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An animated simulation of a respirocyte

Lawrence Fields and Jillian Rose write "This is our entry for the [2002 IMM Prizes in Computational Nanotechnology], under the category of "simulation".

The URL below leads to the entry webpage for our respirocyte animation:
http://www.phleschbubble.com/album/beyondhuman/res pirocyte01.htm

To see the quicktime movie, just click on the "click here" text near the top of the page (please note you need Quicktime 5 to view the movie).

The respirocyte, designed by Robert Freitas, is a proposed artificial red blood cell (RBC) which would be injected into the bloodstream. Respirocytes would actively intake oxygen in the lungs and release it in the capillaries, then absorb carbon dioxide before releasing it in the lungs. By working much more efficiently than the body's own RBC's, they would help keep a patient's tissues alive after emergencies which compromise lung function, or other situations of low blood oxygen levels.

The animation was created by Phlesch Bubble Prods. for a PBS documentary about the future of humanity entitled "Beyond Human" (produced by Thomas Lucas Productions)."

24 Responses to “An animated simulation of a respirocyte”

  1. Mr_Farlops Says:

    The Social Impact

    While it is a neat little movie to look at, I am more interested in the social impact of all this stuff. Is the human personality well suited for extreme longevity? What if some people want to opt out and remain human? Will there be a place for the "Luddites and Amish?"

  2. Corwin Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Stick them off in a corner somewhere to live out their little lives until they die off? It's a nice peaceful solution. (At least it's working for the Amish… their kids are leaving in droves…)

  3. Steve_Moniz Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Last week National Public Radio reported that the Amish have an 85% "reenlistment" rate for their kids, and it's going up.

  4. Corwin Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    It's going BACK up then. For a while there at least they were having a serious attrition problem.

  5. Mr_Farlops Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Well that's probably what will eventually happen. Perhaps the Earth will be turned into a nature preserve.

    Me, I can hardly wait to make the transistion to a new, designed biology but, I support the right of people to opt out if they so choose.

  6. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    "Stick them" implies coercion. Yeah! Let's put all the people who don't think like us in camps or reservations! That's likely to be a "peaceful" (or even better, "final") solution!

    Some people may consider that it is better to live an intense human life than a greyed-out pseudoimmortality. That is their choice. Why do you feel so threatened that you (jokingly, of course) want to quarantine them?

  7. SkevosMavros Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Iron Sun said:

    Some people may consider that it is better to live an intense human life than a greyed-out pseudoimmortality.

    Why do you ("jokingly, of course") make this false distinction? Why not portray it as a choice between a greyed-out short life vs an intense human long life? Just because life might get longer doesn't mean it will be less intense, whatever you mean by "intense". ;-)

    Iron Sun also said:

    "Stick them" implies coercion. Yeah! Let's put all the people who don't think like us in camps or reservations! That's likely to be a "peaceful" (or even better, "final") solution!

    Seriously, given that the Amish were used as an example (and a reference made to their children leaving), it's pretty clear that "stick them" did not imply coercion. And was the vague Nazi accusation really necessary, even in jest?

  8. SkevosMavros Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Uh Oh, replying to myself… :-)

    Why does the nazi reference bother me, even though it was obviously made in jest?

    Because when biotech and nanotech really start to take off, and the general populace finally starts to realise what changes they will be able to make to themselves and their futures, I unhappily predict that there will then be lots of shocked people throwing around terms like "eugenics", making comparisons to nazis, and insisting that we should all be mortal etc etc. So let's not do it here. Mm'kay? Please? :-)

  9. Corwin Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Look at the stem cell debate and ask me that again.

    We may end up being forced to isolate people like that. It's unfortunate, but people who would 'opt out' of increasing human development, whether in the sciences or other areas, have a nasty history of forcing other people to 'opt out' as well.

    I have no problem with them opting out. The problem is that they may very easily suppress appropriate technologies that would allow me to live the life I want to live just because they feel that the ancient superstitions of a few illiterate goat herders are somehow of any importance at all… (again, if they choose to listen to illiterate goat herders from 2500 years ago that's their choice…. but again, their history says that they prefer to make EVERYBODY listen to said illiterate goat herders….)

  10. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Iron Sun said:

    Some people may consider that it is better to live an intense human life than a greyed-out pseudoimmortality.

    Why do you ("jokingly, of course") make this false distinction?

    Erm, read the sentence again. I was saying (incorrectly, as his subsequent post shows) that Corwin was joking about putting abstainers in reservations.

    Why not portray it as a choice between a greyed-out short life vs an intense human long life? Just because life might get longer doesn't mean it will be less intense, whatever you mean by "intense". ;-)

    For the same reason that I think that it would be pointless to have week-long orgasms. Intensity is a peak experience, and fantasies of sustaining such states indefinitely are adolescent at best.

    Seriously, given that the Amish were used as an example (and a reference made to their children leaving), it's pretty clear that "stick them" did not imply coercion.

    Again, Corwin's subsequent post shows that he was, in fact, serious. Scary.

    Why does the nazi reference bother me, even though it was obviously made in jest?

    See my response to Corwin for my take on this. Why is it acceptable for him to dismiss people with faith as "illiterate goat herders"?

    So let's not do it here. Mm'kay? Please? :-)

    Sorry, but as Donald "Duck" Dunn said: "If the shit fits, wear it". Also keep in mind my self-appointed role in this forum.

  11. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    We may end up being forced to isolate people like that.

    Don't be too sure that your views on this matter are anywhere near the majority.

    It's unfortunate, but people who would 'opt out' of increasing human development, whether in the sciences or other areas, have a nasty history of forcing other people to 'opt out' as well

    Which would explain:

    • Jehovah's Witnesses blowing up blood banks;
    • Buddhists executing meat workers;
    • Amish putting programmers to the water torure.

    A lot of groups that have philosophical objections to aspects of "modern" life are inherently peaceful and merely seek to proselytise, not force compliance. You are making all sorts of prejudicial generalisations, tarring everone with the same brush. Are technologists above such behaviour (1930s eugenics, for example), or are you prepared to admit that excesses can and do occur on both sides, but that is no excuse to engage in Big Lie slanders?

