeply entrenched in Indian cultural tradition.
These positive tendencies need to be recalled and reawakened, so the vision of the golden age of
extended health and longevity will be implemented in the present time using advances of modern
science. The pursuit of healthy longevity is not an all or nothing pursuit, but any incremental
improvement in this direction may be expected to be beneficial for India and its population.
The research of aging and longevity will be required to find the path toward the practical
achievement of healthy longevity, and the original inspiration for this pursuit may come from
Indian cultural heritage.
In summary, one can but agree with Prof. Kalluri Subba Raos conclusion, regarding the
importance of aging and longevity research for India:
YES. India must in its own interest promote research on aging and associated diseases in a big
way. There are always some discordant, perverted voices projecting the distorted Indian
Wisdom. Indias march towards becoming a global leader should not be allowed to be disturbed
by vested and disgruntled arguments.
Several practical measures were proposed by Prof. Kalluri Subba Rao to advance the goals of
healthy longevity in India. Once again, a person interested in promoting this objective in India
can only agree and endeavor to support this initiative.
Concrete steps and inputs are necessary. One such step is to establish one or more (in view of
the vastness and diversity of the country) Institutes or Centers for a multidisciplinary scientific
study of the phenomenon of aging and the associated diseases/problems. Such Institutes would
also prepare a database for the clinical and biological profiles of the populations around
particularly of the senior citizens to begin with.
One of the missions of the proposed Centers/Institutes would be to conduct high quality
research on the process of aging at genetic, molecular, clinical, biochemical and behavioral
levels as well as study disabilities and diseases, including neurological disorders, associated
with age and more prevalent in the aged; in addition to psychosocial aspects of the aged with a
special emphasis on the special and peculiar needs of the aged, and finally, connectivity

between the laboratory findings and the community to promote health among the aged and to
make use of the healthy aged to the societal needs.
Similar goals are now promoted all across the world [16]. Let us hope that with our joint efforts,
healthy longevity for all will be advanced in India and everywhere.
REFERENCES:
[1] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-05-16/india/29548151_1_life-expectancyindian-woman-indian-man; http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/india-life-expectancy;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy;
http://ieet.org/index.php/IEET/more/leis20120201
[2] International Longevity Center India
[3] http://www.kitesindia.org/the-advances-of-indian-research-in-the-new-millennium.php
[4] Ashok BT, Ali R, Aging research in India, Experimental Gerontology, 2003 Jun;38(6):597603, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12814794
[5] Prof Kalluri Subba Rao. Should India Promote Scientific Research on Aging?
[6] The Hymns of the Rigveda, translated by Ralph T.H. Griffith, E.J. Lazarus and Co., Benares,
1891, Book 9, pp. 361-412, the 1896 edition is reprinted at http://www.sacredtexts.com/hin/rigveda/, http://www.avesta.org/ka/yt9sbe.htm.)
[7] An English translation of the Sushruta samhita, based on original Sanskrit text, Edited and
published by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna, Calcutta, 1907, 1911, 1916, Vol. 1, Sutrasthanam
(Fundamental principles), Ch. 1, p. 8, Vol. 2, Chikitsasthanam (Therapeutics), Ch. 27, p. 518,
Ch. 28, p. 525, Ch. 29, pp. 530, 536. Available at http://chestofbooks.com/health/india/SushrutaSamhita/index.html#.Uag6GNKnxvA and http://archive.org/details/englishtranslati03susr.
[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narada; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalki;
[9] Charaka Samhita. Handbook on Ayurveda, edited by Gabriel Van Loon, Durham NC, 2003,
vol. 1, Cikitsasthana 1.1.75, p. 446, Cikitsasthana 1.3.3-6, p. 455, Sutrasthana 1. 27-29, p. 107,
http://www.rencapp.com/TamilCube_Charaka_Samhita.pdf,
http://archive.org/details/CharakaSamhitaHindiVolume1.
[10] Ramayan of Valmiki, Translated Into English Verse by Ralph T. H. Griffith, 1870-1874,

Book 6, Canto CII Lakshman Healed, reprinted at http://www.sacredtexts.com/hin/rama/index.htm.


[11] Ramayan of Valmiki, Translated Into English Verse by Ralph T. H. Griffith, 1870-1874,
Book 3, Cantos 18-19, reprinted at http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rama/index.htm. Also in
Kampans version of the Ramayana, according to Kathleen M. Erndl, The Mutilation of
Surpanakha, in Paula Richman (Ed.), Many Rmyanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition
in South Asia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1991, p. 75,
http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/.
[12] An English translation of the Sushruta samhita, based on original Sanskrit text, Edited and
published by Kaviraj Kunja Lal Bhishagratna, Calcutta, 1907, Vol. 1, Ch. 16, pp. 141-154.
[13] The Mahabharata, Book 2: Sabha Parva, Kisari Mohan Ganguli, tr., 1883-1896,
Rajasuyarambha Parva, Section 17, Jarasandhta-badha Parva, pp. 40-41, Section 24, pp. 5354, http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m02/index.htm
[14] See for example, http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/medicine-buddha.htm; See also
Derek F. Maher, Two Wings of a Bird: Radical Life Extension from a Buddhist Perspective, in
Calvin Mercer and Derek F. Maher (Eds.), Religion and the Implications of Radical Life
Extension, Macmillan Palgrave, New York, 2009, pp. 111-121; Luis O. Gomez, The Land of the
Bliss: The Paradise of the Buddha of Measureless Light, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi,
1996.); As well as, Jeffrey Lidke and Jacob W. Dirnberger, Churning the Ocean of Milk:
Imaging the Hindu Tantric Response to Radical Life Technologies, in Calvin Mercer and Derek
F. Maher (Eds.), Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension, Macmillan Palgrave,
New York, 2009.
[15] Anand Chaudhary, Neetu Singh, and Neeraj Kumar. Pharmacovigilance: Boon for the safety
and efficacy of Ayuvedic formulations. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2010 Oct-Dec; 1(4): 251256,
[16] http://longevityalliance.org/; http://www.sens.org/

LET A THOUSAND TURTLES FLY, IN THE QUEST FOR JOYFUL IMMORTALITY

BY: GIULIO PRISCO

Terasem has a huge potential to bridge the gap between the 1960s and the 2010s, the gap
between cosmic visions and technology, spirituality and transhumanism, hard and soft
rationality.
Hank Pellissier recently published an article titled My Favorite H+ Philosophers - David Pearce,
Martine Rothblatt, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Hanks article should be a wake up call for the
transhumanist community. He says:
Transhumanism isnt a viral phenomenon The rest of the world most of our family and
friends, right? dont grok our enthusiasm. Read the books! we suggest. Boring, they retort.
Not my thing.
Hank proposes to complement the aseptic, ultra-rationalist, hard-technology oriented
traditional formulation of transhumanism, with alternative softer, fuzzier and cozier
formulation for Social Empaths (SEs): those (a large majority) who want:
A softer, cuddlier, easier, gooier, goofier, happier Future. They want a culturally rich world
that values aesthetics, modulations in tone, nuance, fantasy, intuition, satire and lyrical
metaphor. [They] want to share and process feelings. SEs want to communicate intimately, with
delicious, extravagant language. SEs want to be sensitive, tender and occasionally childlike.
I am an unrepentant, in-your face, old-school transhumanist who looks forward to abandon the
meatbag and jump rapturously into The Singularity with a chemically-preserved brain
ensconced inside a metallic Russian 2045 cyborg [Hanks words]. This IS my thing. But, like
Socrates, I know that I dont know, and I try to be honest enough to admit it. In particular I dont
know how to give our ideas the immediate, powerful emotional appeal that they deserve. But
others do.
Hank says: Already, we have several writers with the words and wisdom we need for this

purpose; we just havent been listening to them, and lists three of them: the great science fiction
writer Ursula Le Guin, and our teachers and friends David Pearce and Martine Rothblatt, the
founder of Terasem.
I have been associated with Terasem for a few years, and I formally joined in 2011. I think the
nice and warm new-age look and feel of Terasem is our best chance to build bridges to the very
large, scattered communities of spiritually oriented persons. Terasem offers a formulation and
interpretation of transhumanism more emotionally appealing to persons with artistic and spiritual
inclinations, which will help communicating our beautiful ideas in a simple and effective format
and give happiness, hope, a sense of wonder, a sense of purpose and peace-of-mind to a
multitude of seekers. At Terasem meetings, both online and in brickspace, these powerful
feelings are communicated also with the help of yoga, readings, music, poetry and songs, which
create a stimulating magic experience for all participants.
Ultra-rationalist bureaucrats of philosophy usually dismiss hippie new-age attitudes, but we
should not forget that the hippie new-age attitude of the 60s shaped the Internet technology
revolution. Perhaps we had the right attitude in the beautiful, visionary anti-authoritarian 60s,
and we should recover it to shape new transhumanist technology revolutions.
My experience with new-agers is that, yes, they are easily deluded or scammed, and yes, they
move from a guru to a new guru, from crystal therapy to energy pyramids and then to pyramid
scams, but they are intellectually and spiritually alive, perhaps more alive and awake than others;
they seek something beautiful that they cannot define.
Terasem offers good answers to the big spiritual questions of life, death, immortality, meaning,
and our place in the awakening universe, yet its worldview and philosophy are firmly rooted in
science with no concession to supernatural realms beyond science. I think Terasem has a huge
potential to bridge the gap between the 60s and the 10s, cosmic visions and technology,
spirituality and transhumanism, hard and soft rationality.
I cultivate the excellent habit of rationality and consider it as a very useful tool. But rationality is
indeed a tool (a useful means to achieve a desired result), and not an end in itself. Rationality is
an excellent screwdriver, a powerful tool to work with screws, but it is not the best tool to work
with nails. Open-minded soft rationality is a much better approach to life than dull,
fundamentalist rationalism.
Spiritually oriented New Age seekers often have powerful intuitions, beyond what current
science can analyze. Their visions form an aesthetic layer that colors their (and then our)
perception of the universe and, even when they are not entirely correct, inspire scientists and
engineers to turn visionary dreams into actual reality.

For example many mystics, and some scientists, believe in telepathy and extrassensory perception (ESP), and many scientists think that it is all crap. I am open to the possibility
that some yet undiscovered science may provide solid theoretical foundations and experimental
evidence for ESP, and I am also open to the possibility that ESP may not exist. In science, we let
experiment decide.
But ESP will exist. Soon we will have brain implants linked to our thoughts and to the Internet.
These implants will give us instant telepathic communication with others, and the ability to
access the Internet in our minds and see what happens elsewhere. Brain implants will also permit
influencing, by thought alone, physical objects in remote places via appropriate actuators. So,
regardless of whether or not we possess native ESP abilities for telepathy, remote vision and
psychokinesis, the mystics are right anyway. If we have no native ESP, we will engineer ESP
someday soon. See the recently published Human+, a novel about transhumanism and
spirituality by Martin Higgins, for a fascinating fictional account.
Many mystics believe in supernatural phenomena beyond the reach of science. Many ultrarationalists believe in a soon-to-be-found Theory of Everything to explain all that happens in the
universe with a few elegant formulas. I think they are both wrong: nothing is beyond the reach of
science, but Shakespeares There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are
dreamt of in your philosophy may remain true forever. You can count up to any number, and
there will still be infinite numbers beyond.
Similarly, our growing scientific understanding of the universe may always find new fractal
depths of unexplained phenomena, to be explored by future scientists, in an endless explosion of
diversity.
The balance of diversity and unity, in the quest for joyful immortality, is one of the key intuitions
of Terasem. In 2002, while viewing a Space Shuttle launch from a Florida beach, Martine found
inspiration in a remarkable vision, which she subsequently composed in writing and published as
Truths of Terasem (ToT).
See the annotated transcript from the Terasem Podcast produced by Fred and Linda Chamberlain
(below), which is also available as an audio podcast, with the other 100 episodes of Fred and
Lindas Truths of Terasem podcasts, the most comprehensive writings about Terasem so far:
Ill share some personal part of Terasems beginnings! It really began in March, 2002 when I
was out, on the beach, up on the Space Coast of Florida, doing a morning meditation, at 6 a.m.,
and suddenly, I felt two presences around me, so I immediately opened my eyes, and I
witnessed, quite to my surprise, the blastoff of the Space Shuttle STS-109, on its way to the

Hubble telescope. This was Columbia. I then felt a presence, immediately behind me, and I
turned around, and found myself eye to eye, with a large Lanternback sea turtle, which was
clearly trying to make its way back into the sea. And I was in its way.
So, this was kind of startling, because it was pretty much dark, still, and an epiphany poured into
me, through the triangular vector of the shuttles light blasting across the sky, and the
Lanternback turtles consciousness, streaming into my own, and I felt a very strong, triangular
force of energy between the shuttle, the sea turtle, and myself.
An epiphany surged through me, that there were three principles, or three values, which united
all life, all reality, indeed the entire multiverse, and these were that the purpose of the
multiverse, the solution to the multiverse, was to balance diversity with unity, in the quest for
joyful immortality; that the shuttle, Columbia, was a balance of diversity and unity in the quest
for joyful immortality; that the Lanternback turtle, was a balance of diversity and unity, in the
quest for joyful immortality; that everything was a balance of diversity and unity, in a quest for
joyful immortality.
I slid myself out of the way, of the Lanternback turtle, and it slowly, but without delay, pushed
itself toward the sea, which wasnt far away. As it did, the shuttle quickly arced out of my sight,
smaller and smaller although the contrails were visible as the sun began rising, and again the
triangular energy between the turtle and the shuttle remained connected to me, and downloaded
to me the entire gist of the Truths of Terasem.
It was like I received this multi-gigabit download that still had to be processed, in the way one
uploads a video but you cant see it yet because its processing, or uploading a file and it still
needs to be processed. I was totally blown away. I stood up, and it was like I was walking on air.
I walked a couple of hundred feet to where my soul-mate and partner Bina was resting, up above
the seashore. I shared with her whats happened, and we slid right into the most wonderful, the
most erotic lovemaking that anyone could imagine, and it was through this erotic lovemaking
that those Truths of Terasem that were downloaded to me in an epiphany, channeled by the
shuttle and the turtle, became written into my soul, just as suredly as a file is written into a
digital or magnetic medium.
I spent the rest of 2002 trying to print out what was in my mind and soul from that March 1st
morning, and it took me the rest of 2002, and some final pieces only really made sense late in
October 2002, when my partner Bina experienced extraordinary pain, and somehow that pain
jelled the remaining pieces of the Truths of Terasem. Since that time, Ive been committed to
spreading the message of the Truths of Terasem, about diversity, unity and the quest for joyful
immortality, and the spreading of it, I feel, has been really wonderfully successful.

Mystics throughout the ages have had the powerful intuition that everything in the universe is
deeply connected to everything else to the point that, in a fundamental sense, everything is one.
Todays science seems to confirm it: the correlations between two entangled particles with a
space-like separation (each is out of the light cone of the other), which cannot be explained by
speed-of-light signaling between two separate parts of the physical universe, tell us that the two
particles are really one in some sense that our everyday intuition is not equipped to visualize.
As long as the two entangled particles are not observed, each one is in a weird quantum state (for
example a superposition of spin-up and spin-down). According to the popular Copenhagen
interpretation of quantum physics, this weird quantum state collapses as soon as it is observed.
So the first observation (for example of particle A) defines the result of a future observation of
the other particle. But if the separation between A and B is space-like, according to Einstein
there is another, equally valid frame of reference, where the observation of B comes first. So we
cannot say which observer, A or B, collapses the system. This seems to say that, in some sense,
also the two observers are really one.
The last two paragraphs are probably difficult to follow, but many mystics have contemplated
the fundamental unity of consciousness. In my Terasem joinership video I say I am You, You
am I, and We are One, parts of the collective consciousness of Terasem. The physics above
shows that this is not only a poetic image, but also a scientific concept.
Imagine a room with many windows. From one, you see a busy city street. From another, you
see a quiet, green garden. From another, snowy mountains. The perceptions are different, but the
Mind who perceives is One. When a person dies, the blinds of a window go down, but the Mind
has many other windows to look at the world from. When we die, we will just continue to live as
someone else. Actually, we will continue to live as everyone else, and we are everyone else right
now (dont hurt others, because you would hurt another you).
Note: there is a simple way to formulate this concept that does not involve weird physics, based
on the observation that I am, the bare feeling of existence, may be the same for everyone. I
first encountered this intriguing thought in Rudy Ruckers Infinity and the Mind.
Some wise persons find this enough. But most of us cherish our individuality (memories,
experiences, thoughts, and feelings) and we dont want to accept personal death. The diversity of
individual minds is an important part of the unity of Mind, and must be preserved.
Terasem supports cryonics, the preservation of temporarily departed persons bodies and brains
at very low temperatures until they can be revived by future technologies. It also supports, via its
LifeNaut and CyBeRev projects, personal data storage services for biological samples and
mindfiles, that will preserve ones individual consciousness so that it remains viable for
possible uploading with consciousness software into a cellular regenerated or

bionanotechnological body by future medicine and technology.


Mindfiles (there are about 12,000 so far) are stored online. Future AI programs, Terasem
believes, will use a mindfile and a persons DNA to create a digital clone of that person that can
interact with future family members and others, and subjectively think and feel that (s)he is the
continuation of the original.
Terasem is open to the possibility of future resurrection of the dead (even those who did not
leave mindfiles behind) by copying them to the future with exotic future science. We can find
hints in the Truths of Terasem, for example: Souls of our ancestors come back to life when we
emulate their lives and their environment. I am persuaded that a Third Way synthesis of
science and spirituality, open to the possibility of technological resurrection, is very appealing to
both the mind and the heart.
In summary, and in reply to Hanks article, Terasem extends the aseptic, ultra-rationalist, hardtechnology oriented traditional formulation of transhumanism with compassion, love, and
spirituality. I wish to invite all transhumanists who find the traditional formulation limited and
restrictive to take a look, and I am persuaded that the Terasem formulation has much more
potential to appeal to the masses.

DEAD AS A DOORNAIL?

BY: PETER ROTHMAN

Brave thee! ay, by the best blood that ever was


broached, and beard thee too. Look on me well: I
have eat no meat these five days; yet, come thou and
thy five men, and if I do not leave you all as dead
as a doornail, I pray God I may never eat grass more.
-

Cade in King Henry VI, William Shakespeare

DEATH IS THE ULTIMATE BINARY CONDITION.


Black or white. Alive or dead. Right?
In reality death is not well defined and the definition of death has changed substantially over
time.
H.P Lovecraft famously wrote, That is not dead which can eternal lie. Yet with strange aeons
even death may die. This amounts to a pretty good summary of our current philosophical
understanding of death. Death is simply the condition wherein you can not be brought back to
life. If you can be brought back, then you werent really dead.
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy provides us a few examples of more nuanced
definitions, for example one might suggest that death is the irreversible cessation of organismic
functioning or the irreversible loss of personhood. These amount to circular definitions that
really dont tell us anything specific about how to decide when someone is dead. What is
organismic functioning and how do we know when it is happening? Personhood is of course
mostly a legal definition pertaining to rights which are terminated upon death. But if you are
brought back to life, you werent really dead.
And weve been burying people alive for a long time.

According to Wikipedia, A safety coffin or security coffin is a coffin fitted with a mechanism
to prevent premature burial or allow the occupant to signal that they have been buried alive. A
large number of designs for safety coffins were patented during the 18th and 19th centuries and
variations on the idea are still available today. During epidemics some people would fall into
coma and appear to be dead. Methods for determining when someone was dead where however
crude at best.
For example, in 1899 a law was introduced in New York state requiring all mortuaries to
maintain a room where apparently dead people were to be kept for a certain time to help
prevent premature burial. If you woke up during this time you werent dead. Determination of
death consisted of simply waiting to see if the person spontaneously woke up. Of course the
method was far from foolproof so safety coffins were developed to allow people that were
mistakenly buried alive to call for help and escape.
But things are not much better today. How does a doctor decide when you are actually dead?
It has been known since antiquity that some people will present as if they are dead, but later will
awaken. This can result from injury or disease. Throughout history various measures have been
used to determine when a person was truly dead therefore. Initially tests for responsiveness such
as yanking on the persons nipples. Tobacco smoke enemas were also used for this purpose. The
idea was of course advanced with the invention of the stethoscope such that persons with very
weak heartbeats could now be determined to still be alive. Previously, many people were treated
as if they were dead while their heart still beat. But for a long time death was associated with the
cessation of the audible beating of the heart and breathing.
Further developments included the ECG or EKG for measuring the hearts electrical activity.
The definition of death became the well known flatline or asystole. Stopped blood circulation
has historically proven irreversible in most cases. Wikipedia states, Prior to the invention
of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), defibrillation, epinephrine injection, and other
treatments in the 20th century, the absence of blood circulation (and vital functions related to
blood circulation) was historically considered to be the official definition of death. But the
advent of these technologies cardiac arrest came to be called clinical death rather than simply
death to reflect the possibility of post-arrest resuscitation.
Further developments allowed for measurement of activity in the brain via the EEG. This led to
the modern view which is to look instead at the activity in the brain not the heart. We now know
that people with entirely non-functional hearts can be kept alive for extended periods of time. So
the brain is the right place to look, but the brain is complex and what exactly constitutes death in
the brain is correspondingly unclear.

The Whole Brain Standard requires that organismic functioning and activity cease across the
entire brain for a person to be dead. This is the current medical consensus view in the United
States and it is understood to be opposed to the organismic view where functioning would have
to cease across the entire organism including but not only limited to the brain to diagnose
death. The Brain Stem Standard used in some cases in the United Kingdom allows the diagnosis
and certification of death when consciousness and the ability to breathe are permanently lost,
regardless of continuing life in the body and parts of the brain. The thesis is that death of the
brain stem alone is sufficient to produce this state. The Higher Brain Standard or Progressive
Standard states human death is the irreversible cessation of the capacity for consciousness.
Death is a diagnosis.
REALITY CHECK: WHETHER YOU ARE ALIVE OR DEAD DEPENDS IN PART ON WHERE YOU ARE
AT THE TIME AND WHO GETS TO DECIDE. AND IT WONT BE YOU.
Whomever gets to decide for you (most likely a doctor somewhere you may not even know
today) it is unlikely this person has access to the technical tools they really need to decide if you
are finally and irreversibly dead. The exact boundary of life and death isnt really known by
science. Apparently unresponsive or brain dead patients may for example show the ability
consciously respond to commands. In a recent paper in the New England Journal of
Medicine, Willful Modulation of Brain Activity in Disorders of Consciousness, it is reported that
Of the 54 patients enrolled in the study, 5 were able to willfully modulate their brain activity. In
three of these patients, additional bedside testing revealed some sign of awareness, but in the
other two patients, no voluntary behavior could be detected by means of clinical assessment.
Until now, these people would be considered dead by all of the above brain standards. This
research shows that the answer of what constitutes someone being brain dead is a bit more
complex than previously thought. (For an interesting counter argument, see Cogito Ergo Sum by
MRI.)
SUMMARY
One of the most controversial Transhumanist objectives is entirely overcoming death and
achieving immortality. Instead what should be controversial is our current methods of
diagnosing death, our poorly specified working definition of death, and of course the lack of
funding for scientific research about the death process. Death is actually a legal term with a
debatable scientific basis as evidenced by the fact that the definition of death has changed
substantially over the past 200 years. The definition has changed as technologies for measuring
what is happening in the organism have changed. Therefore our definition of death will continue
to change as our technology advances. It might be quite hard to say where the boundary should
finally be drawn.

More practically, how should doctors decide when someone is dead and cannot be brought back
by any available method? What measurements should be required to support this diagnosis?
There isnt a global consensus on this. Rapid advances in emergency medical practice,
neuroscience, the quantified self, resuscitation technologies, and cryobiology
(both cryopreservation and cryosurgery) mean that people previously left for dead will be
brought back through possibly novel medical techniques. With very rapid advances in all of
these areas not all individual medical practitioners will be aware of the latest possibilities. Unless
additional funding is provided to study the boundary of life and death, educate medical
practitioners, and broadly advance the state of the art we will sadly continue to prematurely bury
and dispose of people that are still alive or could have been.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Defining Death http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/deathdefinition/


Defining Death
http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/pcbe/reports/past_commissions/defining_death.pdf
Medical Diagnosis of Death in Adults
http://cryoeuro.eu:8080/download/attachments/425990/MedicalDagnosisOfDeatheathAdults.pdf

THE OBJECTIVIST-EXTROPIAN SYNTHESIS

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

My aim here is nothing less than the union of two intellectual worlds.
These two worlds have too often been dubbed by their adherents as mutually exclusive, as a
result of certain bilateral misinterpretations among many Objectivists and
Extropians/Transhumanists. I shall endeavor here to show how Objectivism, the fundamental
ideological system developed by Ayn Rand, and the Principles of Extropy, established by Max
More and comprising a prominent part of the body of ideas known as Transhumanism, are
compatible with one another and integral to fully achieving each others goals. In addition,
anyone belonging to the libertarian movement at large will find numerous arguments, concepts,
and methodologies in both systems to aid the extension of individual liberty in a broad sense.
THE FUNDAMENTALS OF OBJECTIVISM
Objectivism is an intellectual system remarkably integrated by lengthy expositions and chains of
argument performed by Ayn Rand in her fiction and nonfiction works. Thus, to do it full justice
in a brief treatise is, admittedly, impossible. I shall attempt here to present a brief skeletal outline
of Objectivism, upon which I shall elaborate as pertains to its relationship with Extropian
thought.
Ayn Rand was once asked to explain the fundamentals of her system standing on one foot. Her
response was as follows:
1. [Metaphysics]: Objective Reality.
2. Epistemology: Reason.
3. Ethics: Self-Interest.
4. Politics: [Laissez-Faire] Capitalism. (Ayn Rand, Introducing Objectivism, p. 3)
In other words, man inhabits an absolute, knowable universe, which he can fathom by the use of
his individual rational faculty. His ultimate moral value is his own life, and, to achieve it, he

should establish a social system absolutely free of the initiation of force by one human being
against another. In her discoveries, Rand also developed a theory of esthetics that she had
outlined in The Romantic Manifesto. Rand saw art as the technology of the soul, the
intellectual fuel needed to inspire the rational man and motivate him to further productive
endeavors, a reflection of his values in some concrete medium. All of these aspects of Objectivist
thought are of potentially immense use to the Extropian and libertarian movements, as shall be
further demonstrated.
The Principles of Extropy
Extropy, defined as the extent of a living or organizational systems intelligence, functional
order, vitality, and capacity and drive for improvement, is a broad term covering a vast array of
human aspirations and objectives. Dr. Max More, the architect of the Principles of Extropy, does
not consider them a fully self-contained intellectual structure. Rather, in his most recent version
of the Principles formulation, he dubs them an evolving framework of values and standards for
continuously improving the human condition. Dr. More conceives of the Principles as
postulates to guide individual thought and inspire intellectual progressa purpose compatible
with Objectivism, since it does not purport to replace the Objectivist hierarchy of ideas, and also
harmonious with libertarianism stemming from any fundamental value system, so long as a
sincere commitment to individual freedom, life, and progress is present on the part of the person
examining the Principles.
The Principles are intended to be enduring, underlying ideals and standards. At
the same time, both in content and by being revised, the Principles do not claim to
be eternal truths or certain truths. I invite other independent thinkers who share
the agenda of acting as change agents for fostering better futures to consider the
Principles of Extropy as a shared vocabulary to make sense of our
unconventional, secular, and life-promoting responses to the changing human
condition.
(Max More, The Principles of Extropy, Version 3.11)
Of the Principles of Extropy, there are seven, each of which is perfectly compatible with and
complementary to the Objectivist fundamentals:
1. Perpetual Progress
2. Self-Transformation
3. Practical Optimism
4. Intelligent Technology
5. Open Society
6. Self-Direction

7. Rational Thinking
Perpetual Progress is the continual improvement of the human condition, and the removal of
biological, social, mechanical, and intellectual factors impeding human advancement. Perpetual
Progress finds its validation in the Objectivist virtue of Productiveness, which follows from
individuals rational self-interest. Rand defines Productiveness as the process that sets man free
of the necessity to adjust himself to his background, as all animals do, and gives him the power
to adjust his background to himself. Productive work is the road of mans unlimited achievement
[Italics mine] and calls upon the highest attributes of his character: his creative ability, his
ambitiousness, his self-assertiveness, his refusal to bear uncontested disasters, his dedication to
the goal of reshaping the earth in the image of his values [Italics mine] (The Virtue of
Selfishness, p. 29). Thus, the Randian system not only allows but elevates to the level of a moral
imperative the continual removal of human limitations and the continual extension of human
efficiency.
Max Mores Principles of Extropy take the virtue of Productiveness to its logical conclusion:
Valuing perpetual progress is incompatible with acquiescing in the undesirable
aspects of the human condition. Continuing improvements means challenging
natural and traditional limitations on human possibilities. Science and technology
are essential to eradicate constraints on lifespan, intelligence, personal vitality,
and freedom. It is absurd to meekly accept "natural" limits to our life spans. Life
is likely to move beyond the confines of the Earth the cradle of biological
intelligence to inhabit the cosmos. (Max More, The Principles of Extropy,
Version 3.11)
To fully adjust his environment to himself, man must not accept the ravages of disease as
inevitable, nor consider himself perpetually chained to a single celestial sfere; he cannot content
himself with painstakingly slow learning speeds and false sensations, following which subverts
the ultimate value of his life (such as, for example, the sensation of hunger, which urges man to
eat beyond his energetic requirement, since this impulse was inherited from prehistoric times,
when mans food supply was never assured). Above all, man must never reconcile himself with
the inevitability of death by senescence. If the individuals life is his ultimate value, as Rand
claimed, and Perpetual Progress is the logical means to benefit this life, then death is the ultimate
obstacle to both. Were it removed or substantially delayed, the individual would have far ampler
abilities to continually develop his faculties in every possible respect. Man would also rise to
prodigious heights of intelligence and infuse a richness into his life unthinkable given its
transitory nature today.
Consider an intelligent individual who is capable of reading a single book every day. Let us
suppose that this individual has set it as his goal to read the entire collection of books available at

his local library, about 100,000 books. Assuming that he is fortunate enough, in the status quo, to
live for 100 years, he will only have read 36,500 books, or little over a third of one library. But,
were he to possess indefinite life, how many libraries would he be able to intellectually
consume? As a result, how competent in terms of his reasoning, wealth of ideas, and technical
skills will he become, if he is given ample time to implement his newly-found learning as well?
The Principles of Extropy view man as he is presently as a transitional stage in his advancement
to what he could be and should be, which is whatever his reason and self-interest dictate.
Perpetual Progress implies that man ought to depart increasingly from the animal realm whence
he had evolved, and increasingly assume full, conscious control of aspects of life that the animals
leave to instinct (i.e. fallible, automatic reaction) and sheer chance. The Principles of Extropy
consider this departure a transition from man as we know him to the transhuman, an entity
fully liberated from animal limitations. The transhuman stage can be considered a result of rapid
artificial evolution by which the men of the future will fully part with their animal origins, just as
natural evolution had once brought about the divergence of animals from plants from fungi from
protists from primitive bacteria. Rand also alludes to the desirability of transhumanity by her
insistence that men lead lives fully directed by the one faculty the animals lack: volitional
consciousness, from which mans rational faculty and his ability to transform his environment to
suit his needs are derived. Man has to be manby choice; he has to hold his life as a valueby
choice; he has to learn to sustain itby choice; he has to discover the values it requires and
practice his virtuesby choice (The Virtue of Selfishness, p. 25). Rands own stance in support
of technology is unambiguous, and implies that, the more advanced his technology, the higher
the quality of mans life and the degree of his fulfillment will be.
In order to survive, man has to discover and produce everything he needs, which
means that he has to alter his background and adapt it to his needs. Nature has
not equipped him for adapting himself to his background in the manner of
animals. From the most primitive cultures to the most advanced civilizations, man
has had to manufacture things; his well-being depends on his success at
production.
[Ayn Rand (1971), "The Anti-Industrial Revolution," Return of the Primitive,
277.]
To achieve the goal of indefinite life, many scientists and intellectuals inspired by the Principles
of Extropy have endeavored to achieve practical success in this field. Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a
Cambridge University biogerontologist, has pinpointed seven principal causes of human
senescence, eliminating or reversing which would extend mans lifespan to the point where the
pace of further human senescence will be slower than the rate of technological progress needed
to combat bodily decay at each subsequent stage. Dr. de Grey estimates that, with sufficient
scientific attention, the reversal of aging (and thus the attainment of indefinite or at least

extremely long human lifespans) can occur in approximately thirty years. The first step of this
process involves attaining the necessary technological knowledge as well as proving to the
public the feasibility of the life extension effort by artificially prolonging the life expectancy of
mice from three to five years (or 180 mouse-years), for which purpose Dr. de Grey and the
entrepreneur David Gobel have established the Methuselah Mouse Prize, modeled after the
immensely successful X Prize for private space flight. The Methuselah Mouse Prize has already
attracted six teams of researchers to compete for it. The inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil
agrees with Dr. de Greys predictions and additionally foresees the development in thirty years
of nanoscopic robots that will be embedded in the human body and brain, to provide for more
efficient biological functions, the combating of senescence, and the artificial enhancement of
human intelligence.
While many traditional value systems do not provide support for the desirability of such
advances, the Principles of Extropy, assisted by the firm, interrelated conceptual hierarchy of
Objectivism, make it possible to argue in their favor on the most fundamental moral levels and
reverse the prevailing mainstream paradigm which holds that such radical technological
advances are either undesirable or impossible. Libertarians of all stripes should rejoice at the
proximity of these opportunities, as well as their immensely beneficent implications for
individual freedom. As I explained in my science fiction novel, Eden against the Colossus,
resistance by governments, criminals, and irrationalist intellectuals against individual liberty and
initiative will be futile once indefinite life is attained.
Let the irrationalists then prate about the unworthiness of man, or of the need to
curtail his ambitions. They would have nothing with which to curtail, no means of
wielding their clubs efficiently, as the pain would be nullified and the damage
repaired in almost an instant. They would be able to put forth no de facto threat,
no practical intimidation by which to harness the titans of the mind and force
them to grovel before the witch doctors shriveled animate carcasses. The forces
of reason and progress would have won their ultimate battle. After centuries of
shielding themselves against the tide of mystic maggots, they would have devised
the surefire repellant at last.
(G. Stolyarov II, Eden against the Colossus, p. 360)
If indefinite life is achieved, no longer will governments be able to claim that men are not
intelligent enough to govern themselves, that, left on their own, they would not properly attend to
their health and vitality, that mans technology is better left mired in a morass of regulations
instead of being allowed to show its full potential in a free market of goods and ideas. Moreover,
governments will lose one of their ultimate means for wielding their power, Social Security,
since senescence itself will wither away, and there will be no excuse for governments use of
taxpayer funds to support those who can take care of themselves.

As already shown, Extropian thought and laissez-faire capitalism are splendidly aligned. The
Open Society Principle of Extropy implies, according to Max More, supporting social orders
that foster freedom of communication, freedom of action, experimentation, innovation,
questioning, and learning opposing authoritarian social control and unnecessary hierarchy and
favoring the rule of law and decentralization of power and responsibility preferring bargaining
over battling, exchange over extortion, and communication over compulsion. A society
committed to this principle must tolerate dissent, diversity, and competition and acknowledge in
individuals the full choice to associate with whom they will, to exchange ideas how they will,
and to make the material innovations they will, reaping either the rewards of their productive
work or the consequences of their failure. Max More recognizes that societal controls imposed
by cliques of government bureaucrats are unable to sustain a system in which individuals are
allowed to pursue their highest values through the autonomous use of their reason:
No group of experts can understand and control the endless complexity of an economy and
society composed of other individuals like themselves. Unlike utopians of all stripes, extropic
individuals and institutions do not seek to control the details of peoples lives or the forms and
functions of institutions according to a grand over-arching plan.
Rands affirmation of laissez-faire capitalism, and its elevation to the fourth pillar of Objectivist
doctrine, follows from precisely this recognition as well. According to Rand, intelligence
does not work under coercion mans mind will not function at the point of a gun.
(Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, p. 141). In a remarkably similar passage to Dr. Mores words
above, Rand writes of an ideal capitalistic society: No one has the power to decide for others or
to substitute his judgment for theirs; no one has the power to appoint himself the voice of the
public and to leave the public voiceless and disenfranchised. (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,
p. 48).
Analysis of the other Principles of Extropy demonstrates how Mores defense of capitalism has
foundations similar to those employed by Rand. The principle of Rational Thinking implies that
one not accept revelation, authority, or emotion as reliable sources of knowledge. Rational
thinkers place little weight on claims that cannot be checked. In thinking rationally, we rely on
the judgement of our own minds while continually re-examining our own intellectual standards
and skills. How reminiscent this is of Rands recognition that there can be no ultimate authority
except the reasoning mind of the autonomous individual, that feelings, visions, and
commandments, or any other extra-rational methods are not legitimate tools of cognition! Both
Rand and More agree that reason is an exclusively individual tool for dealing with reality, and,
from this, follows the need to leave man free to develop and apply his own rational ideas, for no
one can ultimately interpret and work with the external reality better than he in the context of
improving his own situation. Thus, no external agency, public or private, should be permitted to

coerce an individual into an action that his autonomous will would oppose. What logically
follows from this is the absolute separation of the State from the economy and from the private
decisions of individuals.
Moreover, both Rand and More recognize another fundamental pillar for the defense of
capitalism: selfishness, or the holding of ones own life as the ultimate value. More devotes three
Principles of Extropy, Practical Optimism, Self-Transformation, and Self-Direction, which
closely correspond to the Objectivist ethics. Practical Optimism suggests that living vigorously,
effectively, and joyfully, requires prevailing over gloom, defeatism, and negativism. We need to
acknowledge problems, whether technical, social, psychological, or ecological, but we need not
allow them to dominate our thinking and our direction. In other words, this is a view which
holds the universe to be fundamentally open to mans creative accomplishment, and the proper
attitude with regard to mans work to be the radiant, heroic pursuit of success against all
obstacles. The man of Practical Optimism refuses to demean or diminish himself, and the man
embodied by the Objectivist virtue of Pride would agree. According to Rand, Pride means never
placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of ones own selfesteem. And, above all, it means ones rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection
of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty (The Virtue of
Selfishness, pp. 29-30).
The principle of Self-Transformation implies not self-absorption but a continued attempt to
understand others and to work toward optimal relationships based on mutual honesty, open
communication, and benevolence. This parallels Rands trader principle as the guide for human
interaction. Men, according to Rand, ought to treat one another not as masters or slaves, but as
mutually respected individuals who communicate to exchange value for value, be it in a material
or an intellectual sense. Honesty is an explicit Objectivist virtue, as is Integrity. Both imply the
refusal to fabricate reality and the sincerity of individuals in manifesting their genuine thoughts
and motives to others in such a manner as may best serve their selfish interests in the objective
reality. Post-Randian Objectivists, such as David Kelley, have further explored the virtue of
Benevolence and the ways in which mutual politeness, respect, and toleration can foster more
efficient value trading. Max More agrees. Benevolence implies a presumption of common
moral decencies including politeness, patience, and honesty. While self-direction cannot mean
getting along with everyone at any cost, it does imply seeking to maximize the benefits of
interactions with others.
The principle of Self-Direction holds that each individual ought to have the freedom to determine
what will ultimately become of his life and character, and the corresponding responsibility of
choosing to control his inner capacities and directing them for worthy purposes. This requires
that each man use his autonomous mind as his ultimate judge of deciding which aspects of his
life and character to change, which to keep the same, which risks to engage in, and which

associations to make. The more each man employs this autonomy, the less susceptible he
becomes to the tendency to unconditionally obey others. Antithetical to this Self-Direction is the
attempt by others to regulate a man against his own will.
Coercion of mature, sound minds outside the realm of self-protection, whether for
the purported "good of the whole" or for the paternalistic protection of the
individual, is unacceptable. Compulsion breeds ignorance and weakens the
connection between personal choice and personal outcome, thereby destroying
personal responsibility. Extropy calls for rational individualism or cognitive
independence, living by our own judgment, making reflective, informed choices,
profiting from both success and shortcoming. (Max More, The Principles of
Extropy, Version 3.11)
Or, to paraphrase Rand, when one uses compulsion, one locks man in a deadly double bind. He
has the choice of obeying authority and defying the conclusions of his reason (linked to the
external reality) and facing the punishment of reality, or of obeying his own mind, and facing the
punishment of authority. Man cannot exercise self-direction at the point of a gun. A free mind
and a free market are corollaries (Atlas Shrugged).
MUTUAL VALUE TRADING
As they stand today, neither Objectivism nor Transhumanism, when left entirely to themselves,
represent the entire range of their logical implications, often due to their willful separation by
their respective adherents into needlessly warring camps. Certain Objectivists, for example, take
Rands insistence that each entity necessarily follows its own nature to imply that man is
consigned to follow some set, static, immutable human nature which dictates finitude of
lifespan. However, this is not a fundamental conflict between Objectivism and Transhumanism,
as the Objectivists in question have simply misinterpreted Rand. Rands sole prescription for
mans nature was that he is a being of volitional consciousness, with reason as his sole guide in
discovering and applying truth. The transhuman will retain these fundamental characteristics,
while departing only from those that are not human nature, i.e., those aspects of susceptibility to
natural perils that modern man still, unfortunately, shares with the animals. Any flaw,
fallibility, or vulnerability in man is not a defining trait of his nature qua rational, volitional
entity. This, of course, includes senescence, an affliction that is indeed common among man and
most animal species.
Certain Transhumanists commit errors with regard to their perception of Objectivism as well.
Mark Plus, a member of the Immortality Institute has claimed, for example, that Objectivists are
detached from pro-survival goals since their lives are organized around constructs like
heroism, self-esteem, romantic love and other make-believe that distract us from our real
problems. But, if man were not to esteem himself, how would he be able to effectively deal with

the problems of mortality, disease, and intellectual limitations that currently plague him? How
would he be able to proudly assert his capacity to overcome these evils, instead of cowering
before them submissively? If man did not have the potential to be heroic, what would he be?
Mediocre? Unable to function as the conquering master of his environment and the intellectual
creator that he must become in order to fulfill both the Objectivist virtues and the Principles of
Extropy? If man did not conceive of his love romantically, what would separate his sexual
relationships from crude, unthinking animal lust (i.e. precisely the condition that a transhuman
would not exhibit)? The Extropians focus on practical problems afflicting man is commendable,
but it should not act to the detriment of moral values and a radiant affirmation of human life
through abstract principles such as self-esteem and romantic love. Rather, advocates of Extropy
should seek counsel in the words of Rand: The practical is the moral. Each follows from the
other, binding the two inextricably under a fully rational, integrated worldview. Neither
practicality nor morality, the stuff of the body and mind, can exist severed from one another. As
Rand would say, morality detached from practicality, a mind without a body, is a ghost, and
practicality detached from morality, a body without a mind, is a corpse.
To integrate practicality and morality, an association between Objectivists and Extropians would
be of utmost benefit. Objectivism has, since the days of Rand, developed an immense body of
written works containing prescriptions from abstract theory to current events, as well as a
growing abundance of rational painting, sculpture, and music. The Extropian movement, on the
other hand, has produced a flowering of innovative scientists, inventors, and entrepreneurs,
whose visions of a technological future have the potential of becoming the concrete
manifestations of Objectivist theory. Objectivist art and written works can serve as the
intellectual fuel to guide these creators in their endeavors and recall to them mans potential for
competence and efficacy, while the practical innovators can encourage the Objectivist theorists,
writers, and artists to furnish further masterpieces by giving them vast scientific
accomplishments to analyze, glorify, and depict. The worldviews of both of these intellectual
movements can be broadened substantially by extending the scope of Objectivisms influence in
the sciences, and Transhumanisms power in the humanities. Furthermore, each side can find in
the other intellectual arguments in favor of laissez-faire capitalism, from various scientific and
humanitarian perspectives, to supplement their already existing arsenals.
As for the libertarians examining both movements, but not explicitly belonging to either, I
recommend that they extract the best from both worlds, adopting whatever principles their
autonomous minds are ready to accept. No matter to what degree these ideas penetrate the
mainstream culture and amplify the intellectual stockpiles of individuals, their effect will be a
beneficent one.

WHENCE COMETH DEATH?


BY: JOSH MITTELDORF, PH.D

How natural selection has fashioned aging and death;


why "natural" isn't the last word in healthy foods and lifestyles;
and some observations on objective science pursued by subjective humans.

The notion that our bodies are programmed to self-destruct with age is profoundly unsettling to
many of us. One does not have to entertain faith in an omnipotent deity to be invested in the idea
that Nature is benevolent. We know that all creatures fall victims to decrepitude and death, so we
imagine our fate to derive from some immutable physical law, to which our bodies eventually
succumb despite their best efforts to keep us strong and healthy...
But aging is no physical necessity, nor is it an accident; it is a part of life's developmental
program, following birth, growth, maturation, and reproduction as night follows day. This fact is
becoming clear to developmental biologists, as the mechanisms of aging are elucidated in the
laboratory. Some of these mechanisms can act precipitously, bringing quick death to annual
plants such as marigolds, or animals like the Pacific salmon. Some mechanisms are as old as
sexual reproduction, which is to say that they have been selected and preserved over 500 million
years of biological evolution. Most can be modulated at will by metabolic signals, as when halfstarved mice live to extraordinary life spans. And some recent laboratory investigations have
located single genes that seem to have no other purpose than to act as a time bomb, assuring the
bearer's demise.
The body of evidence indicating that aging is an adaptation, crafted as if "on purpose" by natural
selection, has baffled evolutionary biologists. It's a message they resist on theoretical grounds
that the academic community has adopted quite sensibly, but applied perhaps too rigidly. The
history of the evolutionary science of aging is more interesting than it ought to be; it illustrates
the thesis that the world's establishment of academic scientists - though arguably the fairest and
most objective arbiter of truth that humanity has yet devised - is still influenced by politics, and
subject to the excesses of fad and fashion. Discredited ideas may linger for decades.
Man's earliest conception of aging was that the process was akin to physical wear and tear.
Knives get dull - why shouldn't our teeth? Wheels get rusty and squeak when they turn - isn't that

what happens to our joints? It's a theory with a great deal of intuitive appeal. But after the midnineteenth century, when the intuition that Things Wear Out was codified as the Second Law of
Thermodynamics, this position became untenable. The Second Law is indeed related to the
reason why knives gets dull and bearings rust; but living matter is not subject to the same
constraint. A living organism extracts energy from its environment, and thereby is able to
maintain - even to increase - order within itself, while dumping its entropy back into the
environment. The total entropy, organism plus environment, is bound by the Second Law to
increase; but as long as it can take in food and unload its waste, the living organism performs a
magic that non-living things cannot match: it can grow, it can repair, it can even build itself from
scratch, starting with a DNA-blueprint and necessary nutrients. Continually replenished by food
or by sunlight, there is no physical necessity for anything about it to deteriorate with age.
Every living metabolism includes highly-developed machinery for repair and maintenance. You
know that when you break a leg, the bone grows back together. It's less obvious that the DNA in
your cells is constantly being checked for errors: specialized molecules creep along the length of
the DNA strand, searching for pieces out of place and repairing them on the spot. You can
recover completely from a cut in your finger, but if the finger is severed from your hand, you'll
never grow a new one; this limitation is standard in mammals. But a squid can replace a severed
tentacle, and if a starfish loses an arm, not only does the starfish grow another arm, the arm will
grow a whole new starfish!
Imagine how complete and how robust is the starfish's system of regeneration - then consider
that the starfish ages and dies, with a lifetime of about eight years. Now the inadequacy of the
theory that Things Wear Out becomes apparent: Evolution has devised for all of us a system of
maintenance and repair that is remarkably efficient. It's a genuine curiosity that Evolution, after
creating such intricate and comprehensive systems of repair, refuses to deploy them in a way that
would maintain the body in a state of peak performance. This is the classical problem of aging,
the problem that has baffled and confused generations of evolutionary theorists.
In the 1890's, when the two sciences of thermodynamics and evolution were yet new, August
Weismann realized that there was no physical necessity for the body to degrade over time.
Weismann was the first to speculate that the evolutionary reason for aging and death has
something to do with the good of the species. He called it "making room" in the environment.
When their lease was up, the old would have the good grace to pack their bags and vacate the
premises, leaving space for the young. The constant turnover of the population would help to
maintain its diversity, and make the species more adaptable to changing circumstances.
But as evolution grew up as a quantitative science, Weismann's hypothesis began to seem
untenable. In the early part of the twentieth century, the concept of fitness was first quantified,
and fitness was identified with an individual's rate of reproduction. How could aging and death

make a positive contribution to an individual's reproductive success? If there is any benefit to


aging, it accrues not to the individual but to the population as a whole. In the 1960's,
evolutionary theorist George Williams argued that evolution was in the business of testing
random mutations that first arose in a single individual. The first test for any new trait would be
whether it could progress from the individual in which it arose to achieve prevalence in a small
group; only traits that passed this test could ever be tested in competition group-against-group.
Hence individual selection will trump group selection every time, Williams said. Aging and the
imposition of a finite lifespan may well help to maintain population diversity, that is to say they
may have benefits for the species, but so what? The effect on individual fitness was the first test
imposed by natural selection, and by definition aging harms the individual, curtailing his
prospects for reproduction; hence aging can never be selected as an adaptation.
This interdict on arguments from group effects in evolution became a powerful current of
evolutionary thought from the 1970's onward. It was difficult for a generation of naturalists
trained in observation and classification to assimilate the quantitative methods of the new
biology; but it was perhaps too easy to absorb, undigested, the message of Williams's book:
Selection sees only individual reproductive rate. Group selection is not a viable evolutionary
force.
How, then, could the anti-group-selectionists explain the evolution of aging? How would they
account for its prevalence in the world of higher plants and animals? Williams himself put forth a
theory that aging was an epiphenomenon, a side-effect of selection going for broke in its quest
for faster reproduction. His theory of pleiotropy posited that reproduction and aging were
genetically linked. In 1977, it was Thomas Kirkwood who put that hypothesis into its most
common sensical and appealing form, which remains popular among evolutionists to this day.
Everything the body does requires energy: activity, metabolism, reproduction, repair and
maintenance. The body must ration the limited supply of available food energy, and myriad
generations of natural selection have taught the body how to balance its energy budget to best
effect. In any such tradeoff, no one demand can be fully provided; it follows that the body does a
pretty good job of repair and maintenance, an adequate job to get the body through the period of
intense reproduction. But thereafter, the evolutionary payoff for keeping the body in good repair
becomes smaller, so damage is permitted to accumulate. Eventually, this compromises the
capacity of the system to get anything done - including repair. This theory of aging was called by
Kirkwood the Disposable Soma, a name which derives from the fact that the individual's
reproductive output and not its own body is the basis of the target function of natural selection:
The individual is willing to trade even his own body for enhanced reproductive prospects.
The Disposable Soma is a good theory. Straightforward and common sensical, it invokes nothing
abstruse or mysterious, and it accounts for the universality of aging within the context of pure
individual selection. The Disposable Soma has been king of the roost, the prevailing theory

among experts in the evolution of aging for almost a generation. But there are deep problems
with the theory that are becoming more and more difficult to ignore. These are indications that
aging is not a side-effect but a full-blown program of nature. The evidence may be leading us
right back to Weismann's abandoned idea that the old are removing themselves to make way for
the young.
These new hints that proponents of the Disposable Soma and other related theories may be on a
dead end path come from three places: First are the intriguing examples of ways that the body
can circumvent aging when it is ecologically appropriate, as when the system is stressed. Second
is the universality of aging mechanisms: some of the biochemical pathways of aging are common
to such diverse species as man and baking yeast! Third is the smoking gun, the discovery in
recent years of "aging genes" which can be disabled in laboratory tests, causing animals to live
long beyond their natural life spans.
First, the body's capacity to forestall aging under stress suggests that in "normal" times the body
may actually be engaged in a strategic surrender. We're all so familiar with the idea that physical
exertion promotes a healthier heart, lower risk for some cancers, and a longer life, that we may
no longer pause to think how curious a phenomenon this is. When it is not distracted by the
rigors of aerobic exercise, why is the body less able to deal with the ravages of age?
Plants succumb to aging just as animals do, and nowhere are the results more visible than in the
annuals we plant in our gardens. At summer's end a marigold bush will wither and die after its
flowers have all gone to seed, but if the flowers are snipped, the plant is reinvigorated to blossom
again and again and again. It seems almost as though the plant finds security in the knowledge
that it has passed on its genetic legacy, and only then can it surrender to death's beckoning. The
kind of accelerated aging that we observe in marigolds is typical of semelparous organisms,
whose life histories culminate in a single act of reproduction. There are semelparous animals as
well, including Pacific salmon and octopi, whose lifespans are subject to experimental
manipulation. After laying her eggs, the female octopus stops eating and slowly starves to death.
Lest anyone doubt this is an example of programmed death, the locus of the program has been
discovered in the animal's "optic gland". This organ can be surgically removed, after which the
animal no longer knows she is supposed to starve herself; hence she survives to breed another
season.
But recently an even more striking experimental fact about aging has emerged from the
backwaters of gerontological laboratories into the popular science press: The less an animal is
fed, the longer it lives. With a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, while drastically reduced in
caloric content, laboratory animals from crabs to monkeys have been observed to live almost
twice as long as their fully-fed siblings. These animals not only live longer, they are more active
and more resistant to disease, and the closer they are to starvation, the more resilient and robust

they are! It is not difficult to guess the evolutionary provenance of this adaptation - it is
essentially that populations under stress avail themselves of every possible advantage to avoid
the finality of extinction. But the body's behavior under caloric stress highlights the converse
question: how is it that when stress is absent, the body cares less well for itself? When resources
are plentiful, why should the metabolism be trying less hard to forestall death?
Experiments in caloric restriction (CR) are a challenge for any of the "tradeoff" theories of aging,
but the Disposable Soma theory is particularly vulnerable, exactly because it is premised on a
tight calorie budget. The essence of the theory is that there's never enough food energy to do a
perfect job of everything, so the body's allocation for repair and maintenance will always be
shortchanged. How can the theory accommodate the fact that when energy is least available,
repair and maintenance are at their most efficient - even as expenditures for activity and for
immune function are also at their peak?
The second source of evidence that aging is an adaptation - a "deliberate" creation of natural
selection - comes from newly discovered data on the universality of aging mechanisms. Bacteria
and algae do not age, because their life cycle is so primitive that there is nothing to distinguish
young from old cells; but higher one-celled organisms like the amoeba and paramecium do
experience aging. Much larger than the bacteria, single-celled protists are distinguished by a
more complex metabolism and DNA that is concentrated in a nucleus. Protists carry the mother
of all aging mechanisms, a replication counter that will kill a cell line after it has procreated a
fixed number of times. The tally is maintained in a repetitive tail on the end of every DNA
strand, called the telomere. The DNA replication that takes place whenever a cell divides omits a
stretch of that tail, and the chromosome becomes shorter with each cell division. The telomere is
a buffer zone, completely expendable, so for awhile the shortening has no effect on the daughter
cells' viability. But eventually the telomere is used up, the chromosome's integrity is in danger,
and the cell, in fact, refuses to replicate.
One curious thing about this process is that it appears to be entirely avoidable. All eukaryotes
(cells with a nucleus, including protists and all animals and plants) carry the gene for the enzyme
called telomerase. In the presence of telomerase, the entire chromosome is faithfully replicated,
and the tail doesn't lose any length. A bit of reflection makes it clear that this capability is
absolutely essential to the long-term continuity of life. But in replication of protist cells, the gene
for telomerase is silenced, just as it is needed most; instead, the telomeres are permitted to shrink
with each replication. They are only replenished when the protist is joined with another in sexual
union.
The primitive form of sex enacted by protists is called conjugation, and it is entirely separate
from the reproductive process. Two protists (of the same species) come together, their cell walls
dissolve at the boundary, and they join temporarily as one unit. Within the double cell, the two

nuclei merge, and each chromosome bonds along its full length to its counterpart from the other
cell. Then the chromosomes come apart, the two nuclei separate, and the double cell once again
becomes two. The two individuals have lost their identity; the cells that emerge each contain a
blend of cytoplasm from the two original cells, and, what is more important, the genes in the
nuclei have been thoroughly mixed and exchanged. And by the way - the telomeres are restored
to their full and original length in this process, so each organism is authorized another several
hundred rounds of asexual reproduction.
The purpose of this process, (identical to the purpose of sex in higher plants and animals) is to
exchange genetic material, giving selection an opportunity to work on new combinations of
traits. The telomeres must be seen as a policing agent, enforcing the injunction to share. Each
cell is endowed with the mandate to go forth and multiply, but subject to the proviso that it must
find a mate and commingle its genetic legacy, at least every few hundred generations, on pain of
death. There can be no doubt that this is an adaptation, a mechanism that has evolved because it
serves a purpose. Since conjugation creates new gene combinations, the purpose appears to be
the imposition of diversity on every colony of protists, via an imperative of genetic exchange.
Reproductive success is rewarded up to a point; but no single cell line is permitted to dominate
the culture, no matter how much better adapted it happens to be to the specific set of
circumstances that happen to prevail at present.
Were the colony to lose that genetic diversity, it might be sorry tomorrow. The environment is
constantly in flux, and if some novel adaptation is universally adopted in response to a transient
change in the environment, the danger is that the environment may return to its former condition
at a time when the adaptations perfect for that condition have been lost forever. The need for
diversity in a population may seem to be a technicality, a detail too small to support a
phenomenon as ancient and ubiquitous as aging; but diversity is in fact the fuel for evolutionary
change. Without diversity, there is no natural selection, indeed there are no choices from which
to select. There is deep appreciation in the scientific community for the importance of diversity,
going all the way back to Charles Darwin.
(Darwin understood the ongoing need for population diversity, but was mystified about the
mechanism that was able to sustain it. This is a celebrated footnote in the history of science:
unaware of the concurrent researches of the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, Darwin had no
concept of the genetic laws of heredity. He thought the traits of each offspring were some kind of
average between those of the father and the mother. But in an averaging process, the extremes
would be lost, and each generation would tend to be more homogeneous than the last. How was
it that diversity in nature did not collapse from all that averaging, bringing evolution to a
screeching halt? This was a subject of passionate concern to Darwin, and a frequent refrain of his
early scientific critics. Mendel's revelations would have resolved the issue handily, but busy and
successful Darwin never found time to read the postal missives from the modest Franciscan.)

