PMMJ (cheetahmaster) wrote,

The FAQ Question of the Day

Why do transhumanists want to live longer?

Have you ever been so happy you almost wanted to scream? Was there a moment in your life when you felt something so deep and sublime that it seemed like all your everyday life was but a dull gray slumber?

It is so easy to forget how good things can be when they are at their best. But on those rare occasions when you do remember---whether it's through being totally absorbed in creative work, or it's the sense of achievement, or the ecstasy of romantic love---you realize just how valuable every single minute of existence can be. And you may have said to yourself: "It ought to be like this always. Why can't this last forever?"

Well, what if it could?

When transhumanists seek to extend human life span, they are not trying to add a couple of extra years of senility and sickness at an old persons' home. That would be pointless. No, what they want is to create more healthy, happy, productive years. Ideally, everybody should have the right to choose when and how they want to die---or not to die at all. Transhumanists want to live longer because they want to do, learn and experience more than they can in a normal human life span. They want to continue to grow and mature and develop for much more than the meager eight decades allotted to us by our evolutionary past. As the sales pitch for one cryonics organization goes:

"The conduct of life and the wisdom of the heart are based upon time; in the last quartets of Beethoven, the last words and works of 'old men' like Sophocles and Russell and Shaw, we see glimpses of a maturity and substance, an experience and understanding, a grace and a humanity, that isn't present in children or in teenagers. They attained it because they lived long; because they had time to experience and develop and reflect; time that we might all have. Imagine such individuals---a Benjamin Franklin, a Lincoln, a Newton, a Shakespeare, a Goethe, an Einstein---enriching our world not for a few decades but for centuries. Imagine a world made of such individuals. It would truly be what Arthur C. Clarke called 'Childhood's End'---the beginning of the adulthood of humanity. You could be a part of this. And you should be. Join us. Choose life." (The Cryonics Institute)

-from The Transhumanist FAQ.
(Courtesy Magistrate, who still needs a LiveJournal of his very own.)

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