    The problem is that they may very easily suppress appropriate technologies that would allow me to live the life I want to live just because they feel that the ancient superstitions of a few illiterate goat herders are somehow of any importance at all… (again, if they choose to listen to illiterate goat herders from 2500 years ago that's their choice…. but again, their history says that they prefer to make EVERYBODY listen to said illiterate goat herders….)

    Typical Big Lie technique, or at best an example of blind prejudice, of the same order (sorry, Skev) of saying that all Jews are money-grubbers with a set of Protocols. Once again, you seem threatened by the fact that others hold variant opinions, despite your weak caveat "I have no problem with them opting out" ("I'm not a racist, but…"). I'm not a Christian, but I am perfectly prepared to believe that many of them are moderate people who firmly believe in free will and personal choice, and would use no more that verbal persuasion and moral example to address issues they feel strongly about. Do you also believe that all Arabs are teatowel-head terrorist sand jockeys?

    I also find it interesting that you change horses in midstream, on the one hand (erroneously, according to Mr Moniz) claiming that the Amish are haemorrhaging young members, and on the other shrieking in a panic about how the Armies of Fundamentalist Luddites are trying to take away your head-sized Dewar flask. Again, this is typical of blind, fearful prejudice.

    At what point do you draw the line? Do we lock up only those who take up arms, or do we stop these filthy neanderthals from polluting our meme pool with their words and prayers? Are we only to target religious objectors, or the surprisingly large number of pro-technological moderates as well? Do you think that discussing the removal of seemingly anyone with strong religious views might antagonise or scare them and thus provoke the response you were attributing to them in the first place?

  12. Corwin Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    First of all… while it wouldn't explain the examples you cite, it would explain:

    • Stem cell/cloning bans
    • Abortion doctors being shot in the back
    • Imprisionment and torture of scientists such as Galileo
    • Jerry Falwell
    • Pat Robertson
    • Jan Crouch
    • Jack Van Impe
    • The Taliban
    • Anti genetic engineering/gene therapy protests and activism
    • The First Amendment being ripped to shreds with regards to the Internet
    • Increasing attempts to dilute and pollute science education by introducing superstition into science (such as Intelligent Design and Young-Earth Creationism)
    • Etc.
    • Etc.
    • Ad nauseam.

      Are there groups such as the Amish who are peaceful and just want to 'opt out?' Sure.

      Are they the majority? Look at the modern political landscape and try and tell me 'yes.'

      The power base is held by those religious types that try to enforce their views on people who don't share their particular superstitions. It's sad, it's unfortunate, it's dangerous. And if it comes down to 'them or me…' I'll be the one that walks away from it. I made that decision a long time ago.

      Honestly, if you don't see the very powerful right-wing christian movement, especially in the United States, and don't see their willingness to suppress anything that contradicts their ancient superstitions or that challenges their authority, you're blind. Look at cloning as an example. What's the argument against it? You occasionally find people like me that disagree with human cloning for right now because the technology isn't far enough advanced, or other people that think we have too many people already… but the argument that's being used to determine public policy? 'Gawd duzzen't like it!!!!'

      Personally I don't care what a few people think some ancient Canaanite warrior god figure wants or said a few thousand years ago. Unfortunately these people do, and they have the power base to enforce their opinions on the rest of us.

      Simple rule of thumb: What these people endorse will prevent me from living the life I want to lead, not for any rational reason such as 'it will deprive us of our legitimate rights' but rather because 'it challenges our powerbase and we don't want you actually achieving anything even close to what we think is reserved only for our sky fairy father figure invisible friend and we're willing to imprison or kill you to prevent you from doing it…. and make it very unpleasant so that we can intimidate other people into not even trying to do it either.' Do I have any problem isolating these people to prevent them from keeping society stagnant? Nope. They've isolated people like me for much worse and more irrational reasons, AND added in lovely things like torture and summary execution as well.

  13. SkevosMavros Says:

    Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    In reply to my comment:

    Why do you ("jokingly, of course") make this false distinction?

    Iron Sun said:

    Erm, read the sentence again.

    Well, I was tired last night when I posted my replies, so okay, I looked at it again. Hmm, nope, your sentence reads the same as before.

    I was saying (incorrectly, as his subsequent post shows) that Corwin was joking about putting abstainers in reservations.

    Were you? Hmm… The part of your post that I quoted and commented on (and that you invited me to read again) was:

    Some people may consider that it is better to live an intense human life than a greyed-out pseudoimmortality.

    I commented because I was concerned at the false distinction you were making there — that the choice before us is between an "intense human" life and a "greyed-out pseudoimmortality". I'm trying to suggest to you that you're making a false dilemma — a bifurcation. Whether it is a false distinction that you yourself were making, or that you believe people like the Amish make, is another matter. Of course, in your original post you then went on to say:

    That is their choice. Why do you feel so threatened that you (jokingly, of course) want to quarantine them?

    I assume this is the part where you were saying that Corwin "was joking about putting abstainers in reservations". But since I didn't comment on that part of your post at all (except to borrow your phrase about joking), I'm curious as to why you'd bring it up in your reply to me… :-)

    Just out of interest – how can anyone be "pseudoimmortal"? What do you mean by that term? Fake immortality? The illusion of immortality? Or just long-lived? Is it a pejorative or skeptical term? (I'm going to assume that "greyed-out" is negative!) If so, does it reflect your own views or your interpretation of the views of people like the Amish?

    I then said:

    Why not portray it as a choice between a greyed-out short life vs an intense human long life? Just because life might get longer doesn't mean it will be less intense, whatever you mean by "intense". ;-)

    To which you replied:

    For the same reason that I think that it would be pointless to have week-long orgasms.

    Okaaay, well at least I'm getting closer to understanding what you meant by "intense"! :-) But I suspect you didn't have anything like orgasms in mind when you referred to "intense human life" in your original post. I think you're exploiting the many meanings and contexts of the word "intense" after the fact – you're equivocating.

    In any event, this still doesn't tell me why you seem to be assuming that a longer life would be less intense than our current lives. It just doesn't follow – it's a non sequitor. I can agree with you that a week-long orgasm would be pointless (not to mention unproductive and potentially dangerous). But you state that the reason a week-long orgasm would be pointless is the same reason a longer life cannot be an intense life. How so?