The story of telomeres may be a hint that population diversity is the fundamental meaning, the
evolutionary purpose of aging and obligatory death. All higher life forms evolved from the
protists, and retain their reproductive counting mechanism as the first aging mechanism. In
higher life forms, there are other mechanisms of aging, and it is uncertain whether telomeres
contribute substantially to the process; but every cell in our bodies, every animal and plant cell in
the world, is still programmed by its telomeres to reproduce only a finite number of times before
it dies. Evolution has evinced an extraordinary capacity to generate variety while conserving that
which is essential. If an aging mechanism has been conserved since the very first eukaryotes
emerged 500 million years ago, this may be taken as a sign that aging is essential to some basic
life function. But the fact that aging is fundamentally destructive, and offers no benefit to the
individual presents us with a paradox and a mystery. What is the nature of this essential benefit?
It is a good guess that it has to do with the viability of populations and the maintenance of
diversity as fuel for the ongoing process of evolution.
The third story line in support of aging as an adaptation comes from the gene splicing technology
that is just now maturing. The tiny roundworm C. elegans embodies an aging process that is
uniquely flexible: when food and water are plentiful, its normal lifespan is just ten days, but
under stress it can enter a state akin to hibernation and survive as a dauer for many weeks. Ten
years ago, experiments with these worms first hinted at the genetic basis for their aging
mechanism and their means of long-term preservation. A single gene was found that could be
silenced, with the result that the worm lived to several weeks without becoming a dauer. The
animals seem to suffer no ill effects from the change. So here is direct evidence for the existence
of aging genes in nature. The meaning of this discovery was not lost on the community of
genetic scientists from whence it emerged, but evolutionary biologists were more skeptical.
Perhaps the existence of this gene has something to do with the peculiar two-phase life strategy
of the roundworm, and should not be ascribed a general significance. But soon a gene was
discovered that is connected with the insulin metabolism of yeast cells, the removal of which
caused the cells to live longer. Remarkably, the insulin metabolism of yeast and of man are
clearly related, and the analogous human gene was quickly identified. Then, in 1998 a Cal Tech
laboratory found an aging gene in fruitflies, the workhorses of experimental evolution. The next
year, discovery of the first aging gene in a mammal was announced by an Italian genetic
laboratory. Mice were reported to live 30% longer when the p66 gene was disabled, and, like CR
mice, the genetically altered mice evinced an enhanced resistance to stress. What is more
provocative yet, the function of the p66 gene is known to be related to programmed cell death, or
apoptosis. Apoptosis is such an orderly and well-behaved process that it is widely recognized as
an adaptation; but it had always been assumed that apoptosis was triggered only in infected cells
or in cancerous cells, in order to protect the rest of the organism from spread of disease. The
suggestion that apoptosis of normal, healthy cells could be a mechanism of aging is tantamount
to acceptance of aging as a purposeful life function, an evolutionary adaptation. And the

existence of any single gene that extends life span without deleterious side effects poses an
essential difficulty for the tradeoff theories, including Disposable Soma.
All these indications that aging is a developmental program have been well-received, and
gradually integrated into the thought of developmental biologists, geneticists and ecologists; but
evolutionary biologists still resist the message, because it essentially contradicts their beliefs
about group selection. A new theoretical framework is needed, in which the subtle power of
natural selection is acknowledged, in which populations and perhaps entire ecosystems may be
conceived as engaging in coordinated evolution. The solution may soon be at hand. In a
developing paradigm shift, the whole rationale for the primacy of individual selection is coming
under attack from two directions. The evolutionary ecologist David Wilson has for nearly thirty
years been building a case that group selection is more viable than nave theory would indicate,
and of late his followers seem to be gathering force. His Multilevel Selection Theory offers a
framework within which individual and group selection may wax and wane. Year after year in
the evolutionary literature, the circumstances under which group selection may make its effects
felt seem to be expanding. To ecologists, this must come as no surprise; indeed if the breadth and
the ubiquity of cooperative phenomena in nature is a reliable indication, then group selection
must be a primary force of nature.
The other attack on the proscription of group selection comes from computer simulations. With
the rise in power and availability of computers in recent years has come an explosion in
computer modeling of evolutionary processes. It was a tide of rigorous mathematical thinking
that brought the population geneticists to supremacy over the old school of descriptive naturalists
a generation ago, and it may be that the next wave will elevate the computer modelers, with their
messages from the school of chaos theory. In the old-style analysis, the spread of a gene or a
lineage was described as a smooth and gradual process, incrementally taking over a population.
The computer simulations are better able to model the randomness and the uniqueness of genetic
mutations, as well as the complexity of interactions among individuals spread out on a landscape.
In computer models, individuals have been observed to organize spontaneously into loose,
temporary groupings, enhancing the prospects of any trait that benefits others at the expense of
the self. This is the essential insight of chaos theory: that a small number of discrete, random
events may determine the outcome of a process, and that outcome may be different from what
one would conclude from tracking a smooth and gradual progression of population averages.
It may turn out that analysis and simulation are complementary tools, each offering a different
set of insights into evolutionary dynamics. Will next year's computer model demonstrate ways in
which populations with limited lifespans are more diverse and robust, so that they win out in
competition with hypothetical age-less populations? This would signal a renaissance for
Weismann's century-old idea that the old are bowing out to make room for the young.

If we come to realize that evolution cares not just about individuals but about communities, if we
deeply absorb the message that evolution has designed our bodies to degrade with age and to die,
martyrs all to the communal cause, how does that affect the way we think about ourselves and
our relationship to nature?
For one thing, we may revise downward our opinion of "natural" foods and remedies. We may
never have thought about it in this way, but at root the appeal of the natural comes from faith in
evolution: What is natural is part of the environment in which man and his ancestors evolved;
hence we are presumed to be well-adapted to it. If natural foods are better for us, it is because
they are the foods that evolution has equipped our bodies to assimilate.
Sometimes nature wants what's best for us individually, but sometimes she conspires with our
bodies to do us in (all for the common good, of course). To extend human life beyond our
"natural" lifespan - even to address classic ailments of old age - may require drugs or treatments
far removed from anything found in nature. If you're a nonsmoker, eating less may be the most
effective step you can take to enhance your health and extend your life; but you'll seek in vain for
the "natural" instinct that supports your willpower when you're denying the body's appetite.
Evolution has designed us to enjoy food so that we will put away a comfortable layer of fat for
the lean winter which may ever be just around the corner. Nature wants us to eat when there's
food to be eaten, but nature wants us to die after a programmed life span. If you or I have our
own ideas about how long we want to live, we may have to play some very un-natural tricks, or
even to do battle with nature in order to get there.
The story of evolution and aging offers another moral, an uplifting and hopeful message of
cooperation. The economic culture of our generation has embraced unbridled individual
competition; for a few, this has unleashed a restless quest for the accumulation of wealth, while
the many suffer a disquieting economic decline. Perhaps the parallel trends in scientific and
political thought are no accident: just as our nation has discovered that pure competition is the
one perfect economic system, the academic establishment of evolutionary biology has decreed
that natural selection knows only what's good for the individual, that there is no such thing as
"group selection", and that "evolutionary altruism" is really an illusion engendered by the gene's
selfish interest in aiding those copies of itself that live within close relatives. Both these
intellectual trends may prove ephemeral. Then perhaps we can learn from evolution's insistence
on tempering pure competition with universal mortality that diversity of the population is
essential to the long-term health of a community. Perhaps this message can help us to strip away
the illusion that our life's purpose is individual achievement, and restore to us a sense of our
common destiny
The cycle of life and death can only have meaning in the context of a great evolutionary
progression that will carry our descendants into realms of being and experience far beyond our

present imaginings. It is inspiring to reflect that in the deep past, evolution has learned to design
her children to live communally, to share and to love, and when our number is up, to sacrifice
our very lives that the community might continue to change and to evolve.

ARE THERE TRANSHUMANS AMONG US?


BY: DAVID KEKICH

You've seen this term bandied about, but do you know what it means? Some are scared by it,
visualizing all kinds of freakish Frankensteinian beings. Most people think transhumans are far
off in the future.
Before we go on, let's define transhumanism.
First, let's see what H+ Magazine says about it:
"Transhumanism takes a multidisciplinary approach in analyzing the dynamic interplay between
humanity and the acceleration of technology. In this sphere, much of our focus is on the
development and ethical use of biotechnology, nanotechnology and artificial general intelligence.
Our theoretical interests focus on posthuman topics of the singularity, extinction risk, and mind
uploading. Many of these ideas are contemplated in books and other publications produced at
Humanity+ Press."
H+ Magazine is one of my all-time favorite websites. http://hplusmagazine.com
Now let's take a look at how Wikipedia defines transhumanism:
"Transhumanism (abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual
movement with an eventual goal at fundamentally transforming the human condition by
developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual,
physical, and psychological capacities. Transhumanist thinkers study the potential benefits and
dangers of emerging technologies that could overcome fundamental human limitations, as well
as study the ethical matters involved in developing and using such technologies. They predict
that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly
expanded abilities as to merit the label "posthuman".
"The contemporary meaning of the term transhumanism was foreshadowed by one of the first

professors of futurology, FM-2030, who taught "new concepts of the Human" at The New
School in the 1960s, when he began to identify people who adopt technologies, lifestyles and
worldviews transitional to "posthumanity" as "transhuman". This hypothesis would lay the
intellectual groundwork for the British philosopher Max More to begin articulating the principles
of transhumanism as a futurist philosophy in 1990, and organizing in California an intelligentsia
that has since grown into the worldwide transhumanist movement.
"Influenced by seminal works of science fiction, the transhumanist vision of a transformed future
humanity has attracted many supporters and detractors from a wide range of perspectives.
Transhumanism has been characterized by one critic, Francis Fukuyama, as among the world's
most dangerous ideas, to which Ronald Bailey countered that it is rather the "movement that
epitomizes the most daring, courageous, imaginative, and idealistic aspirations of humanity".
Does this comfort you?
Well, maybe a little, but let's take a closer look.
I am transhuman. The chances are, so are you. In fact, the vast majority of the human population
are transhumans. The human race started down the transhuman path long ago. My grandparents,
who all died a couple of generations ago, were transhumans.
How can that be? After all, they were born in the 1800s. Well, they overcame their limitations
with eyeglasses, dentures and other dental work and drove or rode in automobiles and public
transportation.
If you use a smartphone, tablet, electronic reader or laptop, you are a very much advanced
transhuman. The same is true if you had a joint replacement, prosthetic, laser surgery, cochlear
or other chip implant or any other implant as well.
We began transcending our human limitations as soon as we fashioned clothing and developed
tools. Language was one of the more important transhuman advances.
But we didn't have a name for it until recently. Now that we do, most people react negatively to
the term, and thus the concept. However, now that you know that you are transhuman, isn't
transhumanism a little more comforting?
Some people understand all this, recognize that they are transhuman, and still get scared by it.
Don't for a minute think they'd like to scurry off to the forest and scavenge for food for the rest
of their years. Oh no, their perfectly content to embrace just some transhumanism, but not too
much.

What scares them is the increasingly rapid rate of change. They think it's bad for humanity, and
they wrap their fear mongering in a "gentle" term that they use to describe themselves
"ethicists."
Since I have opinions on most issues, I'll share mine with you on these types of ethicists.
They are mass murderers. At least, they are making their best attempt at mass murder. And of
course, attempted murder is a felony.
The reason I say that is, if they are successful in restricting human enhancing technologies,
hundreds of millions of people who would be denied these technologies will die unnecessarily.
And that might include you and me fellow transhuman.
It's tough enough raising funds for research without some influential deathists pulling in the
opposite direction. Some are influential because they are on government payrolls (your tax
dollars at work), and some are widely published.
Be alert as to what you may read, see or hear, and always ask what authors' and spokespersons'
agendas are.
In short, transhumanism is simply improving the human condition.

THE IRRATIONALITY OF THE VIEW THAT LIFE IS SOMETIMES NOT WORTH LIVING
BY: G. STOLYAROV II

In behavioral finance, there is a well-known tendency of many people to consider themselves


worse off after a financial net gain that happens under certain circumstances. For instance, if
person A wins $10 million but then loses $8 million, he might consider himself worse off than he
would have seen himself as being if he had simply won $1 million. Even though in absolute
terms A is twice as wealthy in the first case as he would have been in the second, A will see his
current position mostly in relation to the $10 million he once had and will thus consider himself
to be in dire straits. This is, of course, an entirely irrational mindset; $2 million is clearly better
than $1 million, all other things equal.
I think many people are afflicted by a similar mentality with regard to life itself. It is likely that
even a majority of people think that life is not worth living under certain conditions. These
conditions are virtually always worse than the conditions of those peoples lives at present and
so a descent into such conditions would entail a diminution of the quality of life. However,
people who think that life is sometimes not worth living do not venture to make the proper
comparison of lower quality of life to no quality of life. Rather, they compare some hypothetical
or actual lower quality of life to a former higher quality of life even though both are better than
an absence of life altogether. In despair over their losses of liberty, privilege, health, loved ones,
or any other values, they are willing to abandon everything else of value that they have by
choosing to succumb to death. This is as irrational as a person who lost $8 million out of $10
million burning the other $2 million out of the belief that wealth is just not worth having unless
there is a certain amount of it.

BIO-PHILOSOPHICAL ARGUMENTS FOR HUMAN BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY


BY: MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,

When you eliminate the reason for aging, there will be no reason that denies non- aging.
aging does not happen by default it only happens because there is a deep-rooted underlying
reason. When this reason is eliminated, there would be no reason why aging needs to continue.
The reason for aging has been known for some time. Ultimately, aging happens due to a
discrepancy between the rate of biological damage and the rate of repair. The rate of biological
repair mechanisms tends to become progressively compromised as a function of age, resulting in
accumulation of damaged biological material that reduces useful function. The underlying cause
of this is lack of energy resources - these are being diverted, by Darwinian forces, from the
somatic repair to the repair of the germ-line. Any intentional attempt which improves the input of
potential energy into an organic system makes the equalization of the rate of damage vs. repair
more likely, and thus ultimately must result in retardation of aging [ aging equals loss of energy
and thus loss of complexity. Non- aging is virtually stable energy and thus higher complexity]. In
this case, the reason for aging is essentially removed. If there is no reason why aging must
happen, then it will not happen.
BIOLOGY CONSTRUCTS- PHYSICS DESTRUCTS
Or: Energy is a medium used by Biology in order to thwart Physics. Entropy is a medium used
by Physics in order to thwart Biology.
(Here, I deliberately take an animistic stance, attributing human-like characteristics to inanimate
patterns. I use notions based on action ontology in order to make my ideas easier to understand.)
Biology has a general tendency to advance from simple to complex, whereas Physics have an
opposite tendency, from complex to simple. In other words, biology is likely to increase potential
energy, biological sophistication and redundancy (an Intentional Stance, see Dennett), whereas

Physical laws seek a state of lowest energy, minimal uncertainty and minimal entropy (the
Intentional Stance with regards to Physics is the tendency towards minimum potential energy).
In this context, the term Physics refers to classical Physics (friction, gravity, tension etc.) and
thermodynamics, rather than to all branches of Physics such as relativity or quantum theories. Of
course, I acknowledge that Physical theories are merely descriptions of what we observe
empirically, and are not describing definitive reality.
Therefore, it can be said that Biology and Physics are entangled in an eternal confrontation, each
leaning towards its own respective aims, but maintaining an overall balance, resulting in life
with predefined limits, (i.e. a human lifespan of 80-120 years). In order to influence this balance
(and increase our odds of living well beyond this limit) we need to reduce the impact of physical
laws and/or strengthen our biological assets.
As it is hitherto impossible to change the laws of Physics*, one way to tip the balance in our
favor is to enhance the laws of Biology.
* Nevertheless, the laws of Physics are not as immutable as we think, being just representations
of our observations. Ultimate reality may be different from observed reality.
According to Eric Chaisson, the expansion of the universe (a process described by Physics), is
responsible for the rise of complexity in biological and other systems. As the universe expands, it
makes energy easily available for use by any system (including a biological and thus a human) in
order to increase its complexity. Complexity declines with age and this is due to the
accumulation of damage that it is not repaired because of limited energy resources. Any process
that increases available energy would be able to reverse this decline and so aging will slow down
or virtually stop. Therefore, it appears that Physical laws if applied in a suitable manner may
ultimately enhance Biology.
In Chaissons opinion, Darwinian evolution is only a small subset within a wider Cosmic
Evolutionary framework, and it could be possible that Darwinian evolution will be superseded by
other, more effective forms of evolution.
Evolution by natural selection is the main obstacle to defeating aging and thus bars HBI (Human
Biological Immortality), because it requires the survival of the germ-line and thus diverts
resources from somatic repair. If/when evolution by natural selection begins to weaken, the
restriction of energy resources upon the soma will be eased, the soma will have improved
resources for its repairs and thus it will live longer.
Based on the assumption that Biology tends to progress from simple to complex it is reasonable

to suggest that, if there is a way that increases biological complexity or sophistication, then this
would have an impact upon health/longevity (because it will enhance biological assets and allow
biology to continue its tendency for increased complexity).
I believe that aging is due to loss of complexity of biological systems (increased entropy over
time). In order to counteract this, we must input more energy into the system in the form of
cognitive stimulation, i.e. informational energy, which activates many biological processes. This
has been proven in many experiments.
During everyday life we are exposed to random unintentional challenges and stimulation
(cognitive challenges, novelty of the environment, new ideas and situations). This helps our brain
function well. Against this, we lose energy (increasing entropy), which eventually causes death
because the degree of information input tends to zero with time, whereas entropy tends to
infinity.
I propose to introduce another variable, the sum of intentional cognitive stimulation (i.e.
intentional stimulation, special brain exercises, sense exercises, goal-oriented behavior, seeking
novelty and excellence etc.) which adds robustness into the equation. If entropy increases with
age (obeying physical laws), this will have no meaningful impact because we can increase the
amount of intentional brain stimulation.
This model accommodates the concept of Free Energy Rate Density (FERD) roughly the degree
of density of energy flowing through a unit space of a system. The higher the FERD, the higher
the complexity and intelligence of a system. For example, the Sun has 4 ergs per second per
cubic cm, whereas the human brain has 150,000 ergs per second per cubic cm. This means that
the Sun, despite its enormous reserves of energy, is considerably dumber than a human brain.
This supports the view that energy must be maintained high in order to maintain intelligence
(something biology does naturally for us), and when complexity declines due to physical
constrains, we need to try and increase it by increasing FERD parameters.
Therefore, there is a need to reach an optimum between intentional increase of neuro-cognitive
stimulation, against the increase of entropy, in order to achieve long life. The more we keep this
system going, the longer the lifespan.
Remember that intelligence is ultimately the ability to make consistently correct selections from
available choices. This means that one has to be in a position that contains (is forced to contain)
challenges that need resolving, and choices that need to be made. Routine, monotony and
regularity do not account for increased need to select, whereas variability, irregularity and
uncertainty maximize our need to select (and thus increase intelligence) and thus increase
informational energy.

The assumption is that there is an upwards endeavor aiming to increase complexity,


sophistication and intelligence, with the highest step being that of pure global intelligence
(spirit).
METAPHYSICAL CONTEXTS
In metaphysical terms, spirit has acquired a number of meanings. One of these is:
1.An incorporeal but ubiquitous, non-quantifiable substance or energy present individually in all
living things. Unlike the concept of souls (often regarded as eternal and sometimes believed to
pre-exist the body) a spirit develops and grows as an integral aspect of a living.
I am suggesting that it is possible to work towards this stage by intentionally increasing external
inputs, and by optimizing and enhancing the usage of internal cognitive signals.
This touches on the religious, i.e. the search for higher, pure metaphysical states, via meditation
and religious rituals/practices. It also touches on the philosophical, with the search for
excellence. Both the religious search for spiritual purity and the philosophical search for
excellence are merely disciplined and intentional enhancements of external cognitive information
and maximal use of internal cognitive powers (meditation, mental discipline).
In the biological realm, this translates to a search for higher intelligence (here intelligence is
defined as an ability to repeatedly make appropriate selections from a list of available options).
For this there is a need to optimize the use of information by the brain, i.e. to make informational
inputs use metabolic energy optimally.
It is necessary to work stepwise: first increase external cognitive inputs, then use these in an
optimal way to work towards achieving more abstract stages such as excellence and awe
(Kazantzakis calls this Holy Terror, the highest point of human mind can achieve).
WHAT CONSTITUTES A GOOD STIMULATION OR CHALLENGE?
A Positive Challenge is a condition that requires action (see F. Heylighen) because it represents
an opportunity to be exploited. These can be planned/anticipated or unexpected/unintended. My
advice is to follow a program of planned positive challenges. This is essentially a problem that
needs resolving, and the brain is forced to make a decision one way or the other. It is forced to
SELECT the best option among a number of others. A suitable/appropriate selection itself
creates information (Shannons reduction of uncertainty). Meaningful Information (knowledge,
experience, wisdom, excellence), via expressive activation of appropriate brain mechanisms

(sensory to cortex and other areas) activates (increases the energy available to, or the potential
energy of) biological patterns and agents that then improve repair and maintenance, thus nonaging.
In this respect, challenge (accumulation of useful information) can prevent regress, i.e. reduce
the rate of entropy increase. According to Shannon, entropy increase is associated with loss of
information, so more information equals a reduced rate of loss of thermodynamic energy.
Increased entropy destroys organization.
However not all information is useful, and not a lot of information is beneficial, so it is necessary
to filter it in order to avoid information overload. Suitable information is necessary in order to
improve problem solving (by our biological processes). This will be achieved if the biological
process can make the appropriate selection when confronted with a challenge. The increased
power of selection means that the best choices will be chosen for the ultimate benefit of the
organism.
The information must be analyzed and judged by an active process, and not just accumulated in a
disorganized manner.
It has been shown in some experiments that information can be transformed into energy
(Experimental demonstration of information-to-energy conversion and validation of the
generalized jarzynski equality. A Toyabe et al. Nature Physics vol. 6 p988-992, 2010). Also, the
informational transfer process is associated with decrease entropy (Coherent informational
energy and entropy. A. Avramescu J Documentation 1993 36(4)293).
The benefits of challenge are derived not only from external information but also from internally
created abstract thoughts, meditation, awe etc. Intentional cognitive enhancement should be
distinguished from a mere passive cognitive stimulation.
The generation of entropy over an average lifespan (around 80 years) was found to be in the
region of 11,404kJ/K (Degrees kelvin) (Silva AC, Annamala K. Entropy Generation and Human
Aging: Lifespan Entropy and Effect of Physical Activity Levels. Entropy 2008, 10; 100-123). No
entropy generation equals death.
Any reduction in the entropy production would therefore result/be associated with an increased
lifespan (longer dt). Also, any increase of meaningful energy into the system would have the
same result.
HOW TO CHOOSE AN IDEAL DEGREE OF CHALLENGE

Here, consider Csikszentmihalyis concept of flow. Essentially, the concept describes how a
challenge that matches ones skills and abilities causes well-being. If the challenge is over ones
ability then it causes anxiety. If it is below, it causes boredom (see equation above where the
values of Ai are above or below k). This is similar to Blascovichs ideas of challenge versus
threat. A challenge is a situation that matches your resources to deal with it. A threat is when
your resources are below what is necessary to deal with it (causing anxiety). So, if a mental
challenge causes excessive stress or anxiety, is unlikely to be beneficial in aging. If it is of such a
low intensity that causes boredom, then it will not be beneficial either.
It has been suggested that the frequency, duration, type and level of the challenge has a power
law distribution (see Le Corre), meaning that low intensity and frequent challenges must be
occasionally enriched with infrequent high intensity ones.
According to Le Corre: The variation between a low and a high level challenge is likely to
mobilize biological resources and activate defense mechanisms that can ultimately increase
biological redundancy and improved damage repair rates. This implies that there must be a
continuous variation of challenging stimuli, without ever reaching a stage of exhaustion (in this
case, mental exhaustion).

TRANSHUMANISM AND MIND UPLOADING ARE NOT SYNONYMOUS


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

In what is perhaps the most absurd attack on transhumanism to date, Mike Adams of
NaturalNews.com equates this broad philosophy and movement with the entire idea that you
can upload your mind to a computer and further posits that the only kind of possible mind
uploading is the destructive kind, where the original, biological organism ceases to exist. Adams
goes so far as calling transhumanism a death cult much like the infamous Heavens Gate cult
led by Marshal Applewhite.
I will not devote this essay to refuting any of Adamss arguments against destructive mind
uploading, because no serious transhumanist thinker of whom I am aware endorses the kind of
procedure Adams uses as a straw man. For anyone who wishes to continue existing as an
individual, uploading the contents of the mind to a computer and then killing the body is perhaps
the most bizarrely counterproductive possible activity, short of old-fashioned suicide. Instead,
Adamss article all the misrepresentations aside offers the opportunity to make important
distinctions of value to transhumanists.
First, having a positive view of mind uploading is neither necessary nor sufficient for being a
transhumanist. Mind uploading has been posited as one of several routes toward indefinite
human life extension. Other routes include the periodic repair of the existing biological organism
(as outlined in Aubrey de Greys SENS project or as entailed in the concept of nanomedicine)
and the augmentation of the biological organism with non-biological components (Ray
Kurzweils actual view, as opposed to the absurd positions Adams attributes to him).
Transhumanism, as a philosophy and a movement, embraces the lifting of the present limitations
upon the human condition limitations that arise out of the failures of human biology and
unaltered physical nature. Max More, in Transhumanism: Towards a Futurist Philosophy,
writes that Transhumanism differs from humanism in recognizing and anticipating the radical
alterations in the nature and possibilities of our lives resulting from various sciences and
technologies such as neuroscience and neuropharmacology, life extension, nanotechnology,
artificial ultraintelligence, and space habitation, combined with a rational philosophy and value
system. That Adams would take this immensity of interrelated concepts, techniques, and

aspirations and equate it to destructive mind uploading is, plainly put, mind-boggling. There is
ample room in transhumanism for a variety of approaches toward lifting the limitations of the
human condition. Some of these approaches will be more successful than others, and no one
approach is obligatory for those wishing to consider themselves transhumanists.
Moreover, Adams greatly misconstrues the positions of those transhumanists who do support
mind uploading. For most such transhumanists, a digital existence is not seen as superior to their
current biological existences, but as rather a necessary recourse if or when it becomes impossible
to continue maintaining a biological existence. Dmitry Itskovs 2045 Initiative is perhaps the
most prominent example of the pursuit of mind uploading today. The aim of the initiative is to
achieve cybernetic immortality in a stepwise fashion, through the creation of a sequence of
avatars that gives the biological human an increasing amount of control over non-biological
components. Avatar B, planned for circa 2020-2025, would involve a human brain controlling an
artificial body. If successful, this avatar would prolong the existence of the biological brain when
other components of the biological body have become too irreversibly damaged to support it.
Avatar C, planned for circa 2030-2035, would involve the transfer of a human mind from a
biological to a cybernetic brain, after the biological brain is no longer able to support life
processes. There is no destruction intended in the 2045 Avatar Project Milestones, only
preservation of some manner of intelligent functioning of a person whom the status quo would
instead relegate to becoming food for worms. The choice between decomposition and any kind
of avatar is a no-brainer (well, a brainer actually, for those who choose the latter).
Is Itskovs path toward immortality the best one? I personally prefer SENS, combined with
nanomedicine and piecewise artificial augmentations of the sort that are already beginning to
occur (witness the amazing bebionic3 prosthetic hand). Itskovs approach appears to assume that
the technology for transferring the human mind to an entirely non-biological body will become
available sooner than the technology for incrementally maintaining and fortifying the biological
body to enable its indefinite continuation. My estimation is the reverse. Before scientists will be
able to reverse-engineer not just the outward functions of a human brain but also its immensely
complex and intricate internal structure, we will have within our grasp the ability to conquer an
ever greater number of perils that befall the biological body and to repair the body using both
biological and non-biological components.
The biggest hurdle for mind uploading to overcome is one that does not arise with the approach
of maintaining the existing body and incrementally replacing defective components. This hurdle
is the preservation of the individuals unique and irreplaceable vantage point upon the world
his or her direct sense of being that person and no other. I term this direct vantage point an
individuals I-ness. Franco Cortese, in his immensely rigorous and detailed conceptual
writings on the subject, calls it subjective-continuity and devotes his attention to techniques
that could achieve gradual replacement of biological neurons with artificial neurons in such a

way that there is never a temporal or operational disconnect between the biological mind and its
later cybernetic instantiation. Could the project of mind uploading pursue directions that would
achieve the preservation of the I-ness of the biological person? I think this may be possible,
but only if the resulting cybernetic mind is structurally analogous to the biological mind and,
furthermore, maintains the temporal continuity of processes exhibited by an analog system, as
opposed to a digital systems discrete on-off states and the inability to perform multiple
exactly simultaneous operations. Furthermore, only by developing the gradual-replacement
approaches explored by Cortese could this prospect of continuing the same subjective experience
(as opposed to simply creating a copy of the individual) be realized. But Adams, in his screed
against mind uploading, seems to ignore all of these distinctions and explorations. Indeed, he
appears to be oblivious of the fact that, yes, transhumanists have thought quite a bit about the
philosophical questions involved in mind uploading. He seems to think that in mind uploading,
you simply copy the brain and paste it somewhere else and hope that somehow magically that
other thing becomes you. Again, no serious proponent of mind uploading and, more
generally, no serious thinker who has considered the subject would hold this misconception.
Adams is wrong on a still further level, though. Not only is he wrong to equate transhumanism
with mind uploading; not only is he wrong to declare all mind uploading to be destructive he is
also wrong to condemn the type of procedure that would simply make a non-destructive copy of
an individual. This type of backup creation has indeed been advocated by transhumanists such
as Ray Kurzweil. While a pure copy of ones mind or its contents would not transfer ones Iness to a digital substrate and would not enable one to continue experiencing existence after a
fatal illness or accident, it could definitely help an individual regain his memories in the event of
brain damage or amnesia. Furthermore, if the biological individual were to irreversibly perish,
such a copy would at least preserve vital information about the biological individual for the
benefit of others. Furthermore, it could enable the biological individuals influence upon the
world to be more powerfully actualized by a copy that considers itself to have the biological
individuals memories, background, knowledge, and personality. If we had with us today copies
of the minds of Archimedes, Benjamin Franklin, and Nikola Tesla, we would certainly all benefit
greatly from continued outpourings of technological and philosophical innovation. The original
geniuses would not know or care about this, since they would still be dead, but we, in our
interactions with minds very much like theirs, would be immensely better off than we are with
only their writings and past inventions at our disposal.
Yes, destructive digital copying of a mind would be a bafflingly absurd and morally troubling
undertaking but recognition of this is neither a criticism of transhumanism nor of any
genuinely promising projects of mind uploading. Instead, it is simply a matter of common sense,
a quality which Mike Adams would do well to acquire.

THINK

BY: MILE

Thinking is profoundly fulfilling and transcending when done right. The thoughts that you keep
coursing through your head throughout the days are the controllers of the robotic limbs you have
attached to you that form and shape the world around them. Just one robot, just one person, you,
can shape the world in big or small ways.
Wernher von Brauns neurons caused his limbs to help us get to the moon faster. If Charles
Martel hadnt hammered back the Muslim invasions that came at the height of the power of the
Ummayad Empire, the largest Empire on the planet since the fall of the Roman Empire a few
hundred years before it, if not for Martel understanding the growing danger in the Muslim threat
and routing his efforts from his Saxon feuds, the Muslim world might have conquered all of
Europe. If the Armenians and the Persians hadnt kept the Romans at bay to the East, and
Armenius before them in the North, then how far might the plague of Christianity have spread at
the sword tips of Constantines superstition powered dominions?
What additional solid grips of trained willful ignorance and propensity for use of fallacy with
reckless abandon might the destructively viral meme of religion have on us today? What kind of
pioneering human transcendence would take place in a world with assertion of as-of -yet still not
proven beyond a reasonable doubt, supernaturalism and superstition comprising a great deal of
its foundation? It doesnt compose the foundation of the one I stand on or those of most of the
people that I associate with, and we have thinking to thank, in very large part, for that. Millions
of pioneers and builders owe their amazing opportunities to thinking.
After people used their ingenuity to move us all into agriculture, and more time was bought for
everybody, the great thinkers and philosophers of the early Greek States and others, laid the
groundwork that powered the series of innovations that would come at increasing paces, from
many parts of the world, for centuries to come. The increasing precision in ship and castle
building, the manuscripts written, inventions created - from the clock to the printing press - from

the lighter than air machine to the Space Shuttle, thinking is responsible for the transcendence of
the human condition.
People are part of world changing projects all the time. There are hundreds and hundreds of
thousands of people around the world working to make a difference, working to pioneer the
boundaries of human existence and understanding, every day. They toil to uncover the mystery,
to fight back the plagues of misery that sweep the world in the forms of things like poverty,
disease, pollution, greed, selfishness, the various unnecessarily restrictive confines of fallacy,
lack of reasoning skills like an understanding of how to spot fallacy out of thinking and
discussion, etc., and you can too, we all can; follow their lead. Continuously work to improve
your thinking, encourage people to think right, keep up the brain work for yourself and to help
lead the way. Continue learning, continue pushing your boundaries, continue working to
understand more; go further. Do it to see and do more, to understand more of the big picture of
what is going on in this incredible, amazing universe and existence. Think.

LONGEVITY AND THE JEWISH TRADITION


BY: ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D

In the quite famous essay of 2001, LChaim [To Life] and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality?
the American bioethicist Leon Kass notoriously placed a limit on the possibility and desirability
of life extension, claiming that the finitude of human life is a blessing for every human
individual, whether he knows it or not. He presented such a view as truly and pristinely Jewish.
Speaking in the name of true wisdom and true Judaism, he claimed that the unlimited pursuit of
longevity cannot be the counsel of wisdom, and, therefore, should not be the counsel of Jewish
wisdom. LChaim, but with limits.[1]
Yet, I would argue that this is only one of many possible interpretations of the Jewish tradition
with relation to life-extension, and interpretations other than Kasss may be both better grounded
in Jewish sources and more beneficial for individual and social well-being.
In fact, the pursuit of life-extension, and even radical life extension, has strong roots in the
Jewish religious tradition, insofar as in Judaism, human life has been an absolute and supreme
value.
Thus the principle ve-chai bahem viz. the obligation to live by the commandments
and not to die by them, is strongly emphasized (Leviticus 18:5; Talmud Masechet (Tractate)
Sanhedrin 74a; Talmud Masechet Yoma 85b).[2]
The value of human life is illustrated by the saying that whosoever preserves a single soul [any
soul, according to most manuscript versions of the Talmud], scripture ascribes merit to him as
though he had preserved a complete world (Talmud Masechet Sanhedrin 37a).
The obligation to preserve life (pikuach nefesh) is so important that it overrides all other
obligations and observances (such as Shabbat, Fast, etc.), in fact it overrides all commandments
of the Torah. As the Talmud states, there is nothing that can stand before the duty of saving
life.[3]

The only exceptional cases, in which a person is said to be obliged to sacrifice ones life, but not
transgress, are: idolatry, forbidden sexual practices, and murder. Yet, in some attenuating
circumstances and according to some Rabbis, even the former two prohibitions can be excused to
preserve life. In contrast, murder of innocent people (for example to use their body parts to
sustain ones life) is prohibited under any circumstances, as it contradicts the very principle of
the preservation of life (to be distinguished from the killing of an aggressor in self defense which
is permitted).
A related principle is ein dokhin nefesh mipney nefesh do not reject a soul for another soul
(Mishnah Ohalot 7:6). That is, one cannot curtail some persons life to preserve another
persons life. It can be added that an implication of this is that one cannot reject the preservation
of life for the aged in favor of the preservation of life in other diseases. All causes of death are
equal, and one cannot reject one for another.[4]
In the Jewish religious rules of conduct the Halakhah tumah (the unholiness, evil or
impurity) means simply the negation of life, hence the prohibition of murder and of bloodshed,
and the laws of tumah vetaharah (or ritual purity).[5]
Moreover, the Talmud equates between evil, Satan and death: Satan, the evil prompter, and the
Angel of Death are all one (Talmud - Baba Bathra 16a).
According to the Talmud, the sins will cease but not the sinners.[6] That is to say, human
sins need to be eliminated, but not people who commit the sins; the people need to keep on
living.
All these concepts are directly supportive of life-extension, insofar as life-preservation, lifesaving and life-extension are logical equivalents.

Reaching farther, super-longevity, rejuvenation, and even immortality and revival, are prominent
concepts in the Jewish tradition:
Mortality, the main tragedy of the Fall, was not the original and inexorable destiny of humankind
(Genesis 3:17-24).
The extreme longevity of antediluvian patriarchs is admired, ranging from 365 years for Enoch
to 969 years for Methuselah (Genesis 5:1-32).
According to the Talmud, Until Abraham there was no [signs of] old age (Talmud Masechet
Sanhedrin 107b).
In the Torah, longevity is the main prize for observing the commandments (without a direct
mentioning of an afterlife Exodus 20:12, Leviticus 26:3, Deuteronomy 5:33).
In other books of the Tanakh (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim Torah, Prophets and Writings the
corpus of what has been sometimes called The Old Testament), the prophet Elijah attained
physical immortality (the ascension in the chariot of fire 2 Kings 2:11).
Ezekiel could revive the dead (the vision of the resurrection of dry bones Ezekiel 37:1-14; also
in the Talmud Masechet Sanhedrin 92b). The prophecy continues: And David, my servant,
will be their prince forever (Ezekiel 37:25).[7]
King David (conventionally dated c. 1040-970 BCE) practiced rejuvenation (by proximity to

young maidens 1 Kings 1:1-4).


Tchiat Hametim (resurrection in the flesh) is among the Thirteen Articles of Faith of
Maimonides (1135-1204) one of the greatest Jewish intellectual authorities, a theologian as
well as a physician.[8]
Furthermore, resurrection is a subject of the daily prayer (Amida): Blessed are you, O Eternal,
Who Resurrects the Dead. And it is given the same weight in the prayer as Blessed are you, O
Eternal, Who Heals the Sick.
According to many great Rabbis, such as Rabbi Saadia Gaon (882-942), Rabbi Moshe ben
Nachman/Nachmanides (1194-1270) and Rabbi Abraham Bibago (1446-1489), the resurrection
is to be followed by physical immortality.[9]
These examples may appear far-reaching, mystical and mythical, yet they demonstrate that in the
Jewish intellectual tradition (as in many others), the pursuit of life does not seem to have any
limits.
Essentially, the preservation of life is not something just to pray for, but to work for.
There is a work by Maimonides The Responsum on Longevity which is definitive of the
pro-active principle for the prolongation of life. Maimonides believed that there is no
predetermined limit to human life, and therefore efforts toward the prolongation of life are
justified.
In the Responsum on Longevity, Maimonides stated directly:
For us Jews, there is no predetermined end point of life. The living being exists as long as
replenishment is provided [for that amount of] its substantive moisture [i.e. bodily humors] that
dissolves.
In agreement with the theoretical perception that if something can be broken, it can also be fixed,
Maimonides appeared to be quite pro-active:
It is written: When you build a new house, you should make a parapet for your roof so that you
bring not bloodshed upon your house should any man fall therefrom [Deut. 22:8]. This phrase
proves that preparing oneself, and adopting precautionary measures in that one is careful
before undertaking dangerous enterprises can prevent their occurrence.
This demonstrates, however, that there is no firmly determined time for death. Moreover, the

elimination of harmful things is efficacious in prolonging life, whereas the undertaking of


dangerous things is the basis for shortening life.[10]
Indeed this passage does not explicitly speak of immortality, but only implies the possibility of
indefinite life extension.
Elsewhere in the Jewish oral tradition, the concept of potential physical immortality is explicit.
There is even foreshadowing of regenerative biotechnology. Thus, for example, there is an
extensive Jewish oral tradition about the Etzem Luz the bone of resurrection, the
indestructible part of the human body from which the resurrection will proceed.
Luz (almond) is a very fraught mystical concept, denoting the source of resurrection and
regeneration, as well as an endocrine gland and a sprout. Jacob used Luz (almond) rods for
bioengineering, to change the color of his sheep (Genesis 30:37-39). Luz is also the name of
the blessed land of the immortals.
It may be sufficient to quote a remarkable article on Luz from Jewish Encyclopedia to
illustrate how deeply rooted is the concept of potential immortality (and even its laboratory
testing) in the Talmud and Midrash (orally transmitted legends):
LUZ - Name of a city in the land of the Hittites [a territory restricted to the hills of CanaanIsrael or broadly referring to Anatolia-Asia Minor], built by an emigrant from Beth-el, who was
spared and sent abroad by the Israelitish invaders because he showed them the entrance to the
city (Judges i. 26). "Luz" being the Hebrew word for an almond-tree, it has been suggested that
the city derived its name from such a tree or grove of trees. Winckler compares the Arabic
"laudh" ("asylum"). Robinson ("Researches," iii. 389) identifies the city either with Luwaizah,
near the city of Dan, or (ib.iii. 425) with Kamid al-Lauz, north of Heshbon (now Hasbiyyah);
Talmudic references seem to point to its location as somewhere near the Phenician coast (Sotah
46b; Sanh. 12a; Gen. R. lxix. 7).
Legend invested the place with miraculous qualities. "Luz, the city known for its blue dye, is the
city which Sennacherib entered but could not harm; Nebuchadnezzar, but could not destroy; the
city over which the angel of death has no power; outside the walls of which the aged who are
tired of life are placed, where they meet death" (Sotah 46b); wherefore it is said of Luz, "the
name thereof is unto this day" (Judges i. 26, Hebr.). It is furthermore stated that an almond-tree
with a hole in it stood before the entrance to a cave that was near Luz; through that hole persons
entered the cave and found the way to the city, which was altogether hidden (Gen. R.l.c.).
Luz is also Aramaic name for the os coccyx, the "nut" of the spinal column. The belief was that,
being indestructible, it will form the nucleus for the resurrection of the body. The Talmud

narrates that the emperor Hadrian, when told by R. Joshua that the revival of the body at the
resurrection will take its start with the "almond," or the "nut," of the spinal column, had
investigations made and found that water could not soften, nor fire burn, nor the pestle and
mortar crush it (Lev. R. xviii.; Eccl. R. xii.).
The legend of the "resurrection bone," connected with Ps. xxxiv. 21 (A. V. 20: "unum ex illis
[ossibus] non confringetur" - [one of those bones is unbreakable]) and identified with the cauda
equina [horse tailbone] (see Eisenmenger, "Entdecktes Judenthum" [Judaism discovered], ii.
931-933), was accepted as an axiomatic truth by the Christian and Mohammedan theologians
and anatomists, and in the Middle Ages the bone received the name "Juden Knochlein" (Jewbone; see Hyrtl, "Das Arabische und Hebraische in der Anatomie" [The Hebrew and Arabic
elements in Anatomy] 1879, pp. 165-168; comp. p. 24). Averroes accepted the legend as true
(see his "Religion und Philosophie," transl. by Muller, 1875, p. 117; see also Steinschneider,
"Polemische Literatur," 1877, pp. 315, 421; idem, "Hebr. Bibl." xxi. 98; idem, "Hebr. Uebers." p.
319; Low, "Aramaische Pflanzennamen" [Aramaic plant names] 1881, p. 320).
Possibly the legend owes its origin to the Egyptian rite of burying "the spinal column of Osiris"
in the holy city of Busiris, at the close of the days of mourning for Osiris, after which his
resurrection was celebrated (Brugsch, "Religion und Mythologie," 1888, pp. 618, 634).
Bibliography: Jastrow, Dict.; Levy, Neuhebr. Worterb. K. (Emphasis added.)[11]
The latter statement about potential immortality being accepted as an axiomatic truth by the
Christian and Mohammedan theologians and anatomists is of particular interest, showing the
compatibility of the religions with the concept of radical life-extension.[12]
In more recent times, Jewish thinkers have expressed an agreement with life-extensionist goals
and with biotechnological interventions generally.
Thus, in March 2000, the International Symposium Extended Life Eternal Life took place in
Philadelphia.[13] The Russian journalist Michael Ettinghoff thus summarized the symposium
discussion: Christians are against immortality. Jews are for it. The Conservative American
Rabbi Neil Gilman is quoted as saying at the conference that he would be ready to break Shabbat
and Yom Kippur, even if they occur on the same day, for the preservation of life.[14]
According to the Conservative American Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, radical life-extension ties with
Jewish expectations of the Messianic Era. At the same time Dorff did express some concerns that
radical life extension will make us even more blind to the importance of other values, such as
family, enjoying life, fixing the world, and connecting with God and it will likely bring a
variety of yet unseen problems to thwart the arrival of the Messianic era as it will exacerbate the
overpopulation problem. Yet, ultimately, he asserted that imaginative thinking will prompt us

to exert yet more effort in achieving the ideal world, and may we succeed![15]
The Society for Jewish Science (a part of Reform Judaism), established in 1916-1921 by the
American Rabbis Alfred Moses and Morris Lichtenstern, believing in the power of affirmative
prayer for healing and longevity, exists to the present time.[16]
There has also been pronounced interest in physical immortality in the literature of Chabad (a
branch of Orthodox Hasidic Judaism, deriving the name from Chochmah, Binah, Daat
Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge).[17]
Thus, as can be seen, the Jewish religious tradition is perfectly supportive of the pursuit of life
extension, even radical life extension, perceiving it as a high manifestation of the valuation of
life. Let the works of the Jewish tradition inspire more people to become enthusiasts (Hasidim)
of the rational and scientific pursuit of the prolongation of human life, among Jews and non-Jews
alike!

[1] Leon Kass, LChaim and Its Limits: Why Not Immortality? First Things, 113, 17-24, May
2001, http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/lchaim-and-its-limits-why-not-immortality-36.
[2] The translation of the Talmud used here is English Babylonian Talmud, Rabbi Dr. J. H.
Hertz, Rabbi Dr. I Epstein, et al. (Eds.), Talmudic Books, 2012, at http://halakhah.com/.
[3] Talmud Masechet Yoma 82a; also Talmud Masechet Yoma 84b-85b; Talmud Masechet
Sanhedrin 74a.
[4] Pikuach Nefesh (Saving a life), in Encyclopedia of Jewish Medical Ethics (Hebrew),
compiled and edited by Abraham Steinberg, The Shlezinger Institute, Jerusalem, 1996, vol. 5,
pp. 390-392, 404-406.
[5] Tameh met (unholiness of death), Tumah (unholiness), in Talmudic Encyclopedia. A
Digest of Halachic Literature and Jewish Law from the Tannaitic Period to the Present Time
(Hebrew), edited by Rabbi Meyer Berlin, Talmudic Encyclopedia Institute, Jerusalem, 1997, vol.
19, pp. 450-507.
[6] Talmud [Gemara] Masechet Berachoth [Tractate on Blessings], 10a.
[7] The text used here is The Bible: New International Version.
[8] Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (the Rambam), Perush Hamishna, Masechet Sanhedrin 10 -

Maimonides Commentary on the Mishna, Tractate [Masechet] Sanhedrin, Chapter 10.


Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Judaism Halacha Lemaaseh [Practical Halakhah]. The Oral Tradition
(Hebrew), Dfus Pele, Givataim, Israel, 1988, pp. 370-371.
[9] Dov Schwartz, Messianism in Medieval Jewish Thought (Hebrew), Bar-Ilan University Press,
Ramat-Gan, Israel, 1997, pp. 36, 105, 142-143, 218-219.
[10] Fred Rosner, Moses Maimonides Responsum on Longevity, Geriatrics, 23, 170-178,
October 1968, reprinted in Fred Rosner, The Medical Legacy of Moses Maimonides, Ktav,
Hoboken NJ, 1998, pp. 246-258, quotes on pp. 255, 258.
[11] Kaufmann Kohler, Luz, Jewish Encyclopedia, in 12 volumes, 1901-1906, online reprint,
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=635&letter=L.
[12] See also, Fred Rosner, Medicine in the Bible and the Talmud, Ktav, Hoboken NJ, 1995
(1977), particularly the articles The Balm of Gilead and Therapeutic Efficacy of Chicken
Soup, pp. 132-139; James Joseph Walsh, Old-Time Makers of Medicine. The Story of The
Students And Teachers of the Sciences Related to Medicine During the Middle Ages, Fordham
University Press, NY, 1911, Ch. III Great Jewish Physicians, Ch. IV Maimonides, pp. 61108, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/20216/20216-h/20216-h.htm.
[13] www.extended-eternallife.org
[14] Argumeny I Fakty, 41/322, 2000, http://gazeta.aif.ru/online/health/322/z41_13 .
[15] Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Becoming Yet More Like God: A Jewish Perspective on Radical
Life Extension, in Religion and the Implications of Radical Life Extension, Edited by Calvin
Mercer and Derek F. Maher, Macmillan Palgrave, New York, 2009, pp. 63-74.
[16] http://www.appliedjudaism.org/; http://www.irenedanon.com/Rabbi.htm.
[17] See, for example, Prof. Yirmiyahu Branover, The Immortality Enzyme, Chabad World
Magazine, 10/22/2009, http://www.chabadworld.net/; Rabbi Nissan Dovid Dubov, To Live And
Live Again. An Overview of Techiyas Hameisim Based On The Classical Sources And On The
Teachings Of Chabad Chassidism, 1995 [5756], Ch. 10, Life after the Resurrection,
http://www.sichosinenglish.org/books/to-live-and-live-again/.

I-NESS: WHAT DOES AND DOES NOT PRESERVE THE SELF?


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

When we seek indefinite life, what is it that we are fundamentally seeking to preserve? I begin
by observing that I perceive the world as myself Gennady Stolyarov II and not as any other
person. That is, while I may be able to envision another persons perspective, I cannot directly
assume another persons physical sensations and thoughts; I cannot become another person. At
the same time, my own sensations and thoughts, as I experience them directly, are what
constitute my being, or since being is too general a term my I-ness.
Consider what would happen if a scientist discovered a way to reconstruct, atom by atom, an
identical copy of my body, with all of its physical structures and their interrelationships exactly
replicating my present condition. If, thereafter, I continued to exist alongside this new individual
call him GSII-2 it would be clear that he and I would not be the same person. While he would
have memories of my past as I experienced it, if he chose to recall those memories, I would not
be experiencing his recollection. Moreover, going forward, he would be able to think different
thoughts and undertake different actions than the ones I might choose to pursue. I would not be
able to directly experience whatever he choose to experience (or experiences involuntarily). He
would not have my I-ness which would remain mine only.
Now suppose that instead of GSII-2 being my contemporary, he was created in some dystopian
future where I had already died of some misfortune or another, but someone found a way to
reconstruct the latest healthy state of my body, including my mind, atom for atom. The situation
with regard to preservation of my self would not change; GSII-2 would be able to live as if he
had my past knowledge and experiences but my I-ness would still be gone; it would not
transfer to him simply because the original Gennady Stolyarov II had died. Indeed, the I who had
died would never be aware in any manner of GSII-2s existence or any experiences he might
have in this future time.
What is, then, this I-ness which can be preserved through some transformations and not
through others? For instance, it is true that every atom comprising ones body now is not the
same as the corresponding atom that comprised ones body seven years ago. Nonetheless, if one

remains alive, ones I-ness is clearly preserved. How can that be? It is so because the
replacement does not occur all at once. Rather, at any given time, only a small fraction of the
atoms in ones body are being replaced as old cells and their components take in energy,
replicate, die, and are replaced by others. Thus, the continuity of bodily processes is preserved
even as their physical components are constantly circulating into and out of the body. The mind
is essentially a process made possible by the interactions of the brain and the remainder of
nervous system with the rest of the body. Ones I-ness, being a product of the mind, is
therefore reliant on the physical continuity of bodily processes, though not necessarily an
unbroken continuity of higher consciousness. This can shed some light on which situations
would allow for the preservation of ones I-ness and which would not.
SITUATIONS THAT ALLOW FOR PRESERVATION OF I-NESS
Sleep Sleep is often not even a suspension of consciousness; dreams, for instance, are cases of
the consciousness turning in on itself, examining and remixing data that have already been
absorbed from the external world. Deep, dreamless sleep, where the passage of time is not
noticed by the sleeper, also does not involve a cessation of bodily activity and certain
subconscious areas of the brain continue to work during it as well.
General Anesthesia General anesthesia induces a temporary completely unconscious state in a
patient, but it does not shut down the body completely; essential mechanisms, including the
heart, continue to operate. Consciousness that is suspended and then revived, with the other
bodily processes having remained continuous in the meantime, will not become an entirely
different consciousness with a different I-ness but will rather preserve its previous I-ness.
Having once been under general anesthesia, I can say with certainty that my I-ness had not
been terminated in the process.
Comas and Vegetative States During a coma or a vegetative state, basic, largely involuntary,
bodily processes continue to function. If full functionality of the brain is eventually restored, the
underlying system in which the I-ness emerges would still have functioned uninterrupted in the
meantime. Some recovered coma patients, however, have also reported being aware of their
surroundings during the coma, suggesting that aspects of higher consciousness can also be
preserved without interruption in such a condition.
Rescues from the Brink of Death Situations where individuals have had close brushes with
death may involve cessation of functionality for some bodily systems but not for all. At least
with current technology, the affected systems can only be restarted because some of the bodys
systems have not yet completely failed. This means that nothing about such experiences would
preclude the continuity of ones I-ness.

