Here are some reflections on the personal positions that often lead to a certain hostility to the prospect of technological radical life extension.
Death horror denial
Our current life can be likened to a death camp: our death is inescapable, whatever we can do, and we see it strike some of our relatives whose fatal death is a sinister illustration of our own fate.
This “system” is a horror. This perspective is dramatic, it takes a certain strength to admit it in all its dreadfulness. One way to avoid sinking into chronic depression is denial. We deny our fate this abominable condition, and we take refuge in religion, fatalism … we adorn death with cosmic positive meaning, reasons and even virtues … In short rather than keeping our eyes open, we rebuff.
This denial is not without merits after all. It makes the concept of death less unbearable.
This denial is one of the mechanisms responsible for the hypothetical radical life extension prospect’s rejection. This denial, as well as all pretexts of hostility toward radical life extension, will collapse if we succeed in depriving death of its systematic occurrence.
In the meantime, some of us project themselves into an optimistic future, and draw hope and enthusiasm on the potential of a technological eradication of involuntary death.
Is this optimism a form of denial? Not quite, because it admits the atrocious state of our current condition, it does not deny it. It faces it with deep enthusiasm granted by the vision of a future where THE problem would be solved once for all.
If We Can Live Indefinitely, We Will Be Bored
This is an argument that frequently comes up. I invite you to visit the section “Top reasons to wish for a radically longer life” in which I present a series of positive arguments on the subject: the reasons to rejoice about a healthy longer life are numerous.
Fear of Being Alone With No Friend or Family
If the radical extension of life happens within your lifetime … why would you find yourself alone? Your family members could also benefit from it and live by your side as long as they please.
If you make the choice of cryopreservation, and if the people of the future manage to reanimate you but without your family … Indeed you will find yourself without your loved ones. Those who opt for solitary cryonics make this choice knowingly.
How can they make a choice involving reanimation in a world where they will not know anyone?
Here are some arguments:
- Is the actual situation really better? Many elderly people who have no children or have lost contact with their families end up dying alone in dedicated houses…. Institutional deathtraps.
- We are physiologically built to overcome the loss of our loved ones. In the vast majority of cases, children who have lost their parents, their best friends find the strength to continue their lives after a great sorrow. These losses will also be overcome by those who voluntarily bet on being reanimated in the future. This future will not be devoid of reasons to be happy.
- Falling in love again, starting a family can be the anchors of a new future life.
- Just as an expatriate creates new friendly and personal relationships upon arriving in a new country, a future reanimated person will also build meaningful and essential relationships.Finally, Cryonic volunteers’ passion for life is such that they have faith in the future and their ability to love their new life.
The loss of loved ones remains rooted in us. Over the months, years, it does not disappear, but finds its place, settles. Along with a very long existence in the future, there will be many opportunities to rebuild a life. The pain from the Old World’s loved one’s absence will fade all the more so because of a longer lifespan.
And there will be no reason for new loved one loss: most will want to benefit from the radical extension of life. We will remain surrounded by our loved ones as long as desired. This expectation alone is enough to fuel our enthusiasm for the world of tomorrow … a world where we and our loved ones will no longer be subject to the biological decay leading to the tearing of our bonds by death.
It Will Not Happen In Our Lifetime, Future Gratification
For some people the advent of a radical extension of life will happen in centuries… no reason therefore, to cast our hopes today.
This is a valid argument. Some cannot savor emotional optimism from what is not available.
Others, like myself, and I imagine the majority of those who adhere to the values of Future is Great derive a comforting optimism from the possibility of a future where aging and diseases will be eradicated. And all the more because activism in this direction can accelerate this advent: the more people are informed of the potentialities of radical life extension, the more they will wish and work toward the early arrival of enabling technologies.
So when will technologies be sufficiently advanced to eradicate diseases and aging? Impossible to predict with certainty. The most optimists bet on the second half of this century … we could well be one of the last generations subjected to the involuntary annihilation.
Problem Solved Paradox
The topic of death leaves no one indifferent, and everyone is brought to take a stance in an attempt to rationalize the concept. Religion is a way of contextualizing death for example, with its promises of paradise or hell. Some think they will be reincarnated. Others have conditioned themselves to accept their outright disappearance.
In the vast majority of cases, the problem of death is “solved”, arranged, folded. An intellectual scaffolding is elaborated to accommodate this idea of disappearance. One’s own disappearance first, but also the vanishing of relatives that we endure, helpless.
Any prospect likely to shake the scaffolding is seen as disruptive. The prospect of a radical life extension through technology disrupts the intellectual scaffolding, because it puts everything in question: desiring to extend life by technology is the confession that current intellectual solutions are just substitutes for lack of better. Real solutions are lacking in the present, but desired in a more or less distant future by movements such as Future is Great.
The posture of the solved problem is one of the (multiple) reasons why many people do not want to hear about radical life extension: this perspective upsets, without an immediate solution, their wobbly positioning against death.
The Radical Life Extension prospect shakes the intellectual scaffolding built in place to help people cope with the horror of death. This scaffolding is a defense mechanism to tolerate the intolerable. People have valid personal reasons to reject a positive possibility that is not yet available. Still, some of us are ready to accept the calamity of our current fate, while finding reasons for radical optimism in a future where THE problem will be solved once for all.
POST’S CALL TO ACTION
Do you see other arguments not listed here?
Post them in comments, or send them to our email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will try to personally answer them on this page.