    Intensity is a peak experience

    That's one way of using the term "intensity", which is a close relative of the word "intense", though it is quite clear that you did not mean "peak experience" in your original post. Equivocation…

    and fantasies of sustaining such states indefinitely are adolescent at best.

    Oh dear – a non sequitor, a straw man, and a vague ad hominem attack, all in one sentence. Sigh. Given that you are the one equating the prospect of a long intense life as being as pointless as the prospect of a week-long orgasm, I'd advise against accusing others of being adolescent… :-)

    I then said:

    Seriously, given that the Amish were used as an example (and a reference made to their children leaving), it's pretty clear that "stick them" did not imply coercion.

    To which you replied:

    Again, Corwin's subsequent post shows that he was, in fact, serious. Scary.

    Alas, on this I must agree with you. Note to self: Never defend other people's positions, you never know where they really stand on an issue… :-/

    Why is it acceptable for him to dismiss people with faith as "illiterate goat herders"?

    At the risk of falling into the trap of defending another's position (again!), it's pretty clear that "illiterate goat herders" was a reference to the original believers (2500+ years ago), most of whom probably were illiterate, though I doubt they were mostly goat herders – not that there's anything wrong with herding goats! Although he might be dismissive of religous beliefs and those who have them, I doubt Corwin was calling all people with faith "illiterate goat herders". Watch out for those straw men Iron Sun! :-)

    I said:

    So let's not do it here. Mm'kay? Please? :-)

    You said:

    Sorry, but as Donald "Duck" Dunn said: "If the shit fits, wear it".

    I was only making a (futile?) plea for no nazi or final solution comparisons unless they are really warranted (want to call some of Kadamose's ideas fascist and neo-nazi? Go ahead!). But please, keep such accusations to a minimum. Please! They will be flying thick and fast soon enough, I would bet money on it, so let's make nanodot a haven where nazi and gas chamber comparisons are kept to a bare minimum. I'm not calling Godwin's Law on you (I dislike Godwin's Law and those that use it to go "Bzzt!" during debate), I'm just begging for a "no-nazi-analogies" place on the web.

    Also keep in mind my self-appointed role in this forum.

    No. If your self-appointed role is "stirrer" or "devil's advocate", then I can hardly take that into account – unless you are inviting me to ignore you. :-) It's clear to me that you sometimes state and even argue for positions you do not believe in yourself — if you believed them I suspect you'd make better arguments for them! For example, I find it hard to believe that you actually think that a longer life is automatically less intense/rewarding/useful/whatever. So why argue this? Especially since it's clear that you have real disagreements with the stated positions of some people here, so why argue (poorly, IMHO) for positions you do not hold to yourself?

    :-)

  14. Corwin Says:

    Re:Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    What exactly is so wrong with my position anyway?

    You don't like the idea of sticking people on 'reservations?' News flash. I'm not exactly thrilled with it either. However, prove me wrong. All through our history this group of people has been willing to use every kind of influence, from social pressure to propaganda to legislation to deadly force to enforce their agenda on society. This point isn't open to debate, it's established fact. Are there religious objectors that aren't willing to do this? That object for themselves but aren't willing to go so far as to interfere with others? Sure. They should be left alone. (They also aren't much of a threat… they'll die off eventually anyway…) Hello… these aren't the people I'm talking about. People that are willing to condemn me to grow old and die when technology exists to prevent it, (assuming the development of this tech for the sake of argument) simply because they don't like us 'playing God' (whatever the hell that is) should be locked up and isolated from normal society. Normal society grows, changes and develops. This bunch is perfectly willing to let us stagnate or even drag us back… whatever it takes to keep their power structure and their beliefs about their imaginary friend alive.

    We gave these people control once before.

    These days we refer to that period of history as 'The Dark Ages.'

  15. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    Well, I was tired last night when I posted my replies, so okay, I looked at it again. Hmm, nope, your sentence reads the same as before.

    Yep, my bad. Think I'll claim tiredness as well. Interesting you spend a third of your post lampooning me over this minor mistake, though. Was it that important?

    Just out of interest – how can anyone be "pseudoimmortal"? What do you mean by that term? Fake immortality? The illusion of immortality? Or just long-lived?

    All of the above. A subset of people in the longevity community use the word immortal, and it's just bunk. A prolonged lifespan does not equate to eternity, and I think the neologism is a handy and concise way of attempting to remind them of that.

    Okaaay, well at least I'm getting closer to understanding what you meant by "intense"! :-) But I suspect you didn't have anything like orgasms in mind when you referred to "intense human life" in your original post. I think you're exploiting the many meanings and contexts of the word "intense" after the fact – you're equivocating.)

    Suspect all you want. It's an analogy I have used before and will use again. I feel it's a good one, because sex arouses strong feelings and is equated by many people (particularly adolescents) with life itself. I think that the immature concepts and fantasies that teenagers (particularly boys) have about sex are quite analogous to the immature notions about life that many immortalists hold. Also, please don't try to impute any obsession on my part, that's pretty specious. To slyly imply with a knowing wink that because I use a sexual metaphor I must therefore be obsessed myself is a squirrel of the first order.

    That's one way of using the term "intensity", which is a close relative of the word "intense", though it is quite clear that you did not mean "peak experience" in your original post.

    Given that intensity means "the state or quality of being intense", to say the two words are close relatives is a strange game of semantics. If it helps, I'll recast the sentence using the original word: "Intense states are peak experiences." And yes, that's one way of using the word. Are you being a grammar nazi (whoops) and telling me I can only use it some other way? I did have the intent of equating peak experience to intensity in my original statement. Please don't put words or concepts in my mouth.

    In any event, this still doesn't tell me why you seem to be assuming that a longer life would be less intense than our current lives.

    Why are you so sure that it won't be? Both our positions are assumptions, let's not try to cast them as anything else. My contention, which I have stated repeatedly, is that a longer life does not mean that existence will continue to be as fresh as the morning. Where I say greyed-out I could just as easily write stretched.

    Oh dear – a non sequitor, a straw man, and a vague ad hominem attack, all in one sentence.