Incremental Organ Replacement An artificial organ that is incorporated into a functioning


bodily system will not disrupt the continuity of that system. Before, during, and after the
transplant, the body continues to execute numerous important functions, and the new organ
provided that the transplant is accepted by the body becomes just a new part of the same
continuous system. As with atoms all being replaced over time, it is at least conceivable that
via a series of gradual replacements all of a persons organs, including the brain, could be
exchanged for artificial varieties without disrupting the continuity of that persons identity. This,
of course, would only be the case provided that the organs were replaced one or a few at a time.
With replacing the brain in this fashion, particular care would need to be taken to ensure that the
replacement is not a situation of simply taking out the existing brain and putting a new one in its
place. Rather, the new brain would need to start as an addendum to the existing brain, so that the
existing brain could integrate its contents with the new brain before parts of the existing brain
(for instance, a physically diseased or irreparably damaged brain) are taken out of commission. If
a gradual replacement is performed, it might even be possible for an individual to eventually
have a fully electronic brain that still preserves that individuals I-ness.
SITUATIONS THAT WOULD NOT PRESERVE I-NESS
Reanimation After Full Death Suppose, instead of creating an identical atom-for-atom
replica of a dead individual, that individuals fully dead corpse were instead exhumed and
rehabilitated by restoring all bodily systems to a functional level and in configurations exactly
replicating the dead individuals last healthy state. While, here, the individuals actual body
would be worked on, in terms of the preservation of I-ness, this situation is no different from
the case of a perfect replica of a deceased person having been made from scratch. The
reanimated individual would possess the knowledge and memories of the dead individual, but the
dead individual would not be aware of the reanimated individuals existence and would not
experience the reanimated individuals subsequent interactions with the world. There may, of
course, be tremendous value for others in reanimating already dead people, as the reanimated
individuals personalities and mental states (shaped by the dead individuals actual past, which
the reanimated individuals would perceive the illusion of having experienced) could be
invaluable in improving the world. Moreover, the reanimated individuals would certainly be
happy to be alive and would be as fully human and entitled to the same rights as would have
been the dead individuals on whom they were modeled. However, while the reanimation of
already dead people would be a fascinating breakthrough, it would do nothing for preserving the
I-nesses of those who had already died.
With practices such as cryonics where the hope is to eventually reanimate currently clinically
dead individuals by placing their bodies in biological stasis in the meantime the issue of
whether I-ness would be preserved is a bit more challenging to address. Cryonics relies on the
premise that the current definition of death based on what situations of bodily decay todays

medicine would be able to reverse would not be the same as the definition of death prevalent in
the future, when many more conditions would hopefully be reversible. If an individual who is
clinically dead by todays definition but would not be clinically dead by a future definition is
frozen today in a particular condition, the hope is that future technologies would even by
their routine application be able to revive that person. However, in order to accomplish the
preservation of the body up to that time, cryonics relies on suspending the physical processes
within the body as much as possible. If these processes were not suspended, then their natural
operation would lead to further decay of the body to the point where it might be extremely
difficult or impossible to recover even using future technologies. While the cryonically preserved
individual is not fully dead, at least under a future definition, it is not clear what the implications
of putting an entire body (including all physical systems, not just some) in stasis and later
reanimating that same body would be for the preservation of I-ness. Moreover, I can only
speculate as to whether cryonic preservation would still involve some extremely low-key
uninterrupted functioning of bodily systems or whether it would require a complete shutdown
of all systems. In the latter case, a cessation of I-ness would appear to be much more likely
than in the former.
Uploading of Consciousness Particular caution should be taken with regard to any
proposals to upload an individuals mind, personality, or memories onto a computer or an
Internet-like network. I can conceive of ways where such uploading might be safe with regard
to not disrupting an existing I-ness, but I strongly doubt that the uploaded consciousness
could serve as itself a perpetuator of the same I-ness. Assuming that it would become possible
to encode all the information in a persons brain in a similar manner as files can be written to a
portable drive and then copied to a computer, this would only create a copy of mental
configurations. That copy might even have advanced interactive functionality, but it would not
and could not replace the person of whose mind the copy was made. This situation might even be
compared to the simultaneous existence of an individual and an identical replica of that
individual in the body; just as these two people would have two different I-nesses, so would
the original bodily consciousness of the individual whose mind had been uploaded have a
different I-ness from the I-ness of the uploaded mind (and I do not rule out the possibility
of a non-organic entity of sufficient complexity being self-aware).
The uploading situation I described is similar to making an interactive archive of ones mind
which might, in its more advanced implementations, also be self-aware. I recognize numerous
potential benefits to such an approach, provided that it does not destroy or presume to replace
the bodily mind which is being uploaded. The much more dangerous version of the
uploading ambition perceives the uploading as a sort of migration of the consciousness from
a corporeal (be it organic or inorganic) environment to a virtual environment. Any cessation of
the corporeal persons bodily processes as a consequence of such a migration would destroy
that persons I-ness just as dying and having a bodily replica of oneself built afterward

would. It would be tragic indeed if people for whom indefinite self-preservation is the foremost
goal inadvertently destroyed their essential vantage points in the attempt to perpetuate them.
Merging of Consciousnesses Some futurists have expressed the desire to eventually connect
multiple individuals consciousnesses via electronic means much as computers can be
connected to one another. Such connections are supposed to facilitate individuals abilities to
sense directly the experiences of the other individuals to whom their minds are connected. But
such an undertaking depending on how it is implemented may also have destructive effects
with regard to the I-nesses of the individuals being connected.
I can conceive of two qualitatively different scenarios where individual consciousnesses might
be connected. Scenario 1 would appear to be innocuous. To understand how it might work,
suppose that it became possible to upload copies of an individuals thoughts and experiences
onto a portable medium much as one might upload a file from a computer onto a portable drive
without destroying the original file. If it becomes possible to directly convey thoughts and
experiences in an electronic medium, then such copying and transfer from one mind to another
might also become possible. Taken one step beyond a portable medium that can be plugged
into one conscious system and then transported to another, one might envision a more
continuous mechanism for doing so similar to a wireless Internet connection over which
information is transferred. But it is important to recognize that, while this linkage might enable
Mind X to experience what Mind Y experiences, the two experience sets would still be perceived
by the separate I-nesses of Mind X and Mind Y. If Mind Y obtained the experiences of Mind
X and Mind X were to be physically destroyed, the I-ness of X would not be transferred to Y.
This scenario has a parallel in currently available technologies such as explorer robots which
have entered narrow shafts in Egyptian pyramids and traversed the surface of Mars, sending back
continuous live images of what their cameras recorded. These images enable a human observer
to experience the environment of the robot without being in that environment. However, if that
robot were instead a conscious being, the transmission of images and even other sensory stimuli
from this being would not equate to an extension of the beings I-ness to the observer. This
scenario would, presumably, allow for each individual participating in the sharing of information
to select which information to share or to keep to oneself, much as a computer connected to the
Internet does not need to share all of the files on it with other computers in the network.
However, another scenario call it Scenario 2 with regard to merging consciousnesses could
not avoid destroying the I-nesses of those involved. This scenario would constitute a complete
merger, where the aim is for every consciousness to be able to directly assume the vantage point
of every other and to control the actions of the others directly without any meaningful
separation possible among the minds involved. If two I-nesses were to merge in this manner,
then they would probably become a single I-ness based on the combined sensations of the
previous I-nesses. But, just as mixing two fruits together in a blender and separating the results

into two halves would not yield the original fruits, neither would combining two I-nesses and
then separating them (assuming this would be technically feasible) result in the original Inesses. At best, there would be two hybrid I-nesses and, at worst, no I-nesses at all,
because the new combined I-ness might be destroyed by division just as the I-ness of every
biological individual today would be eliminated via any attempt to split it into components.
Every human observation and experience to date suggests that the human individual is the basic
unit of rational, conscious activity and that physically separating the mind into sub-components
destroys the emergent system of rational consciousness. If the desire is to preserve the
individuality of each person which necessarily implies preserving that persons self-awareness
and vantage point, as directly experienced by that person the kind of merging involved in
Scenario 2 should be avoided as contrary to that aim. However, the file sharing situation of
Scenario 1, where each I-ness remains compartmentalized within the individual and
experiences are only shared at each individuals discretion, might be a useful and, if safety
precautions are taken, harmless future means of extremely direct communication.
TRUE PRESERVATION OF SELF
Where does this discussion leave the advocates of literal as opposed to figurative immortality
who are interested in preserving the actual I-ness of each individual, as opposed to simply a
memory or record of that individual, however complete and interactive or creating a
functioning replica of that individual in the future? Two general conclusions can be drawn
which, while they may be considered somewhat grim, can guide the quest for genuine
immortality.
(1) There is no way to resurrect the I-ness of a fully dead individual.
(2) There is no way to preserve the I-ness of an individual without preserving the
spatiotemporal continuity of that individuals physical body, allowing for incremental
modifications to that body.
Facing uncomfortable truths can indeed be a prerequisite to genuine, life-reinforcing progress.
The conclusions above do indeed suggest that the quest for indefinite life is more difficult than
some might have thought, as only the preservation of the uninterrupted functioning of an
individuals body could bring it about. Individuals who have already fully died (leaving aside the
ambiguities and uncertainties entailed in cryonic preservation) have, unfortunately, already
irreversibly lost their I-nesses, although it is still conceivable that future technologies will
render their past experiences of immense benefit to others. The focus of life extension should
therefore be the elimination of disease and senescence, the repair of the body, and its gradual,
piecewise augmentation via biotechnology, nanotechnology, and electronic technology. The
result of such endeavors could, in fact, be compatible with some of the projections of futurists
like Ray Kurzweil, who envision a world where human consciousness is improved via electronic

means to be orders of magnitude more powerful than it is today. Provided that the underlying
system that facilitates the I-ness is preserved as a separate system and allowed to function
continuously amid a sequence of incremental improvements, there is no reason why human
faculties and durability could not be enhanced without bound. We who are still alive can still
reap the fruits of potentially limitless future progress, if we manage to survive to see the
breakthroughs.

HOW CAN A MINDCLONE BE IMMORTAL IF ITS NOT EVEN ALIVE?


BY: MARTINE ROTHBLATT, PH.D, MBA, J.D.

Mindclonesconsciousness in post-biological mediawill feel as full of life as we biological


creatures.
It is amazing that out of the countless trillions of ways molecules can be arranged, only a few
million ways result in things that can reproduce themselves. The biologist E.O. Wilson estimates
there are about 13 million species, broken down as follows:
Insects 9 million
Bacteria 1 million
Fungi 1 million
Viruses 0.3 million
Algae 0.3 million
Worms 0.3 million
Plants 0.2 million
Protozoa 0.2 million
Echinoderms 0.2 million
Mollusks 0.2 million
Crustaceans 0.2 million
Fish 30 thousand
Reptiles 10 thousand
Birds 10 thousand
Amphibians 5 thousand
Mammals 5 thousand
It has been estimated that since the Pre-Cambrian Explosion 540 million years ago, during which
the predecessors of most of these species arose, upwards of 90% of all species are extinguished
each 100 million years due to environmental catastrophes. Hence, even counting the ways life
might have been organized in the distant past, not more than a few hundreds of millions of

molecular patterns have worked. In comparison, a practically infinite number of molecular


patterns are possible given the dozens of atomic building blocks nature has to work with and the
astronomical number of possibilities for stringing these atoms together in three-dimensional
space.
Far, far less than one in a thousand molecular patterns will result in something that lives. It is not
just about the magic of the DNA and RNA molecules. Most forms of even those molecules
would not result in organisms that felt obligated to eat, excrete and respond to stimuli. Only the
rare special cases of viable DNA and RNA molecules can do that. Very precise nucleotide
sequences are needed to organize random atoms into protein building blocks that work together
so symphonically that a reproductive being results. Life is a miracle because it is so unlikely.
Yet, we are inundated with life. Our skins crawl with bacteria, and our planet teams with skins.
This is because life works very well. No matter how rare it is in theory, once it occurs it
multiplies, for that is what life does. Rocks crumble and aggregate, but lives copy and
proliferate. Most importantly, life also mutates. This is because the process of copying DNA is
imperfect. Mutations result in diversity among life forms, and this diversity is crucial to lifes
success. Diversity enables life to keep trying out new forms of molecular organization. Forms
that work well spread and ones that dont become rare or extinct.
The lesson of life is just this simple: no matter how unlikely something is in the first place, once
it occurs it will become prevalent in those niches in which it continues reproducing versions of
itself.
Life owes its improbable existence to an exceedingly rare kind of code. This life-code does two
things unique to life. First, it enables self-replicating order to be structured out of disorder.
Second, it enables that order to be maintained (for a while) against all the forces that make things
fall apart. Wow yourself with this: life-codes are merely a mathematical sequence, like a
formula, that shazam-like transforms randomness into purpose and entropy into organization.
Life-codes are a real-world Harry Potter incantation, expressed in numerical silence. Any string
of numbers that can God-like summon beings out of inanimate dust is as amazing as this
universe gets.
Mathematics is invisible. We see its shadow when it gets expressed in something tangible. DNA
is a molecule of life because it expresses a mathematical code that organizes viable patterns of
molecules out of the inert chemical soup surrounding us. The patterns are viable because they
self-replicate and they maintain their order, for a time, against Natures forces of disorder. The
patterns are visible as nucleotide sequences, but their capabilities are based upon the arithmetic
of the sequences the specific numbers of A, T, G and C molecules that are required to direct
the assembly of a specific protein needed to maintain a life process.

From the mathematical underpinning of biochemistry we can state an elegant definition of life:
the expression of a code that enables self-replication and maintenance against disorder. Rocks
are not alive because they are not the expression of a code. But the algae that covers a rock is.
Microsoft Word is not alive because it doesnt self-replicate (humans copy it). But software that
could self-replicate and maintain itself against degradation would seem to be as alive as algae.
The genius of Darwin was to see a continuous chain of life in an immense scattering of broken
shards of separated links. We can build on Darwin by presenting a continuous chain of life-codes
in what otherwise looks like disparate phenomena. Specifically, RNA, DNA and software lifecodes are links in an evolutionary chain. It is the chain of mathematical sequences capable of
organizing self-replicating and self-maintaining entities out of inert building blocks. This view is
consistent with the so-called disposable soma theory of evolution, soma being the Greek
word for body. The theory says that bodies are DNAs way of making more DNA. Im taking the
theory one level higher: somas are maths way of making new self-replicating codes.
Nature surprises us with new life-codes just as she surprises us with new variations on existing
life-codes. Nature will select new life-codes that are superior self-replicators in their niche just as
she selects the best replicating variations on existing life-codes. Life-codes that give rise to many
adaptable variations will become more dominant, just as phyla that give rise to many adaptable
species become more prevalent. It is simply a step-up of scale to understand that evolution
operates on types of life-codes as well as on the offspring of life-codes. DNA, as a type of lifecode, is itself subject to a struggle for survival just as are the millions of species that use it as
their code for organizing order out of raw nature. It is exciting to be alive at the time that new
kinds of life-code, based in software rather than molecules, make their initial appearance.
WE BRING IMPROBABLE THINGS TO LIFE
The numbers of ways to write software are as unlimited as the ways to string molecules together.
It might seem as unlikely for software to become alive as it was for molecules to become alive.
Yet while it took eons for earths first molecules to self-replicate, people have already hit upon
certain strings of software code that reproduces itself. We call them software viruses. People
have also organized lines of code into sequences that respond to stimuli. These programs are
familiar to any gamester or avatar user. Humans endlessly mutate (hack) software the way
cosmic rays and random chemistry mutate our genetic codes. A good argument can be made that
these hacks have already produced software with most if not all the qualities of life.
Just like life, software is organized, and exchanges energy with the environment. It takes in
electricity and sheds heat via its hardware, much as a genetic code takes in nutrients and sheds
waste via its body. As with living molecules, living software can reproduce, respond to stimuli,

develop and adapt. Programs are written that go out onto the web, find compatible freeware, cut
and paste it into the original code and continue developing. Humans and other life forms develop
analogously: we go out into our natural environment, incorporate food and compatible
experiences.
There are of course many differences between organic life and software that has characteristics
of life. But the simple lesson of life remains the same: No matter how unlikely living software is,
once it occurs it will become prevalent in its niche if it can continue reproducing itself.
Now, these are undeniable facts: there is universal fascination with software (e.g. applications),
software has a gigantic stake in the economy (e.g. chips) and the energies of hackers worldwide
are mind-boggling (e.g. web apps). These forces are as prolific in producing living software
prototypes as Mother Nature was in producing living RNA/DNA prototypes. Organic life clicked
on then, and cybernetic life is clicking on now. Improbability becomes inevitability when
numbers get large. There are a very large number of people working on imbuing software with
the characteristics of life.
The differences between organic and cybernetic life are less important that their similarities.
Both are mathematical codes that organize a compatible domain to perform functions that must
ultimately result in reproduction. For organic life, the code is written in molecules and the
domain is the natural world. For cybernetic life the code is written in voltage potentials and the
domain is the IT world. We call organic life biology. It seems fitting to call cybernetic life
vitology.
In biology the mathematically coded nucleotides organize nearby atoms into ever-larger
molecules. These molecules, such as proteins, do lifes work of reproducing by bulking up and
(if sufficiently evolved) trying to stay safe. In vitology the mathematically coded voltage levels
organize nearby sub-routines into ever-larger programs. These programs do lifes work of
reproducing by occupying more firmware and (if sufficiently evolved) trying to stay safe.
It is interesting to recall that molecules also depend upon electron-based voltage levels to stay
connected. Atoms bind into molecules via either covalent or ionic electron coupling. Hence, at
the most general level, vitology is a life-code that requires only electrons, while biology is a lifecode that requires atomic nuclei as well as electrons. The electron-based life-codes of vitology
must be seated in compatible computer hardware, while the atom-based life-codes of biology
must be seated in a compatible nutrient milieu. The main point is that biology and vitology are
each abstract mathematical codes that spell out the path to self-replication in organic and IT
environments, respectively. Thus, stripped to its essence, all life is but the expression of selfreplicating codes.

WHAT IS LIFE?
Many experts have tried to lasso the definition of life. They often disagree: some emphasize
biology, others physics, some requirements are Darwinian, others spiritual. They are all talking
about pretty much the same things we think of as being alive plants, animals, and microbes.
The problem is that none of the definitions are consistent and complete to everyones
satisfaction. Some definitions exclude sterile worker bees, while others exclude flu viruses.
Every boundary falters at its edge. So, why bother trying to come up with a one-size-fits-all
definition of life?
There are no philosophically compelling reasons to define life. The reasons are all utilitarian.
Humans are passionate about categorizing things, for much the same reason they like to build
fences. It stakes out a territory that can be used for ones benefit. Defining organic life as biology
empowers biologists to be the source of expertise on the organic aspects of life.
Ive just suggested a new kind of life, vitology, because software is arising that has the functions
of life, but not the substrate of biology. As this living software evolves some versions will
unambiguously seem to be alive, and soon thereafter other versions will aggressively claim to be
sentient and conscious. All life forms try out, via mutation, different shapes and behaviors
software wont be any different. If these sentience or consciousness claims are helpful to
survival, we can expect seeing more software adopt the same position. It is not necessary to posit
that the vitological software wants to survive for this to occur, any more than it is necessary to
posit that bacteria want to survive. It is simply that things that do survive become more
prevalent and things that dont tend to disappear.
We can either deny vitological claims of consciousness, or broaden membership in the huge
family of life. To do the former is to incite a long, unpleasant conflict. Think slavery and its
disavowal of African humanity. To do the latter requires more than the biologists expertise.
Hence, avoiding a conflict amongst substrates flesh versus firmware, wet versus dry, natural
versus artificial, DNA coded versus digitally coded this is a reason to (re)define life.
Biologists purport to be the experts on defining life. They believe it is something that is (1)
organized, (2) exchanges matter and energy with the environment, (3) reproduces, (4) responds
to stimuli, (5) develops and (6) adapts. If something meets these criteria, then biologists will
study it.
Physicists have also tried to define life. Physicists are the experts on physical reality, of which
life is certainly a part. To these scientists, life is something that for a while runs counter to
the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law says that everything in the universe is becoming
more dis-ordered and random. Since life actually builds and maintains order in a defined area, it

alone seems to defy physics and thus gives it a unique defining characteristic. In the words of
Erwin Schrdinger:
A living organism [like everything else in the universe] continually increases its entropy or, as
you may say, produces positive entropy and thus tends to approach the dangerous state of
maximum entropy [thermodynamic equilibrium, when nothing moves], which is death. It can
only keep aloof from it, i.e., alive, by drawing from its environment negative entropy [which
means order or structured things].
Physicists will concede, however, that their definition also has exceptions. Nobody feels that
stars or galaxies are alive, and yet these objects build and maintain order at the expense of the
cosmic things they suck up. Many of these environmental intakes would qualify as negative
entropy, or ordered things, such as when a galaxy grows by swallowing another galaxy. The
growth of a star by accretion of atoms blasted into space by supernovae is not so different in
terms of Schrdingers definition than the growth of bacteria by assimilation of terrestrial
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.
Weve sent several spacecraft to the surface of Mars with sensitive equipment to detect whether
or not there were chemical signs of life in the Martian soil. The results were ambiguous. Even
the top exo-biologists could not agree on whether the chemical signs we measured in the Martian
soil were signs of life.
It is tough, if not impossible, to come up with a consistent and complete definition of life. For
most people life is something natural that acts alive. We think something acts alive if it
moves under its own power, like a stick that suddenly makes us jump because it turns out to be
one of the three thousand species of insectoid walking sticks (Phasmatodea). We think something
is natural if it is not man-made at all, or man-made only from living components. For example,
a new breed of dog may be man-made, but we dont doubt the Labradoodles are alive since they
are made by hybridizing labradors and poodles. Similarly, baby humans are man-and-womanmade, but from things that act alive, like sperm and egg cells. On the other hand, the best manmade robot came from things like silicon and rubber that are not considered living. Hence, we
dont think robots are alive.
The Martian experience highlights a problem with another possible criterion for defining life:
does it possess DNA or RNA? These are the molecular codes for making the forms and functions
of everything we think of as living. Scientists feel that we cant assume life evolved these same
molecular codes off the earth. Furthermore, there are things such as viruses that possess RNA
and yet are not admitted into the textbooks of life. This is because they are inert unless and until
they are brought inside a cell.

The peculiarity of RNA and DNA could be circumvented by defining life as anything that
operates in a compatible environment pursuant to a code that is subject to natural selection.
Natural selection requires a code to replicate with some incidence of mutation (error) so that
alternate versions of a life form can have a differential chance to thrive in new or changing
environments. Under this definition, everything that biologists call life would be life because all
those species have a code subject to natural selection, i.e., DNA or RNA. In addition, some
things that biologists do not call life, such as viruses, would be considered alive because their
code is subject to natural selection when it is in a compatible environment (a cell). On the other
hand, things that are not called life, such as crystal rocks or neutron stars, are not alive because
they are not operating in accordance with a replicable code.
An important feature of this all-encompassing definition is that it would include software viruses
and other programs that either propagate, or disappear, in accordance with their environmental
compatibility. In this case, the environment is information technology such as hardware,
firmware and software.
A software program is a code, much like DNA or RNA. It instructs other software to do things as
DNA instructs other molecules to do things. If software codes can make many copies of
themselves, they will become prevalent, just as is the case for DNA-based beings. If software
codes fail to significantly self-replicate, they will become missing links, disappearing from
reality over time. If software codes mutate, such as by inaccurate copying, they will usually not
function at all, or not function differently. Similarly, most DNA mutations are either benign or
fatal. Sometimes, however, a software mutation could be beneficial in its original or in a new
computing environment. In such rare cases, that software mutation would become the preferred
form of the program, and would proliferate. Again, it is the same situation with DNA. It is thanks
to millions of rare beneficial DNA mutations out of a countless greater number of dysfunctional
ones that plants and animals arose from simple cells.
Schrdinger recognized the key role of DNA/RNA-based chromosomes in providing the source
of order by which living things uniquely defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics:
An organisms astonishing gift of concentrating a stream of order on itself and thus escaping
the decay into atomic chaos of drinking orderliness from a suitable environment seems to
be connected with the presence of the aperiodic solids, the chromosome molecules, which
doubtless represent the highest degree of well-ordered atomic association we know of much
higher than the ordinary periodic crystal in virtue of the individual code every atom and every
radical is playing here.
The order of the chromosome that Schrdinger sees as behind the uniqueness of life is not
different in function from order of self-replicating, self-maintaining software code.

Consequently, life is that which has an order-constructing code enabling the entity to maintain
itself against disorder. The requirement for self-replication, or Darwinian selection, simply
extends this code-based definition of life into multiple generations. In essence, the living entity
that is doing battle against disorder becomes the species rather than a member of the species.
Humans, for example, are alive because they are members of a species that have a code (DNA)
enabling order to be fabricated out of the environment for the benefit of maintaining the species
battle against disorder (staying alive long enough to create subsequent generations that do the
same thing).
Combining these considerations, we can answer the question of what is life as follows:
Life is anything that creates order in a compatible environment pursuant to a Darwinian code. If
the code is Darwinian (subject to natural selection) then it must be self-replicating and it must
structure a host (Schrdingers negative entropy) for itself that lasts long enough to selfreplicate. As Joel Garreau has observed, chickens are the eggs tool to make more eggs.
BIOLOGY VERSUS VITOLOGY: A SIXTH KINGDOM, FOURTH DOMAIN OR SECOND REALM
Our consistent and complete definition of life will not satisfy everyone. Biologists will not see
their commonality with software engineers, even though the simplest and most elegant definition
of life includes both their subject matter. To solve this problem it might be necessary to admit
that there are two different kinds or realmsof life: biological life, and vitological life.
Biological life is anything that operates in a compatible environment pursuant to a DNA or RNA
code. Indeed, the current taxonomical division of life into three domains (archaea, bacteria and
eukaryota) is mostly based upon systematic differences in these codes. (Despite these systematic
differences, the most advanced eukaryota, mammals, have one-third of their genome in common
with the most primitive domain, archaea.) Previously, biological life was sub-divided into five
kingdoms (monerans, protists, eukaryotes, fungi and animals) based on the structure and function
of each groups cells.
If software-based forms of life were to be accommodated within the current domain-based vision
of life, the resulting phylogenetic tree might look something like the following figure, created by
biologist and cyberlife pioneer Nick Mayer.
A fourth domain, digitaea would accompany archaea, bacteria and eukaryota. Note that
digitaea branches off of animals and hominids just as those groupings branched off of plants and
fungi long ago. Three species of digitaea are suggested: stemeids that are mindclone
continuations of hominids, nanoids that are new life forms assembled from self-replicating
nanotechnology, and ethereates for new purely software-beings, lacking any physical

instantiation.
In fact, it is awkward to categorize vitology using biologys domains and kingdoms since both
DNA and cell structure is irrelevant to purely code-based life forms. Vitological life is anything
that operates in a compatible environment pursuant to an electronic code that is subject to natural
selection. The limitations to Darwinian and electronic codes is to emphasize that we are talking
about life-like beings things that are part of a class that can self-replicate, compete for
resources and survive and to codes that are written in 0 and 1 energy states in pieces of
technology.
Vitological and biological life are developing radically differently. Vitological life is in many
respects more primitive than prokaryotic cells, which lack even a nucleus. A software virus is
about as functional as a biological virus. On the other hand, there are software modules such as
web crawlers and navigation routines that can outsmart the cleverest animals on the planet.
These modules are not alive, for they lack any drive to self-replicate, but they could be cobbled
into a larger program that did meet most or all of the expectations of life. Most remarkable is that
all these jigsaw pieces of vitological life popped into being within a few decades.
Meanwhile, biological life continues to change so slowly that we marvel at the genius of a
Darwin to see the continuity amidst all the extinct pieces. Mutations arise, and specie dominance
changes, especially amongst bacteria. But everything is incremental. There are no fundamental
new biological capabilities popping into being analogous to navigational guidance software.
Vitology benefits from Lamarckism, the ability of offspring to inherit characteristics acquired
during the life of its parents, whereas biology generally does not. Acquired characteristics cannot
be biologically inherited, but they can be (and usually would be) inherited by copying software
forms of life. This difference greatly accelerates the evolution of vitological life. It is also
perhaps the clearest way to demarcate the vitological from the biological realms of life.
There is no a priori reason why living things should not inherit in a Lamarckian manner, but it is
a fact that biological beings generally do not while vitological beings generally will. Giraffes are
not able to rewrite their DNA code to incorporate useful characteristics they acquired, such as a
more muscular neck, but must instead await random genetic mutations that lengthen the neck. A
cyber-Giraffe, however, would necessarily have changed its code to cyber-muscularize its neck,
and would thus necessarily pass onto its cyber-offspring the lengthened neck.
Vitology is proceeding as if the brain, the eye, the limbs, the vital organs and the basic cell all
developed at once, but as separate entities. None really looked alive except maybe the basic cell
the rest were just really cool tools without a future or a past. A Darwin could see the
inevitability of software hacks that would stitch the entities together into a piece of life par

excellence. He would realize that once such hacks occurred, the resultant being would selfreplicate like crazy. That is what lifes program would tell it to do. It would have the smarts to
carry out that program despite obstacles and enemies.
It is obvious that vitology is developing millions of times faster than biology. Vitology is parallel
processing in decades what biology serially processed over epochs. This difference of
phylogeny, their unique domains of competence and their customized tools for achieving
reproduction are what makes it unobvious that they are just two different approaches to life. But
squint at that mutating self-replicating code at the core of it all, and at the common life-like
functions they share, and it becomes clear that strings of digits spell life just as well as can
strings of molecules.
Mindclones are alive, just not the same kind of life that we are accustomed to. They are
functionally alive, albeit with a different structure and substance than has ever existed before.
Yet, that is the story of life. Before there were nucleated cells, eukaryotes (of which we are
comprised), such things had never been seen before not for nearly two billion years. That is
time duration that bacterium had an exclusive claim to life on earth. Before there were
multicellular creatures there were only single cell creatures from their perspective, the first
slime molds were not so much a life form but a community of single cell creatures. And so the
story goes, down through the descent of man. We must judge life based upon whether it streams
order upon itself self-replicates pursuant to a Darwinian code and maintains itself against the
tendency to dissemble and not get picky over what it looks like or what flavor of Darwinian
code it uses. Using this objective yardstick, vitology will be alive.
Mindclones, sitting at the apex of vitology, will feel as full of life as we do from our perch atop
the summit of biology. Aware of themselves, with the emotions, autonomy and concerns of their
forbearers, mindclone consciousness will bubble as frothily alive as does ours.

CLEARING UP COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHOLE BRAIN EMULATION


& SUBSTRATE INDEPENDENCE
BY: FRANCO CORTESE

This article attempts to clarify four areas within the movement of Substrate Independent Minds
and the discipline of Whole-Brain-Emulation that are particularly ripe for ready-to-hand
misnomers and misconceptions.
Substrate Independence:
It is Substrate Independence for Mind in general, but not any specific mind in particular.
The Term Uploading Misconstrues More than it Clarifies:
Once WBE is experimentally-verified, we wont be using conventional or general-purpose
computers like our desktop PCs to emulate real, specific persons.
The Computability of the Mind:
This concept has nothing to do with the brain operating like a computer. The liver is just as
computable as the brain; their difference is one of computational intensity, not category.
We Dont Want to Become The Machines We Want to Keep Up With Them!:
SIM & WBE are sciences of life-extension first-and-foremost. It is not out of sheer technophilia,
contemptuous contempt of the flesh or wanton want of machinedom that proponents of
Uploading support it. It is, for many, because we fear that Recursively Self-Modifying AI will
implement an intelligence explosion before Humanity has a chance to come along for the ride.
The creation of any one entity superintelligent to the rest constitutes both an existential risk and
an antithetical affront to Man, who sole central and incessant essence is to make himself to an
increasingly greater degree, and not to have some artificial god do it for him or tell him how to
do it.
SUBSTRATE INDEPENDENCE
The term substrate-independence denotes the philosophical thesis of Functionalism that what is
important about the mind and its constitutive sub-systems and processes is their relative function.

If such a function could be recreated using an alternate series if component parts of procedural
steps, or can be recreated on another substrate entirely, the philosophical thesis of Functionalism
holds that it should be the same as the original, experientially speaking.
However, one rather common and ready-at-hand misinterpretation stemming from the term
Substrate Independence is the notion that we as personal selves could arbitrarily jump from
mental substrate to mental substrate, since mind is software and software can be run on various
general purpose machines. The most common form of this notion is exemplified by scenarios
laid out in various Greg Egan novels and stories, wherein a given person sends their mind
encoded as a wireless signal to some distant receiver, to be reinstantiated upon arrival.
The term substrate independent minds should denote substrate independence for the minds in
general, again, the philosophical thesis of functionalism, and not this second, illegitimate notion.
In order to send oneself as such a signal, one would have to put all the processes constituting the
mind on pause that is, all causal interaction and thus causal continuity between the software
components and processes instantiating our self would be halted while the software was encoded
as a signal, transmitted and subsequently decoded. We could expect this to be equivalent to
temporary brain death or to destructive uploading without any sort of gradual replacement,
integration or transfer procedure. Each of these scenarios incurs the ceasing of all causal
interaction and causal continuity between the constitutive components and processes
instantiating the mind. Yes, we would be instantiated upon reaching our destination, but we can
expect this to be as phenomenally discontinuous as brain death or destructive uploading.
There is much talk in the philosophical and futurist circles where Substrate Independent Minds
is a familiar topic and a common point of discussion on how the mind is software. This
sentiment ultimately derives from functionalism, and the notion that when it comes to mind it is
not the material of the brain that matters, but the process(es) emerging therefrom. And a
corollary of the claim that almost all software is designed to as to be implemented on general
purpose (i.e. standardized) hardware is that we should likewise be able to transfer the software of
the mind into a new physical computational substrate with as much ease as we do software.
While we would emerge from such a transfer functionally isomorphic with ourselves prior to the
jump from computer to computer, we can expect this to be the phenomenal equivalent of brain
death or destructive uploading, again, because all causal interaction and continuity between that
softwares constitutive sub-processes has been discontinued. We would have been put on pause
in the time between leaving one computer, whether as static signal or static solid-state storage,
and arriving at the other.
This is not to say that we couldnt transfer the physical substrate implementing the software of
our mind to another body, provided they were equipped to receive such a physical substrate. But
this doesnt have quite the same advantage as beaming oneself to the other side of Earth, or

Andromeda for that matter, at the speed of light.


But to transfer a given WBE to another mental substrate without incurring phenomenal
discontinuity may very well involve a second gradual integration procedure, in addition to the
one the WBE initially underwent (assuming it isnt a product of destructive uploading). And
indeed, this would be more properly thought of in the context of a new substrate being gradually
integrated with the WBEs existing substrate, rather than the other way around (i.e. portions of
the WBEs substrate being gradually integrated with an external substrate.) It is likely to be
much easier to simply transfer a given physical mental substrate to another body, or to bypass
this need altogether by actuating bodies via tele-operation instead.
In summary, it is substrate independence for mind in general, and not for a specific mind in
particular (at least not without a gradual integration procedure, like the type underlying the
notion of gradual uploading, so as to transfer such a mind to a new substrate without causing
phenomenal discontinuity.)
THE TERM UPLOADING MISCONSTRUES MORE THAN IT CLARIFIES
The term Mind-Uploading has some drawbacks and creates common initial misconceptions. It
is based off terminology originating from the context of conventional, contemporary computers
which may lead to the initial impression that we are talking about uploading a given mind into a
desktop PC, to be run in the manner that Microsoft Word is run. This makes the notion of WBE
more fantastic and incredible and thus improbable than it actually is. I dont think anyone
seriously speculating about WBE would entertain such a notion.
Another potential misinterpretation particularly likely to result from the term Mind-Uploading is
that we seek to upload a mind into a computer as though it were nothing more than a simple
file transfer. This, again, connotes modern paradigms of computation and communications
technology that are unlikely to be used for WBE. It also creates the connotation of putting the
mind into a computer whereas a more accurate connotation, at least as far as gradual uploading
as opposed to destructive uploading is concerned, would be bringing the computer gradually into
the biological mind.
It is easy to see why the term initially came into use. The notion of destructive uploading was the
first embodiment of the concept the notion of gradual uploading so as to mitigate the
philosophical problems pertaining to how much a copy can be considered the same person as the
original, especially in contexts where they are both simultaneously existent, came afterward. In
the context of destructive uploading it makes more connotative sense to think of concepts like
uploading and file transfer.

But in the notion of gradual uploading, portions of the biological brain most commonly single
neurons, as in Robert A. Freitass and Ray Kurzweils versions of gradual uploading are
replaced with in-vivo computational substrate, to be placed where the neuron it is replacing was
located. Such a computational substrate would be operatively connected to electrical or
electrochemical sensors (to translate the biochemical or more generally biophysical output of
adjacent neurons into computational input that can be used by the computational emulation) and
electrical or electrochemical actuators (to likewise translate computational output of the
emulation into biophysical input that can be used by adjacent biological neurons). It is possible
to have this computational emulation reside in a physical substrate existing outside of the
biological brain, connected to in-vivo biophysical sensors and actuators via wireless
communication (i.e. communicating via electromagnetic signal), but this simply introduces a
potential lag-time that may then have to be overcome by faster sensors, faster actuators or a
faster emulation. It is likely that the lag-time would be negligible (especially if it was located in a
convenient module external to the body but on it at all times, to minimize transmission delays
increasing as one gets farther away from such an external computational device which would
also likely necessitate additional computation to model the necessary changes to transmission
speed in response to how far away the person is otherwise signals that are meant to arrive at a
given time could arrive too soon or too late thereby disrupting functionality) but placing the
computational substrate in-vivo obviates these potential logistical obstacles.
This notion is I think not brought into the discussion enough. It is an intuitively-obvious notion if
youve thought a great deal about Substrate-Independent-Minds and frequented discussions on
Mind-Uploading. But to a newcomer who has heard the term Gradual Uploading for the first
time, it is all too easy to think yes, but then one emulated neuron would exist on a computer,
and the original biological neuron would still be in the brain. So once youve gradually emulated
all these neurons, you have an emulation on a computer, and the original biological brain, still as
separate physical entities. Then you have an original and the copy so where does the gradual in
Gradual Uploading come in? How is this any different than destructive uploading? At the end of
the day you still have a copy and an original as separate entities.
This seeming impasse is I think enough to make the notion of Gradual Uploading seem at least
intuitively or initially incredible and infeasible before people take the time to read the literature
and discover how gradual uploading could actually be achieved (i.e. wherein each emulated
neuron is connected to biophysical sensors and actuators to facilitate operational connection and
causal interaction with existing in-vivo biological neurons) without fatally tripping upon such
seeming logistical impasses, as in the example above. The connotations created by the term I
think to some extent make it seem so fantastic (as in the overly-simplified misinterpretations
considered above) that people write off the possibility before delving deep enough into the
literature and discussion to actually ascertain the possibility with any rigor.

THE COMPUTABILITY OF THE MIND


Another common misconception is that the feasibility of Mind-Uploading is based upon the
notion that the brain is a computer or operates like a computer. The worst version of this
misinterpretation that Ive come across is that proponents and supporters of Mind-Uploading are
claiming that the mind is similar in operation current and conventional paradigms of computer.
Before I elaborate why this is wrong, Id like to point out a particularly harmful sentiment that
can result from this notion. It makes the concept of Mind-Uploading seem dehumanizing,
because conventional computers dont display anything like intelligence or emotion. This makes
people conflate the possible behaviors of future computers with the behaviors of current
computers. Obviously computers dont feel happiness or love, and so to say that the brain is like
a computer is a farcical claim.
Machines dont have to be as simple or as inadaptable and invariant as the are today. The
universe itself is a machine in other words either everything is a machine or nothing is.
It also makes people think that advocates and supporters of Mind-Uploading are claiming that
the mind is reducible to basic or simple autonomous operations, like cogs in a machine, which
constitutes for many people a seeming affront to our privileged place in the universe as humans,
in general, and to our culturally-engrained notions of human dignity being inextricably tied to
physical irreducibility, in particular. The intuitive notions of human dignity and the
ontologically-privileged nature of humanity have yet to catch up with physicalism and scientific
materialism (a.k.a. metaphysical naturalism). It is not the proponents of Mind-Uploading that are
raising these claims, but science itself and for hundreds of years I might add. Mans privileged
and physically-irreducible ontological status has become more and more undermined throughout
history since at least as far back as the Darwins theory of Evolution, which brought the notion of
the past and future phenotypic evolution of humanity into scientific plausibility for the first time.
It is also seemingly disenfranchising to many people, in that notions of human free-will and
autonomy seem to be challenged by physical reductionism and determinism perhaps because
many peoples notion of free-will are still associated with a non-physical, untouchablymetaphysical human soul (i.e. mind-body dualism) which lies outside the purview of physical
causality. To compare the brain to a mindless machine is still for many people
disenfranchising to the extent that it questions the legitimacy of their metaphysically-tied notions
of free-will.
Just because the sheer audacity of experience and the raucous beauty of feeling is ultimately
reducible to physical and procedural operations (I hesitate to use the word mechanisms for its
likewise-misconnotative conceptual associations) does not take away from it. If it were the result

of some untouchable metaphysical property, a sentiment that mind-body-dualism promulgated


for quite some time, then there would be no way for us to understand it, to really appreciate it,
and to change it (e.g. improve upon it) in any way. Physicalism and scientific materialism were
needed if we are to ever see how it is done and to ever hope to change it for the better. Figuring
out how things work is one of Mans highest merits and there is no reason Mans urge to
discover and determine the underlying causes of the world should not apply to his own self as
well.
Moreover, the fact that experience, feeling, being and mind result from the convergence of
singly-simple systems and processes makes the minds emergence from such simple convergence
all the more astounding, amazing and rare, not less! If the complexity and unpredictability of
mind were the result of complex and unpredictable underlying causes (like the metaphysical
notions of mind-body dualism connote) then the fact that mind turned out to be complex and
unpredictable wouldnt be much of a surprise. The simplicity of minds underlying mechanisms
makes minds emergence all the more amazing, and should not take away from our human
dignity but should instead raise it up to heights yet-unheralded.
Now that we have addressed such potentially-harmful second-order misinterpretations, we will
address their root: the common misinterpretations likely to result from the phrase the
computability of the mind. Not only does this phrase not say that the mind is similar in basic
operation to conventional paradigms of computation as though a neuron were comparable to a
logic gate or transistor but neither does it necessarily make the more credible claim that the
mind is like a computer in general. This makes the notion of Mind-Uploading seem dubious
because it conflates two different types of physical system computers and the brain.
The kidney is just as computable as the brain. That is to say that the computability of mind
denotes the ability to make predictively-accurate computational models (i.e. simulations and
emulations) of biological systems like the brain, and is not dependent on anything like a
fundamental operational similarity between biological brains and digital computers. We can
make computational models of a given physical system, feed it some typical inputs and get a
resulting output that approximately matches the real-world (i.e. physical) output of such a
system.
The computability of the mind has very little to do with the mind acting as or operating like a
computer, and much, much more to do with the fact that we can build predictively accurate
computational models of physical systems in general. This also, advantageously, negates and
obviates many of the seemingly dehumanizing and indignifying connotations identified above
that often result from the claim that the brain is like a machine or like a computer. It is not that
the brain is like a computer it is just that computers are capable of predictively modeling the
physical systems of the universe itself.

WE WANT NOT TO BECOME MACHINES, BUT TO KEEP UP WITH THEM!


Too often is uploading portrayed as the means to superhuman speed of thought or to
transcending our humanity. It is not that we want to become less human, or to become like a
machine. For most Transhumanists and indeed most proponents of Mind-Uploading and
Substrate-Independent Minds, meat is machinery anyways in other words there is no real (i.e.
legitimate) ontological distinction between them to begin with. Too often is uploading seen as
the desire for superhuman abilities. Too often is it seen as a bonus, nice but ultimately
unnecessary.
I vehemently disagree. Uploading has been from the start for me and I think for many other
proponents and supporters of Mind-Uploading a means of life-extension, of deferring and
ultimately defeating untimely, involuntary death, as opposed to and ultimately unnecessary
means to better powers, a more privileged position relative to the rest of humanity or to
eschewing our humanity in a fit of contempt-of-the-flesh. We do not want to turn ourselves into
Artificial Intelligence, which is a somewhat perverse and burlesque caricature that is associated
with Mind-Uploading far too often.
The notion of gradual uploading is implicitly a means of life-extension. Gradual uploading will
be significantly harder to accomplish than destructive uploading. It requires a host of
technologies and methodologies brain-scanning, in-vivo locomotive systems such as but not
limited to nanotechnology or else extremely robust biotechnology and a host of precautions to
prevent causing phenomenal discontinuity, such as letting each non-biological functional
replacement time to causally interact with adjacent biological components before the next
biological component that it causally interacts with is likewise replaced. Gradual uploading is a
much harder feat than destructive uploading, and the only advantage it has over destructive
uploading is preserving the phenomenal continuity of a single specific person. In this way it is
implicitly a means of life-extension, rather than a means to the creation of AGI, because its only
benefit is the preservation and continuation of a single, specific human life, and that benefit
entails a host of added precautions and additional necessitated technological and methodological
infrastructures.
If we didnt have to fear the creation of recursively-self-improving AI, biased towards being
likely to recursively-self-modify at a rate faster than humans are likely to (or indeed, are able to
safely that is, gradually enough to prevent phenomenal discontinuity), then I would favor
biotechnological methods of achieving indefinite lifespans over gradual uploading. But with the
way things are, I am an advocate of gradual Mind-Uploading first and foremost because I think it
may prove necessary to prevent humanity from being left behind by recursively self-modifying
superintelligences. I hope that it ultimately will not prove necessary but at the current time I

feel that it is somewhat likely.


Most people who wish to implement or accelerate an intelligence explosion al a I.J. Good, and
more recently Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, wish to do so because they feel that such a
recursively self-modifying superintelligence (RSMSI) could essentially solve all of humanitys
problems disease, death, scarcity, existential insecurity. I think that the potential benefits of
creating a RSMSI are superseded by the drastic increase in existential risk it would entail in
making any one entity superintelligent relative to humanity. The old God of yore is finally going
out of fashion, one and a quarter centuries late to his own eulogy. Lets please not make another
one, now a little reality under his belt this time around.
Intelligence is a far greater source of existential and global catastrophic risk than any technology
that could be wielded by such an intelligence (except, of course, for technologies that would
allow an intelligence to increase its own intelligence). Intelligence can invent new technologies
and conceive of ways to counteract any defense systems we put in place to protect against the
destructive potentials of any given technology. A superintelligence is far more dangerous than
rogue nanotech (i.e. grey-goo) or bioweapons. When intelligence comes into play then all bets
are off. I think culture exemplifies this prominently enough. Moreover, for the first time in
history the technological solutions to these problems death, disease, scarcity are on the
conceptual horizon. We can fix these problems ourselves, without creating an effective God
relative to Man and incurring the extreme potential for complete human extinction that such a
relative superintelligence would entail.
Thus uploading constitutes one of the means by which humanity can choose, volitionally, to stay
on the leading edge of change, discovery, invention and novelty, if the creation of a RSMSI is
indeed imminent. It is not that we wish to become machines and eschew our humanity rather
the loss of autonomy and freedom inherent in the creation of a relative Superintelligence is
antithetical to the defining features of humanity, and preserving the uniquely human thrust
toward greater self-determination in the face of such a RSMSI, or at least be given the choice of
doing so, may necessitate the ability to gradually upload so as to stay on equal footing in terms
of speed of thought and general level of intelligence (which is roughly correlative with the
capacity to affect change in the world and thus to determine its determining circumstances and
conditions as well).
In a perfect world we wouldnt need to take the chance of phenomenal discontinuity inherent in
gradual uploading. In gradual uploading there is always a chance, no matter how small, that we
will come out the other side of the procedure as a different (i.e. phenomenally distinct) person.
We can seek to minimize the chances of that outcome by extending the degree of graduality with
which we gradually replace the material constituents of the mind, and by minimizing the scale at
which we gradually replace those material constituents (i.e. gradual substrate replacement one

ion-channel at a time would be likelier to ensure the preservation of phenomenal continuity than
gradual substrate replacement neuron by neuron would be). But there is always a chance.
This is why biotechnological means of indefinite lifespans have an immediate advantage over
uploading, and why if non-human RSMSI were not a worry, I would favor biotechnological
methods of indefinite lifespans over Mind-Uploading. But this isnt the case, rogue RSMSI are a
potential problem, and so the ability to secure our own autonomy in the face of a rising RSMSI
may necessitate advocating Mind-Uploading over biotechnological methods of indefinite
lifespans.
Mind-Uploading also has some ancillary benefits over biotechnological means of indefinite
lifespans as well, however. If functional equivalence is validated (i.e. if it is validated that the
basic approach works), mitigating existing sources of damage becomes categorically easier. In
physical embodiment, repairing structural, connectional or procedural sub-systems in the body
requires (1) a means of determining the source of damage and (2) a host of technologies and
corresponding methodologies to enter the body and make physical changes to negate or
otherwise obviate the structural, connectional or procedural source of such damages, and then
exit the body without damaging or causing dysfunction to other systems in the process. Both of
these requirements become much easier in the virtual embodiment of whole-brain-emulation.
First, looking toward requirement (2), we do not need to actually design any technologies and
methodologies for entering and leaving the system without damage or dysfunction or for actually
implementing physical changes leading to the remediation of the sources of damage. In virtual
embodiment this requires nothing more than rewriting information. Since in the case of WBE we
have the capacity to rewrite information as easily as it was written in the first place, while we
would still need to know what changes to make (which is really the hard part in this case),
actually implementing those changes is as easy as rewriting a word file. There is no categorical
difference, since it is information and we would already have a means of rewriting information.
Looking toward requirement (1), actually elucidating the structural, connectional or procedural
sources of damage and/or dysfunction, we see that virtual embodiment makes this much easier as
well. In physical embodiment we would need to make changes to the system in order to
determine the source of the damage. In virtual embodiment we could run a section of emulation
for a given amount of time, change or eliminate a given informational variable (i.e. structure,
component, etc.) and see how this affects the emergent system-state of the emulation instance.
Iteratively doing this to different components and different sequences of components, in trialand-error fashion, should lead to the elucidation of the structural, connectional or procedural
sources of damage and dysfunction. The fact that an emulation can be run faster (thus
accelerating this iterative change-and-check procedure) and that we can rewind or play-back

an instance of emulation time exactly as it occurred initially means that noise (i.e. sources of
error) from natural systemic state-changes would not affect the results of this procedure, whereas
in physicality systems and structures are always changing, which constitutes a source of
experimental noise. The conditions of the experiment would be exactly the same in every
iteration of this change-and-check procedure. Moreover, the ability to arbitrarily speed up and
slow down the emulation will aid in our detecting and locating the emergent changes caused by
changing or eliminating a given microscale component, structure or process.
Thus the process of finding the sources of damage correlative with disease and aging (especially
insofar as the brain is concerned) could be greatly improved through the process of uploading.
Moreover, WBE should accelerate the technological and methodological development of the
computational emulation of biological systems in general, meaning that using such procedures to
detect the structural, connectional and procedural sources of age-related damage and systemic
dysfunction in the body itself, as opposed to just the brain, as well.
Note that this iterative change-and-check procedure would be just as possible via destructive
uploading as it would with gradual uploading. Moreover, in terms of people actually instantiated
as whole-brain-emulations, actually remediating those structural, connectional and/or procedural
sources of damage as it pertains to WBEs is much easier than physically-embodied humans.
Anecdotally, if being able to distinguish between the homeostatic, regulatory and metabolic
structures and processes in the brain from the computational or signal-processing structures and
processes in the brain is a requirement for uploading (which I dont think it necessarily is,
although I do think that such a distinction would decrease the ultimate computational intensity
and thus computational requirements of uploading, thereby allowing it to be implemented sooner
and have wider availability), then this iterative change-and-check procedure could also be used
to accelerate the elucidation of such a distinction as well, for the same reasons that it could
accelerate the elucidation of structural, connectional and procedural sources of age-related
systemic damage and dysfunction.
Lastly, while uploading (particularly instances in which a single entity or small group of entities
is uploaded prior to the rest of humanity, i.e. not a maximally distributed intelligence explosion)
itself constitutes a source of existential risk, it also constitutes a means of mitigating existential
risk as well. Currently we stand on the surface of the earth, naked to whatever might lurk in the
deep night of space. We have not been watching the sky for long enough to know with any
certainty that some unforeseen cosmic process could not come along to wipe us out at any time.
Uploading would allow at least a small portion of humanity to live virtually on a computational
substrate located deep underground, away from the surface of the earth and its inherent dangers,
thus preserving the future human heritage should an extinction event befall humanity. Uploading
would also prevent the danger of being physically killed by some accident of physicality, light
being hit by a bus or struck by lightning.

Uploading is also the most resource-efficient means of life-extension on the table, because
virtual embodiment not only essentially negates the need for many physical resources (instead
necessitating one, namely energy and increasing computational price performance means that
just how much a given amount of energy can do is continually increasing).
It also mitigates the most pressing ethical problem of indefinite lifespans overpopulation. In
virtual embodiment, overpopulation ceases to be an issue almost ipso facto. I agree with John
Smarts STEM compression hypothesis that in the long run the advantages proffered by virtual
embodiment will make choosing it over physical embodiment, in the long run at least, an
obvious choice for most civilizations, and I think it will be the volitional choice for most future
persons. It is safer, more resource efficient (and thus more ethical, if one thinks that forestalling
future births in order to maintain existing life is unethical) and the more advantageous choice.
We will not need say: migrate into virtuality if you want another physically-embodied child.
Most people will make the choice to go VR themselves simply due to the numerous advantages
and the lack of any experiential-incomparabilities (i.e. modalities of experience possible in
physicality but not possible in VR).
So in summary, yes, Mind-Uploading (especially gradual uploading) is more a means of lifeextension than a means to arbitrarily greater speed of though, intelligence or power (i.e. capacity
to affect change in the world). We do not seek to become machines, only to retain the capability
of choosing to remain on equal footing with them if the creation of RSMSI is indeed imminent.
There is no other reason to increase our collective speed of thought, and to do so would be
arbitrary unless we expected to be unable to prevent the physical end of the universe, in which
case it would increase the ultimate amount of time and number of lives that could be instantiated
in the time we have left.
The fallibility of many of these misconceptions may be glaringly obvious, especially to those
readers familiar with Mind-Uploading as notion and Substrate-Independent-Minds and/or Whole
Brain Emulation as disciplines. I may be to some extent preaching to the choir in these cases. But
I find many of these misinterpretations far too predominant and recurrent to be left alone.

CAN CONSCIOUSNESS SURVIVE PHYSICAL DISCONTINUITY?


