Fear of death is intrinsic to human life. As our years accumulate, we watch friends and family drop off, one by one, disappearing from our presence and lingering only in memories.
Barring some miracle, divine or otherwise, weâ€™re all soon to follow, down to the sweetest baby ever born.
Unfazed by this horror, the faithful are emboldened by belief in resurrection or reincarnationâ€”a direct participation in the eternal. For religious people, the body is just a vehicle for a transcendent soul. The mystery of death is a rite of passage.
For the materialist, there is only this world, beyond which the dying meet total annihilation. The brain dissolves into black nothingness. Consciousness ends with the Big Zero at the end of our lives. And for all sentient beings, and all memory of our existence, there awaits the Big Zero at the end of the universe.
The cosmos is nothing but atoms and the void. To make matters worse, the atoms are slowly freezing to death.
Wallowing in this trance of sorrow, our elites, and most anybody else, would pay anything to live foreverâ€”or just a little longer. Held in thrall by old age, disease, and death, they put faith in biomedical protection racketeers who swear they can keep the Reaper at bay.
Today, itâ€™s the vaxx-addicts and maskholes.
Tomorrow, itâ€™ll be needle-pocked mutants with blinking devices stuck all over them, who pray to AI for a place in the cloud.
Transhumanism offers synthetic salvation through three basic methodsâ€”bio longevity, bionic continuity, and digital immortality.
Genomics will stop aging on the cellular level. Bionics will keep the body running with replacement parts. Once artificial intelligence is sufficiently advanced, mind uploads will allow eternal communion with the digital deities whom techies are busy creating.
â€œI think that thereâ€™s a good probability,â€ the human-reptile hybrid, Jared Kushner, recentlyÂ said,Â â€œthat my generation isâ€”hopefully with the advances in scienceâ€”either the first generation to live forever, or the last generation thatâ€™s gonna die.â€
A more likely scenario? This is the first generation to merge with the machine, and the last generation to regret it.
Kushner is not alone. Many of our credulous elites, fromÂ Wall StreetÂ to theÂ World Economic Forum, have been ensnared by a techno-religion. Its unfrocked priests are the scientists and futurists who push radical gene therapies, brain-computer interfaces, and various life-logging gadgets. As the actual technology becomes more and more sophisticated, you can be sure every atheist and his lapsed uncle will fall prey to this cosmic scam.
And for those who canâ€™t afford it? Well, you know, thereâ€™s only so much room on the lifeboat.
In order to cheat death, at least for awhile, the first method is to preserve the body at the cellular level. One proposed line of attack is to correct defective genes and defuse the cellâ€™s innate self-destruct programs. With the discovery of theÂ CRISPR-Cas9Â molecule in 2012, geneticists now have the power to easily knock out faulty genes, and even insert new, superior genetic codes.
Joe Bidenâ€™sÂ recent executive order, the National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative, has slated $2 billion for these â€œhigh-risk, high rewardâ€ projects to â€œwrite circuitry for cells and predictably program biology in the same way in which we write software and program computers.â€
There are also less invasive procedures, to be used in conjunction with gene-editing, such as munching pricey vitamins morning, noon, and night, or gaining self-knowledge throughÂ Internet of BodiesÂ surveillance devicesâ€”wearable trackers which feed every biometric data point into an artificial intelligence system, putting flesh on the bones of your â€œdigital twin.â€ In theory, the resulting simulation could be used as a reference point for targeted gene-editing.
â€œBy preventing 90 percent of medical problems,â€ Ray Kurzweil wrote inÂ The Singularity is Near, â€œlife expectancy grows to over five hundred years. At 99 percent, weâ€™d be over one thousand years. We can expect that the full realization of the biotechnology and nanotechnology revolutions will enable us to eliminate virtually all medical causes of death.â€
Inspired by this sort of statistical fantasy, Big Tech oligarchs are pouring billions into various life extension laboratories:
- SENS Research FoundationÂ â€“ Co-founded by the transhumanist Aubrey de Grey in 2009, this organization seeks to halt and reverse aging. â€œNo matter whatÂ causedÂ a given unit of damage in the first place,â€ they assure us, â€œthe same regenerative therapeutics can be used to repair it.â€
- Altos LabsÂ â€“ Founded by Jeff Bezos and theÂ corporate transhumanistÂ Yuri Milner in 2021, this is a â€œnew biotechnology company focused on cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine.â€
- Calico LabsÂ Â â€“ Acquired by Google in 2015 at the behest of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, this company is focused on â€œthe convergence of biology and technology, coupled with a long-term perspective and fundingâ€ to â€œcure death.â€
- Methuselah FoundationÂ â€“ Bankrolled by Peter Thiel (along with many other immortality start-ups), this foundation is on a mission to â€œmake 90 the new 50 by 2030.â€
And the list goes on and on. By all appearances, billionaires fear death as if hell awaits, and theyâ€™ll pay any amount to avoid it. If youâ€™re lucky, you too might add a few years to your life through trickle-down immortality.