    There was absolutely zero ad hominem intent in that statement. If you choose to personally identify with the attitude I ridicule, that's your lookout. I fail to see how it is a non sequitur or a straw man. I didn't set it up to be knocked down, and I think that as a metaphor the connection is clear (even if you don't agree with it), so both accusations puzzle me. Also, you repeat your cheap shot of attempting to link my use of a sexual metaphor with some percieved obsession on my part. By this reasoning I must be a Nazi because I made Nazi allusions.

    At the risk of falling into the trap of defending another's position (again!), it's pretty clear that "illiterate goat herders" was a reference to the original believers … Although he might be dismissive of religous beliefs and those who have them, I doubt Corwin was calling all people with faith "illiterate goat herders".

    Whereas I specifically called Corwin a jackbooted, Irma Grese-loving Nazi, as opposed to altering his "peaceful" to "final" to throw his sequestration policy into some relief. I should have written "equate" instead of "dismiss" in the sentence you are critiquing here, but the point of holding me to a higher standard than him remains.

    But please, keep such accusations to a minimum. Please! They will be flying thick and fast soon enough, I would bet money on it, so let's make nanodot a haven where nazi and gas chamber comparisons are kept to a bare minimum.

    I'm sorry, but I think that suggestions of putting people in camps deserves a faint allusion, which was all it was. I never used the N-word, and I merely turned his own words back on him. When I first started posting in this forum I actually did use the word once or twice, and that was stupid. But in this case I think an oblique reference was fine. I won't use it in discussions about apotheosis or technohubris, but this is one of the minimal circumstances where I think it's warranted.

    Especially since it's clear that you have real disagreements with the stated positions of some people here, so why argue (poorly, IMHO) for positions you do not hold to yourself?

    Partly to give them an airing, partly for my own amusement (Am I a troll? A troll simply seeks to provoke, I am genuinely interested in responses). To see others' reactions, which are often enlightening. Partly because this is merely a persona, not the real me. As for doing the views injustice, well sometimes it's hard to do better with limited material, I have better things to do, and I don't want to write a novel. Sue me.

  16. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    Some of the examples you cite are isolated examples played up for emotive effect. Whatever the truth about lobbying and legislative pressure on abortion clinics, murders usually get international attention when they happen. Tragic, but not on the same scale as, say, the number of people killed as a result of secret, non-voluntary 'scientific' 1950's radiation experiments (The link? An abuse of human rights, an arrogant above-the-law attitude and the excuse that it was for the good of humanity). Galileo was centuries ago. Am I allowed to mention that Darwin was vigorously accepted here in Australia quite early on (One of our cities was named after him in the early years of last century) because it rationalised our treatment of the indigenous population? Or how about the deliberate non-treatment of patients with syphilis? Phrenology, eugenics, colonectomies, lobotomies, radium health tonics, Karen Silkwood, whaling 'research', ECT, Australian sailors (including my uncle) dying of cancer after watching A-bomb tests stripped to the waist while British scientists watched them dressed in rad suits. And so on ad nauseam. By these examples, all scientists and those who espouse a science-based world view are power-mad lunatics with dangerously erroneous ideas about reality and a complete disregard for the rights of others. Shoot them all.

    Are there groups such as the Amish who are peaceful and just want to 'opt out?' Sure.

    So perhaps you shouldn't have used them as your "stick them (read: force them) on reservations" example.

    Are they the majority? Look at the modern political landscape and try and tell me 'yes.'

    I have never been to America, so I have no way of judging. Here in Australia, we have very little fundamentalism, but a fair bit of conservatism. But apart from that, there are many people who have reservations who do not specifically base their objections on scriptural grounds. Very few of my friends are religious, but a great many of them have sympathy with the "sanctity of human life" line. Not "sanctity" in an immanent-manifestation-of-God's-glory kind of way, more a Bill of Rights kind of way. They worry about where such attitudes would lead in the treatment of other people. (Someone on this site ("joking, of course") suggested rendering down objectors along with other "sub-optimal" lifeforms such as cats and dogs so their mass could be put to the better use of homo superior. A word to the wise: that sort of shit AIN'T GONNA HELP YOUR CASE, and it will get broadcast. Get a grip.) I think that you are casting all reservations and objections in the mold of the most histrionic (and thus visible) minority, because it makes it easier for you to pigeonhole and ignore any opposition or words of caution. Believe me, religious sentiment, moderate or fanatic, is not a prerequisite for expressing doubts and urging a cautious, community-based approach.

  17. SkevosMavros Says:

    What's Wrong…

    Corwin said:

    What exactly is so wrong with my position anyway?

    Unjustified coercion is always wrong, for reasons I'm sure I don't need to explain. I'm sure we agree on that. However, you think that coercion will eventually be justified, even unavoidable, that much is clear. I don't think such coercion is necessary or justified.

    You don't like the idea of sticking people on 'reservations?' News flash. I'm not exactly thrilled with it either. However, prove me wrong.

    Actually, you're the one making the extraordinary claim/proposal, so it's not up to anyone else to prove you "wrong". You're the one that has the convincing to do.

    All through our history this group of people has been willing to use every kind of influence, from social pressure to propaganda to legislation to deadly force to enforce their agenda on society.

    You've just referred to a wide variety of (often conflicting) people working at various levels of effectiveness over various issues, using the widest range of tactics over many many years. I suggest that to talk about them as a single group is to simplify to such an extent that it is no longer useful.

    This point isn't open to debate, it's established fact.

    Of course it's open to debate. More particularly, the assumptions underlying your statements are open to debate. You talk about "this group" as if it is a unified whole, acting in concert with each other. Given the wide range of opinions and tactics used by those who have opposed various types of change over the ages, conflating your proposed response down to a single solution to be applied to all who oppose your right to use any technology "on yourself" is an extraordinary claim/proposal. Justify it.

    Are there religious objectors that aren't willing to do this? That object for themselves but aren't willing to go so far as to interfere with others? Sure. They should be left alone. (They also aren't much of a threat… they'll die off eventually anyway…) Hello… these aren't the people I'm talking about.