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

A curious dilemma accompanies proposals to keep people alive forever by uploading their
memories and consciousness onto a computer or outfitting them with new bodies sometime after
their deaths bodies which are identical to the originals in physical structure and the makeup of
memories.
Even if, hypothetically, after your death, it were possible to replicate the exact same physical
structure and memories of the exact same life history as you have at present, I doubt that this
individual would have the same state of awareness that you presently have of your existence and
surroundings. Permit me to posit a hypothetical scenario. If a physically identical copy of you
were created right now, with the same memories as yourself, you would not perceive the world
from the vantage point of this person although he, too, would consider himself to be you. Now
separate this person in time from yourself at present, and you will see that it is unlikely that this
persons awareness would be a continuation of your own. He will be as apart from you,
consciousness-wise, as any other person who is not you. Looking back from his vantage point, he
will believe himself to have been you and to have experienced your life. However, looking
forward, you cannot expect to be aware of what he experiences once his body has been
constituted. I strongly suspect that only some underlying continuity of the physical processes
within the same body can bring about a continuity of consciousness.

IS YOUR BRAIN YOU?


BY: DAVID KEKICH

I recently had dinner with some close friends who live overseas. One couple live in Europe and
the other in Asia. It was a year since the first couple were here and probably over two for the
second.
Our discussions were lively to say the least.
International politics; the markets; erosions of privacy as governments grow; potential dangers
from the subset of humanity who tend to be more aggressive and who subsequently tend to gain
leadership positions; pathological individuals who, either lead, who are influenced by others or
who act on their own, who coupled with more easily obtainable weapons of mass destruction,
pose an ever-growing threat to us as individuals or to humanity as a whole.
So you can see what implications this could have on life extension, right Methuselah?
The conversations opened and ended with life extension as the main topic. One couple are
activists in the cryonics society and the other have a foundation devoted to curing aging.
The items I listed in paragraph two represent some of the existential risks we face while we are
alive but especially the risks we face if and when we are in cryonic suspension where we have
lost day-to-day control over our fates.
Although I still think preserving the information in our brains via cryonic suspension is our
overwhelmingly best back-up plan, a safer alternative may be possible in the intermediate future.
That one is plastination. Did you ever see a Body World's exhibit? One fascinating blog outlines
some dramatic peeks into your possible future.
Although I believe low temperature storage gives you a far better chance for reanimation than
plastination today, plastination is much more affordable with the added advantage of being able
to store your remains anywhere you want and at any temperature... along with the benefit of
having them easily transportable. That means, your caretakers can be nimble in protecting you
from potential risks.
If and when plastination technology develops to where revival chances rival cryogenic storage,
then it should be the clear choice. Meanwhile, I'm betting on Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

As usual, Reason from FightAging.org has cogent comments on this critical topic.
Here are some excerpts:
"But even under the most optimistic of scenarios, such as those in which the SENS program for
rejuvenation biotechnology is fully funded starting tomorrow, billions will age to death before
the research community can develop the first therapies capable of meaningful rejuvenation.
"There is something that can be done to address this issue, for all that almost as little effort is
made here as for ways to cure aging: long-term preservation of the dead, accomplished in ways
that prevent destruction of the fine structures in the brain that store the mind.
"At present, the only way to preserve your mind on death is through cryonics, or lowtemperature storage with vitrification of tissue.
"They can wait out the coming decades, wait out the development of medical nanotechnologies
that can reverse the processes of cryopreservation. Time is on their side in this age of rapid
progress, assuming that the living community of enthusiasts and professionals can continue to
ensure a long-term continuity of service.
"A possible future alternative to cryopreservation is plastination, a different methodology for
fixing a cell's structure all the way down to the finest details."

PEOPLE WHO JUSTIFY AGING ARE PROFOUNDLY WRONG


BY: MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.

I have read this recent opinion in the New York Times Age and Its Discontents by author
Louis Begley and it resonated so much with my personal feelings about the topic. The author
vividly describes the last years of his mothers life, who had been a widow for the previous 40
years before her death. Begley lets us feel the pain in her joints and in her heart. He obviously
sees aging as nothing but misery and loneliness. But I think he misses the point he believes his
mothers solitude is the reason of her woes, but it actually is aging, her declined health, pain and
suffering these are the real reasons of her tragedy. If she had been young she would have had
no diseases, but only good looks and the opportunity to start over, but alas instead she rots
alive. Louis Begley caught the very horrifying feeling that its all over, no need to buy new
costumes. They will not be worn for a long time and theyre not worth spending time and money.
Mr. Begley was widely criticized and by whom? Who do you think justified aging? Executive
director and chief scientific officer of the Alzheimers Drug Discovery Foundation wrote:
Mr. Begleys bitter portrayal of aging is neither universal nor inevitable.
This is unbelievable. So wrong. In reality its preciselty the opposite aging is universally
debilitating and inevitable. While these type of statements are coming out of the mouths of
people who are the advocates for aging research, nothing good will happen. There will be no
money for research to live longer in a younger body. And the reason is the faulty idea that aging
can be healthy, productive, or enjoyable. It cant by definition. Aging is the worst thing and its
happening to every one of us every second of our lives, sucking up our strength, youth and
beauty. I want to fight this widely spread idea of how old age is full of pleasure, when your
grandchildren sit on your lap. Sure, thats nice, but its not even remotely enough. For example,
it would be much better to have the possibility of going to a night club after your grandchildrens
visit and be able dance all night long. But this can never happen while we have leaders of
Alzheimers Drug Discovery Foundations saying that aging is okay. Opinion leaders have to
understand how harmful justifying aging is this position is killing us.

And I want to live. I want all the people on Earth to live. In order to achieve this everybody who
is involved in the field of aging has to be more courageous. They have to speak up for
themselves and for their work. They have to say that they want to fight aging, that they want life
extension. Cancer researchers say that cancer is their greatest enemy, that cancer has to be
eliminated and viola the amount of money that went to cancer research from the National
Cancer Institute in 2010 was almost 5.1 billion dollars thats roughly 5 times more than on
aging. And cancer is just an individual case of an aging-related pathology. We have to learn from
oncologists, cancer researchers and advocates. We are fighting aging and we have to speak about
it freely and explicitly. Make no mistake our goal is to defeat aging completely.

THERE IS NO EXPERIENCE WORTH DYING FOR


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

I was once asked whether some experiences were so worthwhile as to justify a willingness to
sacrifice ones life in order to have such experiences. The question was phrased as follows: Is it
possible that a finite life with experience A is preferred to an [indefinite] life without experience
A? I do not think so and, moreover, I think the dilemma is a bit artificial. A life of indefinite
duration will always give one the possibility of pursuing experience A at some point in the
future. If one missed having A now, one can always catch up on it thousands or millions of years
in the future. No A is worth so much to me that I would be willing to cut off my future ability to
exist or to experience anything for it.
I think that my argument is the one that better incorporates the idea that anything is better than
nothing. If, without life, one has nothing, then anything that one has or experiences while alive is
better than that nothing. Ceteris paribus, a longer life is better; that is, being able to live ones
life up to the present plus X years is always better than being able to live ones life up to the
present plus (X Y) years, where Y > 0, no matter what happens during those extra Y years.

TO KNOW OR NOT TO KNOW?

BY: ERIC SCHULKE

If we woke up tomorrow on a pink planet with walking trees, birds that flew backwards singing
in Latin, with rivers that flowed candy pine cones, and all kinds of marvelous spectacles and
randomosities, then we would need to figure out what was going on. We would be looked upon
with shame if we werent deeply interested in figuring it out. We wouldnt be worthy of the
senses bestowed upon us if we didnt heed to the triggers that they pulled in our brains, outlining
the baffling incomprehensible mystery that this would be.
So what would you do? If you awoke on this planet then would you be indifferent to it and be
content to live out the rest of your life on that planet without trying to figure it out or get back?
Would you sleep on cup cake beds, fish vegetables out of the sky with nets and watch the birds
fly backwards as your body slowly decayed away into oblivion? Could you be content with that?
Would the big picture mysteries be less important than your leisure time, than the hobbies and
habits you would develop among the scenarios?
That pink planet with all of that stuff is what this earth is like, and you are still currently set to
die before you can even begin to understand what is going on. Just because we have gotten used
this place here, it doesnt mean its normal. This existence is an off the charts, baffling,
seemingly infinite mystery. In a world that doesnt put very much time into teaching children
how to spot fallacy out of theirs and others thinking, this can be easy to understand, but it is still
not an excuse for death.
A version of one common fallacy that people succumb to, in bowing to death without batting an
eye, is called the Stockholm syndrome. Another version of a fallacy that is currently holding
people back from fighting death, with science and technologys expanding, growing, proven
tools all around us, is called Platos cave allegory. Those of us who view our entrapment, and asof-yet inevitable decay on this earth, as unquestionably acceptable, need to realize that we have
succumbed to this syndrome, are trapped in the cave.
During a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, hostages were taken and held over the course of a

few days. They talked to their captors and overtime were not only endeared to their them but
even defended them during the trials. This is also common during war time in which you can
find many instances of captives helping out their guards, sometimes even taking guard shifts
themselves.
In Platos cave allegory, two people are trapped in a cave, shackled down and facing a wall with
a fire behind them. Objects are passed in front of the fire to project shadows on the wall in front
of them. Having never been outside the cave, they conceptualize the entire world and all of
existence in terms of these shadows on the wall. They dont try to find a way out or strategize
ways to find any. All of the potentials outside of the cave are lost to them.
We cannot afford to side with our captors of death and the diseases of aging. Like the people
trapped in the cave, we cannot ever remain content to live out a life with limited understanding.
We must continue to seek to uncover the mystery. We must do this until we finally know, and
can decide what to do next, live or die, and other things, based on the big picture. We cant be
eager to jump into our graves. We cannot be content to let go of life based on such a limited
understanding of what is going on. The Buddhist in China, the car bomber in Afghanistan, the
human rights worker in Canada, the industrialist in the USA, the bushman in Zimbabwe,
everybody everywhere, they all make life decisions based on a limited vision of the big picture,
and they all think they are right. All of them are dying in a Stockholm cave, not working to know
more of the big picture.
The possibilities are endless, and its not like there isnt anything going on out in that vast
mystery. Something is going on. The mysteries of the nature of infinity, dimensions, black holes,
quantum mechanics it all dances tantalizingly out of reach. As the marvels, depths and layers
of History are uncovered, will you not care? Humanity will, after all, continue to pursue the
answers. We can uproot much more definitive answers to things like how people got here and
how the universe got here.
Do you want the answers? Mature priority setting comes from thinking about the big picture. We
must seek more of it until we finally understand. We must escape the cave, we must escape our
planet, we must escape traditional and form fitted thinking, we must continue to pioneer
existence until we know the big picture of what it means to live, or until we are crushed by the
randomosities of existence. We will never know what it truly means to exist until we figure out
what is going on.

COPING WITH DEATH: THE COSMIST THIRD WAY

BY: GIULIO PRISCO

Recently on Facebook a friend asked: Hey, atheist friends, I need your help. I would like to
listen and read what do you do when you lose somebody who you loved? I have tried several
ways to ease the pain, but it is still there. He addressed his atheist friends because evidently he
didnt want to hear about a supernatural afterlife.
I took the liberty to offer my vision of a natural afterlife following technological resurrection,
based on science and engineering.
My answer (edited):
I cope with the grief from the death of loved ones by contemplating the Cosmist possibility,
described by many thinkers including Nikolai Fedorov, Hans Moravec and Frank Tipler, that
future generations (or alien civilizations, or whatever) may develop technologies to resurrect the
dead. A related idea is that our reality may be a simulation computed by entities in a higherlevel reality, who may choose to copy those who die in our reality to another reality.
Contemplating these possibilities is my way to cope with grief, I hope you will find your own
way.
I realize that these ideas may be rejected without consideration by both believers and atheists.
Many believers may reject them because they are based on science and possible future
technologies, without any concept of supernatural (whatever that means). On the other hand,
those fully invested in their atheism may reject them because they sound too much like religion.
Cosmism is one of those third ways that are often passionately rejected by those who believe
in the old ways, but in my opinion it is a Hegelian synthesis of what is good in the old ways: it is
firmly based on science, and at the same time it offers all the important mental devices of
religion, including hope in resurrection. It is evident that hoping in an afterlife has survival value
for both individuals and societies, because it gives people the strength to continue to live instead

of withdrawing (or worse) in despair. Cosmism permits hoping in resurrection without giving up
the scientific worldview.
THE COSMIST THIRD WAY, IN A NUTSHELL
Long version: See my essay Transcendent Engineering published in the Terasem Journal of
Personal Cyberconsciousness.
Shorter version: See my Ten Cosmist Convictions, co-authored with Ben Goertzel, originally
appeared in Bens A Cosmist Manifestoblog, published in Bens book A Cosmist Manifesto.
Very short version: The Manifest Destiny of our species is colonizing the universe and
developing spacetime engineering and scientific future magic much beyond our current
understanding and imagination. Gods will exist in the future, and they may be able to affect their
past our present by means of spacetime engineering. Probably other civilizations out there
already attained God-like powers. Future magic will permit achieving, by scientific means, most
of the promises of religions and many amazing things that no human religion ever dreamed.
Future Gods will be able to resurrect the dead by copying them to the future. Perhaps we will
be resurrected in virtual reality, and perhaps we are already there. See also Transhumanist
religion 2.0.
I have written a lot about these convictions, without calling them beliefs. But, following
William James, since I am persuaded that these convictions are scientifically plausible, and they
give me happiness and drive, I choose to hold them as beliefs. As I say in a note to the Ten
Cosmist Convictions, I am not using will in the sense of inevitability, but in the sense of
intention: we want to do this, we are confident that we can do it, and we will do our f**king best
to do it. You know that, if you really want to achieve a goal, you must firmly believe that you
will achieve it.
DARING TO HOPE IN RESURRECTION
Bart Centre gives another answer in the excellent article Dealing with death: How does an
atheist cope? His answer is Its enough for me to know the deceased person loved me and I
loved them. Enough to know the pain of illness has subsided. Enough to know their contributions
to the world will live behind them and their progeny will carry on. Enough to know that the cycle
of life is unstoppable, inevitable, and is shared by all living things. Its enough to know that the
oblivion of death is no more fearful than the oblivion that was pre-life. I take comfort in that, we
all should.
Barts answer is very good and his considerations are beautiful, soothing and inspiring in their
own way, but for me they are not enough, because I prefer my own answers. If I were

persuaded that death is final and science will never be able to do anything about it, I would
certainly take refuge in seeing our lives as small cogs in the wonderful and endless cycle of life,
shared by all living things. But I think science will be able to do something about death, and I
hope to be copied to the future by means of future magic (in the sense of Sir Arthur C.
Clarkes Third Law) and to find my loved ones there.
Bart Centre writes: How easy and comforting it must be to imagine ones dead loved one
running in a sunlit field in the afterlife eternally young, physically perfect, ecstatic, and being
chased by their equally ecstatic childhood cocker spaniel. Or surrounded by a few generations of
previously deceased relatives who embrace them and welcome them to eternal life and introduce
them to their angel friends
It is easy and comforting indeed! How about making it true?
To me, these are not supernatural beliefs, but engineering projects: we will have to engineer
resurrection, and build Heaven. These are very ambitious engineering projects for the very far
future, so the only things that we can do, here and now, is to try to ensure that our specie has a
future out there, to avoid extinction, to develop emerging technologies, and to begin our
expansion into space. The Cosmist Third Way offers not only relief from the painful grief of
death, but also motivation and drive to make the world a better place, here and now.
In The Never-Ending Days of Being Dead: Dispatches from the Front Line of Science, Marcus
Chown paints a scene very similar to Centres:
As your eyelids begin to fall, coming down like metal shutters on your life, the hubbub of the
world fades to a distant murmur. You draw one last breath
and it is summer and you are young again. Your favorite dog the one you loved so much
as a child and thought you would never see again has knocked you to the ground and is
licking your face furiously. Through tears of joy, you see your father and mother long dead
standing over you. They are young just as they were when you were ten years old and they
are laughing and stretching out their hands to you.
What is happening? Have you died and gone to Heaven? Not exactly. Youve been resurrected
as a simulation on a computer at the end of time!
This is the beginning of the last chapter of the book, dedicated to Tiplers theories. Also the other
chapters inspire beautiful and comforting visions, and show that space-time is a strange and
wonderful place, so strange and wonderful that, perhaps, our loved ones who left us can be found
somewhere out there. The first chapter is titled Elvis Lives.

Continuing the Facebook discussion, my friend said I dont think I can suspend disbelief about
the Omega Point idea of Tipler. Well, other simpler resurrection mechanisms have been
proposed, that dont require waiting until the Big Crunch.
In The Light of Other Days, Sir Arthur C. Clarke (who else?) and Stephen Baxter imagine a
near future world profoundly transformed by the invention of a Wormcam: a remote viewing
device that permits scanning any location at any time, including in the past, by using micro
wormholes naturally embedded with high density in the fabric of space-time (every space-time
pixel is connected with every other space-time pixel). Soon engineers are able to resurrect the
dead: It was possible now to look back into time and read off a complete DNA sequence from
any moment in an individuals life. And it was possible to download a copy of that persons
mind and, by putting the two together, regenerated body and downloaded mind, to restore her
But I am afraid atheists will continue to find suspension of disbelief in possible resurrection
technologies very difficult because the concept of resurrection itself (even if based on science)
will continue to sound too much like religion to them.
Just a few minutes ago on the KurzweilAI Forums, another friend said A friend of mine just
died its not enough for me to settle for never laughing with her again. Will we EVER be able
to correct the travesty that is Death? And how soon til then?
My answer:
I am very sorry for your loss. Your grief is my grief, and your hope is my hope.
No, it wont be soon. I think future scientists will be eventually able to fish dead people from
the past via Quantum Archaeology (whatever that turns out to be) or other time scanning
technologies, and copy them to their present our future via mind uploading, but it wont be
soon. The scientific and engineering challenges involved are so huge that I believe it will take
thousands of years. Or, as Frank Tipler thinks, billions of years.
But the subjective time that we have to wait is simple to estimate, and much shorter: it is the
remaining time that we have to live, plus a few seconds to wake up in the future. From her
subjective perspective, your friend may be already there, and waiting for you to join and laugh
with her again.
Can I offer this as a certainty? No, I cant. But I can offer it as a scientifically plausible hope.
Make the best of your life as your friend would have wished, and, perhaps, you will be reunited
with her when the time is right.

DEATH IS NOT MY BRAINS FRIEND - I BELIEVE IN NEUROLOGY, NOT IN GOD


BY: GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D

One of the deleterious effects of believing in a religion is in the idea that through this belief one
would be assured some form of afterlife. This is a very damaging idea because it is an illusion, a
fantasy, a false hope.
In the past religion offered people the soothing feeling that the absurdity of a short existence
would be resolved in the end.
It would have been more honest to accept Reality as it is, and to have tried to do the best with a
short life, contributing to the wellbeing of present and future generations.
Today, we live in special times.
Through fast developing information and bio-technologies, through our amazing daily
breakthroughs in understanding human physiology and nature in general, we are approaching a
point where we will be able to defeat death, forever.
Death is not a metaphysical problem any longer; it is a technological one.
We can defeat death with modern biomedicine. We can do this, just as we have accomplished
many other miracles through science.
Believing in the delusional spiritual afterlife that is the core of most religions, doesnt allow
people to realize that it would be much better to fund aging research than to donate to a church.
If people could realize that we are close to a solution to death based on reality, they would
support this research. Actually, they would demand it.
Many people hope for an afterlife, but this is as delusional as believing in Santa Claus or fairies.
They want it so badly that they make a complete nonsensical commitment to something that is

clearly absurd.
This is paradoxical because if these people would support science, that religion often considers
an enemy, they would be given all what religion falsely promised - eternal life.
The repertoire of experiences that a single brain can achieve is amazingly big. However, our
brains are relatively similar in size, components and biochemistry. We have the same type of
neurons and neurochemicals that a rat has.
What differentiates us from animals and what explains the difference in behavior and personality
among people are the connections in our brain. What is different between me and you is the type
of connections that you and I have, how neurons interact with each other, how they organize and
get structured.
In a way, we are different but in a more important way we are very similar.
The human experience is differentiated more in subtle nuances than in fundamental, deeply alien
ways. This why so many people like Coca Cola, and some Pepsi. Two choices but really very
similar.
As different as humans are, Im always amazed at how similar our thoughts, fears, and desires
are, even across cultures, time, sex, age.
One can explain both how similar and how different we are in the context of modern
neuroscience. The picture is not complete, not perfect yet, but we are coming closer and closer.
Some time ago, I went to a lecture, at the Department of Psychiatry, at UW Madison where I
worked. The lecturer was showing how the injection of this particular neurotransmitter was
increasing the voluntary feeding amount of a rat. And then, how another neurotransmitter was
decreasing it.
He plotted a graph of the amount of the chemical substance injected in a very specific part of the
brain versus the amount of feeding: he obtained a perfect straight line, indicating a perfect
correlation between these parameters. Next, another region was inhibited and the opposite effect
was obtained. It is just amazing, a complex behavior modulated by a simple substance.
He plotted a graph of the amount of the chemical substance injected in a very specific part of the
brain versus the amount of feeding: he obtained a perfect straight line, indicating a perfect
correlation between these parameters. Next, another region was inhibited and the opposite effect
was obtained. It is just amazing, a complex behavior modulated by a simple substance.

This is not just true for rats. The same would happen in humans under the same conditions. In
fact, the scientist explained that he would like to explore the application of this finding to help
people with addictions. Maybe we are a little more complex than a rat but we respond to the
same chemicals, to the same stimuli.
To some, it is scary that we are these physical connections between neurons, these electrical
currents, these molecules but why is this scary?
These neurons, electrical forces, molecules are fascinating, beautiful in how they work and
behave, and part of the miracle of existence.
On the opposite end, I find that invoking spirits and elves and strange superstitions and the
soul to explain what we are, is a shame. Why do this, when there is so much beautiful real
knowledge about the nature of our beings, unfolding in front of our eyes?
Every day brings new and fascinating discoveries in neuroscience.
Part of what is discovered in our physical brain is that yes - love is a chemical yes - our
thoughts are electrical impulses yes - our personality and memories are connections among
neurons.
If we realize that when the brain dies we die with it, then is not just true, but alright.
When intelligent people who abandon a religious view of the world want to stick with the idea of
immortality of the soul they usually invoke New Age nonsense such as, because energy is
conserved, and consciousness is a form of energy, after death my consciousness will be
conserved.
Im so tired of this false argument. Please understand what energy is and understand the
fundamental second law of thermodynamics. Conservation of energy doesnt imply conservation
of the highly structured and organized form of matter and energy that supports consciousness in
our brain.
You need a material substratum to support a complicated, emergent property like consciousness
and energy per se is not enough. The brain produces about 100 Watts of energy, like a typical
electrical bulb but last time I tried to have a conversation with a light bulb it was pretty boring.
That is not reason for despair - it is good news and cause for action.

We can do something even the problem of death. Science can find a way to extend life. What
religion promised - Eternal Life - science can actually achieve.
Maybe not today, maybe not in 100 years, but one day it can and will happen.
Believing in the after life when it is not true, is like believing in Santa Claus simply because it
would be nice if he did exist.
Lets grow up and believe in people instead.

DESIRING IMMORTALITY
BY: JASON XU

Has your love for life ever transformed into a deep desire for physical immortality? My
beingness, which I greatly and truly value, is something that I most certainly will want to be
maintained until tomorrow. Never will there be a day where tomorrow is a day where I will
feel that death is desirable.
As finite beings, we have a grave inability to control matter, and most notably among that matter
is the metabolism of our own bodies. As human beings living in the 21st century, we are faced
with the grave reality that our bodies, the very substrate we were born into with no choice of our
own, is preprogrammed to die due to mutations in our cells ability to function. We choose to
call this process aging, occasionally disease when a specific cause can be identified.
Wake up people! We did not choose to exist, and we did not choose to be born into aging bodies.
If human beings strive to change their very bodies, the very substrates we exist in, we will
change the nature of our existence from temporal to immortal. When theres a will, theres a
way.
Ill tell you a secret. Something they dont teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They
envy us because were mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more
beautiful because were doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be
here again. - Achilles
The greatest deathist mistake we can mistake is to forget - in awe of every moment being a once
in a lifetime opportunity - how eternal life can help us savor precious moments again and again
as if each were our last without physically having to die.
It is the illusion of death being imminent, not death itself, that forces us to savor each moment in
life. If we live forever by ending aging, we can always savor each moment by imagining that
each moment was our last. The human brain does not distinguish: We feel the thrill of a roller
coaster even if it is completely safe.
It is because I enjoy each moment past as if it were my last, that I endeavor to enjoy life forever.

People sometimes feel despair that on how temporal their current existence is. The human
existence has been for too long had the defining characteristic of a seemingly inevitable
endpoint, whether at the hands of an unnatural death or a natural deterioration of the body.
If all of us only realized this great flaw in the continued existence of humanity and endeavored to
change it, it would only be a matter of time before aging is history. For society to continue on as
a cycle of birth and death can only lead to further despair for our children and grandchildren.
Too often investors look at ending aging movements and foundations in an economic cost
benefit perspective, not willing to invest in foundations such as SENS because the goal of a
sustainable eternal existence for us all doesnt seem achievable within ones own lifetime. And
to maintain this mindset is to continue the same misery that lead to the formation of that
viewpoint in the first place.
To contribute fully, using ones time, energy, wealth, and scientific knowledge to eliminate
aging and other forms of death is a pursuit of changing the nature of human existence for now
until forever. No longer will humans ask Why must I die?.
Any society with sufficiently advanced technology and sufficiently virtuous people is
indistinguishable from heaven. If you ever feel meant for an eternal destiny, the answer is before
your eyes: pursue life extension. Evangelize the world. Astutely donate to foundations
attempting to reverse aging. And never lose hope.
We are inspired by a vision of an ageless society where the human lifespan can be extended
beyond the limits imposed by aging and its damage to the body. We also pledge to resuscitate
each other if one of us dies and is cryonically preserved.
PRIORITIES:
1) Ensuring that cryogenically frozen members are safely preserved in hopes of future
resuscitation.
2) Interest-free loans to pay for cryonic suspension of members who do not have the means to be
cryogenically suspended.
3) Ensuring that our intergenerational community has sufficient members and enough
compassion for each other so that members desire to revive each other, and ensure a welcome
back greeting is prepared for potentially resuscitates in case a fellow is resuscitated

4) Spread awareness of life extension to promote inherent desirability of successfully reviving


cryonics patients and pursuing healthspan extension as soon as possible.
4) Promote life-logging among members to track conscious experiences, reconnecting with past
life once resuscitated.
5) Fund anti-aging life extension research. Focus on areas of medicine least funded by
mainstream medicine, as the all factors of aging need to be cured, and we must allocate our
funding in a way that cures aging the fastest. Do not fund areas of research already well-funded
by non-life-extensionists such as cancer research, but fund high-impact research projects on
areas of aging with low market demand.

THE SUFFERING OF WHICH YOU SPARE YOURSELF THE SIGHT


BY: MILE

Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight. - Albert Schweitzer

Life and death are in your hands.


If you watch somebody put a gun to somebodys head and then watch while they slowly pull the
trigger, then you helped pull the trigger. If you support programs to help stop people from
becoming killers, and to stop killers, then you are part of the global riddance of killers.
It makes no difference if you can play with rocks or a sub atomic virtual reality dimension
transporter if you are going to obliterate for eternity 80 short year blinks later.
If somebody writes an eloquent book, binds it and then burns it, it is better to have never written
the book. If a wondrous dimension exists that no consciousness, nothing, has ever known, and it
is snuffed out before anything ever can then it may as well have never existed.
Mummies, religion, the fountain of youth, the holy grail, sorcery, countless snake oils, afterlifes,
reincarnation, humanity has long desperately striven to put the brakes on the slow terrifying skid
into obliteration.
The hellish chopping block of death drips with the blood of an eternity of viciously tortured
lives. The slide to that block will be stopped, and there will be a last to die on it. This is why we
FIGHT for indefinite life extension.
This is why, as Kahlil Gibran would say, we rest in reason, and MOVE in passion.
This is why John Donne said,
No man is an island, entire of itself.
Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less,
as well as if a promontory were,

as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were.


Any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.
This is why Dante wrote that,
The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain
their neutrality
This is why Einstein said that,
The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of
the people who dont do anything about it.
I walk through cemeteries to pay homage to the dead, to pay respects to their memory, times, and
all theyve accomplished and toiled through to deliver us here across the precipice of time to
unlock the doors to these increasingly more fantastic worlds of fascinating wonder and
opportunity. Facing that anguish in these cemeteries I visit is a difficult challenge, but its one
that I gladly face and take on as head on as I can. We are all in this together, the good and the
bad, those of us past and the present, be it through progeny and legacy or things like biology or
homage. We look to make our way, figure this life out and harness it for what its worth;
everything, the big picture, not just ourselves, towns, states, countries, not even our world; not
the solar system, not the galaxy, not even the universe. Life is worth all of existence, and
existence is unfathomably complex, diverse and teeming with opportunity.
The abilities of modern people are an extraordinary scientific, technological and engineering
harvest, with no end in sight, achieved through the toil of ancient beings that had the will and
ability to shape the elements. There is nothing more valuable than every human soul. I fight for
myself, I fight for my family and friends, the world, and I fight for all of the noble souls that
have been devastated by death, reduced by the coldest, darkest disrespect down in the mulch of
the earth. Life gets hard, it rains, the wind blows, but death doesnt stop and neither does our
respect for and allegiance to life, and our unyielding resolution to put an end to the devastation of
death.
We rest in reason, and MOVE! like we mean it

MY FRIENDS BREAK MY HEART


BY: DAVID KEKICH

Did you ever try to give someone advice that you thought was sound, only to have your friends
continue their old bad habits?
When I see someone I love self-destruct, Im quick to suggest ways for them to alter their course.
Im no better a psychologist than the next person, so instead of trying to analyze what leads them
to destruction, I just offer the most commonsensical help I can come up with.
In almost every case, it has to do with lifestyle habit advice. I failed to convince in most cases,
and I believe it cost at least three of my friends their lives.
A couple of weeks ago, my best childhood friends widow died. She was in her 60s, and her 94
year old mother attended her only childs funeral. Her husband Bob died at age 70, less than two
years ago.
Bob was one of those people who pigged out at every meal and snacked in between. Junk food,
fried foods, white bread, baked goods, char grilled meat, tons of mashed potatoes, beer and
two quarts of soft drinks average every day pretty much made up his diet.
I warned him for 25 years to back off, or he was headed for diabetes. I told him all about the
dangers of chronic inflammation and how dangerous it was. He got diabetes, and it went
downhill from there. Cancer finally killed him.
His wifes diet was slightly different but even worse in some ways.
My friends with the worst habits are the ones I knew the longest. I dearly love many of them, but
I have to say I dont necessarily respect some.
In contrast, I cant think of a friend who I have met in the past twenty years who breaks my
heart. Generally, their lifestyle habits are moderately good to great. Its not that I have any more
influence over them. I just gravitate toward health conscious people now.

Several years ago, I wrote a newsletter that offended someone very important to me. It may have
offended others as well. In it, I classified my close friends in two general groups. One was the
miscellaneous group which includes people who are in my life for reasons other than life
extension... and those who are in the second group. I went on to insinuate that the first group
generally wastes my time and is not as interesting to me as the latter.
I did shoot from the hip with that letter. The truth is, there are special people in group #1 who I
love very much. Otherwise, they wouldnt break my heart. Even if wellness and longevity arent
important to them, I still cherish their friendships.
Youre probably in group #2, and I do hope you pursue your healthy habits.

THE ADVANTAGES OF IMMORTALITY


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

George is a regular wage laborer, industrious, but somewhat frail and easy to tire. Thus George is
unable to put in 18 hours every day for running a small business or generating a vast fortune
quickly. Had he lived the average human lifespan, he would likely have died owning only a
small home and having a fairly marginal discretionary income.
But George is fortunate, for he lives in an age where immortality has just been made a
commercial product. The company that markets it has obtained a financially expedient way to
maintain George's body against all damage and deterioration, and requires no payment from
George; it receives its profits from the advertising companies that pay the immortality service to
play its commercials for several hours a day in the minds of people like George (if immortality
were possible, this would certainly be possible, too). George can go on working as he works, but
indefinitely.
On his 200th birthday, George buys himself a lavish mansion with an adjunct park, where he can
take walks, sporting his new tuxedo suit, top hat, and gilded cane, which he would not have been
able to afford had he had the average human life span.
On his 500th birthday, George's prudent long-term investments have finally allowed him to start
a business of his own. He can allow himself a leisurely work schedule in the meantime, since he
has the means to hire a large staff.
On his 600th birthday, George decides to build the tallest skyscraper in the world in order to
house his expanding business.
On his 800th birthday, George decides that his profits now enable him to purchase an entire
planet and initiate massive resource extraction operations. He decides to spend some of the
earnings creating the world's largest gallery of realist art, which he has always admired.
On his 900th birthday, George decides that it is no longer enough to sponsor the arts, and seeks

to become an artist. He hires the best teachers available and begins producing paintings himself.
By his 1000th birthday, George has already mastered musical composition, professional writing,
sculpture, and the piloting of just about every advanced vehicle imaginable. There are hundreds
of new hobbies and specialties that he would like to master, while constantly magnifying his
fortune. Because he is now fabulously wealthy, he risks practically nothing when he attempts
anything. However, because he understands that he no longer faces the threat of loss or death, he
can truly gain and live, venturing into territory that the mortal man, with his immense frailty and
susceptibility to the myriad perils of the elements, cannot conceive of.
In the minds of those who think that immortality will only bring boredom, stagnation, and a lack
of moral stimulus to succeed, the hypothetical case of George is inconceivable. But why? It has
just been conceived of before the readers eyes; George begins as a common man with fairly
common upward ambitions. What differentiates him from the common man today is time;
George has time to work, save, and accumulate money and skills. Because he will live much
longer than people today, he can afford to have longer time horizons; he can make investments
that will mature in 200, 300, or 5000 yearsknowing that he will be around to enjoy the
rewards. If he wishes to succeed in business, he will also need to compete with other immortals
who have similarly long-term time horizons and who have accumulated a similarly impressive
array of skills. George cannot afford to stagnate; he must move ever upward in a world where
technology, wealth, and human faculties grow exponentially.
Time is man's sole true limitation. Any other resource can be compensated for by an individual's
effort. If one has been bankrupted or experiences political persecution, one always has the
chance of regaining one's funds or assuring enforcement of one's rights over time, so long as one
is alive. But, when time saps the very energy needed to livethe very vitality of youthfrom a
mans organism, such pursuits become ever more inconceivable. Contrary to the mainstream
culture, senescence is not "normal." It is a gradually increasing severance of one's intellectual
and physical capacities from the external reality. When this severance is complete, death results.
And one cannot compensate for any lost resources when dead!
There is more to life than mere avoidance of death, just as there is more to pleasure than the
avoidance of pain. To claim that one has no point in gaining without the threat of losingno
point in living without the threat of dyingis a quasi-Daoist "coexistence of opposites"
mentality, which the upward-aspiring rational man strongly rejects. In my science fiction novel,
Eden against the Colossus, I explain why the rational man can never stop pursuing values, and
why immortality will ensure the utter collapse of irrationality.
Religious opponents of immortality contend that immortality in this world would prevent ones
soul from achieving immortality in the next. As a man of reason, I respond that immortality in a

world which we are certain exists is superior to the uncertain promise of immortality in another
world of which we have no evidence. The primary ethical difference between a man of reason
and a man of faith is that the man of reason seeks to eventually create a perfect life in this world,
whereas the man of faith sees the perfect life as ultimately given "elsewhere" and thus sees this
world doomed to inadequacy and imperfection. Certainly, the status quo is far from perfect, but
this does not mean that it is not perfectible.
Another major difference between advocates of reason and faith is that the advocates of faith
perceive perfection as a static condition, whereas the advocates of reason must in some manner
recognize that perfection is inherently dynamic and open-ended. Perfection is a continuous
process, not a stagnant plateau. Ayn Rand sought to characterize this in the persons of John Galt
and Howard Roark, whowhile endowed with firm, constant, and immutable moral principles
that fully determine their charactercontinue to act for the pursuit of values in their buildings
and inventions. Yet more is required for a state of this-worldly perfection: 1) perfect health, 2)
unmitigated moral integrity, and 3) a ceaseless desire to create and expand. The second and third
goals can be achieved in the status quo, but the first goal would require decades more of medical,
scientific, and commercial progress.
Every mans life is not doomed to an eventual ultimate failure; a solution is possible in this
world. I contend that any peril can be technologically remedied eventually. This means that
sometime in the futuregiven the requisite economic and political freedomsman will develop
solutions to every known problem plaguing our time. Every disease and potential cause of
accident known to us today will someday be cured. If new diseases or causes of accident should
arise, they will someday be cured as well.
One might ask: is there not an infinite possibility of diseases or causes of accident? Since the
nature of existence does not permit simultaneous infinities, I do not see how this can be the case.
If my premisepresented in Mistakes Concerning Infinityis granted, there is only a finite
amount of perils that can ever afflict man. Given that mans conscious faculty is capable of
perceiving and interacting with all of reality, there is no reason why it inherently cannot someday
devise cures to the entirety of possible perils.
Thus, it is possible that man may someday be indestructible, literally, as a result of employing
his own reason. The individuals that devise cures to these perils may make permanent contracts
with customers like George, whose invincibility will thus be guaranteed him, without him having
to do anything but allow advertisements to be played in his head for a few hours.
Some opponents of immortality might contend that this type of indestructibility is undesirable,
for it would do away with the need to maintain a rational morality in order to survive. Yet this
need would not be nullified by the advent of immortality.

How would immortality alter the nature of morality if reason was required to devise all these
protections? It is impossible to consistently embrace a state of being while rejecting those
attributes that brought it about. It is, for example, impossible to reject capitalism while
embracing economic prosperity, or to reject individual liberty while embracing moral actions.
Once one takes away the prerequisites, the consequences collapse like a skyscraper without a
frame or foundation. This was the mistake made by the socialistswho sought to redistribute
wealth that free commerce createdand by progressive moralistswho sought to impose
certain moral actions on people while abolishing the chosen nature of such actions, which
renders them moral. Both prosperity and morality collapsed once the socialists and
progressives had their way.
Any indestructibility obtained through technological immortality would still be conditional upon
individual reasonupon the reason of the individuals who invent, maintain, and distribute this
life-perpetuating treatment, as well as upon the reason of the individuals who receive it. These
individuals must still rationally recognize that life is a value and that they want to have it forever;
they must then rationally decide to initiate or continue the life-perpetuating treatment. The
moment they genuinely reject reason, they will reject the treatment and will again remain
susceptible to the elements. Only a rational morality would make it possible for them to even
agree to be immortal and to take the necessary steps to maintain their immortality.
Immortality would by no means render morality or the pursuit of values meaningless; it would
amplify the need for morality and the ambition with which men pursue their values
encouraging men to have longer time horizons and higher levels of productivity in a greater
diversity of occupations. The advantages of immortality are as numerous as the time it will add
to individuals lives.

IMMORTALITY IS NOT A WASTE OF TIME!


BY: BJ MURPHY

I was a bit perplexed, to say the least, when I read Big Think blogger John N. Grays article
Immortality is a Waste of Time. His entire argument revolved around the notion that, because
of unknown contingencies throughout life, the act of curtailing deaths inevitability and infinity
is thus a waste of time, money, thought and anxiety.
This is absurd. An absurdity flooded with fear-mongering imagery of our future, claiming the
acts of planning for our possible deaths as being equivalent to a society that is one of cryonic
suspension, a freezer-centered society, a society in which we spend our thoughts, our desires, our
passions, our incomes on tending freezers.
Tending freezers, he says? Like we tend to our graveyards, our crematoriums, and mausoleums?
Examples, I might add, to which wastes precious land to accommodate the bodies and/or ashes
of our long-since-deceased (or soon-to-be-deceased) loved ones.
This notion that history will go on, all while admitting that it makes good sense to take care
of your health, to try to remain healthy for as long as possible and that we should use the new
technologies to enhance the mortal life we have, is contradictory and ahistorical. Was it the
simple whim of society to abandon agriculture for industrialization, or to abandon feudalism for
capitalism? Did life simply go on, providing us with the technological marvels we take for
granted today, without the actions and efforts of so many individuals who spent (wasted?) their
time, money, and thoughts to achieve such a society?
John Gray would like you to believe so, yes. But then history doesnt simply move along without
a current of change enforced by its inhabitants. While Mr. Gray would like you to abandon your
wishes and efforts in achieving immortality, deeming it as a waste of time, he neglects to even
consider how life will go on via the actions and inactions of societys members.
How is history and life to go on in a positive direction, and how are we to use new technologies
to enhance our mortal lives, without putting time, money, and thought into these very actions?
An answer Mr. Gray conveniently never appears to provide.

DEATH IS A WASTE OF TIME


The idea that time is to be spent without care of our future and how we and/or society will stand
to the unknown contingencies, to which Mr. Gray adamantly speaks of, is completely bunk.
History most certainly went on, but then the goings-on of history were determined, not by a lack
of care for what our future holds for us, but by a global society who no longer saw it fit to merely
live tolead age 30, or to go days without food, or to suffer from terrible diseases due to complete
lack of medical aid and knowledge.
Our society has spent centuries upon centuries fighting for a better world not just for themselves,
but for those wholl come after them. Maybe our efforts wont lead to immortality in our
lifetime. But then when is a good time to fight for it? Should we simply condemn our future
relatives to a life albeit one certainly going on flooded with problems that couldve been
alleviated, if not addressed completely beforehand?
This metaphysical approach to life and history is a betrayal to every single person who lived and
died on this planet, fighting for the world we have today. With so much time, money, and
thought put into our modern society, death becomes the only wasteful aspect of life.
So for those who will be lucky enough to be born in a world in which the problems we face
today no longer exist, our time, money, and thoughts will not be at waste quite the contrary!
theyll be used to address and destroy every single waste left on our planet and throughout the
universe.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:26

HOW WILL LIFE EXTENSION CHANGE RELIGION?

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

To summarize, in my (atheistic) view, religions are generally not animating forces of societal
change. Rather, they tend to be barometers of prevailing attitudes approximately one generation
in the past. Often, religions get dragged along into making progress by intellectual developments
outside religion in the same way that, as a result of the 18th-century Enlightenment, various
Christian denominations gradually transitioned away from providing Biblical justifications for
slavery and toward denouncing slavery on Christian grounds. The impetus for this
transformation was the rise of ideas of reason, individualism, and natural rights not the
doctrines of the Christian religion.
I suspect that there will be a broad spectrum of responses among various religious denominations
and their followers to the prospect of indefinite life extension, once most people begin to see it as
within their individual grasp. In Christianity, on the cutting edge will be those Christians who
interpret the message of the resurrection (a literal resurrection in the flesh, according to actual
Christian doctrine) to be compatible with transhumanist technologies. (We already see the
beginnings of forward-thinking interpretations of religion with the Mormon Transhumanists.) On
the other hand, the more staid, dogmatic, ossified religious denominations and sects will try to
resist technological change vigorously, and will not be above attempting to hold the entire
worlds progress back, merely to make their own creeds more convincing to their followers.
Historically, religions have served two primary societal roles: (1) to form a justification for the
existing social order and (2) to assuage peoples fears of death. The first role has atrophied over
time in societies with religious freedom. The second role will also diminish as radical life
extension in this world becomes a reality. Religions do evolve, though, and the interpretations of
religion that ultimately prevail will (I hope) be the more peaceful, humane, and progress-friendly
ones. At the same time, proportions of non-religious people in all populations will rise, as has
been the trend already.

ASK THE AGED IF THEY SUFFER

BY: MILE

Aging is burning us alive from the inside out. The price of stopping it is not too high. If you
doubt it, ask the 36,500,000+ people that are living in the fires of aging, getting set to die in this
next year. Thats an astonishing 100,000 every single day until the war on aging is won.
Ask the Hospice patients across the world, desperately trying to hold onto the homes they built
around themselves, watching strangers flood into their personal worlds like medics coming to the
aid of the bomb torn lives in battle. Ask them whether great sacrifice for this cause is worth it.
Ask the cancer patients among them that are dissolving away on the inside, wracking in pain,
sweating in the empty, many times compassionless nursing rooms, which often times may as
well be caves in a woods. As many of us have, Ive watched my relatives in the final stages of
disintegration in nursing homes and hospitals, in the moments before their pain riddled bodies
disappeared like poofs of smoke. I remember wondering how desperate the cries for help inside
my dying uncles head must have been as he laid there going through shock, as cancer continued
to eat away his bones.
Have discussions with aged heart disease victims, in their 80s and 90s, going under the knives,
through the horrifying procedure of having their ribs sawed and cracked open, long arteries cut
from their arms and legs and wrapped around their hearts with grotesque patchwork so that they
may live in ever increasing enfeeblement, while they contemplate their severely deteriorated
states as they wait in the flames of aging for imminent death. My grandfather went through this.
You can see the sad, humbling realization of mortality painted across his now seemingly
permanently downcast brow. What pain What horror
Ask those dreamers whose joys and aspirations have been stopped short and met with their new
hospital death beds. Ask them what they say. Maybe we can even help them throw out their
collections, their writings, all of their ongoing projects and goals, their lifes work and all of their
mementos and scrap books while were there. We could meditate with them about the ending of
their dreams, and ask them if they want to visualize symbolically stomping them out.

Talk to those families who are being strangled by the reality of being forced to come to terms
with the eternal obliteration of people they depend on to voyage through this mysterious,
challenging life with.
Find any of these vibrant spirits; these colorful, pricelessly unique insights of history, that are
having their hard earned, original volumes ripped from their shelves, burned and buried, lost
forever until the end of time, and see what they have to say.
Ask them what sacrifices are enough.
A walk through any of the many thousands of nursing homes around the world will help you
understand how urgent this is.
To quote Felicia Nimue Ackerman, a professor of philosophy at Brown University, who did a
study on this, The blanket presumption that the latter states [of poverty, pain, ill health] bring
misery that is worse than death is disrespectful to those who, having experienced them,
disagree.
The movement for indefinite life extension cannot be impeded by the faint of heart, by those who
would make excuses, and those who would put their own, limited, selfish interests above those of
the continuation of the world as a whole, into the breathtaking, deep future. The world is being
tortured in a device that is on a timer. How sadistic, how bitterly cold and viciously cruel. We
must get out, and we can if we work together.
This is not even that big of a challenge in the grand scheme of things. Step one is: inform the
world about all the organizations and projects working toward the goal of indefinite life
extension. Its not hard at all. All you have to do is like the Movement for Indefinite Life
Extension page and share stuff that you may find interesting, as you see it come through your
Facebook news feed. Let people know that science knows how to work on this kind of stuff, that
research can figure out how to stop diseases. There are a variety of diseases we dont have
around any more and have cured. Some diseases have already been cured through genetic
recombination. Technology keeps adding more powerful tools, and more tools to the mix. We
dont have to stand for involuntary death anymore. We have the means to defend ourselves now.
Were begging you to stay. The universe and all of existence is a big, incredible mysterious place
that we hardly know anything about. All of humanitys combined experience with it to date is
equivalent to not even having taken it out of the box yet. Lets stop death. Altogether, we can do
it.

Indefinite life extensionists know this. They are all around you, they are in your communities.
They lead you to understanding the cause; follow them and then youll know how to guide the
way too. The torture and the opportunity cost is far, far too much to bear. Its too much to bear
for those going through it and its too much to bear for us to face it. And face it, we are all
cruising to our death beds very quickly.
To take on a threat, people cant pretend it doesnt exist and sweep it under the rug. We have to
think about it, even when its painful and hard. Our bodies are designed to fight off threats, but
not when we dont acknowledge them. Instead of letting that horror debilitate you, instead of
shutting it out, let it in and let it charge you to action. Rest assured that as you march, growing
crowds of people that are also sick to death of this terrible fortune, are marching along with you.

AN ATHEISTS RESPONSE TO PASCALS WAGER

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

Pascals Wager is one of the more respectable arguments in favor of religion. As an atheist, I am
nonetheless sympathetic to this argument, because it attempts to use reason to actually persuade
people to believe in God, rather than circularly using the Bible as a reason to believe in the truth
of the Bible. Of course, as an atheist, I also believe that Pascals Wager is a mistaken argument.
But here I will give it the consideration it deserves.
Pascals Wager is named after Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century mathematician and philosopher, also
known for his invention of one of the first mechanical calculators. This is the essence of the
argument. If one believes in God and ends up being wrong, one has nothing to lose; ones
ultimate fate is no worse than if one did not believe in God and ended up being right. On the
other hand, if one believes in God and ends up being right, one has everything to gain
especially an eternal life full of bliss.
Pascal is to be commended for examining two possible outcomes and their implications.
However, he fails to grasp the full range of the possibilities. Pascal only explores the possible
outcomes if one chooses to believe in God. He fails, however, to consider the possible outcomes
if one chooses not to believe in God.
So let us refine Pascals argument a bit and consider it then. We must consider not one but two
different alternatives. One can either believe in God or not believe in God, and in each case one
can either be right or wrong. So there are in fact four possibilities.
Someone who believes in God and is right will go to Heaven.
Someone who believes in God and is wrong will simply cease to exist after death if it is indeed
the case that death is a cessation of ones being and individuality.
Someone who does not believe in God and is wrong will go to Hell to assume the worst-case
scenario.

Someone who does not believe in God and is right, if he dies, will cease to exist just like the
believer who is wrong.
Even if we grant that Heaven is better than Hell, from an atheists perspective, Hell is not the
worst possible outcome. The worst possible outcome is the one that the atheist already assumes
to be the case after death. In Hell, one may suffer horribly, but one still retains ones
individuality, sensations, and thoughts. The sheer nonexistence that an atheist believes to follow
death is much more frightening so frightening that, unlike Heaven or Hell, it is not even
conceivable for an existing individual.
So, if I do not believe in God and happen to be wrong and go to Hell, I will still be much better
off than if I believed in God and were wrong and ceased to exist. No matter how greatly God
may punish me for disbelief, the punishment will pale in comparison to what I already think is
coming.
But it is still not enough to consider the four alternatives in terms of what happens after death. It
is also important to look at how a choice to believe or not affects ones life in terms of time spent
doing particular things attending church services, uttering prayers, and partaking in numerous
ceremonies as well as the foregone opportunities that this time could have been devoted to.
This is not to mention the lost opportunities from various dietary prohibitions, prohibitions on
work, and tradition-based restrictions that seem to have little to do with abstract theology.
So it is not the case that someone who believes has nothing to lose; he has a tremendous amount
of time and foregone opportunities to lose. I like doing work on Sundays, and the time I would
spend attending church would be wasted if I believed in God and were wrong, but would be well
spent if I did not believe in God and were right. This time would even be well spent if I
disbelieved in God and were wrong because I would still accomplish something real in this
world during it. Believe me, all those Sundays add up.
Furthermore, if non-existence after death is worse than Hell, then that, and not the possibility of
Hell, is the foremost problem that needs to be addressed. If this were the year 1900, I would not
have a chance of plausibly saying this, but we are on the verge of astonishing medical
breakthroughs that will at the least dramatically expand the human lifespan in this world. If you
are interested, I urge you to look up the work of Aubrey de Grey and Ray Kurzweil both
distinguished world-class scientists who believe that we can achieve effectively indefinite
longevity within the next thirty to forty years. I can understand placing ones bets on eternal life
in Heaven during an era in which eternal life in this world was definitely out of our reach, but if
the possibility of existing indefinitely in this world a world we can be sure of is offered, it is
surely preferable to the mere faith in existing forever in another world, for whose existence there

is no evidence.
So I hereby invert the Pascals Wager argument and offer my own version Stolyarovs Wager
for why you ought to exert your utmost efforts to extend your life in this world and to assist in
any way you can the technological developments that make this possible.
If you believe in human life extension and are right, you have everything to win a happy,
prosperous, indefinite life that you can be sure of in this world.
If you believe in human life extension and are wrong, you cease to exist.

If you do not believe in human life extension and are right, you cease to exist.
If you do not believe in human life extension and are wrong, it may be that the effort that you did
not put in to promoting the idea was just enough for the possibility not to come to pass. Then you
will cease to exist.
Unlike the fully developed version of Pascals Wager, the choice here is clear and unambiguous.
You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by focusing your attention on this world and on
extending your life in it.

PROGRESS, HOPE & HUMAN LONGEVITY


BY: DAVID KEKICH

Shortly after college, I had a rather crude roommate. He once said Wish in one hand and st in
the other, and see which one gets full first.
So it is with aging. Since the beginning of history, and most likely before, aging humans wished
passionately for youth. Wishing was about all they could do then.
Sure, a very limited number took proactive steps to regain lost youth. Some concocted various
elixirs, barbarians made sacrifices to the gods, and Ponce de Leon searched for the mythical
Fountain of Youth. But it was all wishful thinking.
In one way, little has changed. Today, a very limited number still take proactive steps. Maybe
more now than then, but most of those are still misguided if radical life extension is their goal.
For example, a famous aging multi-billionaire publicly stated that he hopes to live to 125, mainly
by eating only fruits and veggies and exercising daily.
He even invested $500 million in food and human cell research. I applaud his habits and
motivation, but like most of us, he has about one chance in a thousand to hit 100 and next to
zero chance to reach 125 without some major technological (not food) breakthroughs.
His lifestyle habits should improve his odds to make the century mark, but without the longevity
genes, hell probably die comfortably while falling more than 25 years short of his goal.
In another important way though, things have changed. I know more of the leading life extension
researchers than most, and the ones I hang out with tell me we are on the cusp of cracking the
super longevity code. In other words, we have full rejuvenation in our crosshairs.
(If you havent yet seen this website, go there now: www.ManhattanBeachProject.com.)
But most of us wont make it unless more of us wish less and act more.

Reason usually has excellent insights into aging related issues. I have included some of his
pertinent thoughts on this weeks topic following the link to his full text below.
Forecasting is really hard, especially when it involves the future - or so they say.
One of Ray Kurzweil's more noteworthy achievements has been, I think, to help popularize the
idea that technological progress can be predicted fairly well at the level of general capabilities
(as opposed to specific implementations).
This is not a new idea, but despite - or because of - the sweeping, glittering changes transforming
our society, at a pace that is only getting faster, it hasn't achieved any great adoption in the public
eye, at least beyond some few narrow and often misquoted instances such as Moore's law for
computing power.
If the outcome of technological progress only meant smaller widgets and brighter lights, then I
probably wouldn't be as interested in it as I am. In the grand scheme of things, does it much
matter that you can be modestly confident in predicting whether widgets will be half the size and
a tenth of the cost in twenty years versus forty years?
There is one branch of technology which is now of great importance to everyone, however, and
that is medicine. We stand on the verge of being able to extend human life by reversing the
underlying biological damage that causes aging.
"On the verge" means that either you die just a little later than your parents, or you live for
centuries or longer, depending on whether or not you live long enough to benefit from the first
therapies capable of actual rejuvenation.
The uncertainty in timelines at present all lies in how long it will take for SENS-style
rejuvenation research to gather a firm, mainstream, well-funded position: once that happens then
progress is inevitable and tends to unfold.
Prior to that point there is much uncertainty, with things progressing in fits and starts - the
standard tyranny of progress under minimal funding and participation.
Thus the present goal for advocates is to persuade enough people and funds to make progress
inevitable from that point on. The sooner that happens, the higher the fraction of those presently
alive who will live to see and benefit from human rejuvenation.
So: Hope or help. The latter is a better plan.

