Immortality. reality? or a dream?
One of my atheist friends brought up an interesting idea with the pursuit of transhumanism, the coming singularity with man and machine. The idea of having a human live forever, keep their mind and knowledge and legacy forever. The question he posed was “will religion try to influence this idea?”
I commented, that in many of the world’s religions the idea of immortality or infinity is a founding mystery of faith with belief in god. We are here for a short time, inside our physical bodies, yet, there is something inside us that will go on either go on in the infinity of creation, be reincarnated, or will simply die and be nothing.
Perhaps all this goes to the core research of what is consciousness or the heart and soul of life inside each person while we breath. On one side of the spectrum we have people saying this is all just an evolution and when we die, that is it…kaput. Others believe in the idea of god and the grandness of the design and creation of the universe. The more we learn, the more we realize creation is pretty amazing large, we are rather tiny – yet, inside a grain of sand is more atoms than all the stars in the known universe.
Pretty mind boggling, as well as really cool to ponder.
In the next 30-40 years, mankind will be at a place in his history, where the machine age really will provide the ability to go far beyond what mans “norm” has been, and in a sense allow each person to have some super-hero type attached traits. Super vision, hearing, smell, sense, taste…ability to run, jump, hide…it is quite a list, but it all goes back to the core of trying to live a longer life inside the bodies we are born in.
In many respects, I look at the human body as far from perfect, yet, when I look inside the body, to the heart and soul, I get a sense that there is a great deal more there than we are even aware of. Neuroscientists have known for years how little of a portion of our minds we seem to use. How much of our conscious heart and soul do we actually use too? If someone claims they understand how the Limbic system really works - uhm...uh huh.
The path and trajectory we have taken in this journey to bring technology and humanity together is not the traditional path based where a fear or a threat seems to bring forth change. My own country is the world’s leader in military and security spending. Many times I wonder what the world would be like if we spent more time looking to live not in fear with layers of security, and simply with love and freedom actually taking the lead.
Do I see technology helping man? Absolutely, I have a friend with retinitis pigmentosis. I would love for artificial eyes, or the ability to somehow reverse the effects of him loosing his sight to happen. I just learned another old acquaintance will be passing on soon from a brain tumor. It is ironic that as a musician, his tumor brought about amusia – a disorder that affects processing pitch, musical memory and recognition. The irony, no?
DARPA, the advanced research wing of the us government, is working on some really amazing things, sadly, many of the core issues are for the ability to provide security, fight wars, and then figure out new ways to allow the human casualties in war to lead some sort of normal life. You are seeing the amazing impact of intelligent artificial limbs, cloning of skin, and the advent of bionics (actual implants) of technology gelling with the human body. Cloning of organs and the manipulation of DNA, genetics and the diet of super foods for physical and mental feats gets added into the combination.
Usually, this will all one day flow downward to the common man. We will get advancements in health care, ability to fight disease, cure diseases, or like many things – make a lot of money just providing the illusion of caring for and curing a disease by medicating it.
You see the precursors to all this with cosmetic surgery and the idea that a pill will cure all your ills. Common sense and the idea of a little exercise, eating healthy – simply isn’t sexy enough to motivate someone that while it doesn’t guarantee great health – it doesn’t hurt the odds for prolonging life.
So what is life itself? Is it that you are born, rise up, work…die? Is it that you are born, rise up and use your talents to be the best “you?” Then you die? Is it that you are born, rise up and use your talents to be the best for “others?” and die?
I wish I knew the answer. But as I chatted to my atheist friend that wants to have technology and man build a sort of immortality…say live to 170, or 10,000 years with technology aids.
I used to think that was really the way to go. Then one day I was on a mountain and heard the rhythm of nature, the wind in the trees, I looked at the clouds in the sky, felt the suns warmth heating my face. I remember the smell of the forest pine and tree bark.
Then I stopped. Yes, I just stopped and sat and waited.
While I applaud man for trying to improve things, after you get a taste of complete stillness, you realize there is more.
I think we simply are limited with how much more we can experience by being inside these human frames we call bodies. Much more. One day I pray I get to experience it.
But then again, that is simply the mystery of life. Some think there is more, others don’t. One day we all will get to find out what the answer really is.
But no, I don’t want to be strapped into a life cube, have all sorts of chemicals and elixir cocktails pumping through what used to be a bloodstream, and have to go into what literally amounts to a body shop every few years for enhanced software, robotic, bionic, and tissue regeneration upgrades to live in an illusion that ones fleshly body can live forever.
The heart and soul…that is a different issue altogether. Best to you this day. Sorry to hear the news, Billy. Really sorry. Best to you and Judy in the time that is left here. There is great beauty in the journey of one passing on. you just don't see it all til later.