    You should choose your words just a little more carefully. No matter how many times I read that paragraph, it seems to me that you show contempt for even the non-interfering people who disagree with you. This may not be true, but that's the impression your words create with me, and this colours what you say next and hurts your case.

    People that are willing to condemn me to grow old and die when technology exists to prevent it, (assuming the development of this tech for the sake of argument) simply because they don't like us 'playing God' (whatever the hell that is) should be locked up and isolated from normal society.

    This is a flawed solution on several levels.

    Firstly, if this group has enough power to suppress life-extension technology, then you won't be locking them up anywhere. They'll be the ones doing the locking up. And they'll be the ones calling themselves "normal society". The irony is that to justify suppressing the technology and/or locking you up they'll be using very similar logic to you — "this group" might feel that your decisions about your own life actually affect their lives deeply — and they might be right!

    Secondly, there are other solutions. Ignore them. Get their intentions to limit your freedoms declared illegal. Educate them, at least to the extent that they leave you alone. There are always other options.

    Normal society grows, changes and develops. This bunch is perfectly willing to let us stagnate or even drag us back… whatever it takes to keep their power structure and their beliefs about their imaginary friend alive.

    This could all be true, and as an atheist myself I try very hard never to let superstitious/religous memes influence my decision-making process. Plus, over the years I've gone from a teen that assumed that most technological progress is likely to be more risky than beneficial (ban it until it's proven) to a thirty-something that assumes that most progress is likely to be good (allow it unless it's likely to be dangerous). Now days I only think we should consider banning/controlling it when absolutely necessary (while always being aware that risks and benefits are almost impossible to predict, and that banning/controlling rarely works for long).

    And yet… I think it's important to consider all but the most crackpot of views, and sometimes to consider even them! We should allow them free expression. To do otherwise is to decide that I am 100% right and all who disagree are 100% wrong. I'm just not wise enough to make that call! Are you? My attitude only works, of course, if those that disagree with me extend the same tolerance to me as I extend to them — to allow each of us to live life our own way. And you only want to lock up the ones that want to interfere with your life choices, right?

    But it's not that simple, is it? Some people genuinely think it's wrong to watch others harm themselves (be it a christian who sees someone living in sin, or an immortalist that cannot let a loved one die, regardless of the loved one's beliefs). Also, some people see your decision to live longer/augment your intelligence/whatever, as a direct attempt to defeat not just their way of life, but to enslave them! Think of the shift in attitude towards "passive smoking" but on a cosmic scale… :-)

    I wish it was as cut and dried as you seem to think. I really do. It would be so simple. Such strong black and white beliefs must be comforting(I'm teasing you a bit now), much like religous beliefs can be comforting. But in my limited experience the truths behind these (old!) issues are rarely so simple. Choose truth over comfort.

    No one is an island — decisions you make rarely affect only you. This is annoying and inconvenient at times, but no less true.

    :-)

  18. SkevosMavros Says:

    Re:Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    Iron Sun said:

    Yep, my bad. Think I'll claim tiredness as well.

    No worries.

    Interesting you spend a third of your post lampooning me over this minor mistake, though. Was it that important?

    Is any individual post on nanodot that important? :-) I assure you that the number of words I use in a reply is no measure of the importance I place on the post being replied to (just look at this post's length! ;-) ). It's more a function of free time, tiredness (I'm more verbose when tired), and attempting to make myself clear. Since I (correctly) thought there had been a misunderstanding last time, I was at pains to make sure there wasn't another one. Disagreements are cool, misunderstandings are just a waste of time.

    Oh, and if my comments made you think I was "lampooning" you, then I'll be gentler on you from now on, you delicate flower! ;-) (yes, the last comment was lampooning you! I'll try not to do it again, I promise!). :-) As I'm sure you know, text-based debate can have its tone misunderstood so easily. I'm not over here pounding my keyboard and wailing at your posts. If it helps, imagine me sitting back, feet up, relaxed, shooting the breeze on a topic that interests me, but does not get me agro. That's certainly how I imagine you! :-)

    I said:

    Just out of interest – how can anyone be "pseudoimmortal"? What do you mean by that term? Fake immortality? The illusion of immortality? Or just long-lived?

    You said:

    All of the above. A subset of people in the longevity community use the word immortal, and it's just bunk.

    Agreed. Even if the universe is never ending in in current form, it's just impossible for me to imagine anything approaching immortality — nothing lasts forever. But I'm cautiously open to the idea that this may be a failure of imagination on my part — are you similarly open?

    A prolonged lifespan does not equate to eternity, and I think the neologism is a handy and concise way of attempting to remind them of that.

    If you think they need reminding, go for it. I've had very little interaction with dedicated longivity types, and my limited experience is that they seem so consumed with living longer (this pill, that powder, this diet, that exercise regime, this fad, that press release), that regardless of whether they actually live any longer, I bet it will seem longer!

    I said:

    Okaaay, well at least I'm getting closer to understanding what you meant by "intense"! :-) But I suspect you didn't have anything like orgasms in mind when you referred to "intense human life" in your original post. I think you're exploiting the many meanings and contexts of the word "intense" after the fact – you're equivocating.)

    You said:

    Suspect all you want. It's an analogy I have used before and will use again.

    Go right ahead, but if I think you've used it inappropriately, I'll call you on it.

    I feel it's a good one, because sex arouses strong feelings and is equated by many people (particularly adolescents) with life itself.

    Does it? Is it? Okay, so use the analogy against adolescents, or those that clearly possess adolescent beliefs. Since I'm neither (well, not that you could tell from my post!), it was pointless for you to imply I was.

    Perhaps you mistook my spotting your assumption (that long life will be less intense) as indicating that I therefore like to make the reverse assumption (that long life will be just as intense). I make no such assumption, and was merely asking you why you made your assumption. All I got in reply was an orgasm analogy, possibly because you thought I believed the opposite to you. I don't believe the opposite — I just don't know. In fact, for all I know, longer life will be more intense! Who knows? Ask me again on my 300th birthday! Or better still, I'll ask you on your 300th birthday… :-)

    I think that the immature concepts and fantasies that teenagers (particularly boys) have about sex are quite analogous to the immature notions about life that many immortalists hold.