REFUTING THE TECHNICAL INFEASIBILITY CRITICISM


BY: FRANCO CORTESE

One of the most common arguments made against Transhumanism, Technoprogressivism and
the transformative potentials of emerging, converging, disruptive and transformative
technologies may also be the weakest: technical infeasibility. While the social movement and
academic discipline of life extension (a.k.a. biomedical gerontology) and Transhumanism are in
no way synonymous or co-inclusive, they do share a variety of values, and converge
conceptually in many areas. The technical infeasibility criticism is also one of the criticisms
one finds most commonly raised against life-extension though this occurs less frequently as of
late, due no doubt in part by the mainstream attention garnered by Aubrey de Greys SENS
Foundation and Dimitri Itskovs Global Future 2045 project. Nonetheless, refuting the technicalinfeasibility argument constitutes one of the roadblocks to hastening the rate of progress in
biomedical gerontology. If people believe in the feasibility of indefinite life-extension, then the
appeal of biomedical-gerontological initiatives will be more widespread and thereby receive and
the more funding. So attempts to refute or at least deter the technical-infeasibility argument,
insofar as it pertains to both longevity in particular and to Transhumanism and
Technoprogressivism more generally, merits our attention.
While some thinkers attack the veracity of Transhumanist claims on moral grounds, arguing that
we are committing a transgression against human dignity (in turn often based on ontological
grounds of a static human nature that shan't be tampered with) or on grounds of safety, arguing
that humanity isn't responsible enough to wield such technologies without unleashing their
destructive capabilities, these categories of counter-argument (ethicacy and safety, respectively)
are more often than not made by people somewhat more familiar with the community and its
common points of rhetoric. In other words these are the real salient and significant problems
needing to be addressed by Transhumanist and Technoprogressive communities. The good news
is that the ones makes the most progress in terms of deliberating the possible repercussions of
emerging technologies are Transhumanist and Technoprogressive communities. The large
majority of thinkers and theoreticians working on Existential Risk and Global Catastrophic Risk,
like The Future of Humanity Institute and the Lifeboat Foundation, share Technoprogressive
inclinations. Meanwhile, the largest proponents of the need to ensure wide availability of
enhancement technologies, as well as the need for provision of personhood rights to non-

biologically-substrated persons, are found amidst the ranks of Technoprogressive Think Tanks
like the IEET. Moreover, one can find a fair amount of continuity-of-impetus, or a shared
underlying motivation, between longevity scientists, advocates, activists and supporters, and
people working to mitigate existential risk and global catastrophic risk. They both are rooted first
and foremost in the prevention on involuntary and ultimately unnecessary death via the
conscious and deliberative development of emerging, disruptive and high technologies.
A more frequent Anti-Transhumanist and Anti-Technoprogressive counter-argument, by
contrast, and one most often launched by people approaching Transhumanist and
Technoprogressive communities from the outside, with little familiarity of their common pointsof-rhetoric, is the claim of technical infeasibility in turn based upon little more than sheer
incredulity.
Sometimes a concept or notion simply seems too unprecedented to be possible. But it's just too
easy for us to get stuck in a spacetime rut along the continuum of culture and feel that if
something were possible, it would have either already happened or would be in the final stages
of completion today. If something is possible, when why hasn't anyone done it? Shouldn't the
fact that it has yet to be accomplished indicate that it isn't possible? This conflates ought with is
(which Hume showed us is a fallacy) and ought with can. Ought is not necessarily correlative
with either. At the risk of saying the laughably-obvious, something must occur at some point in
order for them to occur at all. The moon landing happened in 1969 because it happened in 1969,
and to have argued in 1968 that it simply wasnt possible solely because it had never been done
before would not have been valid argument for its technical infeasibility.
While the technical infeasibility criticism is raised equally against Transhumanism (the belief
that it is possible and desirable to change the human condition via technology),
technoprogressivism (the belief that it is possible and desirable to use technology to improve the
conditions of our world and society) and indefinite life-extension alike, its fallaciousness is
particularly stark in regards to indefinite life-extension. The 20th century witnessed the
conception of 3 distinct solution-paradigms or broach approaches to achieving technologicallymediated indefinite lifespans. We have, first, biotechnological methods of making specific
changes to cells at the macromolecular and genetic level, exemplifying the biotechnological
route to indefinite lifespans, secondly, nanotechnological methods of making even more precise
changes to cells at the molecular and atomic level, and thirdly we have cybernetic methods of
functionally-replicating different components and sub-systems of the body (allowing us to
conceivably replace the components of our bodies gradually, iteratively as repairs and
replacement is needed, potentially indefinitely this is exemplified by the notions of mind
uploading and substrate independent minds and the field of whole-brain-emulation. The previous
century saw the conception of three distinct, alternate approaches possessing distinct and
separate technological and methodological inrastructures, and operating according to distinct and

alternate operating principles and mechanisms- in other words three different technological
approaches to fascilitating the continual and recurrent perpetuation of the body. In order for
indefinite lifespans to be technically infeasible, not only would each different broad approach
need to be uniquely infeasible on its own terms (i.e. because each possesses alternate operating
mechanisms and underlying technological infrastructures), but there would also have to be a
complete lack of other as-yet-undiscovered feasible approaches as well.
But if history has shown us anything, it has shown us that history is a fantastically poor indicator
of what will and will not become feasible in the future. Statistically speaking, it seems as though
the majority of things that were said to be impossible to implement via technology have
nonetheless come into being. Likewise, it seems as though the majority of feats it was said to be
possible to facilitate via technology have also come into being. The ability to possiblize the
seemingly-impossible via technological and methodological in(ter)vention has been exemplified
throughout the course of human history so prominently that we might as well consider it a
statistical law.
We can feel the sheer fallibility of the infeasibility and incredulity argument intuitively when we
consider how credible it would have seemed a mere 100 years ago to claim that we would soon
be able to send sentences into the air, to be routed to a device in your pocket (and only your
pocket, not the device in the pocket of the person sitting right beside you). How likely would it
have seemed 200 years ago if you claimed that 200 years hence it would be possible to sit
comfortably and quietly in a chair in the sky, inside a large tube of metal that fails to fall fatally
to the ground?
Simply look around you. An idiosyncratic species of great ape did this! Consider how
remarkably absurd it would seem for the gorilla species to have coordinated their efforts to build
skyscrapers. To engineer devices that took them to the moon. To be able to send a warning or
mating call to the other side of the earth in less time than such a call could actually be made via
physical vocal cords. We live in a world of artificial wonder, and act as though it were the most
mundane thing in the world. But considered in terms of geological time, the unprecedented feat
of culture and artificial artifact just happened. We are still in the fledging infancy of the future,
which only began when we began making it ourselves.
We have no reason whatsoever to doubt the eventual technological feasibility of anything, really,
when we consider all the things that were said to be impossible yet happened, all the things that
were said to be possible and did happen, and all the things that were unforeseen completely yet
happened nonetheless. In light of history, it seems more likely than a given thing would
eventually be possible via technology than that it wouldnt ever be possible. I fully appreciate the
grandeur of this claim but I stand by it nonetheless. To claim that a given ability will probably
not be eventually possible to implement via technology is to laugh in the face of history to some

extent.
The main exceptions to this claim are abilities wherein you limit or specify the route of
implementation. Thus it probably would not be eventually possible to, say, infer the states of all
the atoms comprising the Eifel Tower from the state of a single atom in your fingernail.
Categories of ability where you specify the implementation as the end-ability as in the case
above, the end ability was to infer the state of all the atoms in the Eifel Tower from the state of a
single atom.
These exceptions also serve to illustrate the paramount feature allowing technology to possiblize
the seemingly improbable. Novel means of implementation. Very often there is a bottleneck in
the current system we use to accomplish something that limits the scope of tis abilities and
prevents certain objectives from being facilitated by it. In such cases a whole new paradigm of
approach is what moves progress forward to realizing that objective. If the goal is the reversal
and indefinite remediation of the causes and sources of aging, the paradigms of medicine
available at the turn of the 20th century would have seemed to be unable to accomplish such a
feat. The new paradigm of biotechnology and genetic engineering was needed to formulate a
scientifically plausible route to the reversal of aging-correlated molecular damage a paradigm
somewhat non-inherent in the medical paradigms and practices common at the turn of the 20th
Century. It is the notion of a new route to implementation, a wholly novel way of making the
changes that could lead to a given desired objective, that constitutes the real ability-actualizing
capacity of technology and one that such cases of specified-implementation fail to take account
of.
One might think that there are other clear exceptions to this as well: devices or abilities that
contradict the laws of physics as we currently understand them, e.g. perpetual motion machines.
Yet even here we see many historical antecedents exemplifying our short-sighted foresight in
regard to the laws of physics. Our understanding of the physical laws of the universe
undergo massive upheaval from generation to generation. Thomas Kuhns The Structure of
Scientific Revolutions challenged the predominant view that scientific progress occurred by
accumulated development and discovery when he argued that scientific progress is instead driven
by the rise of new conceptual paradigms categorically dissimilar to those that preceded it (Kuhn,
1962), and which then define the new predominant directions in research, development and
discovery in almost all areas of scientific discovery and conceptualization.
Kuhns insight can be seen to be paralleled by the recent rise in popularity of Singularitarianism,
which today seems to have lost its strict association with a I.J. Good type intelligence explosion
created via recursively self-modifying strong AI, and now seems to encompass any vision of a
profound transformation of humanity or society through technological growth, and the
introduction of truly disruptive emerging and converging (e.g. NBIC) technologies. This

epistemic paradigm holds that the future is less determined by the smooth progression of existing
trends and more by the massive impact of specific technologies and occurrences the revolution
of innovation. Kurzweils own version of Singularitarianism (Kurzweil, 2005) uses the systemic
progression of trends in order to predict a state of affairs created by the convergence of such
trends, wherein predictable progression of trends points to their own destruction in a sense, as the
trends culminate in our inability to predict past that point. We can predict that there are factors
that will significantly impeded our predictive ability thereafter. Kurzweil and Kuhns thinking
are also paralleled by Buckminster Fuller in his notion of ephemeralization (i.e. doing more with
less), the post-industrial, information-economies and socioeconomic paradigms described by
Alvin Toffler (Toffler, 1970), John Naisbitt (Naisbitt 1982) and Daniel Bell (Bell, 1973), among
others.
It can also partly be seen to be inherent in almost all formulations of technological determinism,
especially variants of what I call reciprocal technological determinism (not simply that
technology determines or largely constitutes the determining factors of societal states-of-affairs,
not simply than tech affects culture, but rather than culture affects technology which then affects
culture which then affects technology) al a Marshal McLuhan (McLuhan, 1964) . This broad
epistemic paradigm, wherein the state of progress is more determined by small but radically
disruptive changes, innovations and deviations rather than the continuation or convergence of
smooth and slow-changing trends, can be seen to be inherent in variants of technological
determinism because technology is ipso facto (or by its very defining attributes) categorically
new and paradigmically disruptive, and if culture is affected significantly by technology then it is
also affected punctuated instances of unintended radical innovation untended by trends. That
being said, as Kurzweil has noted, a given technological paradigm grows out of the paradigm
preceding it, and so the extents and conditions of a given paradigm will to some extent determine
the conditions and allowances of the next paradigm. But that is not to say that they are
predictable; they may be inherent while still remaining non-apparent. After all, the increasing
trend of mechanical components increasing miniaturization could be seen hundreds of years ago
(e.g. Babbage knew that the mechanical precision available via the manufacturing paradigms of
his time would impede his ability in realizing his Baggage Engine, but that its implementation
would one day be possible by the trend of increasingly precise manufacturing standards), but the
fact that it could continue to culminate in the ephemeralization of Bucky Fuller (Fuller, 1976) or
the mechanosynthesis of K. Eric Drexler. (Drexler, 1986).
Moreover, the types of occurrence allowed by a given scientific or methodological paradigm
seem at least intuitively to expand, rather than contract, as we move forward through history.
This can be seen lucidly in the rise of Quantum Physics in the early 20th Century, which
delivered such conceptual affronts to our intuitive-notions-of-the-possible as non-locality (i.e.
quantum entanglement and with it quantum information teleportation and even quantum energy
teleportation, or in other words faster-than-light causal correlation between spatially-separated

physical entities), Einsteins theory of relativity (which implied such counter-intuitive notions as
measurement of quantities being relative to the velocity of the observer, e.g. the passing of time
as measured by clocks will be different in space than on earth), and the hidden-variable-theory of
David Bohm (which implied such notions as the velocity of any one particle being determined by
the configuration of the entire universe). These notions belligerently contradict what we feel
intuitively to be possible. Here we have claims that such strange abilities as informational and
energetic teleportation, faster-than-light causality (or at least faster-than-light correlation of
physical and/or informational states) and spacetime dilation are natural, non-technological
properties and abilities of the physical universe.
Technology is Mans foremost mediator of change; it is by and large through the use of
technology that we expand the parameters of the possible. This is why the fact that these
seemingly-fantastic feats were claimed to be possible naturally, without technological
implementation or mediation, is so significant. The notion that they are possible without
technology makes them all the more fantastical and intuitively-improbable.
We also sometimes forget the even more fantastic claims of what can be done through the use of
technology, such as stellar engineering and mega-scale engineering, made by some of big names
in science. There is the Dyson Sphere of Freeman Dyson, which details a technological method
of harnessing potentially the entire energetic output of a star (Dyson 1960). One can also find
speculation made by Dyson concerning the ability for life and communication [to] continue for
ever, using a finite store of energy in an open-universe by utilizing smaller and smaller amounts
of energy to power slower and slower computationally-emulated instances of thought (Dyson
1979).
There is the Tipler Cylinder (also called the Tipler Time Machine) of Frank J. Tipler, which
described a dense cylinder of infinite length rotating about its longitudinal axis to create closedtimelike-curves (Tipler, 1974), and while he speculated that a cylinder of finite length could
produce the same effect if rotated fast enough, he didnt provide a mathematical solution for this
second claim. There is also speculation by Tipler on the ability to utilize energy harnessed from
gravitational shear created by the forced collapse of the universe at different rates and different
directions, which he argues would allow the universes computational capacity to diverge to
infinity, essentially providing computationally-emulated humans and civilizations the ability to
run for an infinite duration of subjective time (Tipler, 1986, 1997).
We see such feats of technological grandeur paralleled by Kurt Gdel, who produced an exact
solution to the Einstein field equations that describes a cosmological model of a rotating universe
(Gdel, 1949). While cosmological evidence (e.g. suggesting that our universe is not a rotating
one) indicates that his solution doesnt describe the universe we live in, it nonetheless constitutes
a hypothetically-possible cosmology in which time-travel (again, via closed-timelike-curve) is

possible. And because closed-timelike-curves seem to require large amounts of acceleration, i.e.
amounts not attainable without the use of technology, Gdels case constitutes a hypothetical
cosmological model allowing for technological time-travel (which might be non-obvious since
Gdels case doesnt incur such technological feats as a rotating cylinder of infinite length, rather
being a result derived from specific physical and cosmological, i.e. non-technological, constants
and properties).
These are large claims made by large names in science (i.e. people who do not make claims
frivolously, and in most cases require quantitative indication of their possibility, often in the
form of mathematical solutions as in the cases mentioned above) and all of which are made
possible solely through the use of technology. Such technological feats as the computational
emulation of the human nervous system and the technological eradication of involuntary death
pale in comparison to the sheer grandeur of the claims and conceptualizations outlined above.
We live in a very strange universe, which is easy to forget midst our feigned mundanity. We
have no excuse to express incredulity at Transhumanist and Techoprogressive conceptualizations
considering how stoically we accept such notions as the existence of sentient matter (i.e.
biological intelligence) or the ability of a species of great ape to stand on extraterrestrial land.
Thus, one of the most common counter-arguments launched at many Transhumanist and
Technoprogressive claims and conceptualizations, namely technical infeasibility based upon
nothing more than incredulity and/or the lack of a definitive historical precedent, is one of the
most baseless counter-arguments as well. It would be far more credible to argue for the technical
infeasibility of a given endeavor within a certain time-frame. Not only do we have little if any
indication that a given ability or endeavor will fail to eventually become realizable via
technology given enough development-time, but we even have historical indication of the very
antithesis of this claim, in the form of the many, many instances in which a given endeavor or
feat was said to be impossible, only to be realized via technological mediation thereafter.
It is high time we accepted the fallibility of base incredulity and the infeasibility of the technicalinfeasibility-argument. I remain stoically incredulous at the audacity of fundamental incredulity,
for nothing should be incredulous to man, who makes his own credibility in any case, and who is
most at home in the necessary superfluous.

NATURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND BUT TRANSHUMANISM IS!


BY: ROEN HORN

For all of human history, humans have been forced to die from the natural effects of aging.
Unless humans have been living forever in secret unbeknownst to our history books, they had no
choice in the matter of death. But now, with advancements in medicine and technology, death is
seemingly becoming closer to being a choice for possibly, the first time in historythat is, if we
survive long enough to benefit from these therapies.
But even despite this apparent choice in the foreseeable future, many people claim they would
still choose death and their actions suggest they are telling the truth. They seem to be very happy
with accepting the hand that nature has dealt them. They show no fear as they draw nearer to the
end of their lives. This attitude of accepting death is what we call Deathism.
THE PARALLELS BETWEEN DEATHISM & STOCKHOLM SYNDROME
In many ways, deathists exhibit symptoms of someone who is suffering from Stockholm
syndrome. Mankind has been held hostage by death for so long that most of us have learned to
be helpless and we gave up fighting. Its as if natures plan of involuntary death from aging has
broken our spirit, and now we just go along with the plan. We dont question it. Betraying our
own survival instincts, we have become willing victims.
Feeling utterly helpless against death and aging, we eventually began to praise death as a good
thing. This is comparable to a Stockholm syndrome victim developing romantic feelings for their
abuser
Death has been so traumatic for our species, that many of us have actually bonded to our abuser
and deny our own victimization. Now, most of society can no longer see death for the monster
that it is. They have deceived themselves in order to cope with reality. Society holds natures
plan in such high regard, that they can no longer see how nature uses and abuses them. In
psychology, this is called traumatic bonding and is typical of someone who is suffering from

battered-person syndrome. Society vehemently defends death like a battered woman attempts
to make excuses for her abusive partner.
Our deathist society has fallen in love with an abusive monster who is holding them captive and
murdering them right and left. In this hypnotic state, people cannot think rationally. Technology
reaches its arm out to save them from the monster, but they treat it as though it were the
enemy Transhumanism is demonized even though its very possibly humanitys only hope for
physical immortality...
NATURES EVIL SIDE
When people personify Mother Nature, she is usually portrayed as some innocuous, gentle
soul. The hippy movement is largely responsible for this view of nature. But if we were trying to
be honest, we would depict nature as a cruel and vicious serial killer. Mother nature is more like
a succubus. At first she seduces us with the pleasures of life, but when were no longer useful to
populate the planet, shell eat you alive. Nature is the ultimate facilitator of death.
The human mind is uniquely equipped with the intelligence to contemplate life and desire to live
forever. But regardless of how badly we want to live, nature shows us no mercy.
DEATH AS AN EVOLUTIONARY DESIGN
NATURE IS NOT HUMAN HEARTED.
-

LAO TZU

For whatever reason, making humans immortal isnt on the agenda of evolution. There is an old
saying which goes, Nature with its frugal eye asks only that we mate and die.
Many philosophers have argued that death is an evolutionary design of naturea kind of
planned obsolescence of humanity in order to keep the cycle of evolution continuing for the good
of the species.
The religious pass the responsibility to God, claiming that death and aging is mankinds
punishment for disobeying God in the Garden of Eden.
But everything remains a theory, and regardless of which theory you go by, none of them are
viable arguments to say we should not try to solve the problem of death.
LUDICROUS PRO-DEATH ARGUMENTS

Some say that we have a duty to die in order to make room for the next generation and that trying
to live forever is selfish. This is a man-made idea which makes no sense and the core of this
argument is based on an evil prejudice against old people In essence, what they are saying is
that human beings become less important as they get older. This kind of discrimination against
the elderly is repulsive and we should protest and criticize anyone who takes this ageist stance.
By accepting our deaths we only perpetuate a never-ending cycle of death and meaninglessness.
This self-deprecating attitude of humankind will inevitably be abandoned. We do not owe
anything to a generation of people who have not been born! We are born and we are ALIVE.
That makes us more important. Sooner or later a generation will rise up and claim physical
immortality for themselves, so it might as well be us. Death should make us all very angry, and if
nature will not save us, we must save ourselves.
And now, rather than being a blind process, evolution can be a process that we can control. Maybe now we dont
all have to become martyrs to improve the species. Maybe now we can improve the species while continuing to live
on.
- Jason Silva

OVER-POPULATION IS EASILY SOLVED


The main argument against physical immortality is of course overpopulation. But this is an
absurd argument because, as a people, nothing is forcing us to keep having children. We could
easily set up a world government that enforces strict birth-control policies.
One option would be colonization of other planets. But, in the scenario that we were beginning to
fill earths population capacity, we could enforce a mandate that if you wanted to have children,
then you would be forced to give up your own life as an exchange for adding an additional life
on this planet.
Another conceivable option for would-be parents of the future is to birth simulated children into
virtual worlds that are near identical to real life. In the distant future, we might actually have
something similar to the holodeck of Star Trek. This way people could experience the joys of
parenthood without actually burdening the planet with another human.
WHY WE NEED TO REBEL AGAINST NATURES PLAN
Any kindness nature might have shown us is canceled out by her abandonment. Nature has
betrayed us with death and we owe her nothing. Its about time we stop worshiping nature as if
we had a moral obligation to follow the plan nature has set for us.
Nor can we say that its Gods plan for us to age and die, because that would only be an

assumption. The knowledge of whether or not there are Gods is inaccessible to humans,
including any supposed knowledge of Gods plan. For all we know, God would want us to
embrace the principals of Transhumanism and pursue our physical immortality through lifeextension technologies.
WHY A GOD WOULD APPROVE OF TRANSHUMANISM
In the bible, Jesus said to strive for perfectionto strive to be as perfect as God
BE PERFECT, THEREFORE, AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT.
- JESUS (MATTHEW 5:48)

This is the same basic idea of Transhumanism, which seeks to perfect the human condition as
much as possible using advancements in technology.
Considering that we have no sure knowledge of Gods or an afterlife, and God is not revealing
himself to us in order to put our worries about death at ease, what should God expect us to do?
If God exists, surely he would not hold it against us that we are trying to prevent our physical
death, which we perceive to be a permanent and irreversible destruction of our consciousness. It
is rational to assume the worst-case scenario and considering that a God has not revealed himself
to humanity or proven his existence, surely he would want us to account for the possibility that
he doesnt exist. It would be suicidal for us to accept death on the mere possibility of there being
an afterlife. Would God want us to be so careless with our life, which for all we know is the only
life we get?
It seems to me that if God exists, he would want us to show some tenacity and use our brains to
become as much like a God as possible, including achieving physical immortality if it can be
done. In fact, complacently accepting your death seems rather unappreciative of the gift of life,
which religious people think God has gifted them with.
THE DIVINITY OF MACHINERY
There is something divine about the infallible nature of machinery. As humans, we have always
sought to transcend the corruptibility of our flesh, which is one reason we find artificial
intelligence so alluring.
The human journey is one of continual self-improvement as we strive to overcome our
limitations. Robots are a perfect symbolism for the perfection that we aspire for. One day we
could become robots ourselvesmore indestructible, more God-like than we had ever dreamed
possible. Like a God, we could wield power over nature and conform it to our own desires.

Its time we oppose the natural order and impose a new world order, where perfect justice can
be achieved. Imagine a world where humans could be masters of their own fate and no longer
had to die involuntarily. Technology offers a promising hope of salvation.
Those that argue against Transhumanism are essentially arguing against the next step of human
evolution, which is inevitable. The human race has always used tools to survive and protect
ourselves and this process will continue for as long as we are alive. We are finally developing
tools that may enable us to achieve unlimited lifespans.

LONGEVITY IN THE ANCIENT MIDDLE EAST AND THE ISLAMIC TRADITION


BY: ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D

The Middle East has often been perceived as a constantly belligerent area, where human life has
been held cheap, since the time of despots and tribal wars well to the present. Yet, in fact, the
Middle East would be more appropriately seen as a cradle of civilization, where many ideas of
human development had their roots, where many technological and scientific concepts were first
formulated, and where the goals of preserving and extending human life, even ideas of radically
extended longevity, have been pronounced among the earliest. Hopefully, the few examples
below will help to see the Middle East not chiefly as an arena of ruthless confrontation, but as it
has mostly been a fertile ground for creativity and pursuit of life.
Thus one of the earliest known works of literature is in fact also one of the earliest
representations of the pursuit of life, rejuvenation and life-extension, and it stems from the
Middle East. This is the Sumero-Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, a story about the heros struggle
with death. (The most complete version has been dated from circa 1300 BCE to 650 BCE, but
the story possibly originated as early as about 3000 BCE.)
According to the Epic of Gilgamesh:
There is a plant like a thorn with its root [deep down in the ocean],
Like unto those of the briar (in sooth) its prickles will scratch [thee],
(Yet) if thy hand reach this plant, [thoult surely find life
(everlasting)].[1]
The plant has been sometimes likened to box-thorn and dog-rose.
There are striking parallels between the description of the
immortalizing plant and the story of the extremely long-lived
Utnapishtim in the epic of Gilgamesh, and the biblical stories (with
the composition sometimes dated c. 1300 BCE to 450 BCE) about the
tree of life, the original potential physical immortality of human

beings and its loss due to ill will, as well as about the extreme
and admirable longevity of antediluvian patriarchs (Genesis
2:9, 3:22-24, 5:1-32).
In the Avesta, the sacred text of the Iranian Zoroastrian
religion (with estimated dates of origin ranging from 1200
BCE to 200 BCE), during the rule of the mythical king
Jamshid (Yima), people knew no disease, aging and death.[2]
The legendary cup of Jamshid was said to be a container
for the elixir of immortality and at the same time a means for
information retrieval (scrying/remote viewing). According to
the Persian poet Ferdowsi (940-1020, CE), as told in the epic
poem Shah Nameh, Jamshid became proud and his reign of
prosperity and longevity was terminated by the demonic king
Zahhak.[3]
Also in ancient Egypt, longevity and rejuvenation were celebrated. It may even be argued that
many of the pioneering technologies of ancient Egypt, from pyramid construction to embalming
and surgery, emerged in the pursuit of life preservation, balance, constancy or immortality.
In one of the earliest known Egyptian medical papyruses, The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus
(commonly dated to the period of the New Kingdom of Egypt, c. 1500 BCE), there is a Recipe
for Transforming an Old Man into a Youth. The recipe involved the external use of bruised and
dried hemayet-fruit (with recent identifications varying from fenugreek to almond). The remedy
would not only have a cosmetic anti-aging effect remove wrinkles, beautify the skin, remove
blemishes, disfigurements, and all signs of age but it would also have a true rejuvenating
effect, as it would remove all weaknesses which are in the flesh.[4]
And in yet another ancient Egyptian medical papyrus, The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1500-1600 BCE),
there are anti-aging cosmetic remedies to prevent the graying of hair (for example by the use of
honey, onion water, donkey liver and crocodile fat), and to stimulate hair growth (for example by
the use of flaxseed oil, gazelle excrements and snake fat).
Actual treatment of aging was also mentioned:
When you examine a person whose heart is weak as when old age comes upon him, you say:
This is an accumulation of diseased juices, the person should not arrogantly dismiss the disease
or trust in weak remedies.[5]
The legendary chief minister to the Egyptian pharaoh Djoser, and the reputed builder of the first
step pyramid, Imhotep (c. 2650-2600 BCE), too was said to be skilled in the art of rejuvenation.

Also, according to the Turin Papyrus and other sources, the ruling periods of Egyptian kings in
the first and second dynasty (up to c. 2500 BCE) were allegedly very long (up to 100 years) and
the kings lifespans were believed to reach into
hundreds.[6] The vitality and longevity were
revered.
Egypt was also apparently the birthplace of
alchemy, aiming at the manipulation of matter
generally, and improvement of health and longevity
in particular. And alchemys growth and
maturation took place broadly in the Middle East.
The world al-kimia is of Arabic origin, al
being the Arabic definite article, and the etymology of kimia being very uncertain, with
hypotheses ranging from the Greek Khemeioa (appearing c. 296 CE. in the decree of the
Roman Emperor Diocletian banning the old writings of Egyptian makers (counterfeiters) of
gold and silver; Khemia (the land of black earth, the old name of Egypt); or some other
Greek etymology of the Hellenic Middle East: e.g. khymatos (pouring/infusing in Greek) or
khymos (the Greek word for juice), etc. In either case, clearly Egypt was a hotbed of this
pursuit.[7]
The term alchemy apparently took root in Europe only in the 12th century, and was apparently
borrowed from the Middle East. The first European alchemical text was translated from Arabic,
presumably by Robert of Chester in 1144 and was entitled Liber de compositione alchimiae (The
book of alchemical composition). This was allegedly a translation from Arabic into Latin of an
epistle of the Egyptian-Greek-Christian alchemist Marianos to the Arab alchemical adept, the
Umayyad prince Khalid ibn Yazid (665-704 CE).[8] Also the word elixir comes from the
Arabic al-iksir (dry medicinal powder), as well as many other terms currently found in modern
science and born in the pursuits of Islamic alchemists, such as realgar (raj al-har), nushadir,
alcohol (al-kuhul) and many more.
Many Islamic alchemists spoke very explicitly about the possibility of radical life extension,
which according to their views did not contain any contradiction with the Koran.
Thus one of the founding figures of alchemy is

considered to be the Baghdad scholar and physician Abu Ms Jbir ibn Hayyn (also known as
Jabir in Arabic and Geber in Latin, c. 721-815) whose theory of elements profoundly influenced
both the Islamic and European (Latin-Christian) alchemy. In one of his treatises Jabir stated:
If you could take a man, dissect him in such a way as to
balance his natures [qualities] and then restore him to life,
he would no longer be subject to death. This
equilibrium once obtained, they will no longer be subject
to change, alteration or modification and neither they nor
their children ever will perish.[9]
Also according to the alchemist Ibn-Bishrun (c. 1000 CE),
quoted by the Tunisian historian Ibn Khaldoun (13321406):[10]
Man suffers from the disharmony of his component
elements. If his elements were in complete harmony and
thus not effected by accidents and inner contradictions, the
soul would not be able to leave his body.
Indeed, Islam has been sometimes presented as somehow intrinsically antagonistic to the idea of
life extension. Often the story about the 70 virgins hopefully awaiting the martyrs in Heaven (a
loose paraphrase on Hadith 2687) and similar ones are regurgitated, aiming to demonstrate the
alleged denigration of this worldly life in Islam.
Yet, in fact Islamic thought has not been inherently
opposed to the idea of life extension or even to radical
life-extension! There are strong currents favoring this
pursuit.
Thus, the book Al-Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of
Humanity by Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini (b. 1925, a
foremost Islamic scholar, since 1999 Vice President of
the Assembly of Experts of the Leadership of the
Islamic Republic of Iran), includes the chapter The
Research About Longevity.
In the chapter, the necessity to pursue longevity research
is largely derived from the desire to explain and emulate
the remarkable longevity of Al-Mahdi the

messianic Last Imam who, in the belief of the Twelver Shia Muslims (the largest branch of
Shia Islam) will come to protect mankind and, together with Jesus, will bring peace and justice
to the world.
According to this tradition, the Last Twelfth Imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, was born c. 869 CE
(255 AH - anno hegirae), and has not died but lives in occultation. Biological science is
required to explain this fact and make such great longevity a gift to humanity.
As the book states:
There is no such age fixed for human life the transgression of which would be impossible. .
All the above observations in the medical and biological sciences make it possible for human
beings to expect to discover the secret of longevity and overcome old age one day. Moreover, it
has prompted them to continue their research until the goal is reached. There is hope that
scientific research into understanding the mystery of longevity will also lead to uncovering the
secret of the long life of the Qa'im [al-Mahdi] from the Family of the Prophet (peace be upon
him and his progeny). Let us hope that day will come soon.
These were the words of Dr. Abu Turab Nafisi, Professor and Chair of the School of Medicine,
University of Isfahan, Iran, and they were cited approvingly.[11]
Other Islamic scholars agree. Thus according to the article The Long Life Span of Imam Mahdi
(A.S.) at the Imam Reza website (affiliated to the Ahlul Bayt People of the House Global
Center for Information), the Islamic tradition acknowledges the possibility of extended life
spans, such as those of Noah, Jesus, Khidhr (the green one), or Dajjal. Hence, There is no
dispute amongst theists and followers of Divine Religions about the possibility of extended
longevity and that there is no limitation on the human life span.
The views of great Islamic thinkers on the subject, as quoted in the article, are unambiguous:
The Persian scientist and philosopher Khwajah Nasir al Deen Tusi (1201-1274 CE) said:
Extended life spans have occurred for other than al-Mahdi (p.b.u.h.) and been recorded, and for
this very reason it is pure ignorance to consider his longevity as improbable.
The great Tajik-Persian physician, Avicenna (Ab Al al-Husayn ibn Abd Allh ibn Sn, c. 9801037) said: Consider as possible whatever you hear about the strange things until you have no
reason to reject it.
And more recently, the Azerbaijan-Iranian philosopher and theologian Allamah Tabataba'i
(1904-1981 CE) stated: There are no intellectual reasons or rules to denote the impossibility of

an extended life span; therefore, we cannot deny it.


The article continues:
As we have seen, the Holy Quran, the noble traditions, intellect,
and history, provide proof of the possibility and the existence of
extended longevity.
From a biological, medical or scientific point of view, the human
life span does not have a specific time frame where exceeding it
would be considered impossible. No scientist up to now has stated
that a specified amount of years is the maximum limit of the human
life span after which death would be certain. Indeed some scientists,
from the east and west, old and new, have stipulated that the human
life span is not limited and in fact humans can have power over
their deaths by delaying it and thus extending their life spans. This
scientific hypothesis encourages scientists to research and administer tests day and night in hope
of success. Through these tests they have proved that death, is similar to other illnesses because
it is an effect of natural causes which, if they could be discovered and altered, death can be
delayed. Just as scientists have been able to discover remedies for different illnesses through
research, they can do the same for death.[12]
Thus, clearly extended longevity is considered as theoretically possible, ethically desirable and
practically and scientifically feasible by the Islamic tradition.
However, according to Aisha Y. Musas article A Thousand Years, Less Fifty: Toward a
Quranic View of Extreme Longevity (2009), the idea of physical immortality, of a complete
defeat of death would be incompatible with an Islamic view. According to the author:
The Quran declares unambiguously that whenever you are death will find you, and every
soul will taste death. These verses have always been understood to preclude the possibility of
earthly immortality.[13]
Still, according to the author, by reinterpreting certain key concepts of Islam (such as Heaven
(Jannah) and Hell (Jahannam) understood not as physical places but as states of the soul; the
concept of the first death understood not as a transition to unearthly paradise, but as a radical
spiritual change in this world (e.g. the death of old and harmful habits); and the notion of
Thereafter (akhira) understood not as an afterlife but as a new stage of evolution then even
the idea of practical immortality (that is to say, not actual, but potential or biological
immortality) would be acceptable by Islam.

Yet, even without such far-reaching reinterpretations, the core Islamic values clearly favor the
pursuit of life extension and even radical life extension. And these values are equally shared also
by representatives of other religions as well as non-religious denominations of the Middle East.
Thus according to the Iranian philosopher, one of the chief founders of the transhumanist
intellectual movement, Fereidoun M. Esfandiary (pseudonym FM-2030, 1930-2000), More than
ever therefore it is urgent to overcome death. The conquest of death is the single transcendent
triumph which in one sweep will defuse all other human problems.[14]
That was an extremely optimistic forecast. The conflicts in the Middle East and in the area
generally known as the Islamic World are real. Yet the issue of protecting and extending life
needs to be raised again with great force, to overcome the destructive tendencies, to leverage the
tremendous economic and human potential of the area, to work toward the practical realization
of the noble intellectual tradition, to achieve healthy longevity for all.

[1] The Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by R. Campbell Thompson, 1928, Tablet 11. The Flood,
lines 268-270, The magic gift of restored youth, reprinted at Sacred Texts, http://www.sacredtexts.com/ane/eog/index.htm.
[2] Avesta: Venidad. Fargard 2. Yima (Jamshed) and the deluge, translated by James
Darmesteter, from Sacred Books of the East, American Edition, 1898,
http://www.avesta.org/vendidad/vd2sbe.htm.
[3] Ferdowsi, The Epic of Kings, Translated by Helen Zimmern, 1883, The Shahs of Old,
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/shahnama.txt.
[4] James Henry Breasted (Translator and Editor), The Edwin Smith Surgical Papyrus, The
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1930, XXI9-XXII10, pp. 506-507.
[5] H. Joachim (Translator and Editor), Papyrus Ebers. Das Alteste Buch Uber Heilkunde (The
Ebers Papyrus, The Oldest Book on Medicine), Georg Reimer, Berlin 1890, pp. 105-107, 43-44.
[6] A.H. Gardiner, The Royal Canon of Turin, Oxford, 1959.
For lists of mythical longevity cases, see for example, the compilation Craig Paardekooper,
Records of Human Longevity from Other Nations, 2001, mentioning the Turin papyrus and other
sources, http://s8int.com/phile/page44.html; http://saturniancosmology.org/files/kings/turin5.txt.
See also the Wikipedia article Longevity Myths http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longevity_myths

[7] Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2012


http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=alchemy; Alchemy Academy Archive, June 2006,
Diocletian's Edict against alchemy, http://www.levity.com/alchemy/a-archive_jun06.html.)
[8] Alchemy Academy Archive, January 2002, Maryanos, http://www.levity.com/alchemy/aarchive_jan02.html.
[9] Quoted in Gerald Joseph Gruman, A History of Ideas about the Prolongation of Life. The
Evolution of Prolongevity Hypotheses to 1800, Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, Volume 56 (9), Philadelphia, 1966, Arabic Alchemy: The Missing Link? p. 60.
[10] Quoted in Gerald Joseph Gruman, A History of Ideas about the Prolongation of Life. The
Evolution of Prolongevity Hypotheses to 1800, Transactions of the American Philosophical
Society, Volume 56 (9), Philadelphia, 1966, Arabic Alchemy: The Missing Link? p. 60.
Alchemy in Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah, Edited and prepared by Prof. Hamed A. Ead, Cairo
University, Giza, 1998, http://www.levity.com/alchemy/islam20.html.
[11] Ayatollah Ibrahim Amini, Al-Imam al-Mahdi, The Just Leader of Humanity, Ch. 9 The
Research About Longevity, translated by Dr. Abdulaziz Sachedina, 1996, reprinted at AlIslam The Ahlul Bayt Digital Library Project, Spring Lake Park, MN a repository of Islamic
cultural
resources,
http://www.al-islam.org/mahdi/nontl/Chap-9.htm;
http://ibrahimamini.ir/english/.
[12] The Long Life Span of Imam Mahdi
http://www.imamreza.net/eng/imamreza.php?id=7127

(A.S.)

Imam

Reza,

2012,

[13] Aisha Y. Musa, A Thousand Years, Less Fifty: Toward a Quranic View of Extreme
Longevity, in Calvin Mercer and Derek F. Maher (Eds.), Religion and the Implications of
Radical Life Extension, Macmillan Palgrave, New York, 2009, pp. 123-131.
[14] Esfandiary, F.M., Up-wingers. A futurist manifesto. Popular Library, Toronto, 1977, p. 177.

COULD RELIGIONS COME TO ADOPT A NATURALISTIC PERSPECTIVE ON


RESSURECTION AND JUDGEMENT?

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

Religions and religious doctrines evolve all the time and this is a fact that warrants hope. I have
long speculated that some future strains of Christianity might come to view the promise of
resurrection as one of renewed life in this world not in some ethereal Platonic world of souls
that many Christians today seem to consider Heaven to be.
Robert Ettinger, the founder of the cryonics movement, wrote an excellent short story, The
Penultimate Trump, in 1948. In this story, the suspended animation of humans enables them to
be restored to life and youthfulness hundreds of years later. At that time, they are judged on the
basis of their past actions and, if they committed sufficient misdeeds, are flown to the penal
colony on Mars, which has been renamed Hell. (I recommend everyone to read the full short
story, so I will say no more on its contents.) Perhaps the promise of resurrection and judgment
will be fulfilled through naturalistic means in this world and cryonically preserved humans will
indeed be judged by their more morally advanced future counterparts upon their revival.
An even more distant future possibility might be the revival of non-preserved humans from even
a remoter past, if it ever becomes possible to reconstitute entire bodies and minds from the data
included in whatever DNA samples from these persons might have remained. In this case, the
judgment might consist of deciding whom to revive. We would want Leonardo da Vinci and
Benjamin Franklin around, but not Hitler or Tamerlane.
I myself am an atheist, but I welcome any adjustments in the theological views of religious
people that would render such persons more comfortable with and supporting of technological
progress that will ultimately benefit us all.

WHAT WILL LIFE-EXTENSION DO TO RELATIONSHIPS?


BY: LINDA GAMBLE

Once we are capable of living for hundreds of years, what will become of our interpersonal
human relationships? Life extension and then radical life extension are realities that are just
around the corner. We havent caught up to this fact in redefining our relationships. Technology
is advancing at a much quicker rate than are our social systems, our family structures, our
comprehensive schema about each other and the roles we have in each others lives. A serious
examination of the elements of interpersonal as well as intrapersonal interactions is needed as we
grow toward integrating longevity, artificial intelligence and medical/psychological advances
into our rapidly changing realities.
Lets consider the most extreme relationship; romantic monogamy and its social institution of
marriage. Although there are many forms; for the sake of brevity I will only discuss heterosexual
partnering. Evolutionary psychology suggests that there is a reason the average length of time
before a marriage encounters serious problems and many times divorce, is about 4 years. Thats
roughly the time it takes to raise a human offspring to some degree of self-sufficiency; when it
has enough teeth to stop breast feeding, its gross and fine motor skills have reached the point
that it could keep up with adults and begin to contribute to group tasks, and it has mastered a
significant amount of communication skills. However, before that age it is biologically wise to
have two parents watching, protecting and feeding the child. After that time, a pair bond is less
useful; at least as far as the childs basic survival. Many social scientists believe that the
institution of marriage as it exists today also had simply utilitarian or economic origins. The idea
of mating for love didnt arise until as recently as the Victorian era. Previously, most cultures
recognized and encouraged arranged or politically strategic marriages of one degree or another.
So what will become of this relationship when it no longer serves the purpose of passing genetic
material safely on through the next generations, or securing political power through amassing
land and wealth? What will happen to commitment when you face not 60 years, but 600 years
with the same person? Will the addition of AI partners in the bedroom (or kitchen, or living
room) enhance intimate pair bonding or degrade it?
We already know that loving relationships increase life span and quality of life. I believe that the

first step in this new evolution toward becoming capable of sustaining mental health in longevity
was the change from utilitarian couplings, to choosing a partner out of love. I think we are still
novices at it. It is messy and frustrating and painful and joyful and ecstatic and passionate and
paralyzing all at the same time. The deeper the love; the stronger we feel these things; the
stronger our chemistry is responding, the more our brains are being shaped by the experience.
We are learning to control this torrent of feeling and channel it into higher forms of being
together. We have experienced it for millennia, no doubt, we have sublimated it into art, poetry,
music as the force quite literally spills out of us. But now, as we study and understand more
about what makes, maintains and is important in human relationships, we begin to see that the
next step includes these creative processes, but now needs to be focused on specific issues. I
suggest that as we eventually master the art of romantic love, pair bonds will become more
intentional, more practical and therefore more meaningful. I see the higher aspects of the human
psyche like honesty, empathy and altruism becoming more and more an outward expression. I
see a time when something like the ancient European ritual of hand fasting returns. For example,
marriage vows may become renewable in five years or fifty or 200 as that becomes the new
measure of time. Of course some couples may still choose to bond for eternity. And now it will
be more possible and we can also understand better what that entails; making deeper more
sincere vows. As couples consciously choose to remain together, the elements of the
relationship; trust, commitment, teamwork are enhanced and renewed. Instead of what happens
too often today where couples stay together in fear of divorce but communication breaks down,
resentments fester and infidelity is rampant. We are evolving toward a more compassionate way
of being and relating. I see the introduction of AI into the household as a way to free up more
mindful time spent together, as machines take over menial tasks. Perhaps over many generations
this will allow for further cognitive evolution and further capacity for psychological bonding
through exploration and contribution to the world and beyond. AI sexual partners could also
provide new territory for a couple to explore together. Introducing something like that will
require at the beginning a foundation of trust, open communication and each partner supporting
the emotional and physical needs of the other in novel ways.
This positive direction will of course require courageous intra personal advancement. We will
need to dedicate significant time on introspection and insight through meditation, psychotherapy,
psychoeducation, creative growth and even embracing personal struggle and overcoming
challenges. We will need to push the envelope of our comfort zones emotionally and
intellectually; reaching for new landscapes to inhabit and find new identities within. We will
need to become more balanced between logic and mystery, knowledge and intuition, practicality
and spontaneity. Our tolerance for pain will need to increase as we grow more resilient and able
to live in a new world in new ways. We must first examine and care for our internal existences
before we then can seek to improve and redefine out external existence. Our intra personal reality
must shift before we can navigate the interpersonal changes that are coming to our and the next
generations. Before we can develop the compassion to care for a mate for 600 years, or the desire

to grow in all directions at once with someone, to overcome the epidemic family breakdown and
chaos most children grow up in, we must first look inside. Of course this kind of work will
depend on attention to physical health, as mind and body are one. Commitment to keeping
oneself healthy through exercise, supplements, nutrition, experiences in nature and avoiding
stress will be a necessary part of having the endurance to grow alone and together.
The transhuman evolution that radical life extension will bring begins with each individual and
then becomes a collective growth. Increased longevity will redefine our entire understanding of
ourselves and each other and our interconnectivity. We have a commitment to seek out the
knowledge, skills and resources that will make our transition into longevity productive and
healthy; insuring we are taking steps in the right direction to continue to grow with and not away
from loving relationships.

WHAT WILL LIFE EXTENSION DO TO CRIMINAL PUNISHMENT?

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

Importantly, there would be considerably less crime in a society where indefinite life extension
has been achieved. People would have fewer motivations to commit crime, as they would be
considerably healthier, happier, and more prosperous. Moreover, they would have more to lose
through criminal punishment. They would make plans with a much longer time horizon in mind,
and criminal behavior could derail those ambitious plans.
My general view is that criminal punishment would be transformed, especially in the case of
capital punishment. Capital punishment might itself be redefined from execution to the simple
withholding of life-extension therapies, allowing the unmitigated process of senescence to
proceed. This would be effective in allowing appeals and the discovery of evidence of innocence
since a biologically young offender might have a good sixty years in which to make a
successful case. I still see the need for that kind of death penalty for actual murder, though.
Depriving a person of life in a society where indefinite life is possible is no longer a matter of
shortening a life by a few decades. Rather, it curtails a potentially unlimited lifespan, full of
irreplaceable individual experiences, achievements, and values. Thus, while the troubling aspects
of physically violent execution might disappear, the severity with which the offense of murder is
perceived would also increase. For some people who might otherwise have been inclined toward
crime, this might lead them to reconsider and form internal inhibitions.
As regards imprisonment, being incarcerated for life would be much more severe of a
punishment if a person is to live indefinitely especially if parole is not an option. Perhaps this
sort of life imprisonment would be used for offenses that are a degree less egregious than the
kinds of offenses that result in the gradual natural death penalty that consists of withdrawing
rejuvenation treatments. For lesser offenses, though, the focus of the criminal-justice system
would shift from punishment to restitution. In a future that is far more prosperous and where
advanced medical care is abundant, it would be much easier to fix injuries or restore property to
a pre-damaged form. The offender would be asked to pay for the damage (perhaps twice the cost,
in accordance with Murray Rothbards two teeth for a tooth rule of restitution).

HUMANITYS NATURE IS TO TAKE ON PROBLEMS LIKE DEATH

BY: MILE

Can the ant help but build the mound, the bee the honeycomb, the bird the nest? Like them, like
most if not all creatures, we cant help but innovate things that are available to us. I dont see that
we could if we tried. That is what humans do, it is natural that humans expand their horizons.
Indefinite life extensionist and futurist Ray Kurzweil asks us why we should define humans by
their limitations rather than their ability to supersede them, and I concur with that thought.
Why long for a shot at being alive indefinitely into the future of it all, rather than not? Why not
just live a normal life of childhood exploration, school, work, family, recreation and retirement then reserve a burial plot and arrange for somebody to dump our remains into it like most
people?
When you can progress, it is natural to. When a healthy seedling is laying at the right point in the
soil, and moisture and sunlight reach it, it doesnt decide whether or not it wants to sprout, it
cannot help but sprout. What healthy newborn doesnt walk and take up speech? When their
teachers open those doors, they dont choose to go through. They go through because they must.
They cant help but harness opportunities that are available to them. The prokaryotes didnt
make their way to becoming fish, and then the fish didnt start to walk on land just so they could
have land-fish races, they kept transcending.
When the boundaries of the frontiers are able to be moved back further, then we dont let the
opportunity go to waste. A creature of contrivance doesnt resign itself to the box it is in if it
knows that it is in the box (another reason for presenting people with Existences Big Picture Big
8 Categories and Standalone Opportunities). Filling the spaces and aptitudes that we can is an
essential part of what it means to exist. Sometimes others lead the way to these spaces and
aptitudes, sometimes we stumble upon them and sometimes we have to use our senses, and think,
to find them. We have evolved into natural innovators and we can be proactive pioneers.
Every creature that Ive ever seen, that wasnt trained otherwise, that was put in a cage or
aquarium, has relentlessly tried to get out. Once one finds and shows the way, then the others go

through or figure it out. The builders of the first libraries werent among the only small groups to
ever populate their isles. Christopher Columbus and his crews were not among a few Europeans
to ever dine in the Americas. Lewis & Clark were not the only settlers to cross the trails to the
Pacific coast. Jenner, Pasteur and Koch were not among the only few to harness the powers of
science and extrapolate its potentials.
We arent rubbing sticks together and searching for animals with stone axes anymore. We
contemplated and continue to contemplate the edges of the camps, dreaming up creative ways to
continue expanding what we have in every way.
Human willpower, like rivers, chisels through mountains of any size. The river of human
willpower has been and continues to surge forward, growing stronger as it batters the walls of
death. Our species is in the business of knocking down challenges. We cant shy away from
them, we dont know how. Its not in our blood. Our genes will not allow us to. We have battled
obstacles for eons until we made it through when we had to.
We take on death and work for indefinite life extension because we cant help it. We have to. If
you havent started supporting it yet, you will.

THE GLOBAL BRAIN & ITS ROLE IN HUMAN BIOLOGICAL IMMORTALITY


BY: MARIOS KYRIAZIS, MD, MSC, MIBIOL, CBIOL.,

It would be helpful to discuss these theoretical concepts because there could be significant
practical and existential implications.
The Global Brain (GB) is an emergent world-wide entity of distributed intelligence, facilitated
by communication and the meaningful interconnections between millions of humans via
technology (such as the internet).
For my purposes I take it to mean the expressive integration of all (or the majority) of human
brains through technology and communication, a Metasystem Transition from the human brain
to a global (Earth) brain. The GB is truly global not only in geographical terms but also in
function.
It has been suggested that the GB has clear analogies with the human brain. For example, the
basic unit of the human brain (HB) is the neuron, whereas the basic unit of the GB is the human
brain. Whilst the HB is space-restricted within our cranium, the GB is constrained within this
planet. The HB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are also
connected to the whole (e.g. occipital cortex for vision, temporal cortex for auditory function,
thalamus etc.). The GB contains several regions that have specific functions themselves, but are
connected to the whole (e.g. search engines, governments, etc.).
Some specific analogies are:
1. The Brocas area in the inferior frontal gyrus, associated with speech. This could be the
equivalent of, say, Rubert Murdochs communication empire.
2. The motor cortex is the equivalent of the world-wide railway system.
3. The sensory system in the brain is the equivalent of all digital sensors, CCTV network,
internet uploading facilities etc.

If we accept that the GB will eventually become fully operational (and this may happen within
the next 40-50 years), then there could be severe repercussions on human evolution. Apart from
the fact that we could be able to change our genetic make-up using technology (through synthetic
biology or nanotechnology for example) there could be new evolutionary pressures that can help
extend human lifespan to an indefinite degree.
Empirically, we find that there could be a basic underlying law that allows cortical neurons (the
most relevant in my analogy) the same general lifespan as their human host. As natural laws are
universal, I would expect the same law to operate in similar metasystems, i.e. in my analogy with
humans being the basic operating units of the GB. In that case, I ask:
If, there is an axiom positing that individual units (neurons) within a brain must live as long as
the brain itself, i.e. 100-120 years, then, the individual units (human brains and, therefore, whole
humans) within a GB must live as long as the GB itself, i.e. indefinitely.
Humans will become deeply integrated and embedded into the GBs virtual and real structures,
that it may make more sense from the allocation of resources point of view, to maintain existing
humans indefinitely, rather than eliminate them through ageing and create new ones, who would
then need extra resources in order to re-integrate themselves into the GB. The net result will be
that humans will start experiencing an unprecedented prolongation of their lifespan, during a
process whereby the GB evolves to higher levels of complexity at a low thermodynamical cost.
It is known that that new neurons are formed during adulthood, at least in certain parts of the
brain. This would be the equivalent of new babies being born to replace any human losses within
the GB. However, the majority of cortical neurons are maintained in good operating condition
and remain the same entities throughout life, instead of actively being replaced every few weeks
(as in the case of, say, skin or blood cells).
According to some predictions, humans will increasingly embed themselves within this global
brain by way of highly sophisticated digital interfaces (first examples are iphones) that can
anticipate the subjects wishes, preferences, habits etc. Eventually, there could be suitable
technology that can allow direct brain to computer (GB) communication. If this is the case, I
would expect that it will cost more in energy terms to replace a human brain (through creating a
new one via the conventional lines) rather than maintain the existing one.
Research shows that new neurons that are not well integrated into the brain die prematurely. The
same phenomenon could be true with humans: in order to survive a human brain must entirely
integrate itself into the structure of the GB.
When fully operational, the GB must rely on its individual constituents i.e. individual human

brains interconnected through technology. Without human input, the GB cannot exist.
Furthermore, it cannot exist without technology. This is the same as in the human brain: a neuron
contributes to the whole, but without suitable connections the neuron does not survive.
There is no magic involved. The sequence of events will happen naturally, based on natural laws.
Human brains as individual units of the GB, will be subjected to increased pressures in order to
survive longer. This is not a teleological argument. The GB does not have any intent or purpose.
It is just an instrument of nature, forming part of the general direction of evolution: from simple
to complex. And it is not a matter of living longer as a result of just using Facebook. It is a
matter of a total, purposeful commitment to embed oneself into the GB and increase meaningful
input of cognitive information of sufficient magnitude into ones own brain. This will cause
epigenetic changes, through a mechanism I describe elsewhere, that will repair and maintain
somatic cells and reduce their risk of dying through ageing.

LIFE IS WORTH LIVING FOREVER!

