On Deathism and Hope

I stumbled across an interesting post on life, death, and cryonics today:

A deathist is someone who tells you death is good, natural, and somehow right. If you can truly trick yourself into thinking they're correct then good luck with your funerary planning. I, for one, disagree.

...

Humans have made tremendous advances over the past twenty years. And unless you believe all progress will stop, as if nothing new can be learned, then chances are good cryonics will increasingly be a short term means to heal and repair damage instead of the long-term suspension it is today. What cryonics does is provide the time to find causes and treatments. It is a chance to continue your life. To extend your life. To improve your quality of life.

If it doesn't work you're no more dead than if you did nothing. But some chance is better than no chance. [So] don't dispair. Don't give up. Never allow anyone to bury you so they feel better. You won't be there to care. You will be forgotten.

Name any random non-famous soldier from a past war who was told they would be remembered. How many grave markers in Arlington stand in quiet solitude because no one remembers, is alive, or cares to visit? How many of these lonely markers exist in local cemeteries? Name anyone you don't know via blood, friendship, or fame who has died in the past 50 years. Chances are good you can't. We lie to ourselves and each other to feel better when what we should do is work toward never having to lie in the first place.

Funerals and monuments are made by the living for the living. The world belongs the living, and the dead are slipped from it from the very moment of their demise. There are, as the author points out above, so very many ways in which we lie to and indulge ourselves in relation to the deaths of those we know and those we never knew - and none of it helps one bit when it comes to making things better for the future.

Death, the suffering that leads up to it, and the material loss left in its wake, are horrors that we should be working harder to eliminate. We know that it is possible to build rejuvenation biotechnologies, and we know in some detail how to do it. We know that is is possible to preserve the fine structure of the brain sufficiently well to preserve the mind, and possible to do just that for near every dying person. These things are well within the laws of physics as we understand them, and economically viable projects - yet very, very few people in this world of ours are working to make these visions a reality.

Comments

I think a deathist is also someone who SHOULD know that death is not inevitable but believes 100% that he or she will die.

Posted by: Sherry at July 17th, 2015 2:07 PM

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