    Since I'm neither a teenager nor an immortalist, the orgasm analogy and adolescent comment was less than useful – BTW, while I'm open to the possibility of a very, very long life, I think the term "immortality" is not only arrogant and off-putting to many people, but it implies indestructability – unlikely! The universe is a dangerous place.

    Also, please don't try to impute any obsession on my part, that's pretty specious.

    If I had tried to imply any obsession on your part it would, indeed, have been specious of me. The good news is that no such attempt was made. My use of the word "Okaaay" meant to convey that I was genuinely surprised at your (loose?) definition of "intensity" within the context of what we were discussing. I'm still surprised by it.

    When I read your original comment about the "intensity" of a standard-length life vs a greatly extended (pseudoimmortal) life, I assumed you were referring to things like the joy of exploration, the satisfaction of appreciating and creating art, the challenge and excitement of scientific discovery, the passion of love and friendship… that sort of thing. I thought you were pretty clearly assuming that these things will fade over a prolonged time (and that immortalists are in error to assume that they will continue to be as powerful as they are now). I found that assumption curious and asked why the reverse couldn't be true.

    The last thing I thought you meant was something like "peak performance". How do these things resemble "peak performance" or anything like an orgasm? Try substituting "peak performance" (or something similar) for intensity in your original comment – does it mean what you think it means? I can't even come up with a sentence that makes sense to me. Perhaps we have very different experiences of living. Or of orgasms! :-)

    To slyly imply with a knowing wink

    You saw me wink?! Wow! I better turn off the web cam next time! ;-) (Oops! I'm lampooning…) Seriously, text communication is fraught with misinterpretation – I was taken aback at your meaning behind "intense", I wasn't being sly.

    that because I use a sexual metaphor I must therefore be obsessed myself is a squirrel of the first order.

    Hahaha! Good one! Firstly, as I'm pretty sure you know, I did not state or imply that you were sex-obsessed (another straw man). Secondly, I bet you think that your implication that I was being adolescent was not a "squirrel of the first order", right? (chuckle) You've got a cheeky sense of humour Iron Sun, I'll give you that!

    [SNIP - I'm going to snip the next bit about "changing the meaning of intense" thing - when both parties accuse the other of "playing semantics" then it's rarely useful to continue that thread.]

    I said:

    In any event, this still doesn't tell me why you seem to be assuming that a longer life would be less intense than our current lives.

    You said

    Why are you so sure that it won't be? Both our positions are assumptions, let's not try to cast them as anything else. My contention, which I have stated repeatedly, is that a longer life does not mean that existence will continue to be as fresh as the morning. Where I say greyed-out I could just as easily write stretched.

    As you should know by now, I make no such assumption (I can see how you might begin to suspect I did from my last post, but you should have at least asked, or entertained the notion that you were jumping to conclusions). I only know that I don't know. I see zero evidence for any assumption.

    In fact, given that I have a better than fifty-fifty chance of losing my mind within thirty to forty years (Altheimer's Disease runs in my family), simple life extension without any other medical advancements will be of little use to me. Yet I still feel unable to make any assumptions about the quality of life of a healthy, fit, mentally capable 300 year old, maybe because so much else is likely to have changed by then. I suspect that the fact that someone makes it to 300 years is likely to be the least significant factor in their quality of life. All I can predict is that it will be a very very different lifestyle — not a very adventurous prediction I know.

    I said:

    Oh dear – a non sequitor, a straw man, and a vague ad hominem attack, all in one sentence.

    You said:

    There was absolutely zero ad hominem intent in that statement.

    Good to know! Hey, I did say it was "vague"! :-)

    If you choose to personally identify with the attitude I ridicule, that's your lookout.

    True. Good thing I don't. I was concerned that you did, remember? :-)

    I fail to see how it is a non sequitur or a straw man. I didn't set it up to be knocked down, and I think that as a metaphor the connection is clear (even if you don't agree with it), so both accusations puzzle me.

    Straw man – you misrepresented my position (nowhere do I even come close to expressing fantasies of sustaining "peak states" indefinitely) and then you attacked the misrepresentation. A straw man. In fact it felt like large chunks of your post weren't even directed at me – if this was indeed the case, you need to make it more clear when you're speaking to immortalists in general.

    Non sequitur – even if intensity is a "peak experience" (I'm still not clear what this means within the context of the quality of a much longer life), it does not necessarily follow that sustaining a peak experience (any peak experience?) is pointless. You can argue this, you may even convice me, but simply stating it does not make it so. It is a non sequitur — no matter how obvious it seems to you, one doesn't follow automatically from the other.

    Also, you repeat your cheap shot of attempting to link my use of a sexual metaphor with some percieved obsession on my part. By this reasoning I must be a Nazi because I made Nazi allusions.

    No linking to perceived obsession was made (except in your head, which is "your lookout", right?). That time I simply stated that those who use orgasm analogies probably shouldn't expect to get away with calling others adolescent (especially when based on scanty evidence). I still say it! :-)

    Whereas I specifically called Corwin a jackbooted, Irma Grese-loving Nazi,

    Did you?! I must have missed that post! :-) Oh, I get it, you're implying that I'm suggesting that you called Corwin these things. Another straw man, but this time for humourous effect? I'll assume so. :-)

    as opposed to altering his "peaceful" to "final" to throw his sequestration policy into some relief. I should have written "equate" instead of "dismiss" in the sentence you are critiquing here, but the point of holding me to a higher standard than him remains.

    Ah, so you feel that I'm being inconsistent and holding you to a higher standard? Well, I do indeed hold you to a higher standard. Does that strike you as unfair? Perhaps "higher standard" is the wrong way to look at it. Maybe you're assuming that I reply to you instead of Corwin because I disagree with you more than I disagree with Corwin. Quite the opposite!

    Generally, I prefer to discuss things with those that at least share a basic similarity in the way they talk about the world. Discussions with these kinds of people can "iron out the wrinkles" in my own (or their!) positions. Whereas debating those who hold very, very different views takes much longer and is often less interesting, as totally different outlooks often makes even agreeing on the scope or existence of the issue/s nearly impossible. Time (and life!) is short. If I had time I'd reply to half the posts here, including Corwin's (which are interesting and mostly consistent), but it just can't be that way.