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

Most people are astonished when I tell them that I would like to live forever. Would that not get
extremely boring after a long time? many of them ask. I respond, Being deadsensing
nothing, thinking nothing, feeling nothingwould be far more boring. Besides, one is dead
forever; once one is dead, one cannot simply recognize the misfortune of ones situation and
decide that one will not be dead anymore. An absence of everything is far more boring than a
presence of anything.
Indeed, I cannot even readily conceive a life that is necessarily uninteresting. Consider this:
there is a vast number of fascinating books in the world. Let us hypothesize an individual who
spends all his time reading them; he is a swift reader and can read one book per day. If he is
extremely fortunate by todays standards and lives long enough to read one book per day for 100
years, he will have read 36,525 books in all. But how many books are in an ordinary public
library? 100,000? 200,000? In what is more than a contemporary lifetime, this extraordinary
reader would not be able to even purvey a third of a single library! How can anyone claim that
such a paltry span of time can ever exhaust lifes possibilities?
Let us now hypothesize our reader becoming immortal and continuing to read one book per
day. Will he ever run out of books to read? By no means. Wikipedia states that in 2005, 378,000
new titles were published in the United States and the United Kingdom combinedan average
of about 1036 per day. Assuming that our reader only cares about books published in the U. S.
and the U. K., for every day that the list of books he has read increases by one, the list of books
he has not read increases by 1035. Given that the progress of science, education, and culture
continues to greatly accelerate the publication of new titles, this gap can only increase at everincreasing rates in the future. Thus, our reader will not only never run out of things to read; he
will never experience even a tiny fraction of all the wonderful literature humans produce. How
can life ever be boring when there are so many excellent books at ones fingertips?
Of course, the joy of reading does not even nearly approach the total joy of living; it is but a
small component thereof. If we add to the list of interesting and desirable occupations the

visitation of every remarkable place in the world, success in every productive profession, the
cultivation and maintenance of bodily health through exercise, the enjoyment of the company of
ones family and friends, and the undertaking of profound contemplation about a myriad of
topics, then every day life will offer us millions of hours worth of opportunities, of which we,
alas, can only exercise twenty-four. This requires prioritizing so as to maximize the values
gained, but it also assures us that we can never run out of interesting things to do and to
experience.
Let us hope, then, that medical technology advances sufficiently in our lifetimes to keep us
alive indefinitely. No matter how long a time we have, it is possible to spend it in a sublime
manner. There is no contest between this vast world and its bounties for the human mind on the
one hand and absolute nothingness, the void of death on the other. Life wins, hands down.

AMALGAMATION OF INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION AND TRANSCENDENCE AS WE


MOVE TOWARD THE FUTURE
BY: JAMESON ROHRER

Indefinite Life Extension is truly about transcendence, but also our capabilities and capacities
as beings as well as our planets that will be enhanced, improved, augmented, and digitized
among a myriad of other possibilities. Something that occurred recently is unequivocally a giant
step forward in our potential to truly transcend to the next stage of humanity: decision approved
to begin plans on harnessing solar energy in space and sending it back to Earth for humans to
have access to clean limitless energy.
This week, the National Space Society (NSS) announced a new international initiative in which
the US, India and other nations will band together to develop space based solar power. Dr. A. P.
J. Abdul Kalam, Former President of the Republic of India and Mr. Mark Hopkins, executive
committee chairman of the National Space Society said that the initiative has the potential of
solving humanitys energy needs and greatly mitigating climate change.
In this bold next step towards not only energy independence, space exploration and harnessing of
limitless resources, life extension beyond what our current biological limitations allows,
continues to be the beat of the drum towards, aka transcending our biology. Every energy
infrastructure project that we can complete which lessens the burden of disease, polluted
airways, work, and monetary expenditure over the long term, is a significant step towards
allowing ourselves the potential to apply technologies for immortal life.
In the designing, construction, and completing of this space solar energy project, inspiration will
come to many humans to become advocates of life extension technologies. Also, in creation of
this space solar array we as a global intelligence will be practicing methodologies, development
of strategic teams and the funding needed for space colonization on the moon, Mars and beyond.
Having the ability to conduct such missions is vital in the pursuit for indefinite life and
transcendence.
It will be especially significant for many of us, that projects such as these will actually be

completed in our lifetime, and can actually be completed in our lifetimes, and many other places
our species can reach. What use is there in the supporting organizations that focus on the unseen,
onfaith, when we have the greatest opportunity to seek indefinite life and find more of the
unseen than we could have ever thought possible. By supporting projects such as this and life
extension organizations around the world, we will be allowing a greater chance for our species to
reach new heights. We all need to be supporting projects, taxes, and organizations that support
the development of the health and longevity of human beings.
In harnessing solar energy, not only should we focus on those projects occurring out in space for
our benefit, but also harnessing, storing, and sustaining solar energy within ourselves. Scientists
recently have been able to place an antenna on a cell, and on that cell can harvest solar energy.
This is an important development for now, because we can harvest energy our bodies are
currently exposed to on the cellular level, and in the future will have developed nano skin-cells
that mimic human skill cells however solar energy conversion ratio will be much more efficient.
Scientists have even taken this a step further, going into the brain. They also figured out how to
place photo receptor proteins on a specific type of neuron cell in the brain of their choice, in
which those receptors use flashes of light (solar energy) to activate and deactivate them at will.
So not only will our bodies be able to harness solar energy, but will also have the ability to shut
that ability on and off at will.
Pursuing projects, funding, and government policy that reinforce the proponents of life
extension, enhancements are of crucial important for us in the coming decades, not only within
ourselves, but space and the quantum entanglement. Becoming immortal, in whatever form that
may be is essential in our species quest to comprehend as much of this existence as we possibly
can, and to continue asking further questions. Wanting to live forever is what gives life meaning,
not death and placing faith and comfort in past traditions that rely on the unseen and subordinate.
Instead look to the important things that truly matter: eradicating disease, increasing human
lifespans, increasing clean energy and output, space exploration, human enhancement, living
immortal by whatever means is most accessible/important to oneself. Lets be those generations
of humans that were not content with staying as they were, but wanted to improve their health,
their lifestyles, enhance them bodies and minds, but most importantly lived with the intent and
drive to transcend.

DEATH COSTS THE WORLD A LOT OF OPPORTUNITY


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 realitysculpting capacities. Life brings energy and powerlike 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 itselfsomething from nothingextropy
from entropy. It is evolution and development. While we are here we have these magnificent
opportunitiesfor 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 its
like getting slapped in the face when we reach the end. Its 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
its long, solid and sharpbut 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 wasnt 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 dont 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 its about blindly keeping up with tradition. If we dont 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 weve 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. Weve 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 dont think responsibly about death. Many dont 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, were 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. Dont you
wish you had your grandparents support and wisdom? Dont you mourn for the contributions
theyre also unable to make?
We suffer without the previous generations. Our leaders, builders, foundersthe people whose
toil, tenacity and intelligence gave us the marvels of the world we live in todayare sorely
missed. We suffer as a society with them. Their loss is at a level we cant 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 yearsor 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 doesnt need to be the same as our predecessors. Were 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.

Were 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 cant 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.
Lets not strive to be like animals, to eat, sleep, procreate and die in good order. Lets 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 themthis 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 cant 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, Alzheimers 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 wasnt 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 werent a factor. It stands to reason that these ailments arent
supposed to kill us; historically they dont unless we grow very old. This means we dont 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? Thats the
same reason why we wont let aging and disease roll the roulette tables of our lives. The cost is
too great. Wed rather be in control, wouldnt 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? Dont 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? Its not about stopping the new generations; its about saving them too, and staying with
them longer. Its 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. Its
about us joining together to support the research and development needed to make this possible
for the benefit of ours, and tomorrows generations.

LIFE AND LIBERTY: WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

I often hear the claim that life without liberty is not worth living. Whenever I hear this, I need to
ask, of course, what is the purpose of liberty. The purpose of liberty is for the individual to have
the ability to take all those actions which contribute to preserving and improving his life. Liberty
exists to make life (or at least better life) possible not the other way around.
Note that a dead person has neither life nor liberty; he has nothing. So there are three options as
far as slavery is concerned:
1) Both life and liberty;
2) Life but no liberty;
3) No life and no liberty.
While option 1) is clearly preferable to all the others, option 2) is preferable to option 3), because
something is preferable to nothing. Besides, a man who has temporarily lost his liberty can live
to fight another day and bring back that liberty when the opportunity is right. A man who has lost
his life has also lost his liberty forever; he will never have it back.

OCCAMS RAZOR & THE SOUL

BY: YANIV CHEN

Heres a rhetorical question for you: On which side of Occams Razor does your notion of Soul
fall?
Think about it for a couple of seconds. Then continue reading.
The purpose of this little cerebral apritif is to preface a straightforward yet to most shocking
conclusion about the nature of the Soul.
1. Lets first define Soul, Consciousness, Mind, Self, etc. as any nonphysical phenomena
containing either the essence of ones personality or elements thereof. I use these terms (which
are not absolutely synonymous) interchangeably here.
2. According to Occams Razor, among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest
assumptions should be selected. This is really just human common sense simplified: sure, it is
definitely possible that every time an apple falls to the ground, pink unicorns from Mars shoot
invisible laser beams to push that apple down; then again, its much likelier that Earths mass
simply bends space-time around Earth, thus exerting a force we experience as gravity.
3. Though there are countless examples to illustrate the point, lets only consider the following
situation: somebody close to you snaps his fingers; the air gets compressed in waves until it
reaches your outer ear; these compressed waves travel through your ear canal, then hit the
eardrum. The resulting vibrations, via the Malleus, Incus, Stapes, Semicircular Canals and
Cochlea (in a perfectly understood mechanical-physiological-electrical process which we can
readily emulate nowadays see cochlear implants) are in turn translated into electrical pulses.
Electrical.
Pulses.

From here on, there is nothing but electricity and chemistry.


These electrical pulses travel to the brain via the auditory nerve. Now. Your brain is a quiet
place; it doesnt have any pictures, nor any sounds or smells. You have learned, through
extensive trial and error mostly during your formative years to interpret external stimuli, in
this case, particular patterns of electrical pulses as somebody snapping their fingers.
What we experience as consciousness in this case awareness to an external phenomenon is
really merely the physical output of a pattern-recognizing machine: the cortical columns
processing auditory information are virtually identical to the cortical columns processing visual,
or tactile information. All of these columns are processing electrical pulses in a very, very
similar manner. The difference among them mainly lies in the preceding wiring, i.e. did the
stimulus arrive via the auditory nerve or via the visual pathway?
If you do not believe that to be the case, simply observe a six month old baby trying to reach a
toy right in front of him. Look at how he twitches every muscle in his body and face. The infant
simply does not know yet how to associate specific external stimuli the sight of the toy, its size,
varying pressures on specific patches of skin indicating where his limbs are located, etc. with
specific desirable results causing a specific set of exquisitely timed electrical pulses, thus
flexing the proper muscles in a series of actions that will result in him grabbing the toy.
4. Increase the level of white noise in the physical brain via simple chemicals (e.g. Propofol, a
popular weapon of choice among anesthesiologists), and you will induce lack of consciousness.
Use a specific deep brain stimulation probe, and you can even increase that noise so as to drown
out Parkinsons. Eliminate tiny regions in the brain associated with short term memory
processing and attention span, and you will be faced with a mere shell of a man. Flip a switch,
and you will be able to erase or restore a rats memories.
If such simple physical, chemical, electrical, measures can have such profound even negating
effects on our so-called consciousness, what makes anyone think that consciousness is anything
but the product of a physical, chemical, electrical brain is beyond me. We do not need anything
more than the physical brain in order to generate consciousness.
5. The Conclusion: you are a bio-chemical-electrical machine! There is no nonphysical Soul,
no Consciousness.
We are here simply because each and every one of our ancestors managed to survive and
procreate (or multiply.) a chain unbroken for more than 3.6 billion years. The mind is merely a
mechanism designed by spartan, brutally aloof evolutionary forces to increase the likelihood of
that survival. If you can interpret patterns, you would, for example, know that that rustle in the

grass is indicative of a beast ready to pounce; you would know that next year, 2 moon cycles
after the days have stopped shortening, there should be enough rain to sustain your newly sown
seeds. You would survive.
Of course, being logical, critical thinkers requires that we stop believing in supernatural
phenomena of all kinds inside and out gods, demons, angels and fairies especially, but also in
our own ethereal, out of body Soul. Though distinct, we are not unique snowflakes. Though
the comforting nature of the notion of a Soul is self-evident, isnt it time we all grew up?
Descartes, one of the champions of the so-called Mind-Body problem, who believed that
physical inputs are eventually passed on to the immaterial spirit, was wrong. There IS no
Mind-Body. There never was. There was only ever a Body that until very recently was
unfamiliar with its own neuronal processes, so it we simply fabricated the falsehood of the
Mind. That fabrication was necessary if we were to grapple with the perceived dichotomy
between what we thought, and what was. Little did we know that the former was the product
of the latter. How prosaic. How miraculous.
That is why our Mind feels good when our Body consumes chocolate they are the same.
That is why when our Mind suffers and we are depressed, our Body is more likely to catch a
cold they are the same. That is why, if the Body of a cow produces a misfolded protein (a
prion), the result will be a Mad Cow, and the human consuming its meat might contract
CreutzfeldtJakob disease, and lose his Mind the Mind and Body are the same.
They were always the same.
There is no need for the added complication stemming from the existence of an ethereal Soul;
the concept of Soul falls on the side of superfluous assumptions, and should not be selected.
Thus, according to Occams Razor, indeed, according to human common sense, there is no
Soul. We simply do not have a need for that hypothesis.

EVOLUTION: BIOLOGICAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, SOCIETAL

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

The concept of evolution is all too frequently given insufficient attention by self-proclaimed
proponents of liberty. However, an understanding of biological, technological, and societal
evolution including the similarities and differences among these processes is extremely
helpful and perhaps indispensable for a full appreciation of the nature and benefits of individual
liberty, free markets, and limited government.
BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION
Biological evolution is the change in the physical structure, processes, and functionality of
organisms over the span of generations. Biological evolution does not occur on an individual
level, but rather on the level of populations and often entire species; the accumulated changes
constituting biological evolution can result in the formation of entirely new species over
hundreds of thousands and millions of years. Indeed, contemporary understandings of evolution
hold that all living organisms are related and share a common ancestor. Evolution can explain the
greater genetic similarity of certain species to certain others by pointing out that those species
shared common ancestors in the more proximate past. The driving force of biological evolution
is natural selection. Certain traits allow individuals to survive to reproductive age more reliably
and therefore to pass those traits on to their genetic offspring. Biological evolution does not itself
create the traits that are more suited to a given environment; those traits arise randomly as a
result of genetic mutations. The overwhelming majority of these mutations are deleterious to an
organisms survival, but on occasion a mutation arises that facilitates superior adaptation. The
organisms exhibiting this mutation then become more prominent and widespread within their
population or species.
TECHNOLOGICAL EVOLUTION
Technological evolution is the change in the machines, infrastructure, and methods of
communication used by human beings. The generating force of technological evolution is
invention by individual humans or by intentional collaborative human efforts where a division of

labor exists. Subsequently, technologies are adopted or fall into disuse based on commercial
selection the process determining acceptance within a market of buyers or users. Consumers
judge technologies based on their ability to fulfill the consumers goals as individuals or to
adequately perform in the production of still other goods. As new technologies are developed,
they frequently displace older technologies that were intended to accomplish a similar role but
did so less efficiently that is, they did not accomplish the goal in question as quickly or with
the same level of quality. Although the human biological makeup has remained approximately
the same throughout recorded history, technological developments have been able to
dramatically alter, improve, and lengthen human lives and well-being during the past ten
millennia. Unlike biological evolution, technological evolution occurs on a scale that is
perceptible by individual human beings. Moreover, the rate of technological evolution has
dramatically accelerated since about 1750.
SOCIETAL EVOLUTION
Societal evolution is the change in human institutions including political systems, cultural
practices, worldviews, languages, ethical norms, forms of art, and economic interactions.
Societal evolution, at its most fundamental level, is driven by individual choices made during
day-to-day life. However, those choices are often influenced and conditioned in substantial ways
by institutions which were the result of prior societal evolution. Most individuals in most
societies choose to simply mimic existing macroscopic institutionally suggested societal
arrangements rather than developing their own or even incrementally improving upon the status
quo. Thus, the majority of large-scale societal evolution occurs due to the efforts of a relative
handful of individuals in any field of endeavor. These can include authors, major artists,
politicians, successful entrepreneurs, and philosophical or religious figures. However, advanced
societies also exhibit subcultures or niches in which any given individuals barriers to
influencing behavior within the group are much lower. In smaller niches, each individual can be
a considerable influence on societal evolution, and the resulting state of the niche can also exert
some degree of influence upon the larger society.
The scale of societal evolution, like that of technological evolution, can be perceived by
individual humans in most cases. However, while technological innovations feed on one another
to generate an accelerating rate of evolution, the pace of societal evolution is more variable and
differs when we consider various aspects of society. Some social norms and behaviors can
change dramatically in a matter of days or weeks; consider, for instance, the popularity of certain
songs, movies, and bestseller books. On the other hand, much slower evolution on a scale of
centuries to millennia can occur in such institutions as languages, the layout of roads, the set of
esthetic works generally thought to be high culture, and ethical norms. The rate of societal
evolution may have been accelerated by recent improvements in communication technology
although any impression of this may be due more to the greater ability to be aware of

evolutionary changes among various societies and social subgroups as well as to record those
changes, which might have gone unnoticed in the past.
FIGURE 1. SUMMARY TABLE OF THE ATTRIBUTES OF BIOLOGICAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, AND SOCIETAL EVOLUTION

Characteristic
Biological
Mutation
Natural selection

Type of Evolution
Technological
Invention
Commercial selection

Societal
Generating force
Individual innovation
Driving force
Individual choices
conditioned by
institutions
Pace of change
Excruciatingly slow Rapid and accelerating
Variable from
hundreds of thousands years in the single
millennia to days
and millions of years
digits
Spontaneous orders
Yes
Yes
Yes
Decentralized
Yes
Yes
Yes
Uncertainty of outcome
Yes
Yes
Yes
Progressive
No
Yes
Occasionally
Individuals can benefit
No
Yes
Yes
from their own
Planned
No except
Yes
Occasionally
occasionally by humans
Man-generated
Occasionally
Yes
Yes
Loser is eliminated Yes losing organisms Losing technologies are Losing institutions are
are eliminated.
frequently eliminated.
occasionally
eliminated.
Losing organisms are
Losing organisms are
not eliminated.
not eliminated, except
in societal devolution.
Acquired traits can be
No
Yes
Yes
passed on
Found in uncivilized
Yes
No
Rarely
nature
Upper limit on
Yes
No
No
possibilities
Persistent flaws
Yes
No
Yes for now
Resists change
Yes
No
Yes
Change generates
Yes
Yes
Yes

further change
Interrelated

Yes

Figure 1 presents a table where some of the aspects of the three kinds of evolution are compared
and contrasted. We shall now delve into these attributes in greater depth.
EVOLUTION, SPONTANEOUS ORDER, AND UNCERTAINTY OF OUTCOMES
All three kinds of evolution are spontaneous orders; the process and the entire results of
evolution cannot be controlled, arranged, or even predicted by a single entity. Entities from
atoms to human beings participate in evolutionary processes by following certain rules be they
the rules of molecular biology, the laws of physics and the principles of engineering design, or
the laws of economics and the inclinations of self-interest. In following these rules, the
participant entities generate a macroscopic outcome that is much larger than any of them
indeed, an outcome that may be beyond the ability of a participant entity to perceive and be
aware of. No biological organism seeks to bring about new species formation in its attempts to
obtain nourishment, escape predators, and reproduce. Likewise, the inventor of a new technology
most often does not grasp the full range of economic and societal consequences his invention
will have. Moreover, the originators of new social paradigms rarely, if ever, can grasp how their
paradigms will interact with already existing paradigms and with paradigms that are yet to come.
Neither with technological evolution nor with societal evolution is it possible to exhaustively and
comprehensively predict who will use an innovation and how. With biological evolution, the
long-term distribution of particular traits within populations and species are likewise difficult to
predict, because natural selection is capricious; it does not favor the same traits in the same
conditions. Radical and sudden environmental changes may come to favor a previously illadapted set of traits.
EVOLUTION AND PROGRESS
Not all kinds of evolution are progressive, where progress can be defined as an improvement in
the well-being, safety, and opportunities available to individual organisms particularly
intelligent ones such as humans. Biological evolution is notoriously non-progressive; it does not
have any mechanisms for ensuring individual survival. Indeed, once an individual has reached
reproductive age, reproduced, and reared offspring to near-maturity, biological evolution has no
more regard for him, her, or it. As far as that individuals survival is concerned, it is irrelevant to
biological evolution. For this reason, many individual organisms have evolved decent selfpreservation mechanisms prior to reproductive age; humans and other mammals do not senesce
prior to reproductive age and generally have strong immune systems to protect themselves from
disease until they reach the age when they can be expected to have near-mature offspring. Once
the genes are passed on, however, the individual who passed them on is no longer necessary to

the perpetuation his, her, or its genome. Thus, few mechanisms of natural selection operate to
select for traits that preserve that individual after successful reproduction and upbringing have
taken place.
Moreover, biological evolution does not even have built-in protections for the survival and
advancement of entire species and lines of descent. There have been numerous observed
evolutionary dead ends, where natural selections results were the destruction of an entire gene
pool because of its lack of adaptations to certain environmental conditions including bizarre
and sudden environmental changes. Numerous times during the Earths history, more complex
species with more advanced functionality have been wiped out and supplanted by more primitive
species with less intelligence and fewer abilities.
Nor is societal evolution necessarily progressive. History is replete with examples of societies
that have lost rights and freedoms hitherto enjoyed by their members. Moreover, commonly held
esthetic tastes have decayed over time in many historical and contemporary societies. The
English language is currently far more rigid and less receptive to innovation than it was during
the era of Shakespeare and Marlowe. Other deleterious changes such as the decrease in
prevailing attention spans and increasing audience passivity have characterized certain periods
of 20th-century Western history. In academic disciplines, including economics, philosophy, and
political theory, it is not infrequent that more truthful and accurate theories and ideas are
abandoned it favor of fanciful, flawed, and even dangerous mental constructs. The 20th century,
in general, exhibited numerous instances of both social progress and massive social decay. On
the one hand, decreasing racism and religious intolerance in the West were clear signs of
progress; on the other hand, the horrors of the two World Wars, the massive growth in
government power, and rampant inflation epidemics were just some of the counter-progressive
tendencies of the 20th century. Societal evolution can be progressive especially over longerterm intervals, as the immense general moral improvement and increases in cultural variety,
political freedom, and individual choice during the past millennium have shown. However, there
is no guarantee of societal progress during any term within the lifetime of an individual. While a
person born in 1940 has certainly witnessed tremendous societal progress during his life, a
person living from 1870 to 1940 would beg to differ.
Of the three kinds of evolution, technological evolution is the only consistently progressive one.
Even as the world engaged in brutal carnage, punctuated by unprecedented economic crises,
during the first half of the 20th century, technological progress continued to occur and to
accelerate. Technological evolution is progressive because technological improvements build on
one another. Existing innovations make it easier to develop new ones, because they economize
on the labor, information gathering, communication costs, and other transaction costs required to
do so. Existing computers, vehicles, and factory automata can considerably speed up the
production of other technologies of their kind. While institutional and cultural factors can

certainly affect the rate of technological progress, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to
reverse. The knowledge of how to materialize a particular technological design is relatively easy
to spread once it is originated; even if a widespread, coordinated effort to suppress technological
innovation arises, somebody, somewhere will be able to learn how to create the needed
technologies and will be able to actualize this knowledge.
Individuals particularly individual humans can benefit from their own technological and
societal evolution, but not from their own biological evolution. Biological evolution occurs at an
intergenerational level, and the individuals only role in it is that of passing on a genetic code.
HUMAN PLANNING OF EVOLUTION
At present, human beings have only limited control over planning the course of biological
evolutionary processes. With selective breeding and genetic engineering, as well as the alteration
of the environments in which non-human organisms exist, it is possible to exercise some manner
of indirect guidance of biological evolutionary processes. But there are still many traits that
humans can neither engineer nor eliminate in themselves or in other organisms. Technology
may, however, soon develop to a point where a greater degree of human oversight over
biological evolution can become possible. By far the majority of instances of biological
evolution are not man-generated or planned by humans; they occur due to the impersonal
processes of mutation and natural selection that have existed for billions of years.
Virtually all technological evolution is planned, in the sense that inventors and entrepreneurs
deliberately introduce particular technologies into particular markets. However, while the
elements of the evolution can be consciously designed and introduced, the consequences and
interactions of these elements are virtually impossible to predict by any human being.
Societal evolution, like technological evolution, is man-generated, in the sense that humans and
their actions are responsible for every component of societal evolution. However, societal
evolution is much harder to plan than technological evolution; no one person, for instance,
designed the first monetary systems, or any language, or even the majority of the groundwork for
political and economic systems throughout history. Moreover, no individual, committee, or
government can be said to have originated ethical, cultural, or esthetic norms although many
philosophers, politicians, and artists have influenced these norms in a gradual, incremental
fashion. There are virtual no inventors for societal institutions, but there are piecewise tinkerers;
there are also revolutionaries who tear down existing institutions without replacing them with
viable alternatives but these are most often the drivers of societal devolution.
Nonetheless, there can be a modicum of planning involved in societal evolution as, for
instance, with the influence of major philosophers, constitutional drafters, and paradigm creators

in esthetic and academic disciplines. The effectiveness of this level of planning, however, is
much rarer for cultural and political institutions than it is for technologies.
STATUS OF THE LOSER IN EVOLUTION
In biological evolution, the losing individuals and species the ones that do not withstand
natural selection pressures are eliminated. From this fact arises the notorious law of the
jungle the characterization of destructive competition in uncivilized nature.
In technological evolution, however, the losing organisms are not eliminated; the proponents of
earlier, now obsolete technologies will most often simply adopt the newer, more efficient
technologies. Earlier technologies, however, are most often displaced and assume the status of
museum relics and curiosities. This was the fate of the horse-and-buggy, the biplane, and the 486
computer processor. Sometimes less advanced earlier technologies coexist with more advanced
later ones over time as has happened with the communications media, for instance but this is
not generally the case and may be due in part to imperfect substitution among the various
communication technologies and in part to ingrained habits within certain segments of the
population, which will no longer predominate as demographics shift.
In societal evolution, losing organisms are also not eliminated unless severe instances of
societal devolution, including wars, government crackdowns, and waves of crime, occur. Losing
ideas and institutions are also seldom eliminated when they are displaced from prominence. In
societies, there is always a market for niche ideas, habits, and organizational structures that can
coexist with their different, more dominant counterparts. This is particularly true of more
advanced societies which tolerate different philosophical, religious, esthetic, and political modes
of expression. Ones candidate for office might be defeated, but ones political ideology might
not be affected by this. And if the majority of museum-goers begin to favor the paintings of
Picasso, one is still free to enjoy the work of Vermeer and to have it within relatively easy
access. It is possible for an institution to die out if it falls into sufficient disuse; there are
numerous dead languages, political systems, and social customs. But, as a general rule, a societal
institution that loses a contest against a rival will generally retain some sway in at least the
intermediate-term future. When societal institutions die, it is due more to atrophy than to any
revolutionary change.
PASSING ON OF ACQUIRED TRAITS
In biological evolution, it is impossible for organisms to pass on traits they acquired during their
lifetimes. Rather, all the traits they will ever pass on are encoded in their genomes. By contrast,
technological and societal evolution both allow individuals to learn new skills and habits during
their lifetimes and teach it to their biological offspring as well as their friends, acquaintances,

and associates. This capability makes technological and societal evolution far more adaptable
and resilient than biological evolution. The individual does not need to perish if he has
insufficient technological and societal skills and knowledge; rather, he can learn and improve
himself in a way in which he cannot yet improve his own genome.
EVOLUTION IN UNCIVILIZED NATURE AND IN CIVILIZATION
Evolution in uncivilized nature nature unaffected by humans is almost exclusively of the
biological kind. Non-human organisms do not engage in technological evolution; when they use
rudimentary technologies for instance, for the construction of dams and nests they do not
improve on their methods over time. It is possible to occasionally see traces of societal evolution
in the societies of more advanced animals but this, too, is quite rare, and it seldom survives
past a generation. If a group of chimpanzees establish a pattern for more effective societal
cooperation and organization, their grandchildren are unlikely to remember or replicate it.
Biological evolution, due to its lack of sufficient flexibility and intelligent guidance, has built-in
upper limits. Because the status of organisms past reproduction and offspring development is
irrelevant to biological evolution, the chances of mutation and natural selection alone favoring
extremely long-lived or functionally immortal creatures are extremely small even though one
such immortal species, the jellyfish Turritopsis nutricula, is known to exist. Moreover, random
mutation is an extremely slow and unreliable way of generating superior environmental
adaptations. Inventing new technologies has given humans the ability to survive in flight, in
undersea travel, and in outer space as well as to travel and communicate orders of magnitude
faster than any unaided biological organism. Societal evolution has given humans institutions
that enable peaceful cooperation and exchange of ideas unlike any that exists in uncivilized
nature. With technological and societal evolution, humans have at least partially taken their
future into their own hands and made themselves far more adaptable and resilient than any other
living creature.
FLAWS, CHANGE, INTERRELATIONS, AND EVOLUTION
Both biological and societal evolution are marred by persistent flaws. Aside from the deleterious
nature of most mutations, it is instructive to note that over 99.9% of all species that ever existed
are now extinct and the overwhelming majority of these extinctions were not caused by
humans. Biological evolution is brutal in the collateral damage it inflicts, and it is utterly
wasteful with resources and lives; truly, the delay in time and the method of producing better
organisms that biological evolution employs are among the least efficient processes conceivable.
The case for intelligent design of biological organisms falls flat on its face when we consider
that it would be a supreme insult to any allegedly omnipotent, omniscient deity to suggest that
he/she/it designed biological organisms and their interactions to be the way they are. Moreover,

biological evolution frequently has strong component forces that resist beneficial changes. Many
organisms in uncivilized nature seek actively to eliminate their more capable and otherwise
better-adapted counterparts. Consider, for instance, what would happen if a pack of fire ants
attacked any large, advanced mammal. To show the defects of both biological and societal
evolution, consider also what would have happened in most Paleolithic hunter-gatherer tribes to
an intellectual, inventive member who relished the pleasures of tinkering with sticks and stones
rather than the macho excitement of the hunt.
Societal evolutions flaws are evidenced by the tremendous waste of human lives and resources
that many institutions including most wars, governments, and religions, as well as many
customs, superstitions, and expectations bring about. Moreover, less efficient and beneficial
human institutions often put forth fierce, even violent, resistance to attempts at progress and
improvement. The fates of Socrates, Galileo, Giordano Bruno, and most dissenters in totalitarian
states testify to this tendency.
Technological evolution, on the other hand, is a process whose efficiency and rapidity are
constantly on the rise and where, every step of the way, humans endeavor to minimize waste.
Unlike biological and societal evolution, technological evolution does not resist change. New
technologies are typically rapidly adopted and refined to bring about higher quality and lower
cost. Technological innovation is much easier to implement and distribute than innovations in
social, cultural, and political norms in part because most people are not as closely wedded to
particular technological methods as they are to their favored societal institutions.
In every kind of evolution, change generates further change. The emergence of new biological
structures often serves to enable others still as, for instance, with the evolution of the eye.
Likewise, societal innovations inspire still others as occurs regularly in art, philosophy, and
politics. Technological improvements can often serve as components in still others and the
improvements in efficiency due to an earlier stage of progress are often necessary to make a later
stage possible.
It is also important to remember that all three kinds of evolution are interrelated and affect one
another. Technologies often enable particular societal institutions and change the incentives to
adopt some and reject others. Societal evolution conditions the preferences of consumers for
particular technologies over others. Biological evolution can often interfere with technological
progress as exemplified by the emergence of certain strains of bacteria immune to early
antibiotics. Likewise, technological evolution can condition biological evolution through
selective breeding, genetic engineering, and alterations to the environments of humans and nonhumans alike. Societal evolution includes the development of attitudes toward technologies and
ways of interacting with other biological organisms and thus often conditions the ways in which
people approach scientific endeavors and even evolution itself.

EVOLUTION AND LIBERTY


Understanding biological, technological, and societal evolution can be crucial to a full
appreciation of liberty itself an emergent evolutionary phenomenon. Environments in which
freedom can be effectively enforced and maintained require certain evolved societal and
technological underpinnings, which bring about power symmetries among as many individuals
and parties as possible, preventing any of them from oppressing the others. A fixed, static,
unchanging, and unchangeable natural order dictated by a deity is not easy to reconcile with
liberty, because if the structure of that order is already determined and knowable, then there is
little room for innovation, experimentation, and progress. In that case, the liberty to act
according to ones choice is easy to jettison and replace by the specious liberty of only doing
what is right by the definition of some political or religious authority. If there is nothing new
under the sun, then why not force everyone to conform to the best ways of old? This view, of
course, is a recipe for carnage, persecution, and mass poverty. Liberty is needed for individuals
to discover the truth and to progress to something better than a nasty, brutish, and short primitive
subsistence.
Liberty can be seen as the ability to participate in a multitude of evolutionary processes where
the rules of selection are as non-punitive and non-destructive as possible. Instead of the brutal
elimination-based approach of biological competition, selection of what happens in the future
can be done by the far more gentle market competition, where the loser is, to paraphrase Ludwig
von Mises, merely relegated to a more humble position in the division of labor. Likewise, instead
of resigning themselves to the individually non-beneficial and wasteful forces of biological
evolution, humans can rely more on the extraordinary abilities that technological evolution gives
them to transform the world around them for the improvement of their lives.
An appreciation of all kinds of evolution also enables us to understand the limitations of
overarching central planning. An impossibly omnipotent god who designs all life is only a step
removed from a king, dictator, or government committee with similar pretensions of designing
societies, cultures, and even virtuous conduct. If such amazingly complex structures as living
organisms have all been designed then, surely, the ability to design any other aspect of
existence is merely a matter of degree of ability. While many advocates of intelligent design
would here invoke the severe limitations of human beings as compared to their god of choice,
this is not an argument for liberty that can sustain scrutiny, because many of those same flawed
human beings claim to accurately know what their god of choice is and what he/she/it wants
them to do. Surely, if knowing the will of a god is accessible to humans, then so is the ability to
design and regulate a society from the top down a much humbler endeavor.
Evolution provides an alternative to design theories of existence. Even technological evolution

the kind most amenable to deliberate planning and engineering is still immensely decentralized
and lacks virtually any central coordination by a governing body or person. Technological,
biological, and societal evolution and their byproducts are all examples of what Friedrich Hayek
would call cosmos or an emergent order as opposed to taxis, or a centrally planned order akin
to the arrangement of pieces on a chessboard. Emergent orders do not admit full comprehension
much less control and the recognition that we ourselves are such emergent orders is sure to
deliver a firm blow to the agendas of those who wish to restrict and regulate the non-coercive
actions of the sovereign individual.

REJUVENATION RE RELIGION

BY: FRANCO CORTESE

Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come
from that hope.
- Robert Green Ingersoll, Ingrsolls views on politics and religion. Chicago
Times,1879.

Is religion at odds with the life-extension movement? A rebounding yes and no. Religion
constitutes at once perhaps the best historical validation of the widespread, longstanding and
deep-rooted desirability of indefinite longevity, as well as a non-negligible detriment to the
contemporary progress in the field of biomedical gerontology (also known as life-extension,
indefinite life-extension, anti-aging medicine and experimental gerontology). Insofar as religion
was created in order to appeal to humanitys longing for indefinite longevity, or more precisely
the absence of involuntary and irreversible death, then religion is at odds with itself.
The widespread belief in some form of an afterlife (wherein personal continuity with the self is
maintained past physical death) found in the large majority of both contemporary and ancient
religions exemplifies the uniquely and nearly-ubiquitously human desire for an indefinite
lifespan and the complete absence of involuntary death. At the same time, the belief that ones
self does survive physical death also removes perhaps the foremost motivator for hastening
progress in the field of life-extension: namely, the belief that physical death entails the complete
and utter end of the self. If a person believes that they will survive physical death to live in an
afterlife, then what real need is there to prolong ones physical lifetime, if physical death isnt
really death, in the sense of the complete and irreversible discontinuation of the self, at all?
Belief in personal continuity through and past physical death directly undermines the central
impetus fueling progress in field of biomedical gerontology.
On the other hand, religion may have been the largest medium of positive, humanitarian social
change aimed towards the betterment of society in the whole of recorded history prior to the
Enlightenment. The contemporary life-extension movement can be characterized as a
humanitarian movement aimed at reducing involuntary suffering in the world. Indeed, due to the

number of lives claimed per day by age-correlated causes of functional decline (on the order of
100,000 per day, which scales to 3 million per month and 36.5 million per year), the life
extension movement may become the most effective way to eliminate contemporary suffering in
the world. Thus religion and the contemporary life-extension movement have some significant
motivational overlap and continuity-of-impetus, in that they are both aimed at the reduction of
involuntary suffering in the world.
Furthermore, Abrahamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese religious texts alike abound with
instances describing very long-lived people, suggesting that most religions are not axiomatically
at odds with life-extension in the physical world. This suggests that lifespans significantly
greater than the current maximum lifespan attainable in humans is not in contradiction with the
beliefs or central values of the Abrahamic, Buddhist, Hindu and Chinese religious traditions.
In ancient Chinese religion and philosophy for example, we find not only a recurrent desire for
personal immortality, but instances where specific methodological means were applied in an
attempt to prolong ones physical, earthly life:
Another driving force behind Qin encouragement of religious activities [circa. 200 B.C.E] was
the first Emperor's personal quest for immortality. We are told that in this quest he sent groups of
young people across the China Sea to look for such islands of the immortals as Penglai
An explicit concern for long life (shou) had already appeared on early Zhou bronzes and in
poems in the Scripture of Odes. Beginning in the eighth century B.C.E. we find terms expressing a
hope for immortality, such as no death, transcending the world, and becoming an immortal.
By the fourth century B.C.E. there is evidence of an active quest for immortality through a variety
of means, including exercises imitating the movements of long-lived animals, diets enforcing
abstinence from grains, the use of food vessels inscribed with characters indicating longevity, the
ingestion of herbs and chemicals, and petitions for the aid of immortals residing in mountains or
distant paradises. It was in this context that Chinese alchemy began. The alchemical quest became
the most dramatic form of the quest to transcend death, growing in popularity during the Qin (221207 B.C.E.) and Western Han (202 B.C.E.-9 C.E.) dynasties
There was no doctrine of an eternal, immaterial soul to fall back on as in India or the Hellenistic
world, so the only alternative was physical immortality. In China this tradition continued to
develop through the Eastern (Latter) Han dynasty (25-220 C.E.) and produced texts of its own full
of recipes, techniques, and moral exhortations. As such, it became one of the major sources of the
Daoist religion that emerged in the second century C.E.. [1]

We see both practical attempts at increasing ones lifespan in the physical world, as in the
examples outlined above, as well as attempts to achieve a type of immortality more similar to the
conception of passage to an afterlife-as-such found in western religion:
Although in some passages of the Zhuangzi an enlightened perspective leads to acceptance of
death, a few others provide poetic visions of immortals, those who have transcended death by
merging with the Dao. One of the terms Zhuangzi uses for these individuals is zhenren, perfected

people, a term that later became important in the fully-developed Daoist religion that took shape
after the second century C.E.. These indications of immortality in the earliest Daoist texts
provided the chief point of contact between the classical tradition and those who sought
immortality by more direct means, including later practitioners of Daoist religion

One can also find belief in extremely-long-lived people in later Chinese philosophy and
religion as well, such as in The Complete Works of the Two Cheengs (c. 1033-110):
Question: About the theory of immortals are there such beings?
Answer: if you mean people living in the mountain forests to preserve their physical form and
to imbibe energy to prolong life, then there are. [2]

This suggests, firstly, that life-extension was actively practiced and sought as an end in itself by
at least some ancient Chinese religious sects and philosophies (not to mention by the first
Emperor of the Qin Dynasty himself) . Secondly, this also suggests that physical indefinite
longevity, as opposed to metaphysical immortality in an afterlife, is compatible with the views
and beliefs of those ancient Chinese religious sects and philosophies known to have practiced
forms of practical life-extension in the physical world.
We find even starker instances of extremely-long-lived people in Buddhist religious texts. In the
Anguttara Nikaya [3], for instance, which is the fourth nikaya in the Sutta Pitaka (one of the
"three baskets" making up the Pali Tipitaka in Theravada Buddhism), there are several types of
heaven described, all of which are located in the physical universe. The inhabitants, deva or
denizens of these heavens have varying lifespans. Devas of Parinirmita-vaavartin live
9,216,000,000 years; devas of Nimmnarati live 2,284,000,000 years; devas of Tvatimsa live
36,000,000 years; devas of Tusita live 576,000,000 years; and the devas of Yma live
1,444,000,000 years.
The Hindu religious tradition also abounds with not only instances of very long-lived people but
also, like the Chinese religious tradition, specific attempts to practice methodological means of
life-extension. Ilia Stambler explicates the convergences between longevity and the Indian
religious, philosophical and cultural tradition adeptly in Longevity and the Indian Tradition
[4]:
Book 9 of The Rigveda [5] (c. 1700-1100 BCE) is dedicated to praises of the immortality-giving
Soma plant. (The plant is called Haoma in ancient Iranian (Aryan) religious sources, such as
Avesta, (c. 1200-200 BCE.). In India, the immortal Rishis, Arhats, and the Ciranjivas (the
extremely long-lived persons) are revered to the present. Their extreme longevity is often
attributed to Amrit

or the nectar of immortality a revered and desired substance.

The traditional Indian medicine of Ayurveda [6, 7], or the science of (long) life, includes a
special field of Rasayana [8], mainly dedicated to rejuvenation.

Stambler observes here that specific parts of the Indian religious tradition appear to have fueled,
or at least supported, some of the earliest historical embodiments (i.e. originating c. 100-300
BCE) of a rejuvenation science. This would suggest that, in the case of the Indian religious
tradition, religion supported and even helped facilitate the aims of the life-extension movement
and discipline.
According to the Sushruta Samhita [c. 300-400 BCE], human life can be normally prolonged to
100 years [9]. Yet, with the use of certain Rasayana remedies (such as Brahmi Rasayana and
Vidanga-Kalpa), life can be prolonged to 500 or 800 years. And the use of the Soma plant, the
lord of all medicinal herbs [24 candidate plants are named], is followed by rejuvenation of the
system of its user and enables him to witness ten thousand summers on earth in the full enjoyment
of a new (youthful) body.

Moreover, one of the plants cited as being able to prolong life up to 500 or 800 years, namely
the Brahmi Rasayana, has been shown in contemporary scientific studies to possess some antiaging benefits, suggesting that the teachings described in the Sushtuta Samhita and the Charaka
Samhita constituted the beginnings of a veritable life-extension science, or at least that they were
more than simply hype [10].
Also according to another foundational text of Ayurveda, The Charaka Samhita (Charakas
Compilation of Knowledge, c. 300-100 BCE), the normal human life-span is 100 years. Yet, the
users of an Amalaka Rasayana could live many hundreds of years and the users of the
Amalakayasa Brahma Rasayana could reach the life-span of 1000 years. The great sages, who
grasped perfectly the knowledge of Ayurveda, attained the highest well-being and nonperishable
life-span.

Stambler also notes the concept and practice of life-extension in the Buddhist religious tradition
as well:
The Great Buddha who grants Longevity is Amitbha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, also known
as Amityus, the Buddha of Infinite Life. Those who invoke him will reach longevity in this
realm, and will be reborn in Amitabhas PureLand (Sukhvat or Dewachen in Tibetan Buddhism)
where they will enjoy virtually unlimited longevity. This pure and egalitarian land of longevity
was created by Amitabhas avowed devotion and perseverance. One of the mantras in Amitabhas
praise is Om amrita teje hara hum (Om save us in the glory of the Deathless One hum). Many
Buddhist mantras for longevity are recited, dedicated to the great healers of old, so that a portal to
their wisdom may be opened and through their compassion, suffering will be abolished and health
and longevity reached in this world.

We see far less emphasis on depicting immortality as desirable and attainable through the right
variety of religious practices and/or moral codes in Norse religion and mythology. We do,
however, find in it conceptions of life after death, as well as the notion of significantly-prolonged
life in the physical world:

Haustlng [c. 1000] calls Idun [the character in Norse Mythology thought to grant eternal life to
other Norse gods] the maiden who understood the eternal life of the aesir but does not mention
the apples, in Snorris version of the story Iduns apples clearly function as a symbol of the
immortality of the gods. Indeed, when he presents Idun in Gylfaginning, Snorri says she is the
wife of Bragi: She keeps in her bag the apples that the gods are to chew when they grow old, and
then all become young again, and so shall it be until Ragnark. [11]

In both depictions of Idun we see the prolongation of life in the physical world contingent on
specific factors (which is an aspect characterizing indefinite life-extension), the contingent factor
in this case being whether Idun decides to grant one eternal life or not. Prolongation of life is in
this case dependent on the carrying out of specific methodological practices, and this depiction
of life-extension in Norse legend bears more similarity to contemporary existing and proposed
methods of life-extension than, for instance, automatic and non-contingent immortality granted
via passage to an afterlife.
But the second depiction, significantly, depicts contingent life-extension via specific material
changes to the body namely ingesting Iduns apples. This bears even more similarity to modern
approaches to life-extension than the first case, in which the prolongation of life was contingent
on methodological rather than material therapies.
We find a multitude of particularly long-lived people described in Abrahamic religious texts as
well. We also find many instances reifying the often-unspoken desirability of longer life and an
end to involuntary death, in the form of passages depicting unending (or sometimes simply
extended) life as one of the rewards explicitly promised to the faithful upon their salvation (as
opposed to being inherent in the promise of an afterlife). The first observation suggests that
significantly-extended lifespans is not in contradiction with Christian belief, values, ethics or
cosmology. The latter observation suggests that the Abrahamic religious tradition in general, and
the Christian religious tradition in particular, hold life-extension to be desirable, and that it may
even constitute one of their fundamental values:
Methuselah is said to have lived 969 years: And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred
sixty and nine years: and he died [12]. Indeed, the King James Version Bible lists 8 persons
aged over 900 when they died: Methuselah, who died at age 969, Adam at 900, Eve at 940, Seth
at 912 [13], Enos at 905 [14], Kenan at 910 [15], Jared at 962 [16], and Noah at 950 [17, 18].
The Bible also lists 12 other persons between the ages of 200 and 900, and at least 10 persons
with a lifespan between 100 and 200: Mahalalel is said to have died at age 895 [19], Lemech at
age 777 [20], Shem at 600 [21], Eber at age 464 [22], Arpachshad at 438 [23], Salah at 433 [24],
Job at 240 [25], Reu at 239 [26], Peleg at 239 [27], Serug at 230 [28], Terah at 205 [29], Isaac at
180 [30], Abraham at 175 [31], Nahor at 148 [32], Jacob at 147 [33], Amram at 137 [34],
Jehoiada at 130 [35], Sarah at 127 [36], Aaron at 123 [37], Joshua at 110 [38] and Joseph at 110
[39].

Furthermore, the concept of definitively indefinite longevity, i.e. biological immortality (as
opposed to greatly extended lifespans as in the cases above), does not seem to be contradiction
with fundamental Christian tenets or values either. In Genesis, for instance, Adams immortality,
as well as the desirability of that immortality, are inherent in the warning God gives him: But of
the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest
thereof thou shalt surely die. [40], as well as in the passage And the serpent said unto the
woman, Ye shall not surely die [41], again referring to eating from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil.
Certain other passages indicate that the Original Sin committed by Adam and Eve that cast
them out of Eden was the very act that took natural immortality away from humanity:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned [42]. Additionally, the belief in an eternal afterlife
exemplified by most sects of the Christian religious tradition also indicates that literal
immortality, and not just greatly extended mortal lifespans, is compatible with Christian
beliefs and values as well.
We also see an emphasis on religion helping heal the sick and diseased in Christianity, which
parallels the co-development of the ancient Indian tradition of medical rejuvenation (rasayana)
and the ancient Indian religious tradition. Some of the most well-known biblical passages
regarding Jesus are about how he healed lepers and the blind. We also see the healing of sickness
and disease depicted as a reward promised to the faithful. And he went throughout all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every
disease and every affliction among the people. [43]. And he called to him his twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and
every affliction [44]. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You
received without paying; give without pay [45]. When the crowds learned it, they followed
him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had
need of healing [46]. You shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your
water, and I will take sickness away from among you [47]. Is anyone among you sick? Let him
call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name
of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up.
And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven [48]. And these signs will accompany those
who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will
pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they
will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. [49]. Behold, I will bring to it health and
healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security. [50].
Now Isaiah had said, Let them take a cake of figs and apply it to the boil, that he may recover
[51]. In these passages we see both the healing of specific diseases and ailments, as well as
immunity to all disease and sickness in general, being promised to the faithful.

Perhaps even more contrary to the popular belief that religion is at odds with the contemporary
attempt to achieve indefinite lifespans is the depiction of life-extension as a value and reward in
and of itself within the Christian tradition. This can be seen in a number of passages wherein
abiding by the moral codes of Christianity is rewarded with longer life. We see this, for instance,
in such passages as I will reward them with long life; I will save them. [52], and He asked life
of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever [53].
The previous passages can be interpreted as referring to immortality in the afterlife, which
nonetheless still reifies the desirability of indefinite lifespans and the avoidance of involuntary
death at the heart of the contemporary life extension movement. But we see life-extension in the
physical world, as opposed to immortality in the afterlife, being offered as a reward for the
faithful as well. We see this in such passages as The fear of the Lord prolongs life, but the years
of the wicked will be short. [54], and Honor your father and your mother, that your days may
be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you [55].
Passages locating life-extension in ones mortal life as a value and reward in and of itself, as
characterized by the previous passages, are by contrast much less frequent in the Quran. We do
find long-lived people in the Quran, however, especially regarding personages also described in
the Bible and the Torah, like Moses and Noah: And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and
he remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years, and the flood seized them while
they were wrongdoers [56]. Indeed, because the longest-living personages in the Bible occurred
in Genesis, and all constellating around the first half of the First Testament, the large majority of
the long-lived personages (from the Bible) that were previously cited also apply to Judaism and
Islam, which along with Christianity constitute the Abrahamic religious tradition.
The concept of both immortality and prolonged lifespans also abound in the religious and
mythical traditions of Ancient Greece and Rome. Here we find not only immortal deities (e.g.
Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hades, Hephaestus, Hera,
Hermes, Hestia, Poseidon, Zeus, and Iapetus), but we also find interaction between mortals and
the immortal deities. For instance, Greek deities were said to be able to procreate with mortals to
form demigods, who were able to possess some of the powers of the gods, but who were still
ultimately mortal and bound to die.
We also find the notion of immortality in the physical world in the Iranian mythological and
religious tradition:
In ancient Iranian tradition, immortals are the ever-lasting individuals who continue their life after
its normal earthly period in a state of perpetual sleep or hiding; they are to appear on Resurrection
Day to assist the saviour to save all people. In Band He, it is mentioned that fifteen pious men
and fifteen pious women on Resurrection Day will assist the saviour, including Toos, Kayxosrow,

Giv, Pautan, etc Toos is among those who, along with Fariboorz and Giv, accompany
Kayxosrow in his final disappearance; this indicates Zorastrian's belief in Toos' immortality, as
Toos is considered one of the immortals in Pahlavi religious texts as well [57].

Ancient Iranian religious texts (as well a geographically-related religious texts) also feature
mortals being granted immortality by immortal deities and angels:
In Farkard, Saoyant (the Zoroastrian World Saviour) sets foot on the earth. When thirty, he is
appointed as the prophet Mazdesina and his presence destroys Ahriman (the evil spirit). The
immortal figures such as Kayxosrow, Giv, Pautan, Garasb and Toos assist Saoyant in the
renovation of the world According to Avesta texts, Kayxosrow is immune from sickness and
death and monarchy becomes his legitimate right
According to the Yat the prophet Zoraster praises Kaygotasb in the following words: you
shall be immune to sickness and death like Kayxosrow Likewise, in Pahlavi texts, Kayxosrow
is one of the immortals and resides in Gang Castle and sits on his throne, invisible to all eyes; and
when Resurrection approaches, he and Saoyant would meet each other; Kayxosrow will be
among the heroes who assist Saoyant in the war in the time of Resurrection.
Ghotasb, after converting to Zoroastrianism, wants to know of his place in Eden. Three angels
appear at his court The angles assure them that God is their protector and would ensure their
victory over the enemy. The King's request for knowing of his place in the Eden is granted; the
angels also award immortality to his son, Pautan According to Band He, Ayrira is one of the
immortals of Zorastrians In Pahlavi texts, Yat Faryan is mentioned as an Immortal. In Band
He, Zand, and Homan Yasen, Zoraster asks Ahura Mazda to give him immortality and requests
of Ahura Mazda to grant him immortality like wan juyd-be, Goyad Shah, Pautan, Yat Faryan
Anoosheh [58].