If these gene-therapies and 3D-printed organs fail to keep your carcass shambling along, there are always cryonic doctors whoâ€™ll freeze you right before you die, and then thaw you out once these transhumanists finally get their shit together.
Alcor Life Extension, for example, charges $80,000 to freeze your head, and $200,000 for the full body treatment. Itâ€™s a small price to pay for a shot at immortality.
The second method is to replace failing tissues and organs with mechanical parts. We do this already with pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, cochlear implants, dental implants, deep brain stimulation devices, and flag-raising penile implants. In a real sense, the entire plastic surgery industryâ€”from hair transplants to rubber duck lips to silicone boobsâ€”is a means to stave off our inevitable dissolution, if only on a superficial level.
Transhumanists foresee a day, just over the horizon, when more advanced prosthetics will offer superior functionalityâ€”including brain function. Weâ€™ll have Swiss Army knives for fingers and versatile artificial genitals, sort of like todayâ€™s transgenders, but presumably way, way better. Any prospective immortal had better hope so.
This cyborg dream was fleshed out in the early 20th century by the Marxist thinker J.D. Bernal. â€œAlready we know the essential electrical nature of nerve impulses,â€ heÂ wroteÂ in 1929, â€œit is a matter of delicate surgery to attach nerves permanently to apparatus which will either send messages to the nerves or receive them. And the brain thus connected up continues an existence, purely mental and with very different delights from those of the body, but now perhaps preferable to complete extinction.â€
Bernal compared this bionic transformation to the metamorphosis of a butterfly, albeit one with hideous wings. â€œApart from such mental development as his increased faculties will demand from him,â€ he speculated, â€œhe will be physically plastic in a way quite transcending the capacities of untransformed humanity.â€
As we hurtle toward this nightmare in the 21st century, futurists claim itâ€™ll soon be possible to model the entire human brainâ€”down to the last electrochemical thought patternâ€”using artificial intelligence. The transhumanist guru Ray Kurzweil predicts this will be accomplished by 2029. (Itâ€™s unclear if that will be early in the year, or just in time for Christmas.)
Following the AI-created digital template, doctors will replace our dying neurons with artificial neurons. Bit by bit, our meat brains will be transformed into a latticework of lightning fast transistors. Itâ€™s an upgraded mind-brain that could last foreverâ€”so be sure to get a warranty.
Would this mechanical monster still be you, though? The idea is that a pattern is a pattern, and the human â€œsoulâ€ is just a pattern of information. It doesnâ€™t matter what the medium may be. Think of it this wayâ€”if you replaced every thread in a sweater, strand by strand, with artificial wool, it would still feel like the same old sweater. Maybe even better.
In a similar manner, many believe your personal consciousness will survive the transition from gray matter to circuitry. This mind-machine merger would be like looking out at the world through your smartphoneâ€”forever. Youâ€™d hardly notice the difference.
â€œIf you think about replacing the neurons one at a time by prosthetic neurons made of silicon,â€Â explainsÂ the philosopher of consciousness and NYU-employed transhumanist, David Chalmers:
Just say I replace ten percent of my brain with silicon chips…do it one at a time, and keep going and keep going…and they interconnect with the other ones in a perfect way. â€¦ I think as long as you do it gradually, and replace the neurons one by one, then itâ€™s gonna be like getting prosthetic limbs or artificial heart.
Youâ€™re gonna be replacing parts of me, but Iâ€™m gonna be present throughout, and I think I could even stay conscious.
Of course, these artificial neurons havenâ€™t been developed yetâ€”not even closeâ€”but they will be one day. Youâ€™ll see. Have a little faith. Scientists are working hard. Itâ€™s a solid investment.
The third method to attain quasi-eternal life is basically the digital side of bionic continuity. Rather than, or in addition to, replacing neurons with artificial neurons, the mind will be gradually uploaded to a computer, where the patterns of oneâ€™s personality can be entombed in perpetuity.
Transhumanists delight in pointing out weâ€™re already doing this. Everyone from toddlers to creaky old codgers is feeding their inner self into Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Amazon, third-party data vultures, and any intelligence agencies with backdoor access to these companies. Perhaps one day these corporations and agencies will sell our digital twins back to us so we can inhabit our digital wraiths.