    [SNIP - my post is just too long to reply to everything]

    Partly to give them an airing, partly for my own amusement (Am I a troll? A troll simply seeks to provoke, I am genuinely interested in responses).

    So are trolls! But no, I don't see you as a troll, not in the classic sense anyway.

    To see others' reactions, which are often enlightening. Partly because this is merely a persona, not the real me.

    You don't really believe that do you? I put it to you that Iron Sun is the real you, as opposed to the persona you usually show to the world! Think about it… :-)

    As for doing the views injustice, well sometimes it's hard to do better with limited material, I have better things to do, and I don't want to write a novel. Sue me.

    No law suit is pending, and this reply is getting dangerously close to a novel, so I'll stop now. I have to do some work.

    Bye!

  19. Corwin Says:

    Re:The Social Impact

    You being Australian explains a few things… (no offense.)

    If you haven't lived in America… if you've never even been here, you can't understand. You don't know the rabid, frothing fundamentalism that is simply a part of daily life here. Falwell and Robertson can go on national TV and rant about how evil atheists are… and get only mild reproof in the general media. (And NONE in the christian media.) Star Jones can refuse to even go on stage or be seen with nonchristians of any stripe and nobody pays any attention to her, even when she slanders us. (I really don't care what she thinks about atheists…. but people LISTEN to her.) Robertson and the Christian Coalition openly brag about having the ear of the President. No complaints from the mainstream. (This in spite of the Coalition's stated goals.) Falwell and Robertson are STILL the heads of multimillion dollar organizations, with a huge lobbying budget… all that's happened is that they've recently lost their tax-exempt status. (FINALLY…. they've been a for-profit political action group for years….) We have a President who's father, (still very influential in the current administration) openly stated that atheists shouldn't be considered patriots, or even citizens. No outcry from the mainstream, and a consistent refusal to apologize for such inflammatory statements. When an apology was demanded, not only was none forthcoming, but statements from his administration got even worse. The cause du jour of the religious right is to get organized, mandatory prayer and creationism back in the public schools… and people are LISTENING. Can you understand why atheists in America get just a little paranoid? History has shown us that it's justified.

    In that, I have to sort of envy you Australians, and most Europeans… religion isn't such a big deal there. Partially as a result, you don't have the problems with fundamentalists that we do… and you can't understand them because you haven't experienced them. These nutcases want to destroy everything that challenges them. And nanotech WILL challenge them… more than anything else in our history. If moving on to our rightful place, if gaining public acceptance and use of this technology requires isolating them, so be it. It may be the only option. Check out the creationist movement for examples… when nanotech comes, these are the sort of people we're going to be up against, and they have no problem with lying to people to enforce their viewpoint…. nor do they have a problem with violence and threats of violence.

    I can understand your position Iron…. really. It would be nice if this wasn't the way things are. But it is. Abortion providers in the states have been dealing with horrible violence for literally decades. Bombings, death threats, doctors being shot… anthrax threats… most people don't realize just how dangerous these people are. 9/11 was a wake up call. It's unfortunate that it happened, even more unfortunate that people don't realize the root cause…. they're intentionally blind. Of course if they were to admit that 9/11 was caused primarily by religious 'faith,' they might have to question their own…. and we can't have THAT now, can we?

    I'm going to close this because I'm slowly drifting into rambling territory…. (and I'm a wee bit short on sleep to begin with…) Just look into the American fundamentalist movement. Do searches for ICR, Operation Rescue, the Christian Coalition, and the Moral Majority. Most people outside of the United States just simply don't realize how powerful these groups are, and how dangerous they are. I honestly hope you never experience it personally. I really do. (If nothing else I want a place to run to if all hell breaks loose…)

  20. Iron Sun Says:

    Re:Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    Even if the universe is never ending in in current form, it's just impossible for me to imagine anything approaching immortality — nothing lasts forever. But I'm cautiously open to the idea that this may be a failure of imagination on my part — are you similarly open?

    Yes and no. In my more metaphyical moments, particularly after studying Buddhist, Hindu or Jain philosophy, I have no problem with the notion of an eternal cyclical universe or of "eternal" life. But I think people who want to be immortal have an erroneous notion of what the word implies. In spite of protestations about how much they will grow and change, it strikes me that such a position indicates an unwillingness of the ego to accept that everything it is will one day pass away. They dismiss the superstitious notion of the immortal lifeforce reincarnating in a new manifestation (which I do not necessarily ascribe to, it's just an example of an existing belief in immortality, and I think they are missing the point of the philosophy anyway) but think that "they" will still be alive because a being centuries from now can draw a "genealogical" chart showing an unbroken link back to a particular bald monkey.

    To use another analogy, children are our "immortality" (and it's enlightening and scary that a lot of immortalists think procreation should end), and their position is akin to a domineering egotistical patriarch who seeks not merely to continue the Great Dance through his progeny, but to force them into a mold of his desire: seeking to reincarnate not merely life force but ego as well. I find it a deeply immature notion, akin to a child's belief that once they are a grownup they will be able to eat all the ice cream they want, and, and… collect ALL the Pokemon cards in existence, and, and… watch Star Wars a GAZILLION times…

    Does it? Is it? Okay, so use the analogy against adolescents, or those that clearly possess adolescent beliefs.

    I'm hardly the first to use the parallel. It has a long pedigree, from tantra in the past to writers like Grant Morrison today. It has persisted for so long becuase of its utility: whether or not you are an adolescent now, you probably were one at some time in the past, and are able to cringingly remember some of the silly notions you possessed at that time. It actually is not of much use against actual adolescents, as they are not yet able to see how immature their notions are. Like life, sex is often foreshortened, fumbling and desperate, particularly in the young. Based on such preconceptions about the subject, they may indulge in fantasies of superhuman prowess and ecstacy that exist only in their mind, not the real world. It is a useful technique (and one worth elaborating to those under no such illusions) to show those who are "grown up" enough to laugh at their adolescent notions about the one, while unconsciously persisting in similarly immature notions about the other. It would seem that I should have made more plain that I was playing the ball, not the man (fnarr) as I was in no way calling you adolescent.