Indeed, the first known myth ever, the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh [59], concerns a Sumerian
Kings quest to gain physical immortality through a fabled plant. He gains the plant and loses it
to unforeseen circumstances. In the end, Gilgamesh decides that true immortality is for the gods,
and that mortals should be content with heroic immortality that is, with doing great deeds and
being remembered for it for years to come. However, in the epic he initially seeks immortality
from Utnapishtim, a human survivor of the Great Flood who was granted immortality from the
gods. So the epic does in fact depict indefinite lifespans in humans, despite the fact that
Gilgamesh himself in the end does not attain it.
The Sumerian Kings list [60] also indicates the prominence that the concept of immortality took
on in the minds of Sumerians. According to their records (which today are typically considered
through the same sort of allegorical lens that most religious and mythic texts are), Alulim reigned
for 28,000 years, Alalngar reigned for 36,000 years, En-men-lu-ana for 43,200 years, En-mengal-ana for 28,800 years, Dumuzid, the Shepherd for 36,000 years, En-sipad-zid-ana for 28,800
years, En-men-dur-ana for 21,000 years, Ubara-Tutu for 18,600 years, Jushur for 1200 years,
Kullassina-bel for 960 years, Nangishlishma for 670 years, En-tarah-ana for 420 years, Babum
for 300 years, Puannum for 840 years, Kalibum for 960 years, Kalumum for 840 years, Zuqaqip

for 900 years, Atab (or A-ba) for 600 years, Mashda for 840 years, Arwium for 720 years, Etana
for 1500 years, Balih for 400 years, En-me-nuna for 660 years, Melem-Kish for 900 years,
Barsal-nuna for 1200 years, Zamug for 140 years, Tizqar for 305 years, Ilku for 900 years,
Iltasadum for 1200 years, En-me-barage-si (c. 2600 BCE) for 900 years, Aga of Kish for 625
years, Mesh-ki-ang-gasher of E-ana for 324 years, Enmerkar for 420 years, Lugalbanda for 1200
years, Dumuzid for 100 years, Gilgamesh for 126 years, Ur-Nungal (Gilgameshs son) for 30
years, Udul-kalama for 15 years, La-ba'shum for 9 years, En-nun-tarah-ana for 8 years, and so
on. The Sumerian kings listed thereafter begin to list reigns of 10-100 years, gradually dwindling
in much the same manner as the ages of biblical personages dwindled in age progressively
throughout the First Testament. Although one does still find long reins interspersed throughout
the shorter reigns, for instance in Ur-Zababas listing, which lists him as reining for 200 years c.
2300 BCE, preceded by Puzur-Suen who reigned for 25 years and Zimudar who reigned for 30
years.
Indeed, one is hard-pressed to find any ancient religious or mythical tradition wherein deities can
age and die the exception being the Norse mythology, where Norse gods must consume Iduns
apples in order to periodically restore their youth. The nearly-ubiquitous conception of indefinite
longevity across all ancient religions and mythologies, even during periods where cross-cultural
communication is thought to have been non-existent (suggesting that the concurrent conception
of immortality are truly independent of one another), indicates that indefinite longevity is one of
humanitys most deep-rooted, long-standing and natural longings a desire that transcends
cultural distance and deep historical time.
Religion (and especially those religions promising an eternal afterlife) does constitute a
detriment to contemporary progress in life-extension because they remove the central motivator
for hastening progress in the field, namely the complete cessation of existence (i.e. death without
an afterlife) [61]. If we dont consider death to really be death at all, then we lack any pressing
need to do away with it. Yet at the same time humanitys religious and mythic traditions
constitute perhaps the strongest historical legitimator of longevitys value and desirability,
indicating humanitys deep-rooted longing for longer life in general, and indefinitely-extended
lifespans in particular, perhaps better than any other cultural or historical heritage. Religion,
insofar as regenerative medicine and rejuvenation science are concerned, is at odds with itself.
Many secularists today would argue that fear of, or at least dissatisfaction with, utter death (i.e.
physical death without an afterlife) is one of the largest motivating factors for creating and
sustaining a religion in the first place. Promises of an end to death through death, in the form of
an afterlife, became so unanimously popular because humanity is and should be dissatisfied with
death. While there may have been other motivating factors at play, I think most secular people
would agree that dissatisfaction with death was one of the main motivating factors for conceiving
of an afterlife. If we take this as true, then contemporary religion is ironically thwarting one of

the very impulses that drove its conception in the first place. By believing in an afterlife due to
our dissatisfaction with death we unwittingly deter the continuing development of the field that
can finally put a real end to our own resented finality. Religion was created in part because we
wish to avoid death, and today that very same institution slows progress in actually achieving a
scientific end to involuntary death.
This problem, the fact that belief in an afterlife negates the central impetus for desiring indefinite
lifespans in the physical world, is particularly notable when we consider the fact that the majority
of people still believe in one form of an afterlife or another. Recent polls indicate that
approximately 80% of Americans and over 50% of global citizens believe in an afterlife [62, 63,
64, 65, 66]. If these polls are accurate, then the majority of humans are likely to see no great or
pressing need to significantly extend their lifespans in the physical world. And while secularism
has been increasing over time, and should be expected to continue increasing, every day the
achievement of indefinite-longevity therapies is delayed costs us 100,000 human lives,
irreversibly lost to causes that are in principle preventable and reversible. But the time it takes to
make progress in the field of biomedical gerontology is a direct function of how much society
demands it and expresses its desire for it. Progress in the field of life-extension is a function of
funding, and funding is by and large determined by how much people want something, or by
how urgent a given problem is. [67]. The more we demand it and express our desire for it, the
more attention and funding it will receive, and the faster it will be achieved.
We have endeavored to show that the notion of greatly extended lifespans as long as a
thousand years in the case of the Christianity, Judaism and Islam, a thousand years in case of
Hinduism, and nine million years in the case of Buddhism is not at odds with the beliefs or the
values of the large majority of religious and mythic traditions. We have further endeavored to
show that in many cases greatly-prolonged life in the physical world is actually offered as a
value and reward in and of itself in many religious traditions as well.
Neither of these theses deter the fact that widespread belief in an afterlife is going to almost
invariably decrease the perceived necessity of ending involuntary death in the physical world.
But these theses do help ameliorate the incorrect public perception that religion is actually at
odds with life-extension, or that life-extension is directly or indirectly contrary to the values
and/or core beliefs of the various religious traditions considered here. Indeed, we have attempted
to substantiate the claim that, on the contrary, life-extension is in certain cases neutral in regards
to core religious beliefs and values while in other cases being compatible with them, and
furthermore that, in certain other significant cases cited and outlined above, life-extension in the
physical world actually constitutes a religious practice and value in the Mesopotamian, Norse,
Greek, Roman, Chinese, Eastern and Abrahamic religious traditions., both through the promise
of indefinite longevity in an afterlife and the promise (and in some cases practice) of lifeextension in the physical world.

In order to combat the arguably-underinformed public perception that religion is at odds with the
aims of biomedical gerontology, we should cite the large body of primary literature suggesting
that religion and rejuvenation are not at odds with eachother, but are instead in varying instances
(1) neutral with regards to eachother, (2) compatible with eachother and (3) actually coincident
in terms of values and beliefs. We should attempt to develop communities that explore the
intersections between historys philosophical, religious and mythical traditions and the
contemporary field of biomedical gerontology, and which reach out to religious communities in
an attempt to demonstrate via hermeneutical interpretation that rejuvenation and religion are not
as at-odds with eachother as they are often thought to be.

"The idea of immortality, that like a sea has ebbed and flowed in the human heart,
with its countless waves of hope and fear, beating against the shores and rocks of
time and fate, was not born of any book, nor of any creed, nor of any religion. It
was born of human affection, and it will continue to ebb and flow beneath the
mists and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love kisses the lips of death. It
is the rainbow -- Hope shining upon the tears of grief."
-

Robert Green Ingersoll, The Ghosts, 1877.

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PART THREE: LONGEVITY POLITICS

PUBLIC DOMAIN IMAGE

DEBATE FORUM: WHICH WILL BE THE FIRST NATION TO OFFER STATE-SUBSIDIZED


IMMORTALITY TO ITS CITIZENS?
BY: IMMORTALLIFE.INFO DEBATE FORUMS2

In the next 2-3 decades, technology will be producing a plethora of anti-aging products that will
be able to guarantee radical life extension - to any individual who can afford it.
For example, right now TA-65 is available as a telomere activator - but the capsules cost $200
per month.
My question is - what nation on the planet will be the first to subsidize immortality?
What nation will provide anti-aging drugs, stem cell treatments, nano-medicine, and other
interventions, to all of its citizenry, absolutely free?
My guess is that the first Immortal Nation will be a small wealthy community where theres
already many retirees, high income, and healthy longevity - perhaps Andorra, Monaco, San
Marino, Luxembourg, or Malta.
Iceland, with its population of a mere 400,000, is also a possibility.
By offering free anti-aging services, the first Immortal Nations would attract additional citizens
seeking access to eternity.
The second tier of Immortal Nations would be larger countries that already have a good health
care system in place. This category would include Israel, Singapore, Norway, Sweden, Denmark,
Switzerland and Austria.
Larger nations will be far behind in guaranteeing Indefinite Life Extension, in my opinion.
France, Germany, and Canada will be contenders for first Immortal Nations with populations
2

Debate question and introductory discussion by Hank Pellissier.

over 30 million.
Japan? A dark horse possibility. Its inhabitants live longer than anyone else in the world, but
with its declining fertility and birth rate can it afford to subsidize its huge numbers of
nonagenarians and centenarians?
COMMENTS:
A nation in W. Europe would likely be the first to offer such subsidization. Which nation that
actually is would be impossible to foresee at this time.
By ALAN BROOKS on Apr 11, 2013 at 7:42pm
...PS: Israel
Problem is, Israel conscripts its citizens. Question is: why would a nation want to subsidize
radical life extension for its citizens if it would draft them into the military, substantially raising
the odds of their being killed or maimed? IMO one would expect such a nation to eventually
cease conscription to enhance incentive to live indefinitely.
By ALAN BROOKS on Apr 11, 2013 at 7:53pm
While not a nation, per se, I believe the United Arab Emirates would be one of the more
likelier to first subsidize radical life extension. I say this because of their devotion to adapting
new science and technologies to their society construction plans, and even dedicating funds to
building areas meant for future technology usage and efficiency.
With their single-payer healthcare system, free public education, and overall desire to build
while looking to the future, really makes me think of no other place when regarding the
possibility of subsidized radical life extension to the mass populace.
By B.J. MURPHY on Apr 12, 2013 at 7:09pm
Actually Alans point about Israel raises an interesting issue about indefinite life extension
generally. Clearly, Israel conscripts its citizens because it believes (correctly or incorrectly) that
this improves their collective security. So they are required to jeopardize their individual security
in order to improve their collective security. And even if one might question how effective is, is
there is at least no logical inconsistency between the two. The soldier sacrifices his or her own
security to keep others safe. If the threat is sufficiently real (and again, I am not taking a position
here on whether this is or isnt the case), then this will indeed improve overall security.

So the obvious question this raises in the context of indefinite (individual) life extension is: will
this improve or rather jeopardize our collective security as a species? At the individual level its
a no-brainer, but at the collective level its less obvious.
By PETER WICKS on Apr 12, 2013 at 11:50pm

THE LONGEVITY PARTY MANIFESTO


BY: MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.

Longevity Party is an international union of people, who believe the main goal of each and
everyone is development of scientific and technological progress, significant life extension and
supporting unlimited enhancement of capabilities of a personality.
LONGEVITY PARTY IS THE PARTY OF COMMON SENSE.
Everyone has their own values in life family, children, creativity, love, beauty, freedom,
money, traveling, sex, power But all these things can only make sense if the person is alive.
The basic condition for existence and implementation of all values is life. Its significant
extension by rational, scientifically proven methods is the wisest strategy for every one of us.
LONGEVITY PARTY STRIVES TO FAIRNESS AND HAPPINESS.
There is nothing more unfair than death. People dont deserve death. Death, senility and diseases
make a person unhappy. Fight for fairness and happiness for everyone is a fight against diseases,
suffering, pain, aging and fighting for radical extension of human life.
LONGEVITY PARTY ADVOCATES ACCELERATION OF HUMAN EVOLUTION.
Life is a form of organization of matter, focused in the first place on self-preservation. Life is an
anti-entropy process. The essence of evolution is in development and a human being is the best
example of it. Its human nature to strive to enhance capabilities, expand and increase the scope
of the personality. Humans are endowed with capacity to self-improvement. They can gain new
knowledge and skills and use those to improve their organisms and the world around them.
Human evolution has long been happening not only on the biological level, but also on scientific
and technological and social levels. All people are interested in positive changes to happen as
soon as possible.
LONGEVITY PARTY IS THE PARTY OF PROGRESS.

The entire history of humanity is the history of improved capabilities and increased life
expectancy. Everything that makes our life better, longer, more comfortable and more replete is
the result of progress. Nonetheless, there are dangers and risks associated with science and
technology development. They reflect the forces of regress and entropy. These phenomena must
be seen as unsolved problems of progress.
LONGEVITY PARTY STRIVES TO PRESERVE CIVILIZATION.
One of the problems of humanity is the global risks events, as a result of which the civilization
may be destroyed. It is necessary to evaluate these risks well in advance and prevent any possible
negative scenario from happening. Longevity Party sets the goal of the indestructibility of
humanity.
LONGEVITY PARTY PROPOSES THE ABSOLUTE HIERARCHY OF GOALS.
Given the conditions of limited financial and intellectual resources, it is crucial to identify the
most important tasks and focus on solving them. Certainly, the most important task for the
civilization is radical human life extension.
The following areas are most promising for developing scientific methods and technologies for
radical life extension: regenerative medicine, personalized medicine, neuromodeling, aging
diagnostics, gene therapy, creating artificial organs, improving methods of studying molecular
biological processes, cryonics, mathematical modeling of biological processes, creating Artificial
Intelligence, nanorobots, evolutionary biology of aging, development of futurology.
LONGEVITY PARTY ADVOCATES PROACTIVE APPROACH TO LIFE.
Given the current time limitations of human life, it is shortsighted to passively wait for
technological achievements. It is crucial to do everything possible to extend your own lifespan
use methods of disease diagnostics and preventing, lead a healthy life style, improve your own
scientific competence, actively support scientific research aimed at reaching physical
immortality, support cryonics as a means of restoring life-sustaining activities of the dead in the
future.
Longevity Party sets the goal of rising to power in the majority of countries of the world in order
to implement projects on significant human life extension.

THE LONGEVITY PARTY WHO NEEDS IT? WHO WANTS IT?


BY: ILIA STAMBLER, PH.D

In the Spring of 2012, there began organizing efforts to create longevity parties in several parts
of the world in Russia, the US, Israel and Europe dedicated to political promotion of lifeextension research and practice. (See Here, Here and Here.)
Some questions may immediately arise with regard to these efforts.
Some people, who have not dedicated too long to the study of life-extension or their mortality or
politics, may even ask: What loons would start such a party and what loons would vote for it?
But at least we, the loons who are involved in these activities, should know why we are doing
this. We are doing this to attempt to extend our own lives and the lives of our loved ones by
perhaps one of the very few means available to us by attempting to influence public health
policy and research policy. This can be a powerful, actionable and democratic means, and
somebody has to try to wield it. And if the desire to introduce political innovations for the public
good is the prerogative of loons, then all laws and all reforms were produced by loons and we are
in a good company. If this realization increases our motivation, that would be good news.
Perhaps even better news would be to know that there might actually be people who would vote
for such a party, or any other party willing to embroider longevity on its banner. Very recently
there appeared indications that there might indeed be such people. A recent survey funded by
Terasem Movement Inc. showed that about 76% of Transhumanists want immortality.
But perhaps an even more surprising finding is that not a negligible proportion of normal
people want immortality. A poll is currently being conducted by the CBC News network on this
issue. The question is If you had the opportunity to live forever - albeit cybernetically - would
you do it? The poll started on July 31 and is still open. As of today, August 16, about 42,000
people responded. About 35.5% said Yes, at any and all cost and 17% more said Yes, but
only if I could afford it comfortably. Thus, about 52.5% of responders were in favor of

immortality! (See Here)


About 17% dont want to live forever (ok). About 9% dont believe that this technology will
ever exist (which implies that 91% believe it can exist). About 12.5% were terrified by the
idea, and about 9% were not sure or other.
Note that the poll was created in relation to the Strategic Social Initiative Russia2045 aimed to
achieve cybernetic immortality via creating artificial avatars for human consciousness. (Very
recently Russia2045 was renamed to just 2045 and now includes over 14,000 members.
One can counter that people who participated in that poll were already interested in immortality,
insofar as they read the article in which the poll is embedded.
But there are also some rigorous surveys that indicate that the interest in immortality (a.k.a.
radical life extension) in the general public might be quite considerable.
Thus in January this year, the aspirations for immortality were estimated in Russia by the
analytical Levada Center. The poll was conducted for the Russia2045 Initiative, before the
international congress Global Future 2045 held in Moscow in February.
The poll included 1600 responders, over 18 years old, from 45 regions of Russia, both city and
country, with a standard deviation of 0.035.
According to this poll, 32% of Russian citizens wanted radical life extension for themselves,
while keeping youth and good health: 23% wanted to live several times longer than people
live now, 9% wanted to live unlimitedly long, as I wish, up to immortality, 64% wanted to
live as long as allotted by nature now, and 4% had difficulty answering.
Interestingly, 44% wanted radical life extension for their close ones, that is, more than for
themselves: 29% wished their loved ones to live several times longer and 15% wished them to
live unlimitedly long, as they wish, up to immortality. This finding dispels the fears that the
pursuit of radical life extension is inherently selfish.
Moreover, according to one poll, 45% of Russian citizens would support a public association
for radical life extension.
One can suspect that if such a survey were conducted elsewhere, the results may not be very
different.
A possible general conclusion may be that a large proportion of people want radical life

extension and are not afraid to admit it. Moreover a growing number of people are ready to work
toward this purpose, to whatever limited degree they can. In such a situation, political advocacy
for life-extension can flourish.

PRIVATE OR GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION?


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

I was recently asked to comment on an Immortal Life debate/discussion thread about whether
governmental or private approaches to funding and motivating research on indefinite life
extension are best.
Mine is definitely a libertarian view. I do not support advocating for government funding for life
extension, unless the funding is combined with larger reductions in military spending or other
destructive government spending. I discuss this issue in two of my videos:
- Eliminating Death Part 18 Never Seek Government Funding
- Libertarian Life-Extension Reforms #6 Medical Research Instead of Military Spending
The danger of government funding of life extension is that it comes with many political strings
attached, and may lead life-extension research itself to be shackled by politically influential
opponents of technological progress.
The great weakness of politics as a strategy is that it requires consensus among elites and some
connection to majority approval, as well as the overcoming of numerous bureaucratic hurdles
and obsolete habits. Private action, as long as it is lawful, can simply be pursued irrespective of
how many people agree. There is thus much more flexibility and potential for quick deployment
with private approaches toward radical life extension.
Private investment into life-extension research can occur in many ways, both for-profit and nonprofit, both direct and indirect. Seasteading is indeed a highly promising approach for
experimenting with novel medicines and therapies that might take over a decade to be approved
by the FDA in the United States or similar screening agencies in other countries.
At the same time, Tom Mooney is correct about the need for a grassroots education campaign.
By the time radical life extension begins to become a reality, there needs to be a strong current of

public opinion supporting it. Otherwise, the bioconservatives might just manage to obtain
enough support for their agenda to thwart this vital progress.

A LETTER TO SERGEY BRIN

BY: MARIA KONOVALENKO


Dear Mr. Brin,
Ive heard you are interested in the topics of aging and longevity. This is very cool, because
fighting for radical life extension is the wisest and most humanitarian strategy. I would like to
tell you what needs to be done, but, unfortunately, I havent got your email address, or any other
way to be heard. 100,000 people die from aging-related causes every day, but what makes the
situation even worse is that the scientists know how to tackle this problem, but dont have clue
how to convey their message to those people, who could change the situation and make the
creation of human life extension technologies possible.
Therefore, I am simply writing in my blog, hoping, that maybe somehow you will read this letter,
or that maybe my friends will give me some advice on how it could be delivered to you, or that
maybe someone would send it to you.
So, here it goes.
There is no more important goal than preserving human life. Aging limits our lifespan, and is the
main contributing factor for diseases responsible for most human mortality and suffering,
including heart disease, stroke, adult cancers, diabetes, Alzheimers and Parkinsons. Defeating
or simply slowing down aging is the most useful thing that can be done for all the people on the
planet. It is the most complicated task in the history of mankind. Molecular-genetic studies of
laboratory animals, over the last two decades, have demonstrated that the problems of aging are
not insoluble. By modifying regulatory pathways, scientists have repeatedly succeeded in
extending lifepan by up to twofold in insects and rodents, and as much as 10-fold in worms and
yeast. These same studies have greatly expanded our understanding of those pathways, which are
remarkably well conserved from yeast to humans. In view of that conservation, we have every
reason to believe that similar strategies will work for humans.
What is most needed now is an adequate commitment of funds to support fundamental research.
Long-term and large-scale scientific projects are required. Startups largely focused on rapid
commercial effect, will not fill the gap.
A wealth of inspiring breakthroughs, that have transformed the field of longevity research, hints
at the progress that could be made with better support.

Firstly, creating transgenic animals that live radically longer than their counterparts.
The record in the area of life extension is shared by Valter Longo and Robert Shmookler Reis.
Longo, from the University of California Davis, was able to extend yeast lifespan 10-fold by
turning off the genes ras2 and sch9, while also reducing the calorie intake. Shmookler Reis, from
the University of Arkansas Medical School, discovered that either of two mutations inactivating
the nematodes age-1 gene (encoding PI3K, a key intermediate in several signaling pathways)
can extend worm lifespan 10-fold. Rogina Blanca, Professor at the University of Connecticut,
found that a mutation in the Indy gene doubles the lifespan of the fruitfly Drosophila. Andrzej
Bartke from the University of Southern Illinois achieved a twofold extension of mouse lifespan
by combining calorie restriction (feeding 30% less food than desired) with a mutation that
eliminates three pituitary hormones.
The next logical step is to create transgenic mice with other mutations and/or transgenes to
mimic the changes that were so effective in invertebrates (yeast, worms and fruitflies). For
example, tissue-specific downregulation of IGF1 or PI3K, and targeted or whole body
overexpression of genes that control the cellular oxidation state (, TXN, MSRA, SOD1,
SOD2), DNA repair genes (GADD45 alpha, beta and gamma), regulators of epigenetic state
(DNMT2) and transcription of protective agents (FOXO3), heat shock proteins (HSPA1A,
HSPA1B) and other genes (PCMT1, SIRT1, PCK1, PLAU). At present, over 100 genes have
been reported to be associated with alterations in longevity, and several dozen have been
confirmed in multiple species (and thus are likely to translate to humans). Genetic experiments
modifying the expression of those genes in mice would be very informative, especially
employing combinations of transgenes and suppression of longevity-limiting genes (e.g., mTOR
and PI3K).
Creating longevity gene therapy looks very promising.
In 2012, a group led by Maria Blasco at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center used a
viral vector to deliver to adult mice an active gene for the telomerase protein that extends
telomeres (chromosome ends, which shorten during aging). Remarkably, gene therapy of oneyear-old mice extended their lifespan by 24%, and treatment of two-year-old mice still added
13%. Treated mice had reduced rates of osteoporosis, reduced loss of subcutaneous fat, but
improved neuromuscular coordination and metabolic functions (including less insulin
resistance), without any increase in cancers.
Based on this proof of principle that longevity can be enhanced via gene therapy, the next step
is clearly the delivery of other genes required for longevity, whose activity declines during aging.
Candidate geroprotective genes are already known from prior studies in yeast, flies and
worms; their functional testing in mice only requires a modest investment in this promising

research. There are still, however, legitimate concerns to be overcome before the results can be
applied to humans, such as the danger of increasing cancer risk, and efficient targeting to specific
tissues or cell types.
An effective approach to slowing down aging may be suppressing mobile genetic element
activity in particular retrotransposones. Retrotransposons are endogenous viral genomes, copied
via RNA into DNA elements via reverse transcriptase, which are known to mediate some cancers
of mice, and which may destabilize human genomes as well. In recent experiments, inhibition of
retrotransposon activity slowed replicative aging of cultured cells differentiating from human
stem cells. While it is not yet known whether this would also slow in vivo aging, development of
safe genetic or pharmacological means to inhibit retrotransposition in mammals appears
promising.
One clear deficiency of gerontology and medicine at present is simply that aging has not been
recognized as a key target for clinical diagnosis and therapeutic interventions, although
syndromes of premature aging (progerias) have long been considered diseases.
Aging is a curable disease. Aging is a predisposing condition for many of the most serious
diseases faced by our society, and in many ways it makes more sense to target aging than the
diseases it promotes. Aging is an aberration relative to the youthful state, that can be identified
through correlated biomarkers, allowing us to seek both the avoidable factors that aggravate it
(e.g., inflammation, thermal and oxidative stresses, ionizing irradiation, etc.), and biological
processes or therapeutic measures that postpone it (DNA repair, proteolysis, autophagy, etc.).
Aging causes pain, dysfunction, distress, social problems and death of affected person.
It is crucial to make numerous medical organizations recognize aging as a disease. If medical
organizations were to recognize aging as a disease, it could significantly accelerate progress in
studying its underlying mechanisms and the development of interventions to slow its progress
and to reduce age-related pathologies. The prevailing regard for aging as a natural process
rather than a disease or disease-predisposing condition is a major obstacle to development and
testing of legitimate anti-aging treatments. This is the largest market in the world, since 100% of
the population in every country suffers from aging, but currently it is completely dominated by
untested supplements promoted through fraudulent claims.
In order to test the effectiveness of geroprotective drugs, it is necessary to develop the diagnostic
platform of aging. The routine annual check-up could easily include testing of diverse parameters
that provide the doctor-biologist with critical information about the individuals aging status and
risk profile for age-dependent diseases. Biomarkers of aging include changes in longevity- and
aging-associated genes expression (for example, p16, p21, ARF, p53, COX-2, SIRT1, NFkB,
Lon, IGF-1), changes in microRNA levels (miR-34a, miR-93b, miR-127, miR-18a), altered

hormones levels (leptin, melatonin, DHEA), cytokines (TNFa, IL-6, IL-8), advanced glycation
end products and many others. The diagnostic platform could contain analyses of genetic,
epigenetic, transcriptomic, proteomic and metabolomic data. The appropriate analysis of those
biomarker data, coupled to clinical data, would allow lifestyle modifications and therapeutics to
be optimized for each individual, in order to slow aging and to prevent or treat age-related
diseases. And it could be done right now. This approach is the basis of personalized medicine,
and yet current approaches to personalized medicine largely or entirely ignore the age dimension.
It is possible to extend lifespan pharmacologically. Many compounds have been shown to
prolong life of certain model animals and to prevent age-related pathologies. These include
metformin, rapamycin, lipoic acid, 2-deoxy-D-glucose, carnosine, amino-guanidine, fisetin,
hydroxycitrate, 4-phenylbyterate, gimnemoside, cycloastragenol, quercetin, nordihydroguaiaretic
acid, acarbose, 17-a-estradiol, melatonin, spermidine, thioflavin T, and kempferol. Others will
surely be discovered in large screens that would become more feasible once panels of proven
age-biomarkers are developed.
Rapamycin extends lifespan of old mice. In 2009 Richard Miller, Randy Strong and David
Harrison showed that mice given rapamycin with their food, even beginning as late as the 600th
day of life, lived 9% (male) and 14% (females) longer. Given the fact that lab mice normally live
2 3.5 years, 600 days is a fairly advanced age for a mouse. Rapamycin is an FDA-approved
drug, prescribed chiefly as an immunosuppressant for kidney-transplant recipients. Future studies
can design and test advanced geroprotectors, based on drugs like rapamycin, to modify their
chemical structure so as to optimally prolong life in humans while preventing or slowing agerelated pathologies.
Another global research direction is studying close species that differ significantly in lifespan.
For example, aging mechanisms have been compared between the naked mole rat and its close
relatives. The naked mole rat is an African rodent that ages very slowly, perhaps not at all since
its mortality doesnt increase as it ages. These extraordinary animals have protective mechanisms
that allow them to live up to 30 years of age, which is 10 times longer than other rodents of
similar size, yet never get cancer.
We have begun to identify genetic and epigenetic determinants of naked mole rat longevity. For
example, they have hyperactive proteolysis and autophagy pathways, which clear damaged
proteins and other cellular components. However, because only three labs in the world are now
studying naked mole rats, and their budgets are very limited, much still remains to be learned
from them.
Another animal with little or no senescence is Brandts bat. This bat weighs only 7 grams, but

lives to 41 years of age, 12 15 times the lifespan of mice with the same body mass. Brandts bat
has received little research attention; comparisons with its close relatives, of more modest
lifespan, may reveal which genes are responsible for its great longevity.
Fish of the Scorpaenidae family also show little senescence, several of which have life-spans
exceeding 150 years. The champion is the rougheye rockfish (Sebastes aleutianus) at 205 years.
It may be possible to learn the biological basis for this remarkable longevity, by comparing
genomes and transcriptomes of this species with the shortest-lived species, Sebastes dallii, that
lives only 10 years. The features that appear to underlie great longevity can then be replicated in
rodents to test their relevance to mammals.
Fighting aging has to be built on the principles of openness and collaboration. It is necessary to
attract hundreds of labs all over the world to collaboration in the framework of a global project
that could be called, for instance, Aginome.
We have identified a number of molecular biology laboratories that have made important
contributions to longevity research, whose productivity is constrained only by the limited
funding now available. Additional support is virtually assured to accelerate their pace of
discovery, and advance the field. These include groups led by Nir Barzilai, Andrzej Bartke,
Mikhail Blagosklonny, Maria Blasco, Judy Campisi, Claudio Franceschi, David Gems, Brian
Kennedy, Cynthia Kenyon, Brian Kraemer, Valter Longo, Gordon Lithgow, Victoria Lunyak,
Richard Miller, Richard Morimoto, Alexey Moskalev, Thomas Perls, Robert Shmookler Reis,
Also, the field of fighting aging has some applied projects that can be implemented in the shortterm. I could tell you about those projects, if you are interested. I would also like to know your
opinion about my plan of action. What would you be interested in doing yourself in the area of
life extension?

STUDY GERONTOLOGY! THIS FRONTIER PROVIDES HOPE FOR THE FUTURE


BY: ERIC SCHULKE

The Boston Globe reported three days ago that enrollment in the UMass Boston undergraduate
gerontology program has fallen by two-thirds, to a mere 13 students, over the last decade. A
relaunch in 2010 failed to yield more students. For that reason, UMass Bostons decision to
suspend the gerontology undergraduate program was a bow to reality.
Its like a kick in the stomach for me to read about the program failing when the growth of
gerontology has never been more lucrative and important.
Please, college students, I beg you to reconsider the Gerontology field. Talk about it with your
friends, think about it, read about it, ask your teachers questions. There has never been a more
important time to enroll in programs like the University of Massachusetts gerontology
undergraduate program.
Is there something wrong with the word gerontology as the Boston Globe suggested?
Researchers need to make it clearer to students how the field connects to the future of the
country and the economy. One advocate of the program even suggested a rebranding, saying the
very term gerontology seemed outdated.
Students, does Gerontology seem un-cool? Does it seem too narrow, too niche?
Is it relevant for that girl with the beloved grandmother who wants to make a difference? For
young adults who are brilliant at analyzing accumulation of damage in aging cells? Who
understand the havoc wreaked by metabolism?
Gerontology programs provide hope for the future. The study of aging is a premier frontier of
our era.

Now is the time when the gerontology field has never been more promising, has never been more
equipped to push the boundaries.
This isnt about just keeping grandma alive for 3 more years. This is about saving souls from
eternal nothingness, staving off our stay in the perpetual ethers of obliteration, helping all our
veteran humans, our mentors, our workers, helping them retain their health and their dignity,
their vitality, their hard-earned lives. Its about securing that same opportunity for ourselves and
our progeny.
A strong, vibrant gerontology community everywhere is the heart beat of the future, the
scaffolding on which the most incredible breakthroughs are prepped to happen. For example,
there is presently:
1. Ground-breaking work with the immortal cell at Geron
2. Michael Roses incredible pioneering work with fruit flies
3. Cynthia Kenyons exciting aging work with nematode worms
4. Methuselah Mouse Prizes work is heating up - researchers are already claiming its prizes
Tools to create the breakthroughs are getting better every year. Cryonics is making strides;
nanotechnology is taking root as a powerful new tool in gerontologys arsenal.
Why is the UMass Gerontology program failing? What are you students talking about if it
doesnt include the exciting prospect of extending our health in the incredible future?
When humanity in the upcoming decades is exploring the ocean depths, voyaging into distant
space, creating new inventions where will you and I be? Will we be enjoying the experience,
or will we be in graveyards?
Can you stand up for our future? By considering, and encouraging your friends, to apply
numerous young aptitudes to endeavors like the UMass Gerontology program?
Can this happen? Or will we perpetuate an ironic indifference? And die needlessly? Before our
time?
NOW is the time to get excited about Gerontology.

DEATH IS TERRORISM
BY: MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.

In his Boston Marathon Memorial speech Barak Obama said that the bombers wanted to attack
the American values of freedom and openness, but they chose the wrong city.
Not here in Boston. Not here in Boston - he repeated.
I believe the terrorists attacked not only the openness of the USA.
Terrorism is an argument between those who believe the value of life is AFTER LIFE and
those who value LIFE itself.
If a person values Life, they value its extension and pleasure and rational worldview.
Their antagonist is a person who believes that surrounding reality is a Matrix, a bad dream that
needs to be broken down as soon as possible in order to wake up into the true, Religious Life.
The terrorists see around them only Agent Smiths and sleeping zombies, who can be woken up
only by explosions.
A terrorist believes that they are demolishing only the Illusion, not the True Reality.
Of course, the complete opposite is actually happening: the terrorist brain has been eaten by an
unproven worldview, the gigantic cognitive distortion of Religious Propaganda.
What a terrorist considers to be Enlightenment is a Disease. Terrorists are not fighting the
Zombie World; it is they themselves who are the Zombies.
There is a serious bug in religious philosophy. It is supposed to promise Eternal Life after Death,
and it is also supposed to Forbid Murder.
But if Death is not actually Death, then Murder is not actually Murder.

Death is real only for an atheist.


The third world war has already begun. It is between those who seek Death, and those, who
strive to Live. There is no other option, no third pole.
If we want to live on Earth, we must say: Not here in Boston, not here in America, not
anywhere in the World. We should never facilitate death, including by our inactivity.

INTERNTIONAL LONGEVITY ALLIANCE MANIFESTO


BY: ILA

We advocate the advancement of healthy longevity for the entire population through scientific
research, public health, advocacy and social activism. We emphasize and promote the struggle
against the chief enemy of healthy longevity the aging process.
The aging process is the root of most chronic diseases afflicting the world population. This
process causes the largest proportion of disability and mortality, and needs to be treated
accordingly. Society needs to dedicate efforts toward its treatment and correction, as for any
other material disease.
The problem of aging is grave and threatening. Yet, we often witness an almost complete
oblivion to its reality and severity. There is a soothing tendency to ignore the future, to distract
the mind from aging and death from aging, and even to present aging and death in a misleading,
apologetic and utopian light. At the same time, there is an unfounded belief that aging is a
completely unmanageable, inexorable process. This disregard of the problem and this unfounded
sense of impotence do not contribute to the improvement of the well-being of the aged and their
healthy longevity. There is a need to present the problem in its full severity and importance and
to act for its solution or mitigation to the best of our ability.
We call to raise the public awareness of the problem of aging in its full scope. We call the public
to recognize this severe problem and dedicate efforts and resources including economic, socialpolitical, scientific, technological and media resources to its maximal possible alleviation for
the benefit of the aging population, for their healthy longevity. We promote the idea that mental
and spiritual maturation and the increase in healthy longevity are not synonymous with aging and
deterioration.
We advocate the reinforcement and acceleration of basic and applied biomedical research, as
well as the development of technological, industrial, environmental, public health and
educational measures, specifically directed for healthy longevity. If given sufficient support,
such measures can increase the healthy life expectancy of the aged population, the period of their

productivity, their contribution to the development of society and economy, as well as their sense
of enjoyment, purpose and valuation of life.
We advocate that the development of scientific measures for healthy life extension be given the
maximal possible public and political support that it deserves, not only by the professional
community but also by the broad public.

---------As stated in the ILA documents, the International longevity Alliance promotes the social struggle
against the deteriorative aging process and for healthy and productive longevity for all, through
scientific research, technological development, medical treatment, public health and education
measures, and social activism. In practical terms, we promote the maximal possible increase of
healthy longevity, for as many people as possible, and by the most feasible means based on the
best available scientific evidence. Hence, in many practical cases, under current technological
limitations, our hopes for extended longevity can be only moderate or even minimal. Yet, the
hopes may become more radical in the future with the advancement of scientific human
knowledge and increasing technological capabilities.
----------

JAPAN LONGEVITY ALLIANCE


BY: JOHN R. LEONARD

My name is John Leonard and Im the lead activist for the JLA. We are part of a parent group
which is called the International Longevity Alliance or ILA. The International Longevity
Alliance promotes the social struggle against the deteriorative aging process and for healthy and
productive longevity for all, through scientific research, technological development, medical
treatment, public health and education measures, and social activism.

HOW JLA GOT STARTED


I came across Longevity Party group on Facebook in July of 2012. The group seemed interesting
but I was a bit cautious with the word Party* as part of the title. Was this some type of strange
political party? I am not very interested in politics and am not a bit political in anything.
However, the topic was intriguing and I wanted to know if extending ones life is possible. Still,
could this group be some type of crazy cult, I wondered. As I started to interact with the people
in this group and I found there were real professionals in various technical fields. I was soon
impressed with the type of people in this group from all over the world. I did notice however, I
was the only one living in Japan that was a member of this group at the time.
In the fall of 2012, I got a surprise personal message from Ilia Stambler - the lead of this
Longevity Party , asking me if I wanted to create a group to represent Japan. As I was feeling
new to all of this and still trying to learn about what longevity was all about , I declined. How
could I lead on something I myself was still debating about with myself? Although I have lived
in Japan for over 30 years and speak Japanese, I am not a Japanese citizen...yet. Also, I have no
ties to any political or research groups. I felt like I could not make any positive contributions.

A few months later Illia created another group called International Longevity Alliance. The new
approach of this group seemed less threatening as the word Party in the name was removed. At
the same time, I was reading up on extreme life extension articles and essays that told me that
anyone can make a difference. Maybe if I start to advocate the importance of one lifespan, I
could also make a difference here in Japan as well.
At the very beginning of January 2013, I approached Mr. Stambler and told him I will create the
Longevity Party Japan. Ironically, I started with the word Party in the name mainly because
all the other international groups were calling themselves Longevity Party <country name>
and I was trying to follow the standard format. After a few months, I noticed that other countries
were changing their name to <country name> Longevity Alliance and so I did the same. On June
2013, I started to promote JLA.

JLA WEBSITE
One of the important actions I found I needed to do was to try to attract researches in Japan about
our cause. I was able to send out a few letters earlier this year but did not get any replies. I felt I
needed to change my approach and messaged Ilia Stambler on my concern. He explained that in
order for any institute to take JLA seriously, it is best to start by creating a legitimate website.
Social Networking is good platform for people who are already interested in extending longevity
but dont not show any real structure or commitment. On the other hand, creating a website for
such cause will display a professional format and allows one to introduce our cause in a more
formal format. I published the japanlongevityalliance.org website in June of 2013. With the
launch of JLA website, I feel there is now a platform to properly reach out to organizations
including the Japanese general public and have a place of reference for people to visit.

JAPAN RESEARCH
Shinzo Abe became Prime Minister of Japan on December 26th, 2012. Abe lead his newly
elected Liberal Democratic Party government to invest into Life sciences. From his 10.3 trillion
yen economic stimulus package which was approved by the cabinet on January 15 2013, he was
able to create a big stimulus package for stem-cell research, especially geared toward clinical
applications. The science ministry alone has earmarked 21.4 billion for research on stem cells,
mainly focused on induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells reprogrammed adult cells, first
developed in Japan. This comes on the heels of Shinya Yamanaka who was awarded for the
Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine. His discovery showed that mature cells can be
reprogrammed to become pluripotent. Induced pluripotent stem cells, commonly abbreviated as
iPS cells or iPSCs, have a self-renewal ability and pluripotency, which means they can divide
and replicate indefinitely. This type of research is vital toward radical life extension.

The Riken Center for Developmental biology in Kyoto is the biggest and most funded in Japan
for iPS cell research and application development. Much of the research money that comes from
Japan's science ministry goes directly into Riken research. In fact, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
himself visited their labs with Shinya Yamanaka showing off their latest developments. It does
not hurt to have a prime minister so interested in life sciences.
Japan does have a unique problem however. Japan has a population containing some of the
oldest living humans on this planet. As the baby boomers are starting to enter into their senior
years, the health support will be staggering in care and costs. This concern is called the
Longevity Dividend in the west, and essentially claims that the rise in healthcare needs by the
aging baby-boomer generation will mean that supporting research and development in the lifeextension field may be the only way to ameliorate the economic strain put on the healthcare
budgets of countries by the aging baby-boomers. The Japanese government is eager to find cures
to aging related diseases to avoid a natural economic disaster. The good news is that by investing
in Regenerative Biology, the technology will allow aging Japanese people to live healthy and
hopefully disease free. Part of bi-product of such engineering will allow humans to live longer
and healthy lifespans.

ACTIONS OF JLA
Although Japanese life science research has been given an economic boost from the government,
the public needs to keep the momentum going. For JLA perspective, we can help by joining the
ILA movement in 2 important yearly global events - Future Day and Longevity Day. JLA had
our first gathering for Future Day on May 1st. Although it was only 3 of us, it still marked a
small step in the life extending movement history. Longevity Day for Japan event is already in
the planning stages for Oct. 1st. 2013. If you live in Japan and are reading this article, I urge you
to contact me. However, anyone can join JLA FB group where I will announce events along with
global and national research news.

LIBERTY THROUGH LONG LIFE


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

It is commonly recognized among libertarians (and some others) that the freedom of individuals
to innovate will result in a more rapid rate of technological progress. In Six Libertarian Reforms
to Accelerate Life Extension I described six liberty-enhancing political changes that would
more swiftly bring about the arrival of indefinite human longevity. But, as is less often
understood, the converse of this truth also holds. Technological progress in general improves the
prospects for liberty and its actual exercise in everyday life. One of the most promising keys to
achieving liberty in our lifetimes is to live longer so that we can personally witness and benefit
from accelerating technological progress.
Consider, for example, what the Internet has achieved with respect to expanding the practical
exercise of individual freedom of speech. It has become virtually impossible for regimes,
including their nominally private gatekeepers of information in the mass media and established
publishing houses, to control the dissemination of information and the expression of individual
opinion. In prior eras, even in countries where freedom of speech was the law of the land,
affiliations of the media, by which speech was disseminated, with the ruling elite would serve as
a practical barrier for the discussion of views that were deemed particularly threatening to the
status quo. In the United States, effective dissent from the established two-party political system
was difficult to maintain in the era of the big three television channels and a print and
broadcast media industry tightly controlled by a few politically connected conglomerates. Now
expressing an unpopular opinion is easier and less expensive than ever as is voting with ones
money for an ever-expanding array of products and services online. The ability of individuals to
videotape public events and the behavior of law-enforcement officers has similarly served as a
check on abusive behavior by those in power. Emerging online education and credentialing
options, such as massive open online courses and Mozillas Open Badges, have the power to
motivate a widespread self-driven enlightenment which would bring about an increased
appreciation for rational thinking and individual autonomy.
Many other technological advances are on the horizon. The private space race is in full swing,
with companies such as SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, Deep Space Industries, and Planetary

Resources embarking on ever more ambitious projects. Eventually, these pioneering efforts may
enable humans to colonize new planets and build permanent habitats in space, expanding
jurisdictional competition and opening new frontiers where free societies could be established.
Seasteading, an idea only five years in development, is a concept for building modular ocean
platforms where political experimentation could occur and, through competitive pressure,
catalyze liberty-friendly innovations on land. (I outlined the potential and the challenges of this
approach in an earlier essay.) The coming decades could see the emergence of actual seasteads of
increasing sophistication, safety, and political autonomy. Another great potential for increasing
liberty comes from the emerging digital-currency movement, of which Bitcoin has been the most
prominent exemplar to date. While Bitcoin has been plagued with recent extreme exchange-rate
volatility and vulnerability to manipulation and theft by criminal hackers, it can still provide
some refuge from the damaging effects of inflationary and redistributive central-bank monetary
policy. With enough time and enough development of the appropriate technological
infrastructure, either Bitcoin or one of its successor currencies might be able to obtain sufficient
stability and reliability to become a widespread apolitical medium of exchange.
But there is a common requirement for one to enjoy all of these potential breakthroughs, along
with many others that may be wholly impossible to anticipate: one has to remain alive for a long
time. The longer one remains alive, the greater the probability that ones personal sphere of
liberty would be expanded by these innovations. Living longer can also buy one time for
libertarian arguments to gain clout in the political sphere and in broader public opinion.
Technological progress and pro-liberty activism can reinforce one another in a virtuous cycle.
To maximize their hopes of personally experiencing an amount of personal freedom even
approaching that of the libertarian ideal, all libertarians should support radical life extension.
This sought-after goal of some ancient philosophers, medieval alchemists, Enlightenment
thinkers (notably Franklin, Diderot, and Condorcet), and medical researchers from the past two
centuries, is finally within reach of many alive today. Biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey of the
SENS Research Foundation gives humankind a 50 percent likelihood of reaching longevity
escape velocity a condition where increases in life expectancy outpace the rate of human
senescence within 25 years. Inventor, futurist, and artificial-intelligence researcher Ray
Kurzweil predicts a radical increase in life expectancy in the 2020s, made possible by advances
in biotechnology and nanotechnology, aided by exponentially growing computing power. But,
like de Grey and perhaps somewhat unlike Kurzweil, I hold the view that these advances are not
inevitable; they rely on deliberate, sustained, and well-funded efforts to achieve them. They rely
on support by the general public to facilitate donations, positive publicity, and a lack of political
obstacles placed in their way. All libertarians should become familiar with both the technical
feasibility and the philosophical desirability of a dramatic, hopefully indefinite, extension of
human life expectancies. My compilation of Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE) is a
good starting point for studying this subject by engaging with a wide variety of sources,

perspectives, and ongoing developments in science, technology, and activism.


We have only this one life to live. If we fail to accomplish our most cherished goals and our
irreplaceable individual universes disappear into oblivion, then, to us, it will be as if those goals
were never accomplished. If we want liberty, we should strive to attain it in our lifetimes. We
should therefore want those lifetimes to be lengthened beyond any set limit, not just for the sake
of experiencing a far more complete liberty, but also for the sake of life itself and all of the
opportunities it opens before us

HOW MUCH DOES AGING COST YOU?


BY: DAVID KEKICH

We get hammered with two costs of aging. One is acutely felt. The other not so.
The most painful is the direct drain on our pocketbooks when we or a family member loses
earning power or incurs sudden and often stratospheric medical expenses due to aging-related
diseases or conditions.
Let's explore this one first:
Over 30% of people over 80 get Alzheimer's. It's close to 50% by 85. Reason, editor at
FightAging.org gives some figures from a recent paper on dementia in the US:
"The yearly monetary cost per person that was attributable to dementia was either $56,290 (95%
confidence interval [CI], $42,746 to $69,834) or $41,689 (95% CI, $31,017 to $52,362),
depending on the method used to value informal care."
However, these figures are based on "informal care." How about when you factor in full-time
home caregivers or formal nursing home costs? I'm familiar with both, since I lost my dad to
Alzheimer's. I was lucky enough to keep him home, looked after 24 hours a day by a loving
couple. But I saw some nursing home cost figures years ago, and they were astronomical.
How about lost income due to aging?
Reason dug up figures for that as well. He found that median income sits somewhere a little
under $40,000/year in the prime earning years of life. It tapers off to a little more than half of
that for surviving members of the 75 (median) and older demographic who have not yet become
demented.
So while one of seven completely median older people incurs costs of roughly $40,000/year for
dementia, all seven completely median older people suffer an opportunity cost of roughly
$20,000/year as a result of becoming old. A range of income that might have been earned if still

healthy and vigorous is no longer within reach.


Then add other direct medical costs for the rest of the population - cancer, diabetes,
cardiovascular disease, and the other common foes - the opportunity costs of being old still look
sizable in comparison.
Then how about the cost to society? We don't notice that so much, because governments
camouflage our individual costs through taxation spread over the whole population, Medicare
costs and inflationary measures which sweep costs under the rug while steadily eroding your
purchasing power.
The total monetary cost of dementia alone in 2010 was between $157 billion and $215 billion.
When you factor in heart disease and cancer, we're up to around $600 billion a year.
It would take more research to factor in lost wages and all the other aging-related diseases and
conditions medical expenses. Arthritis, diabetes, pneumonia, etc, etc. Then when one dies, that
spells the end of all future earning power, not to mention the indirect costs when their wisdom,
innovation knowledge and experience suddenly evaporate.
As Reason again points out, aging causes a largely unseen cost to go along with what is seen, the
cost of what might have been but for disability and death.
The cost of research and development to build the means of rejuvenation is tiny in comparison to
what is lost to aging - and also in comparison to what is spent in coping with the aftermath of
loss rather than trying to prevent it.

WHAT IS THE BOTTLENECK FOR PROGRESS IN BIOMEDICAL GERONTOLOGY?


BY: FRANCO CORTESE

When asked what the biggest bottleneck for progress in life-extension is, most thinkers and
researchers say funding. Others say the biggest bottleneck is breakthroughs, while still others say
its our way of approaching the problem (i.e. seeking healthy life extension, a.k.a. aging
gracefully, instead of more comprehensive methods of indefinite life-extension). But the
majority seem to feel that the largest determining factor impacting how long it takes to achieve
indefinite lifespans is adequate funding to plug away at developing and experimentally-verifying
the various alternative technologies and methodologies that have already been proposed (e.g.
Robert Freitass Nanomedicine [1], Aubrey de Greys Strategies for Engineered Negligible
Senescence [2, 3, 4], Michael R. Roses Evolutionary Longevity [5, 6]). I claim that Radical
Longevitys biggest bottleneck is not funding, but advocacy, activism and lobbying.
This is because the final objective of increased funding for Radical Longevity and Life Extension
research can be more effectively and efficiently achieved through public advocacy for Radical
Life Extension than it can by direct funding or direct research, per unit of time or effort.
Research and development obviously still need to be done, but an increase in researchers needs
an increase in funding, and an increase in funding needs an increase in the public perception of
indefinite longevitys feasibility and desirability.
There is no definitive timespan that it will take to achieve indefinitely-extended life. How long it
takes to achieve Radical Longevity is determined by how hard we work at it and how much
effort we put into it. More effort means that it will be achieved sooner. And by and large, an
increase in effort can be best achieved by an increase in funding, and an increase in funding can
be best achieved by an increase in public advocacy. You will likely accelerate the development
of Indefinitely-Extended Life, per unit of time or effort, by advocating the desirability, ethicacy
and technical feasibility of longer life than you will by doing direct research, or by working
towards the objective of directly contributing funds to life-extension projects and research
initiatives.
In order to get funding we need to demonstrate with explicit clarity just how much we want it,
and that we can do so while minimizing potentially negative societal repercussions like

overpopulation. We must do our best to vehemently invalidate the clichs that promulgate the
sentiment that Life-extension is dangerous or unethical. It neednt be either, and nor is it
necessarily likely to be either.
Some think that spending ones time deliberating the potential issues that could result from
greatly increased lifespans and the ways in which we could mitigate or negate them wont make
a difference until greatly increased lifespans are actually achieved. I disagree. While any
potentially negative repercussions of life-extension (like overpopulation) arent going to happen
until life-extension is achieved, offering solution paradigms and ways in which we could negate
or mitigate such negative repercussions decreases the time we have to wait for it by increasing
the degree with which the wider public feels it to be desirable, and that it can very well be done
safely and ethically. Those who are against radical life extension are against it either because
they think it is infeasible (in which case being against it may be too strong a descriptor) or
because they have qualms relating to its ethicacy or its safety. More people openly advocating
against it means a higher public perception of its undesirability. Whether indefinite longevity is
eventually achieved via private industry or via government subsidized research initiatives, we
need to create the public perception that it is widely desired before either government or industry
will take notice.
The sentiment that that the best thing we can do is simply live healthily and wait until progress is
made seems to be fairly common as well. People have the feeling that researchers are working on
it, that it will happen if it can happen, and that waiting until progress is made is the best course to
take. Such lethargy will not help Radical Longevity in any way. How long we have to wait for
indefinite lifespans is a function of how much effort we put into it. And in this article I argue that
how much funding and attention life-extension receives is by and large a function of how
widespread the public perception of its feasibility and desirability is.
This isnt simply about our individual desire to live longer. It might be easier to hold the
sentiment that we should just wait it out until it happens if we only consider its impact on the
scale of our own individual lives. Such a sentiment may also be aided by the view that greatly
longer lives would be a mere advantage, nice but unnecessary. I dont think this is the case. I
argue that the technological eradication of involuntary death is a moral imperative if there ever
was one. If how long we have to wait until indefinite longevity is achieved depends on how
vehemently we demand it and on how hard we work to create the public perception that longer
life is widely longed-for, then to what extent is the 100,000 lives lost potentially needlessly every
day while we wait on our hands? One million people will die a wasteful and involuntary death in
the next 10 days. 36.5 Million will die this year from age-correlated courses of functionaldecline. This puts the charges of inethicacy in a ghostly new light. If advocating the desirability,
feasibility and blatant ethicacy of life extension can hasten its implementation by even a mere 10
days, then one million lives that would have otherwise been lost will have been saved by the

efforts of life-extension advocates, researchers and fiscal supporters. Seen in this way, working
toward indefinite longevity may very well be the most ethical and selfless way you could spend
your time, in terms of the number of lives saved and/or the amount of suffering prevented.
One of the most common and easy-to-raise concerns I come across in response to any effort to
minimize the suffering of future beings is that there are enough problems to worry about right
now. Shouldnt we be worrying about lessening starvation in underdeveloped countries first?
Theyre starving right now. Shouldnt we be focusing on the problems of today? On things that
we can have a direct impact on? . Indeed. 100,000 people will die, potentially needlessly,
tomorrow. The massive number of people that suffer involuntary death is a problem of today!
Indeed, it may very well be the most pressing problem of today! What other source of
contemporary suffering claims so many lives, and occurs on such a massive scale? What other
problem of today is responsible for the needless and irreversible involuntary death of one
hundred thousand lives per day? Certainly not starvation, or war, or cancer, all of which in
themselves represent smaller sources of involuntary death. Longevity advocates do what they do
for the same reason that people who try to mitigate starvation, war, and cancer do what they do,
namely to lessen the amount of involuntary death that occurs.
This is a contemporary problem that we can have a direct impact on. People intuitively assume
that we wont achieve indefinitely-extended life until far in the future. This makes them conflate
any lives saved by indefinitely-extended-lifespans with lives yet to come into existence. This
makes them see involuntary death as a problem of the future, rather than a problem of today. But
more people than Ive ever known will die tomorrow, from causes that are physically possible to
obviate and ameliorate indeed, from causes that we have potential and conceptual solutions for
today.
I have attempted to show in this article that advocating life-extension should be considered as
working toward it to as great an extent as directly funding it or performing direct research on it
is considered as working toward it. Advocacy has greater potential to increase its widespread
desirability than direct work or funding does, and increasing both its desirability and the public
perception if its desirability has more potential to generate increased funding and researchattention for life-extension than direct funding or research does. Advocacy thus has the potential
to contribute to the arrival of life-extension and hasten its implementation just as much, if not
moreso (as I have attempted to argue in this article), than practical research or direct funding
does. This should motivate people to help create the momentous momentum we need to really
get the ball rolling. To be a longevity advocate is to be a longevity worker! Involuntary death
from age-associated, physically-remediable causes is the largest source of death, destruction and
suffering today. Dont you want to help prevent the most widespread source of death and of
suffering in existence today? Dont you want to help mitigate the most pressing moral concern
not only of today, but of the entirety of human history namely physically-remediable
involuntary death?

Then advocate the technological eradication of involuntary death. Advocate the technical
feasibility, extreme desirability and blatant ethicacy of indefinitely extending life. Death is a
cataclysm. We need not sanctify the seemingly-inevitable any longer. We need not tell ourselves
that death is somehow a good thing, or something we can do nothing about, in order to live with
the fact of it any longer. Soon it wont be a fact of life. Soon it will be an artifact of history.
Life may not be ipso-facto valuable according to all philosophies of value but life is a
necessary precondition for any sort of value whatsoever. Death is dumb, dummy! An
incontrovertible waste convertible into nothing! A negative-sum blight! So if you want to
contribute to the problems of today, if you want to help your fellow man today, then stand proud
and shout loud Doom to Arbitrary Duty and Death to Arbitrary Death! at every crowd cowed
by the seeming necessity of death.
REFERENCES:
[1]. de Grey AD, Ames BN, Andersen JK, Bartke A, Campisi J, Heward CB, McCarter RJ,
Stock G (2002). "Time to Talk SENS: Critiquing the Immutability of Human Aging".
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 959: 45262. PMID 11976218.
[2]. de Grey, Aubrey (2003). The Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging. Austin, Texas:
Landes Bioscience. ISBN 1-58706-155-4.
[3]. de Grey, Aubrey and Rae, Michael (2007). Ending Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs
that Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime. St. Martin's Press.
[4]. Laurence D. Mueller, Casandra L. Rauser and Michael R. Rose (2011). Does Aging Stop?
Oxford University Press.
[5]. Garland, T., Jr., and M. R. Rose, eds. (2009). Experimental Evolution: Concepts, Methods,
and Applications of Selection Experiments. University of California Press.

