The Meaning That Immortality Gives to Life

Eliezer Yudkowsky pens another great post on radical life extension over at the Singularity Institute blog: "Philosophers have put forth a mighty effort to find nice things to say about death. But this is scant reason to fear lifespan extension, when philosophers have not put forth an equally motivated effort to say nice things about immortality. Such is human nature, that if we were all hit on the head with a baseball bat once a week, philosophers would soon discover many amazing benefits of being hit on the head with a baseball bat: It toughens us, renders us less fearful of lesser pains, makes bat-free days all the sweeter. But if people are not currently being hit with baseball bats, they will not volunteer for it. Modern literature about immortality is written primarily by authors who expect to die, and their grapes are accordingly sour. ... In truth, I suspect that if people were immortal, they would not think overmuch about the meaning that immortality gives to life. People in the Deaf subculture may ponder the implications of deafness; some Deaf parents even want to ensure that they have deaf children. Yet I rarely find myself pondering the meaning of hearing - perhaps I should! Only clouds must be searched for silver linings." Immortality here meaning agelessness - the result of working technologies capable of repairing and reversing the aging process.


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