First panel of the comic about life and death

First panel of the comic about life and death

I recently saw a comic about life and death and it bothered me. The comic shows life and death as two equal figures interacting and I think that’s incorrect. It feels like a false dichotomy. They are not both sides of the same coin. Life is the face of the coin, while death is the side of the coin. Death is limiting life, and the farther away it is, the more life we have.

The reason why I think this is important is because I people over value death. They say things like “we can’t have life without death”. For me, that’s like saying “We can’t have nice things without also having nice broken things later”. It’s true that a nice broken thing is a byproduct of a nice thing, but it’s not essential for its existence. A nice thing that lasts forever is awesome.

I think this is mostly bullshit that people make up to be at peace with the prospect of dying. It’s as much bullshit as the after-life or reincarnation, it’s just a non-religious non-spiritual one.

The big social implication about this is that it ostracises life extension. People enjoy living until they are 80 even though that would have been rare a few of centuries ago, but when people dream of extending it to 800, that’s wrong.

For example, I can’t believe that more people are not signing up for Alcor or the Cryonics Institute, something that thanks to the trick they play with life insurance is affordable by many, many people. When the OpenWorm project run a Kickstarter it clearly stayed away from the implications of life extension by brain emulation. The only reason why I gave them the biggest donation I ever gave to a anyone is because a friend explained it to me well before the Kickstarter. Actually, if they would have just asked me for money I would have said yes, their campaign made me hesitate.

I leave you with an interesting old TED talk about life extension:

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3 thoughts on “Life and death

  1. While I disagree with your assessment of the existence of an afterlife, I think I understand what you mean. It’s ridiculous to believe in an afterlife or reincarnation simply because one WANTS it to be true, just as it’s absurd to assume that supernatural things don’t exist because one dislikes the concept. The truth is what really matters.

    By that same token, there are psychological reasons people try to downplay death, just as you said. They do it largely because they know they’re going to die, so they try to come up with all kinds of excuses why that’s okay. But the bottom line is, there’s nothing inherently wonderful about human death.

  2. Let’s put it this way. No matter what donation you give to that Kickstarter or those Cryonics (BS) companies, you’re gonna die anyway, and nobody will care much to resurrect you even if they have the technology in 2200 (which they wont).

    If the future generations ever get that life extension for centuries capability, it will be for them, and they will already have a small problem to compensate that for overpopulation.

    • If I die and if I get properly cryopreserved, why do you think I won’t be resurrected when we have the tech? I hear this all the time, and normally people say something such as “Nobody will care” but that doesn’t make any sense. Look at the world right now, we have a huge and varied population with people caring about lots of different stuff. We have people spending inordinate amounts of money, time, energy, resources at preserving the past, extending life, reducing pain and suffering, increasing pleasure for themselves and other people. So, yes, I do think that in 200 years, out of a population of 7 billion, some people will care about resurrecting cryopreserved people and I also believe that those people are likely to find themselves working for Alcor or other organizations doing cryopreservation.

      Generally what stops something from happening in the world is not people not wanting it, but people wanting it not to happen or lack of resources. I don’t see there will be a big anti-resurrection movement and the resources will likely be there because we are working towards their existence. This is why: http://www.alcor.org/AboutAlcor/patientcaretrustfund.html A global economic catastrophe might disrupt it, but otherwise, I think the likelihood of it working out is high.

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