HOW TO COMMUNICATE THE LIFE EXTENSION AGENDA


BY: PETER WICKS

As technology progresses, it is becoming increasingly clear that radical life extension is a real
possibility. Not everyone is happy about this, and not everyone is even aware of it, but some of
us are, and would like it to happen sooner rather than later.
Nobody knows exactly how radical life extension will be achieved, but one thing seems clear:
the more people who act with the intention of making it happen, the more quickly it will happen.
So an obvious question to ask is how we can get more people to act with the intention of
bringing about radical life extension.
In other words, how should we go about communicating the life extension agenda?
Anyone Who Disagrees Is a Deathist
One approach is to ridicule opponents of radical life extension, for example by branding them as
deathists. While it is easy to deplore such an approach, I do not actually believe it is without
merit. Given the extent to which political discourse is in any case characterized largely by an
exchange of insults, one might as well at least ensure that they are being deployed to a good
cause. However, I hope it is also clear to everyone that merely insulting people (and this is what
we are doing when we call people deathists) does not add up to an effective communication
strategy.
Why do we want radical life extension anyway?
A better approach might be to ask ourselves why we want radical life extension to happen sooner
rather than later. And this can be a surprisingly challenging question. For many of us, it might
seem self-evident that anyone who is not basically in denial of their own yearning for
immortality, or enthralled by religious or other delusions involving some kind of after-life, will
want to live forever. But this case has not been proven, at least not to my satisfaction. While the
self-preservation instinct is clearly one of the most powerful motivational drivers that we have,
the mere existence of suicide demonstrates that it can be overcome. Furthermore, the drive to

survive is not a result of logical reasoning: it is a result of natural selection, along with other, less
salubrious instincts, such as our penchant for insulting each other. It is not clear to me what
overriding reason in logic we have to want to survive.
And then there is the issue of identity. Psychologists know that individual identity is essentially
an illusion, a story told to us by our minds, which helps us to operate effectively in the world
(and which thus helped our ancestors pass on their genes), but which doesnt correspond to
reality in any convincing way. At a physical level, human beings can perhaps best be thought of
as dissipative systems, essentially forms that appearand then disappearas by-products of the
relentless march of life (which is to say biology). In reality, we have no more reason to identify
with our future selves than with the tree outside our window.
A somewhat more practical consideration might be that this yearning for immortality, even if it
to some extent exists in everyone, and even if many objections to radical life extension are
clearly related to a psychological denial of this yearning, is likely to be stronger in some than in
others, and is capable of being outweighed by other considerations. So perhaps a generic answer
to the question, Why do I want radical life extension to happen sooner rather than later? might
be, Because I have a particularly strong survival instinct, and/or lack good (personal) reasons to
want to override it. An important point here is that by formulating this type of answer to the
question, we recognize the essential subjectivity of our desire for life extension, and thus we
legitimize, rather than delegitimizing, the preference of some to delay or even prevent radical life
extension. And that, I believe, is likely to help our cause, rather than hinder it.
There are, of course, strong arguments in favour of radical life extension that do not depend only
on our own personal, individual motivations. Two particularly strong ones, in my view, involve
choice and morbidity. Put simply, the choice argument is that while people might legitimately
prefer to limit their own life-spans, they have no right to impose that on everyone else by
opposing the research that is required in order to achieve radical life extension. The morbidity
argument is the championed by Aubrey De Grey: if we want to prevent the awfulness of agerelated diseases, then we need to tackle the underlying problem, which is aging. Radical life
extension, according to this latter argument, needs to happen sooner rather than later not as an
end in itself, but because it is an inevitable consequence of the steps that need to be taken in
order to vanquish age-related disease.
Empathy helps us to communicate, and acknowledging doubt helps us to empathise
At this point, the reader may perhaps be wondering what any of this has to do with
communication. Perhaps we have clarified our reasons for wanting radical life extension to
happen sooner rather than later (and perhaps the reader will have come to very different
conclusions than mine), but how is this supposed to help us to communicate effectively?

The answer to this question, in my view, is that in order to communicate effectively, we need to
empathise with those we seek to convince, and to understand how they see the world. And it is
always easier to empathise with those with whom we disagree if we are clear in our own minds
about why we disagree. Indeed, my own suspicion is that most people who employ the deathist
slur, or otherwise express shock and outrage regarding the essential wickedness of people who
dont share our agenda, are in reality mainly attacking their own unacknowledged and
unresolved doubts about the issue. Better to acknowledge our doubts and think through our
reasons for supporting life extension. Then we will be able to see clearly to understand why not
everyone shares our view, and develop effective strategies for convincing those who can be
convinced (and avoid wasting time on those who cant).
In summary, while ridiculing those who are opposed to radical life extension may be effective as
a tactic to be deployed in the context of a discourse that has in any case become vitriolic, the risk
involved in deploying such tactics is that it becomes a mask for our own doubts, and we fail to
develop the understanding we need in order to actually convince people. By contrast, by
accepting that the desirability of radical life extension is not a self-evident truth, but rather (at its
best) a possible conclusion of a process of honest self-reflection, we will develop the selfconfidence and peace of mind to understand the motivations and beliefs of those who disagree,
and we will become much more effective at convincing those who can be convinced.
And that, in turn, is likely to make radical life extension happen sooner rather than later.

SUPPORT LIFE, NOT WAR


BY: TOM MOONEY

I normally do not begin newsletters or, in fact any letter, with a quote from the Bible but I found
one sentence that was particularly interesting. 1 Corinthians 15:26 states:
THE LAST ENEMY THAT SHALL BE DESTROYED IS DEATH.
I am sure the author was not referring to indefinite life extension but at the same time he
characterizes death" as the last enemy. He does not refer to any metaphysical after life and
portrays death as an enemy. If he were alive today he might have been a stalwart defender of
life extension!
Quite frankly, we could use outspoken people such as the author of that wise characterization. I
am shocked, appalled, saddened and outraged that we are not fighting a war on aging even
though we are willing to throw away money that could be used in laboratories all over this
country and instead give trillions of dollars to prop up corrupt and incompetent leaders of two
countries, Iraq and Afghanistan that will take our money but never embrace us.
I was shocked, appalled, saddened and outraged to read a report by Linda HoBilmes, a lecturer at
the Harvard-Kennedy school in Boston that speculated that the aggregate costs of these two wars
will be close to 6 Trillion dollars the most expensive war in world history! Already we have
spent over two trillion and future assistance for troops left physically and psychologically
damaged will account for the remaining four trillion.
By the way, that outrageous sum of money is the equivalent of 75,000 for every household!
This is the most shocking and appalling waste of money EVER! To be honest, I worked on the
Obama campaign but I made a big mistake! Within the next few days I will be putting up some
petitions concerning this situation and asking that as the war winds down that we start supporting
life over death. If we can throw away six trillion dollars in the middle east we can afford several
billion dollars for life extension research. I will send you a message when they are posted and I
hope you will sign them.

WAYS TO BECOME INVOLVED


Someone called me recently and wanted to become involved in the life extension movement. I
was happy and surprised and I told them what is going on in the movement and how they can
help. They were not science oriented people but they wanted to help. I spoke with them for a
long time and they finally agreed that they would start a small group and communicate with their
elected officials and I informed them I would help them anyway I can.
This is how a movement builds and this is something we need to do as soon as possible.
I am quite aware that many people who read this are not political activists but, quite frankly, that
does not matter. Progress is being made in the laboratories and now it is time to organize
politically. I am very aware that many people do not like politics, and you are not alone. If you
would like to become involved, contact me at: director@coalitiontoextendlife.org.
I will show you how easy it is. We will prevail but we need your help!
Finally, I thought that I would mention a few important things you could do to in order to
become involved:
1-start a small group
2-Let us know your ideas
3-Sign petitions
4-Write your elected officials
5-send an E-mail to your Congressman
6-Call me if you need help 202-445-4876
Please get involved, we need your help!
In Life, Tom Mooney
Executive Director, Coalition to Extend Life

EVERYONE MUST MAKE THEIR OWN TRANSHUMANIST WAGER


BY: ZOLTAN ISTVAN

Humanity, we have a problem. Each one of us has a problem. In fact, no matter where you go on
the planet, no matter where you search, no matter who you turn to, every single person on the
planet has this dire problem.
That problem is our mortality. That problem is called death.
The reason it's a problem is because we all love life. We all love the precious chance of
existence. Even in one's darkest psychological despair, or one's most exhausting hardship, or
one's most catastrophic horror, the thing we call life is miraculous. We cherish it and we don't
want to lose it or have it end. But end it will! No matter how much you wish otherwise. The stark
truth has always been right before your eyesthat nothing will save you from death. The
obviousness of this overwhelms us every time we see a loved one or a friend whole body is
lifeless, never to reach out, touch, and communicate with use again. Death is final.
The great irony for our species is that we don't just have this one problem, but we actually have
two problems. The second problem is nearly as vicious as the first. The second problem is the
fact that most people around the world are just not worried about the first problemthey're not
worried about dying. They're either religious and have the supposed afterlife all worked out, or
they just don't care, or they just don't think immortality is possible. Whatever people's reasons,
they just don't see the first problem as serious enough to warrant immediate concernespecially
in a meaningful scientific way that makes them not die. And by not recognizing death as a
problem, many people have no reason to attempt to defeat it.
I have made it a mission in my life to make people aware of these two problems. It is why I
wrote my philosophical novel The Transhumanist Wager. The concept of the Transhumanist
Wager is simple. Through a simple fictional story, it explains that that in the 21st Century, it is a
betrayal of ourselves (and the potential of our best selves) to not tackle and solve our two most
pressing problems. More importantly, my book explains how we can solve these two problems.
But first, some of you are asking: What is a transhumanist? What does such a person want? What
are the main goals? Many people around the world still don't even know what transhumanism
means. When explaining the term to people, I find it easiest to use the Latin translation.
"Transhumanism" literally means "beyond human."

Transhumanist goals are broad and varied, but mostly they revolve around human beings using
science and technology to improve and enhance themselves, their lives, and society.
Transhumanists tend to concentrate on eliminating or reversing ageingwe are often called lifeextensionists or longevity advocates. Transhumanists are often, but not always, nonreligious.
They find meaning in their own lives, without a divine creator. The philosophies of
transhumanism make it possible that in the future one may become a so-called divine creator.
Without exception, transhumanists prefer reason over any other method of understanding to
guide themselves in life.
Every transhumanist comes to their own realization of why they're a transhumanist. Each path is
unique, personal, and totally different than another. I want to tell you briefly about my path. I
was first introduced to transhumanism as a philosophy student attending Columbia University in
New York City. For a class, I was assigned to read a magazine article on some of the recent
breakthroughs in cryonics. The article told of a small but passionate group of scientists who
believed that science and technology would be able to bring frozen patients back to life in the
future if they were preserved properly. The article also discussed the transhuman movement,
which it described as a community of reason-based futurists who wanted to use science and
technology to live indefinitely. I was deeply intrigued. I finished that article and wanted to know
more. I spent the next ten years reading everything I could on future technologies, human
enhancement, and transhumanism.
But it wasn't until I was in the jungles of the demilitarized zone of Vietnam as a journalist for the
National Geographic Channel that I came to dedicate my life to transhumanismthat I came to
the powerful conviction that human life should be preserved indefinitely, at any cost. While in
the jungle filming Vietnamese bomb diggers searching the ground for unexploded ordinances to
recover and sell, I almost stepped on a partially unburied landmine. My guide pushed me out of
the way and I fell to within a foot of the mine. Tens of thousands have died from landmines in
the DMZ in the last forty years, and I was lucky I was not one of them.
For me, nothing was ever the same again after that moment. The landmine incident reminded me
how fragile the human body washow precious our minutes alive on this planet are. Upon
returning to the Unites States, I began writing The Transhumanist Wager. The reason I tell you
my personal story about becoming a transhumanist is that every one of us has their own story.
But the two main problems we each faceand the choice we must make: the Transhumanist
Wagerthat is not just for some people. It is for every reasonable, straight-thinking person in
the world. The Transhumanist Wager is not just a novel. Nor it is just an art work. It's an
ultimatumthe gravest one you will ever face. In the 21st Century, it's also the only reasonable
option. If you love life, you will dedicate yourself to finding a way to preserve that life.
Transhumanists will not preserve their life via religion, false hopes, a mystic super spirituality, or
otherwise. There is only one way transhumanists will do it: through the tools they can create with
your own hands; through the reason their brain can muster; and through the rational conviction
their being prompts of them by not wanting to die. To do otherwise in the 21st Century is to
remain irrational and suicidal. In a world where we have the technology to travel to Mars, where
we can video chat on our cell phones to someone 5000 miles away, or we can replace someone's
heart with an artificial one, it's our evolutionary destiny to significantly extend our lives and to
be transhuman.

Once you have identified the human race's two main problems, and you understand that you each
face the Transhumanist Wager, the question is: what to do? How can you solve these problems
and make the right choice in the wager.
It's quite simple, really. The journey of the transhumanist requires no ritual, no prayer, and no
mystic sacrifice. It requires only your ability to reason. Ask yourself how you can best dedicate
yourself to a specific cause of the the life extension movement. Then do it! For some, this may
mean going into science as a new career. For others it will mean volunteering in transhuman
groups that need help. For some it will mean going into politics and pushing for more friendly
science laws. For others, it will mean donating resources to scientific centers. For some, it will
mean creating transhuman art and using it a vehicle to gain life extension support. For others it
will mean just talking with friends and family about why you think science and technology are
the best drivers of civilization.
Whatever it is that one can do, be transhuman-minded! Be people that belong to a bright, rational
scientific future, not one dogged by religious dogma and heritage. Be transhuman, and rise to
your evolutionary destiny.

STRATEGIES FOR HASTENING THE ARRIVAL OF INDEFINITE LIFE EXTENSION


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

We are still several decades away from a time when medical technology will be able keep
senescence and death at bay. What can we do until then to hasten the arrival of radical extension
and to improve our own chances of benefiting from it? I recently offered my thoughts on this
matter on an Immortal Life debate/discussion thread. My proposed approach is versatile and can
be distilled into five essential points.
1. Personal Good Health. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should try to personally
remain in good health as long as possible. This mostly involves common-sense practices
(exercise, moderation in food, as well as avoidance of harmful substances, dangerous habits, and
risky pleasures).
2. Utilization of Comparative Advantage. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should
work to advance it in the areas where he/she has a comparative advantage. I am sympathetic to
Peter Wickss statements in this regard with the caveat that finding what one is best at is an
iterative process that requires trying out many approaches and pursuits to discover ones
strengths and the best ways of actualizing them. Moreover, an individual may have multiple
areas of strength, and in that case should discover how best to synthesize those areas and use
them complementarily. But, crucially, one should not feel constrained to personally follow
specific career paths, such as biogerontological research. Rather, one could make a more
substantial contribution by maximally utilizing ones areas of strength, knowledge, and expertise
and contributing some of the proceeds to research on and advocacy of indefinite life extension.
3. Advocacy. As Aubrey de Grey has put it, insufficient funding is a major obstacle to the
progress of life-extension research at present. The scientists who are capable of carrying out the
research are already here, and they are motivated. They need more support in the form of
donations, which can be achieved with enough advocacy and persuasion of the general public (as
well as wealthy philanthropists). In this respect, I agree with Franco Cortese that an additional
promoter today may make more of a difference than an additional researcher, because the work
of the promoters may ensure steady employment for the researchers in the field of anti-aging

interventions. My Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE) page catalogues a sampling of


the major advances in fighting disease and developing new promising technologies that have
occurred in the past several years. If only more people knew The Movement for Indefinite Life
Extension (MILE) attempts to raise this awareness and has been gaining support and recognition
at an encouraging pace. You can add to this progress by exploring and liking the MILE
Facebook page.
4. Forthrightness. It is important for all advocates of indefinite life extension to be open about
their views and to be ready to justify them even casually and in passing. The idea needs to be
made sufficiently commonplace that most people will not only take it seriously but will consider
it to be a respectable position within public discourse. At that point, increased funding for
research will come.
5. Innovative Education. As my previous points imply, education is key. But education on
indefinite life extension needs to be made appealing not just in terms of content, but in terms of
the learning process. This is where creativity should be utilized to create an engaging,
entertaining, and addictive open curriculum of reading materials and digital certifications,
compatible with an Open Badge infrastructure. I have begun to do this with several multiplechoice quizzes pertaining to some of my articles, and I welcome and encourage any similar
efforts by others.

TAKE ACTION!
BY: ILA

---------The views expressed in the documents of the International Longevity Alliance are not
necessarily the views of all the publishers or other authors, or even of all the members and
associates of the International Longevity Alliance itself. As stated in the documents, the
International longevity Alliance promotes the social struggle against the deteriorative aging
process and for healthy and productive longevity for all, through scientific research,
technological development, medical treatment, public health and education measures, and social
activism. In practical terms, we promote the maximal possible increase of healthy longevity, for
as many people as possible, and by the most feasible means based on the best available scientific
evidence. Hence, in many practical cases, under current technological limitations, our hopes for
extended longevity can be only moderate or even minimal. Yet, the hopes may become more
radical in the future with the advancement of scientific human knowledge and increasing
technological capabilities.
---------1. Register at this site to become a member and/or receive updates. (Email list registration will
open soon.)
2. Join International Longevity Alliance affiliated groups in social networks. The list can be
found here.
3. If there is no related social network in your area, start one!
4. Organize live local meetings of supporters.
5. Get involved with a research institute, public association or other organization, creating and
testing treatments for the aging process and its derivative chronic diseases, and for the sake of
healthy longevity. Research, work, volunteer or donate for such organizations.
6. Educate yourself on recent advances in life-extension science, as well as its social
implications. Educate others. Discuss longevity with friends.

Participate in academic and communal learning frameworks and programs related to the

struggle against the aging process and for healthy life extension, including its research
and application aspects. Study such fields as: bio-gerontology; geriatrics; biotechnology;
medical technology; social work; financial planning; science, technology and society;
regenerative medicine; nano-medicine; nutrition; ergonomics; and other fields related to
healthy life extension.
Collect up-to-date, evidential scientific information regarding the optimal hygienic
lifestyle for all ages, and for aging persons particularly. Share this information freely and
discuss it openly with members of the healthcare community, friends and the wide public.
Organize focused educational activities for professionals and the wide public, such as
conferences, workshops, open discussions, publications in the media and social networks,
regarding the research and development for healthy life extension.

7. Lobby. Promote legislation and policies for research, development, public health and
education aimed at reducing the damage of aging and for healthy life extension. Write letters to
your elected representatives. Participate in their meetings and press conferences, and ask them
questions related to healthy longevity. Make them think and act for the advancement of lifeprolonging means. Vote for politicians sympathetic with the goal of healthy longevity for all.
8. Practice a healthy, life-prolonging life-style, according to the best scientific evidence
available. Keep well and healthy until the emergence of effective life-extending technologies,
and make an effort so they should arrive as early as possible.

TRANSHUMANISM AS A GRAND CONSERVATISM


BY: G. STOLYAROV II

For anyone interested in the history of life-extension ideas, I highly recommend Ilia Stamblers
2010 paper, Life extension a conservative enterprise? Some fin-de-sicle and early twentiethcentury precursors of transhumanism. This extensively researched and cosmopolitan work
explores the ideas of five proto-transhumanist thinkers who embedded their future-oriented
thoughts in extremely different intellectual frameworks: Nikolai Fedorov, Charles Stephens,
Alexander Bogdanov, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Jean Finot. Mr. Stambler considers Finots
thought to most resemble the ideas of todays transhumanist movement.
The conclusions of Mr. Stamblers research are profound and interesting to explore. One of the
main insights is that it is possible to arrive at support for radical life extension from many
different ideological frameworks. Mr. Stambler writes that In different national contexts,
different ideological schemes secular humanism or religion, discrimination or egalitarianism,
idealism or materialism, socialism or capitalism, liberalism or totalitarianism appear to yield
different justifications for the necessity of life prolongation and longevity research and to impact
profoundly on the way such goals are conceived and pursued. As the works of the above-said
proponents of human enhancement and longevity exemplify, the authors adapt to a particular
national ideological milieu and serve as agents for its continuation.
This is a welcome insight in the sense that it should be possible to attract an immensely
intellectually and culturally diverse following to the cause of indefinite human life extension.
However, it is also the case that some political and cultural environments are more conducive to
rapid progress in human life extension than others. I have recently articulated my view that a
libertarian set of policies will, by unshackling competition and innovation by numerous entities
on a free market, result in the most rapid advent of the technologies sought by transhumanists.
That being said, I still perceive much common ground with non-libertarians to be achievable on
the issue of life extension for instance, in the realms of supporting specific research, spreading
public awareness, sharing information, and coming together to advocate for policy positions on
which we can agree. Also, it is possible that non-libertarian transhumanists might benefit their
own intellectual traditions by steering them toward more technology-friendly and life-respecting

directions. As an atheist libertarian transhumanist, I would greatly prefer to be debating with


transhumanist environmentalists, transhumanist socialists, and transhumanist Christians (yes,
they do exist) than their mainstream counterparts of today.
Another key insight of Mr. Stamblers paper resonates with me personally. Mr. Stambler
ventures to suggest is that the pursuit of human enhancement and life extension may originate
in conservatism, both biological and social. There is a close conjunction between the ideas of life
extension, transcending human nature and creating artificial life, in Finots writings and those
of present-day transhumanists. The connection (and progression) between these enterprises may
appear logical: the means initially designed to conserve life may exceed their purpose, and
beginning as a search to preserve a natural bodily status quo, the aspirations may rapidly
expand into attempts to modify nature. It appears to me that these enterprises evolve in this, and
not in the reverse order. The primary aspiration is not to modify nature, but to preserve a
natural state.
Anyone who has followed my work over the years would be unable to avoid my generally
conservative esthetic, my strong interest in history, and my admiration for the achievements and
legacies of prior eras. I am mostly not a conservative in the American or even European political
sense, but I am conservative in the sense of seeking to preserve and build upon the achievements
of Western civilization including the development of its logical implications for future decades
and centuries. Technological progress and the achievement of indefinite life extension are very
much the direct extrapolation of the desire to preserve the historical achievements that enable our
unprecedented quality of life today. Furthermore, my transhumanism grows out of a desire to
preserve my own body and mind in a youthful state so as to maintain a life driven primarily by
my own choices and the manner in which I set up the environment around me. In order for me to
remain who I am, and to do what I wish to do, I need to support radical technological change and
changes to our society in general. However, those changes are fundamentally aimed at
supporting that pattern of life which I consider to be good and which today, unfortunately, is
far too subject to destructive external influences over which no individual yet has sufficient
influence or control. Unlike some transhumanists, I have no ambitions to have my mind
uploaded, to lead a non-biological existence, or merge my mind with anyone elses. If I
obtain indefinite life, I will spend it indefinitely looking the way I do (while remedying any
flaws) and focusing on the perpetuation of my family, property, esthetic, and activities all the
while learning continuously and becoming a better (and more durable) version of the person I
already am. For the true stability of home, family, property, and patterns of living, there must be
individual sovereignty. For true individual sovereignty to exist, our society must improve rapidly
in every dimension, so as to facilitate the hyper-empowerment of every person. Ironically, for
ones personal sphere to be conserved and shaped to ones will, a revolution in the universe is
necessary.

Cultural and historical preservation is also a major but seldom appreciated implication of
transhumanism. By living longer and remaining in a youthful state, specific individuals would be
able to create and refine their skills to a much greater extent. Imagine the state of classical music
if we could have had hundreds of years for Mozart and Beethoven to compose or the state of
painting if Leonardo, Vermeer, or David had lived for centuries. Every time a creator dies, an
irreplaceable vision dies with him. Others might emulate him, but it is not the same for they do
not have his precise mind. They can replicate and absorb into their own esthetic what he already
brought into this world, but they cannot foresee the new directions in which he would have taken
his work with more time. Each individual is precious and irreplaceable; the loss of each
individual is the loss of a whole universe of memories, ideas, and possibilities. Transhumanism
is a grand conservatism an ambition to conserve people to put an end to all such senseless
destruction and to keep around all of the people who build up and beautify our world. The prototranshumanist Nikolai Fedorov (one of those Christian transhumanists who ought to be much
more prevalent among the Christians of today) even took this idea to the point of proposing an
ultimate goal to physically resurrect every person who has ever lived. While, as I have written
earlier, this would not resurrect the I-nesses of these individuals, achieving this goal might
nonetheless give us the benefit of recapitulating their memories and experiences and seeing how
their doubles might further develop themselves in a more advanced world.
It is precisely the conservative sensibility in me that recoils against letting go of the good
things in life whether they be my present advantages or the positive legacies of the past. It is
precisely the conservative part of me that hates starting from scratch when something good and
useful is no longer available because it has fallen prey to damaging external events. To allow the
chaos of senseless destruction the decay and ruin introduced by the inanimate processes of
nature and the stupidity of men is a sheer waste. Many put up with this sad state of affairs
today because it has hitherto been unavoidable. But once the technical possibilities emerge to put
an end to such destruction, then leaving it to wreak its havoc would become a moral outrage.
Once we are able to truly control and direct our own lives, the stoic acceptance of ruin will
become one of those aspects of history that we could confidently leave in the past.

INVERTING A TECHNOPOLITICAL TROPE: ON THE HUBRIS OF NEO-LUDDISM


BY: FRANCO CORTESE

One of the most common tropes one finds recurring throughout rhetoric that is critical of
Transhumanism (the belief that it is possible and desirable to improve the human condition via
science and technology) and Technoprogressivism (the belief that it is possible and desirable to
improve upon the conditions of society and the world via science and technology) is hubris.
Hubris is an ancient Greek concept meaning excess of pride that carries connotations of reckless
vanity and heedless self-absorbment, often to the point of carelessly endangering the welfare of
others in the process. It paints us in a selfish and dangerous light, as though we were striving for
the technological betterment of ourselves alone and the improvement of the human condition
solely as it pertains to ourselves, so as to be enhanced relative to the majority of humanity. It also
has connotations of foolish certainty and self-percieved infallibility that makes it seem as though
we were striving for something that could only be our own downfall.
This is also criticism often commonly raised against the longevity community. Selfishness for
wanting to stay alive past our programmed expiry-date, and reckless pride for thinking that we
somehow deserve to live longer than those that came and went before us. As though we really
were meant to die, whatever that could mean. Unlike valid areas of criticism that can and should
be addressed, like ethicacy (e.g. availability of longevity therapies) and safety, the criticism of
hubris fails to move the field and its rhetoric forward. Concerns regarding as overpopulation and
unequal availability should be addressed, and these are the among the type of criticism that
succeeds in moving the field forward. Luckily, these are among the concerns most commonly
raised regarding indefinite human lifespans. Following these common concerns, however, are
criticisms rooted in technical infeasibility, and finally, moralistic criticisms that it is immoral to
live longer than the average person does today; that we shouldnt tamper with some intangible
but definitively static and preordained human nature, as though we havent been doing so since
the very conception of culture.
In no way is the too-common, clichd criticism of hubris correct or even salient in the context of
Transhumanism, Technoprogressivism or what might be called Longevitism. I think that the
majority of Transhumanists, Techno-Progressives and emerging-tech-enthusiasts work toward

promoting beneficial outcomes and deliberating the repercussions and most desirable
embodiments of radically-transformative technologies for the betterment of all mankind first and
foremost, and only secondly for themselves if at all.
The ired irony of this situation is that the very group who most often hails the charge of Hubris
against the Transhumanist community is, according to the logic of hubris, more hubristic than
those they rail their charge against. Bio-Luddites, and more generally Neo-Luddites, can be
clearly seen to be more self-absorbed and recklessly-selfish than the Transhumanists they are so
quick to raise qualms against. Note that for the purposes of this essay, Neo-Luddites will denote
those who favor outright relinquishment of certain emerging (e.g. Nano-Bio-Info-Cogno)
technologies rather than differential technological development of such emerging technologies,
The logic of this conclusion is simple: Transhumanists seek merely to better determine the
controlling circumstances and determining conditions of our own selves, whereas Neo-Luddites
seek to determine such circumstances and conditions (even if using a negative definition, i.e., the
absence of something) not only for everyone besides themselves alive at the moment, but even
for the unquantable multitudes of minds and lives still fetal in the future.
We do not seek to radically transform Humanity against their will; indeed, this is so off the mark
as to be antithetical to the true Transhumanist impetus - for we seek to liberate their wills, not
leash or lash them. We seek to offer every human alive the possibility of transforming
themselves more effectively according to their own subjective projected objectives; of
actualizing and realizing themselves; ultimately of determining themselves for themselves. We
seek to offer every member of Humanity the choice to better choose and the option for more
optimal options: the self not as final-subject but as project-at-last.
Neo-Luddites, on the other hand, wish to deny the whole of humanity that choice. They actively
seek the determent, relinquishment or prohibition of technological self-transformation, and
believe in the heat of their idiot-certainty that they have either the intelligence or the right to
force their own preference upon everyone else, present and future. Such lumbering, oafish
paternalism patronizes the very essence of Man, whose only right is to write his own and whose
only will is to will his own or at least to vow that he will will his own one fateful yet fate-free
day.
We seek solely to choose ourselves, and to give everyone alive and yet-to-live the same
opportunity: of choice. Neo-Luddites seek not only to choose for themselves but to force this
choice upon everyone else as well.
If any of the original Luddites were alive today, perhaps they would loom large to denounce the
contemporary caricature of their own movement and rail their tightly-spooled rage against the

modern Neo-Luddites that use Ludds name in so reckless a threadbare fashion. At the heart of it
they were trying to free their working-class fellowship. There would not have been any
predominant connotations of extending the distinguishing features of the Luddite revolt into the
entire future, no hint of the possibility that they would set a precedent which would effectively
forestall or encumber the continuing advancement of technology at the cost of the continuing
betterment of humanity.
Who were they to intimate that continuing technological and methodological growth and
progress would continually liberate humanity in fits and bounds of expanding freedom to open
up the parameters of their possible actions - would free choice from chance and make the general
conditions of being continually better and better? If this sentiment were predominant during
1811-1817, perhaps they would have lain their hammers down. They were seeking the liberation
of their people after all; if they knew that their own actions might spawn a future movement
seeking to dampen and deter the continual technological liberation of Mankind, perhaps they
would have remarked that such future Neo-Luddites missed their point completely.
Perhaps the salient heart of their efforts was not the relinquishment of technology but rather the
liberation of their fellow man. Perhaps they would have remarked that while in this particular
case technological relinquishment coincided with the liberation of their fellow man, that this
shouldnt be heralded as a hard rule. Perhaps they would have been ashamed of the way in which
their name was to be used as the nametag and figurehead for the contemporary fight against
liberty and Mans autonomy. Perhaps Ludd is spinning like a loom in his grave right now.
Does the original Luddites enthusiasm for choice and the liberation of his fellow man supersede
their revolt against technology? I think it does. The historical continuum of which
Transhumanism is but the contemporary leading-tip encompasses not only the technological
betterment of self and society but the non-technological as well. Historical Utopian ventures and
visions are valid antecedents of the Transhumanist impetus just as Techno-Utopian historical
antecedents are. While the emphasis on technology predominant in Transhumanist rhetoric isnt
exactly misplaced (simply because technology is our best means of affecting and changing self
and society, whorl and world, and thus our best means of improving it according to subjective
projected objectives as well) it isnt a necessary precondition, and its predominance does not
preclude the inclusion of non-technological attempts to improve the human condition as well.
The dichotomy between knowledge and device, between technology and methodology, doesnt
have a stable ontological ground in the first place. What is technology but embodied
methodology, and methodology but internalized technology? Language is just as unnatural as
quantum computers in geological scales of time. To make technology a necessary prerequisite is
to miss the end for the means and the mark for a lark. The point is that we are trying to
consciously improve the state of self, society and world; technology has simply superseded

methodology as the most optimal means of accomplishing that, and now constitutes our best
means of effecting our affectation.
The original Luddite movement was less against advancing technology and more about the
particular repercussions that specific advancements in technology (i.e. semi-automated looms)
had on their lives and circumstances. To claim that Neo-Luddism has any real continuity-ofimpetus with the original Luddite movement that occurred throughout 1811-1817 may actually
be antithetical to the real motivation underlying the original Luddite movement namely the
liberation of the working class. Indeed, Neo-Luddism itself, as a movement, may be antithetical
to the real impetus of the initial Luddite movement both for the fact that they are trying to
impose their ideological beliefs upon others (i.e. prohibition is necessarily exclusive, whereas
availability of the option to use a given technology is non-exclusive and forces a decision on no
one) and because they are trying to prohibit the best mediator of Mans ever-increasing selfliberation namely technological growth.
Support for these claims can be found in the secondary literature. For instance, in Luddites and
Luddism Kevin Binfield sees the Luddite movement as an expression of worker-class discontent
during the Napoleonic Wars than having rather than as an expression of antipathy toward
technology in general or toward advancing technology as general trend (Binfield, 2004).
And in terms of base-premises, it is not as though Luddites are categorically against technology
in general; rather they are simply against either a specific technology, a specific embodiment of a
general class of technology, or a specific degree of technological sophistication. After all, most
every Luddite alive wears clothes, takes antibiotics, and uses telephones. Legendary Ludd
himself still wanted the return of his manual looms, a technology, when he struck his first blow. I
know many Transhumanists and Technoprogressives who still label themselves as such despite
being weary of the increasing trend of automation.
This was the Luddites own concern: that automation would displace manual work in their
industry and thereby severely limit their possible choices and freedoms, such as having enough
discretionary income to purchase necessities. If their government were handing out guaranteed
basic income garnered from taxes to corporations based on the degree with which they replace
previously-manual labor with automated labor, Im sure they would have happily lain their
hammers down and laughed all the way home. Even the Amish only prohibit specific levels of
technological sophistication, rather than all of technology in general.
In other words no one is against technology in general, only particular technological
embodiments, particular classes of technology or particular gradations of technological
sophistication. If youd like to contest me on this, try communicating your rebuttal without using
the advanced technology of cerebral semiotics (i.e. language).

REFERENCES
Binfield, K. (2004). Luddites and Luddism. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins
University Press.

TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT LIFE EXTENSION: IF THEY SAY NO


BY: MILE

I have heard it said that when it comes to the progression of indefinite life extension, If they say
no then its going to be no. Im not sure exactly who they is, but they are going to be in an
awful small minority here at some point and then until the end of time or the end of humankind.
If they say no, it does not mean no, it never does. It means you are at a stand off until the side
with the most preeminence and willpower prevails. They say no to indefinite life extension? We
say no to involuntary eternal obliteration. How are they going to survive our no? That is the
much harder problem.
You reach a critical mass when the ingredients of a movement, need, resources and catalyst,
come together and your movement is born. Then awareness building takes place. Once you have
gained your footing, you grow this through the social unrest. Then you solidify a core of
mobilization in the form of pressurized advocacy and you keep that momentum primed until you
have filled the vacuum that was waiting for your cause to fill it.
Sometimes you know, the hungry have to figure out how they can take down a mighty bison so
they can eat, figure out how to harness fire so they will not freeze to death, sail an unknown
ocean so they can be free, kick the doors of ignorance off the hinges of the vassals grain bins and
fill that vacuum in their souls with that grain that means the future for them. The vacuum in the
future says yes and it draws us in. At one time the bison, the heat, the ocean and the vassals said
no. It would be hard for no to stop us if we tried to let it.
If they say no then we meet them at more tables of diplomacy like the desks of the heads of the
departments at the NIH, MIT, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, the CDC and A4M: at the offices of
Congressional health committee members, at the coffee shop in the home towns of
philanthropists and angel investors, in the office of venture capital agencies, at conferences,
debates and all the rest. If they say no then we mobilize more public pressure, continue building,
we get even busier spreading the word to more people, we get even more convincing and timely
and we deliver for this cause. If they say no then we notify the Longevity Party. If they say no

we write more letters to our representatives, and send more people in to talk to them. If they say
no we prep more and more candidates, prepping those that are already there that can be swayed
now, and introducing our own. We create videos and books for that audience; we talk about it in
interviews in newspapers and magazines and blogs and television, and we work to get more of
them. We work to get through to opinion leaders, role models and voices like Larry King, Steven
Seagal, the president of Kazakhstan and the Pope, who in turn get through to others. We
proactively work to get more media coverage, more newspaper blurbs, more yard signs and
bumper stickers, send more books and documentaries to book clubs and film fests.
The entire world, through their general state of not being informed about this cause, generally
does say no right now. That is the entire reason for our existence. That is essentially the entire
reason for the movement. If they didnt say no then we wouldnt be here. A movement doesnt
come into existence because most people say yes. The movement comes into existence to change
no to yes. Somebody said to me that, The only way around no is to proceed illegally, or wait
for laws to change. There are many ways through it, and movements systematize that process.
You rise up.
Sometimes the road through requires a whole new inter-state system of super highways.
Sometimes the road through requires the rationing bonds of a nation backing the commitment of
15 million dedicated activists. Sometimes the road through requires hundreds of thousands of
people on long marches with fire hoses to the face and dog bites. They said no to industry, they
said no to the financing of the Panama Canal, they said no to health care. They said no to us, and
we raised an entire movement for indefinite life extension up out of the ground to move through
it.
We find it at every deadlock; we meet up with it at every impasse. Thats how you get through
no. If it takes 5, 10, 20 years, that is nothing in the scheme of things, thats business as usual.
That will be the easy part. To get through no you commit to yes and you see it through. You look
at what it will take and you prepare yourself to go the whole distance. Any problem, broken
down into enough small pieces is rendered easy. You hand the nos out among the movement.
Your life and your shot at this vast existence are on the line. The movement for indefinite life
extension is a small commitment, a small price to pay for such a large prize. There are people
who spend more time building and preparing a house than the amount of time it is going to take
us to execute the movement for indefinite life extension.
So lets work through this skirmish here with the trancists and the uninformed and then move on
to the heavy artillery. Rejuvenating our tissues and blood and bones, keeping our bodies healthy
and finding the way to allow indefinite life extension, and in time, that is the hard part.
The question is not how we are ever going to get through no. The question is what no is going to

stop us. To quote a great statesmen and military strategist, We will find a way or make one. Life
has given to man no sharper spur to victory than contempt of death.

DEFEATING AGING AND DEATH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT AND URGENT GOAL FOR
HUMANKIND
BY: GIOVANNI SANTOSTASI, PH.D

IMMORTALITY IS THE ONLY THING WHICH DOESNT TOLERATE BEING POSTPONED.


- KARL KRAUS

Everything you can imagine doing, achieving, giving, receiving, any goal worth striving for, any
experience you desire having is based on one simple requirement: you need to be alive. Life is
precious. In particular conscious, intelligent life is very rare and priceless.
When reasoning in a scientific manner about the universe we should consider only the evidence
in front of us (and possible logically argued deductions from this evidence).
It is a fact, that we didnt observe yet any presence of intelligent life in the Universe. The Italian
born physicist Enrico Fermi used this fact together with the several billion years age of the
universe to question the existence of other form of intelligent life in the Universe, this is the
famous Fermis paradox. He was a master of this kind of order estimates based on some simple
facts and assumptions. Fermi estimate of the existence of intelligent life in the universe was
order 1 (just us or few other ones, very far away).
If this estimate is right, then consider the density of intelligence in the universe. A rough estimate
of the size of the universe is its age 13.8 billion years times the speed of light (this is a simplified
calculation; the size of the observable universe is actually few times bigger). When that is
expressed in miles we have that the radius of the universe is about 100 thousand billion billion
miles. The volume of the universe then would be is 1 followed by 69 zeros or a billion trillion
trillion trillion trillion trillion cubic miles. Lets round the population of the earth to 10 billion.
That means that if you spread human consciousness all over the universe you will find a brain
every 100 billion trillion trillion trillion trillion miles. Indeed brains are very rare.
Each brain is unique, an invaluable treasure.

Neuroscience is revealing almost every day new insights on our brains and how they function. It
is clear that even if there are many traits that that make us act in similar ways in given
circumstances the precise wiring and connections between neurons is unique to each individual
[1]. These unique connections make a personalized cognitive map of the world resultant of the
individual diverse experiences [2]. Both environment and genetics can influence how these brain
maps are evolving in time and how they react to events and what they are able to imagine and
create. Even if the maps are changing and in constant flux their future trajectory is determined by
the unrepeatable path that each mind has taken in its history.
It should be our top priority to preserve these minds, to allow them to continue to evolve and
grow, to allow them to contribute to well beings of other minds (and help heal them and guide
them if they tend to be destructive and unproductive).
However 100 thousands of these minds are destroyed every day. True that others are created but
the uniqueness of each mind is destroyed forever.
Aging and death has been unavoidable until now but we live in extraordinary times. Science and
technology is advancing so fast that a cure for aging is feasible in the lifespan of most living at
the moment on Earth. This advancement could be even faster if made it into a priority. It has
been proposed that if one or more governments would come together and create a Manhattan
Project style initiative (that focused the work of several scientists to create the first atomic bomb
and gave them generous resources to achieve that goal) we could find a solution to the problem
of aging within 10 years or less. Even less ambitious projects in the same scale of large scientific
projects as the Large Hadron Collider could achieve the extreme longevity goal within a very
short time. But this fundamental goal is left to the initiative of few organizations and labs around
the world, SENS being one of the largest and best funded [4]. This is not enough.
Because of the perceived inevitability of death and the lack of knowledge about the relevant
science most people just dont know how to reason about the issue of death. Religion has been
the custodian of most of humankind imaginary and discourse on the topic of death. Religion
existence depends on the fear of death that the majority of sentient beings rightly possess.
Religion has created much mind conditioning on many issues but on the subject of death even
atheists and free thinkers seem to fall prey of powerful preconceptions even more powerful than
religious thinking [3]. Discussing this topic many say absurd, nonsensical things, and use sacred
words as selfishness, natural, cycle of life as if they were trying to exorcise something that
terrifies them. It is an emotional reaction to the topic of death. Paradoxically accepting death to
them is a way to exorcise the topic of death.
There is not justification to let minds being destroyed by what is understood as a natural process.
Humans have thought their natural condition since they become to use their large brains. Each

innovation, each invention, technological, social, political has been an overcoming of our nature.
We have defined our nature over and over again. If anything can be said about the nature of
humankind is that it is its nature to go beyond its limits.
Death and in particular the grotesque degradation due to aging is a tremendous and horrific
limitation on the human spirit.
It is our enemy number one.
Death is a waste. Many of the most productive people spend years improving their skills,
learning from experience, gaining wisdom on how to work and be successful in a complex world
and when they finally start to master their field they decline in mental power and then die. The
equivalent of a large living library is destroyed when a mind is gone. But is not just what the
library contains but what it will be able to produce and create that is also lost.
A common criticism against the idea of indefinite life spans is that such goal is selfish and it will
destroy the economy and the environment because of overpopulation. There is nothing wrong in
being selfish and want to preserve your own life. A certain level of selfishness is necessary to get
up in the morning and do anything useful for oneself and others. You need to love yourself first
to help others. Altruism is intelligent selfishness.
Again because most people have not thought about this issue clearly enough and respond in a
very emotional way when confronted with mortality the criticism is based on misconceptions.
What it is not understood is that the proponents of life extension are not proposing to extend
senility but to keep people young, vibrant and creative.
It is clear then how for a world population being active and productive could be an enormous
boost to the economy. Also people that have more life in front of them would be more careful in
reproducing and seeing children as their main asset. It is a fact as a country improves
economically the child birth rate decreases. Most of the overpopulation is due to developing
countries and even in these countries the projections are that they the child rate birth would
decrease soon or is already decreasing. Far from being a problem life extension would be
actually a solution to the opposite problem that many developed countries are experiencing that
is the fact that a small, productive, young portion of the population has to support economically a
much larger older, frail, unproductive one. Several studies have shown through modeling and
reasonable forecasting that indeed life extension has a very beneficial economic impact [5].
It should also be clear that extending life would make life even more precious and reckless
behavior as wars and violent crime would also be impacted by extended life spans. Crime should
decline because people that commit crime often usually do so because they feel desperate and

without any way out. But by living without an arbitrary time limitation people would have
indefinite time to achieve goals and look for opportunities and do better planning for the future.
Crime would not seem so appealing if you have many chances to prosper and be a productive
agent in the world.
But besides the immediate advantages of life extension at the individual and social level,
remember that the universe is so empty of consciousness and we need to spread intelligence and
creative power everywhere to enliven the cosmos. We need more brains, many more to fill the
dull and cold emptiness of space.
Immortal brains is what we need to achieve the task.
REFERENCES:

[1]. G. Miller, Why are you and your brain unique? Science, 5 October 2012: Vol. 338 no. 6103
pp. 35-36
[2]. I. Sample, Sebastian Seung, You are your connectome. The observer, June 2012
[3]. S. Cave, Immortality: The Quest to Live Forever and How It Drives Civilization, 2012,
Random House, New York
[4]. SENS organization webpage
L.A. Gavrilov, N.S. Gavrilova, Demographic consequences of defeating aging, poster SENS 4, June

INTERNATIONAL LONGEVITY ALLIANCE INITIATIVES


BY: ILA

On January 5, the second general meeting of the leaders and activists of the International
Longevity Alliance (ILA) took place. Frankly, there were earlier some apprehensions that for
whatever reasons (perhaps even meteorological) the level of activity and enthusiasm of members
of this group was gradually decreasing. It was good to find evidence to the contrary. The meeting
took place in an extremely cooperative and constructive atmosphere. About 18 collaborative
projects were initiated right there and then. The exact organizational structure, goals and ways to
join the projects will be elaborated and announced soon, in the Projects section of the ILA
website.
I include below just a brief outline of the directions of work. A more systematic presentation of
the collaborative projects has been prepared by Daniel Wuttke on his Denigma platform (that
will be one of the ILA collaborative projects). Many thanks to Daniel Wuttke, the developer of
Denigma, and Edouard Debonneuil, the leader of the overall Linking Researchers project!!
(To see the list, please click International Longevity Alliance Collaborations.)
Even now, everyone is welcome to apply to join the teams through the platform or by contacting
the key workers in the particular projects. And many thanks to all the participants for their
wonderful initiatives!
So here are the initiated projects:
1. Writing and promoting materials in different languages. As it was suggested, it is very
important not only to produce such materials in local languages, but also make people who speak
other languages aware of those materials (for example through publicizing synopses in English).
Recognition of local and individual achievement is important!
2. It was even suggested to create a merit earning system, giving people the recognition and
respect (if not the money) for the work they do for the cause (and the alliance). Yet, the details of

such a system or even its foundation are still uncertain. Even if an exact system of awarding
merit for good work is not entirely clear, it may be important for our movement. So mark down a
project: Encouraging and recognizing initiative and contribution!
3. Beside online communications, activism on the field also helps to raise morale and public
interest in life extension. Several public demonstrations in support of life extension research have
already been conducted. The latest one was in December 2012, during the Eurosymposium on
Healthy Aging, organized by HEALES, where many supporters of ILA met.
Such public actions and demonstrations can be easily replicated across the world. Perhaps they
can even be conducted simultaneously in many countries of the world, deploying media
coverage. In addition to such public demonstrations, petitions and law proposals could be
submitted, study groups can be held, and many more activities in support of life extension done.
Such coordinated activities across the world can be done at any time.
One idea that was raised during the meeting was to organize some form of joint longevity
activism during the forthcoming Future Day on March 1, or other non-specific date, or setting a
special regular Longevity Day, for such collaborative activities. To include all the options, this
project may also be called A Day of Concerted Longevity Activism.
4. To facilitate the collection of knowledge, exchange and distribution of free and accessible
information about longevity, a Wikipedia project was initiated.
5. A related item is the Collaborative Knowledge Management project that will provide a
repository of information on aging and longevity researchers and research centers, as well as
providing linking tools.
6. And yet another form of knowledge collection and sharing will be the creation of Educational
Platforms on longevity, for different audiences, lay and more academic.
7. There is an overarching Linking Researchers project, initiated to facilitate the interaction
with and between researchers in the field. A part of this project is an ongoing Skype ILA
meeting: the Worldwide Continuous Longevity Skype Meeting.
8. The Denigma project [http://denigma.de] will be the main IT platform in the creation of the
repository of information on research of aging, and linking of researchers.
9. The Longevity M edia project will enhance the ILA website with advanced media options,
possibly introducing a kind of longevity radio and/or longevity TV channel in addition to a
video conference platform. Additional media outlets and platforms will be sought and linked to

increase our Internet presence.


10. Newsletter. The website already has online registration option to receive email
updates/newsletters, when these will be ready [http://longevityalliance.org/].
11. The Longevity Alliance Logo Contest continues. The submission of logos will end on
January 31, and then voting will begin.
12. Complementing the IT projects, the flagship biological project of the Alliance will be the
promotion the Age In Vivo project, testing life-extending interventions in mice, other domestic
animals, and simpler organisms, using a Do It Yourself approach.
13. Several people (quite independently) suggested the need to collect data on peoples health
and try to analyze it in relation to aging, longevity and an optimal life style. Call it health
information project.
14. The health extension media response and outreach team will seek to both react to postings
and news in the media about longevity research, as well as facilitate the creation of such postings
and news, actively pushing for the public visibility of the topic.
15. Grant writing assistance. The ILA will provide assistance on identifying and obtaining grants
for research on promoting longevity.
16. In addition to grants, crowdfunding will be utilized. The organizational structure of the
funding projects (grant and crowdfunding) remains to be established.
17. One of the major (perhaps even unique) areas of ILAs activity is the focus on international
lobbying for aging and longevity research, in addition to raising the general public interest and
awareness of the issue. The task often requires a very high degree of professionalism, and even
restrictiveness. But very often the main ingredient is simply being brave and believing in ones
cause, not being afraid to write and speak to politicians and officials, making them understand
that the deteriorative aging process is a grave problem, but not something that cannot be
ameliorated by scientific efforts. With such a motivation, almost everyone can become a
lobbyist, and everywhere in the world.
Yet it is important to know the procedure for each country, the right message to convey and the
right way to convey it.
18. An ongoing effort is being made to help the head of the Gerontology Research Group at
UCLA, Dr. Stephen Coles, who has cancer, to raise funds for his treatment. Thank you very

much Edouard Debonneuil for starting such a wonderful project!


It is a great honor to participate in this initiative on the human level, trying to help a great
person, on the communal level being a part of the international gerontological community
helping one of its leaders, and scientific level by studying the different treatment options
attempting to estimate the best and most effective course of action. It is only to be hoped that
there will be more projects like this and more active people involved in them.
Looking forward to an active and productive 2013 for the sake of achieving healthy longevity for
all!

PROBLEMS WITH NIA FUNDING DISTRIBUTION


BY: MARIA KONOVALENKO, M.SC.

Funding distribution in the NIA is ridiculous. Not only is the existing decision making system of
grant approval not effective, it is actually harmful. Researchers have to submit grant applications
only on the type of research where they know what results theyre going to have. Otherwise they
wouldnt get any money at all, because the research project would have low score. This system
makes scientific breakthroughs impossible and good research results not likely. This is what I
call ridiculous.
Apparently, theres no chance for promising but risky research, like the one on senescent cell
removal by Dr. van Duersen, to get funding in the NIA. Even though there is compelling
evidence that further research will bring results. This article in the FightAging! blog by Reason
describes the situation in greater detail. I would like to focus on the fact of the overall misery of
the NIA funding system. Felipe Sierra in a New York Times article blames the refusal on overall
lack of funding. I think this is not an excuse. NIA is spending approximately 1 billion dollars a
year on research, however nearly all of that money goes to safe projects with known results.
This makes the whole funding system absolutely meaningless.
NIA as a government agency has to lobby its research interests. There should be a constant
struggle for funding increase to be spent on innovating, promising, ground-braking aging
research. We dont see that. Scientists are silent, because they dont want to argue with the
authorities, because they want to get grants in the future. This type of cowardice will lead the
field towards extinction. I firmly believe scientists involved in any type of aging research must
be very vocal. They have to claim their goals loud and clear. They have to fight for their future,
the future of their research results even if they have to fight with the NIA as a government
agency. The existing order has to be changed for the sake of science.

A LIBERTARIAN TRANSHUMANIST CRITIQUE OF JEFFREY TUCKERS A LESSON IN


MORTALITY

BY: G. STOLYAROV II

Jeffrey Tucker is one of my favorite pro-technology libertarian thinkers of our time. In his essays
and books (see, for instance, Its a Jetsons World), Mr. Tucker eloquently draws the connection
between free markets and technological progress and how the power of human creativity
within a spontaneous order can overcome the obstructions posed by stagnant political and
attitudinal paradigms. Mr. Tucker embraces the innovations of the Internet age and has written
on their connection with philosophical debates such as whether the idea of intellectual property
is even practically tenable anymore, now that electronic technology renders certain human
creations indefinitely reproducible.
Because I see Mr. Tucker as such an insightful advocate of technological progress in a freemarket context, I was particularly surprised to read his 2005 article, A Lesson in Mortality
where Mr. Tucker contends that death is an inescapable aspect of the human condition. His
central argument is best expressed in his own words: Death impresses upon us the limits of
technology and ideology. It comes in time no matter what we do. Prosperity has lengthened life
spans and science and entrepreneurship has made available amazing technologies that have
forestalled and delayed it. Yet, it must come. Mr. Tucker further argues that Modernity has a
problem intellectually processing the reality of death because we are so unwilling to defer to the
implacable constraints imposed on us within the material world To recognize the inevitability
of death means confessing that there are limits to our power to manufacture a reality for
ourselves.
Seven years is a long time, and I am not aware of whether Mr. Tuckers views on this subject
have evolved since this article was published. Here, I offer a rebuttal to his main arguments and
invite a response.
To set the context for his article, Mr. Tucker discusses the deaths of short-lived pets within his
family and how his children learned the lesson to grieve for and remember those whom they
lost, but then to move on relatively quickly and to proceed with the business of life to think

about death only when they must, but otherwise to live and love every breath. While I
appreciate the life-embracing sentiment here, I think it concedes too much to death and decay.
As a libertarian transhumanist, I see the defeat of inevitable human mortality as the logical
outcome of the intertwined forces of free markets and technological progress. While we will not,
at any single instant in time, be completely indestructible and invulnerable to all possible causes
of death, technological progress if not thwarted by political interference and reactionary
attitudes will sequentially eliminate causes of death that would have previously killed millions.
This has already happened in many parts of the world with regard to killers like smallpox,
typhus, cholera, malaria and many others. It is not a stretch to extrapolate this progression and
apply it to perils such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers disease, and ALS. Since
human life expectancy has already increased roughly five-fold since the Paleolithic era, it is not
inconceivable that with continued progress another five-fold or greater increase can be
achieved.
As biogerontologist and famous life-extension advocate Dr. Aubrey de Grey points out, the
seven basic types of damage involved in human senescence are already known each for at least
thirty years. With advances in computing capacity, as well as accelerating medical discoveries
that have already achieved life extension in mice, rats, and other small organisms, there is hope
that medical progress will arrive at similar breakthroughs for us within our lifetimes. Once life
expectancy begins to increase by more than one year for every year of time that passes, we will
have reached longevity escape velocity a condition where the more we live, the more
probability we will have of surviving even longer. In February 2012 I began an online
compendium of Resources on Indefinite Life Extension, which tracks ongoing developments in
this field and provides access to a wide array of media to show that life extension is not just
science fiction, but an ongoing enterprise.
To Mr. Tucker, I pose the question of why he appears to think that despite the technological
progress and economic freedom whose benefits h