â€œCurrently, when our human hardware crashes,â€ Ray KurzweilÂ wrote, â€œthe software of our livesâ€”our personal â€˜mind fileâ€™â€”dies with it. However, this will not continue to be the case when we have the means to store and restore the thousands of trillions of bytes of information represented in the pattern that we call our brains.â€
Kurzweil believes injectable nanobots are the key to this uploading process. These microscopic robots will travel through the brain, mapping every neuron and synapse, creating a perfect facsimile of the â€œsoulâ€ in a computer. But thereâ€™s more than one way to skin a cat.
As with most transhumanists, Kurzweil was deeply influenced by the Carnegie Mellon roboticist Hans Moravec, who in 1988Â describedÂ a gruesome uploading procedure now known as the â€œMoravec Transfer.â€ Basically, the patient commits suicide by having his or her brain scraped off, like whittling an onion, with each skin copiedÂ in silico:
You are fully conscious. The robot surgeon opens your brain case and places a hand on the brainâ€™s surface. This unusual hand bristles with microscopic machinery, and a cable connects it to the mobile computer at your side. â€¦
The surgeonâ€™s hand sinks a fraction of a millimeter deeper into your brain instantly compensating its measurements and signals for the changed position. The process is repeated for the next layer, and soon a second simulation resides in the computer, communicating with the first and with the remaining original brain tissue.
Layer after layer the brain is simulated, then excavated. Eventually your skull is empty…your mind has been removed from the brain and transferred to a machine.
Some would call this biohorror, but transhumanists revere the â€œMoravec Transferâ€ as a pioneering vision of synthetic salvation.
One of Kurzweilâ€™s distinguished disciples, the transgender tech innovator Martine Rothblatt, proposes a kinder, gentler man-machine merger by way of mind-cloning.
â€œThis blessing of emotional and intellectual continuity or immortality,â€ she (he? whatever)Â wroteÂ inÂ Virtually Human,Â â€œis being made possible through the development of digital clones, or mindclones: software versions of our minds, software-based alter egos, doppelgangers, mental twins.â€
In other words, with sufficiently detailed surveillance, our personal data can be processed through artificial intelligence to create a new, more durable â€œsoulâ€Â in silico.
â€œWhen the body of a person with a mindclone dies,â€ Rothblatt goes on, â€œthe mindclone will not feel that they have personally died, although the body will be missed in the same ways amputees miss their limbs but acclimate when given an artificial replacement. â€¦ The mindclone is to the consciousness and spirit as the prosthetic is to an arm that has lost its hand.â€
Having been baptized in electromagnetic waves, you will become your digital ghost, floating forever among the AI angels.
The metaphysics of this process make no sense, but then, why should the transhuman techno-cult be any more realistic than traditional cults? Their delusions would be funny if they werenâ€™t constantly intruding upon our lives through ubiquitous screens and surveillance devices, and blasted into our brains with wall-to-wall propaganda.
â€œIf anything,â€ RothblattÂ concededÂ in a TED interview, â€œIâ€™m perhaps a bit of a communicator of activities that are being undertaken by the greatest companies in China, Japan, India, the U.S., Europe.â€
You have to wonder if weâ€™ll have social credit scores in heaven.
So You Want To Live Foreverâ€”Good Luck With That
Humanity is composed of three primary elementsâ€”the spiritual, the biological, and the technological. At best, we are eternal souls enshrined in bodies, with exceedingly powerful tools in our hands. At worst, weâ€™re bumbling monkeys in the Machine.
As the materialist worldview erodes our spiritual consciousness, weâ€™re left with nothing but mortal bodies. When God is dead, technology is exalted as the highest power, holding out the promise of free WiFi and synthetic salvation.
The delusion of physical immortality, whether bodily or digitalâ€”or bothâ€”is capturing our elitesâ€™ imaginations. It doesnâ€™t take a mathematical genius to figure out that if they actually managed to live forever, and the planet has finite space and resources, some number of us will have toÂ become compostÂ for their biomechanical gardens.
Personally, I donâ€™t mind the idea of being turned into mulch. Thatâ€™s the fate of every man and woman ever born. What is eternal will endure.
My fear, writhing deep in my paranoid brain stem, is that our technocratic rulers, sweating over flawed calculations, are willing to huck us into the mulchers long before our time.
God will not be mocked. Nor will Mother Nature. Iâ€™m certain that, in the course of time, every billionaire cyborg and half-retarded upload will shuffle off this mortal coil. Unfortunately, I also suspect theyâ€™d happily push the rest of us offstage while they do their apocalyptic jig.