    I thought you were pretty clearly assuming that these things will fade over a prolonged time (and that immortalists are in error to assume that they will continue to be as powerful as they are now). I found that assumption curious and asked why the reverse couldn't be true.

    I equate human life to a peak experience that by its very nature can not be sustained. The feeling of exhausted elation that a mountain climber feels on reaching the summit is not something that is amenable to prolongation. Also, I see an important difference between peak performance and peak experience. More semantics, I guess.

    I think that death is essential, because it validates our choices and experiences. An indefinitely prolonged being would, in my opinion and from a human perspective, run the risk of turning into a valueless monster. Death is the mountain we are climbing, and it is what makes peak experience possible at all.

    As for substituting peak performance (again, not a phrase I used) for intense, well of course it doesn't fit. I can't substitute orgasm for intense in the original statement, either. It was an elaboration, not a substitution. I think we are both playing a game of blind men and elephants here.

    You've got a cheeky sense of humour Iron Sun, I'll give you that!

    Shut up and kiss me.

    I make no such assumption (I can see how you might begin to suspect I did from my last post, but you should have at least asked, or entertained the notion that you were jumping to conclusions).

    Okay, you adolescent premature ejaculator.

    if this was indeed the case, you need to make it more clear when you're speaking to immortalists in general.

    So it would seem. However, given that you make it clear in this thread and in others that you are somewhat agnostic on the issue, and couch your questions in terms of interested inquiry, perhaps you shouldn't be too quick to once again assume that I'm playing the man, not the ball that you lobbed back over the net (to mix my sporting metaphors).

    I may have misinterpreted your statement, but I didn't misrepresent it, and perhaps you have done the same to me. I also continue to maintain that it is hardly a non-sequitur. I certainly think that it is pointless and in most cases impossible to sustain the true nature of peak experiences. An erstaz copy (exhausted elation via wires in the brain, for example) does not bear comparison to the original.

    I put it to you that Iron Sun is the real you, as opposed to the persona you usually show to the world! Think about it… :-)

    Sorry, no. IS is closer to my public facade than the "true" me, though a lot more egotistical. A friend managed to identify me immediately on viewing the discussion logs. I'm also a bit pomo about it, stepping back and forth from the facade as it amuses me (in a private joke)to do so. You should see some of the personas I have in other fora. A real brain-hurter is to try to play a conservative christian without letting slip that you think it's bullshit. Try it some time, it's a lot of work but well worth it.

    The mighty Iron Sun seeks out a phone booth to change back into his mild-mannered secret identity, having once again initiated the best discussion this failing site has seen in many months! Excelsior! Dum da da da da, dum da da daa daa!

  21. Corwin Says:

    Re:Nazis, Orgasms, and Straw Men, Oh My! :-)

    Ok…. let's talk terminology here then, since we do seem to be getting caught up on it.

    I hear this kind of argument a lot from the other side…. are we going to live forever? No. I can accept this. What we're pushing for here isn't exactly immortality per se. That's a misconception. However, a life span of several million years is close enough for me. ;) As far as constant growth in extreme longevity… I can keep three computers going at once… I've also trained for ambidexterity… other people I know have similar skills that mystify people around us, and that people in the distant past would have thought were at least partially magical. (Remember, that it wasn't so long ago that people thought it was impossible to read silently…) My point is that it's pretty amazing what people can learn to do, given the time and motivation. We honestly don't know what the upper end of the capacity of the human brain is. All we know is that we never even get close to it during the average lifespan of the average human.

  22. SkevosMavros Says:

    He Said You Said I Said They Said We Said

    I'm more busy than usual today, so this post only replies to some bits of your post. Try to contain your disapointment… ;-)

    (…) it strikes me that such a position indicates an unwillingness of the ego to accept that everything it is will one day pass away. (…) [They] think that "they" will still be alive because a being centuries from now can draw a "genealogical" chart showing an unbroken link back to a particular bald monkey.

    I think I get what you're saying here, I think I even agree (gasp!). Given all that is likely to change in our lives if we make it to 300 years old (perhaps a lot sooner if many of the singulatarians are to be believed), will it make any sense to consider ourselves to be the same people then as we are now? When we upload/inload/upgrade/teleport/whatever, won't the old us die?

    On the other hand, depending on your point of view, this applies to life as it is now. Heck, I'm not sure if I'm the same person I was when I was seventeen. Not only has almost every cell in my body been replaced several times since then, but so has my outlook on almost every topic. Did the old Skevos die, or just change/grow? Apart from the gradual nature of the current aging/maturing process, what's the difference?

    (…) [They are] seeking to reincarnate not merely life force but ego as well. I find it a deeply immature notion (…)

    Yes, it strikes me as immature at times as well. But describing the nature of a notion ("immature") does not go very far towards describing what's actually wrong with it. Everything seems immature from some vantage point (including, of course, labelling other's notions as "immature" – after all, what could be more teenage than rolling one's eyes and muttering "Gee, you're sooo immature!" [which is not what you were doing, BTW]). The next step after labelling someone's position/opinion as immature is to show them why that position is immature, why their logic or assumptions are flawed or not thought out properly.

    Another reason I seldom describe other's POV as "immature" is that it is rarely useful in debate, since the other person either assumes the accusation is an ad hominum attack, or they simply ask "how so?" – so in the end I wind up having to explain why I think their position is flawed — merely labelling it "immature" is seldom convincing (this assumes I'm trying to convince).

    (…)whether or not you are an adolescent now, you probably were one at some time in the past (…)

    Good call! ;-)

    (…) It actually is not of much use against actual adolescents (…)

    Agreed, which leaves those non-adolescents who possess adolescent points of view — or, more accurately(?), those non-adolescents who use adolescent reasoning.

    (…)It is a useful technique (…) to show those who are "grown up" enough to laugh at their adolescent notions about the one, while unconsciously persisting in similarly immature notions about the other.(…)

    I find that labelling of positions is rarely useful — a robust statement of one's own position, and/or a robust dismembering of the other's, is much more effective in my experience. But experiences (and criteria of effectiveness) differ I guess.

    It would seem that I should have made more plain that I was playing the ball, not the man (fnarr) as I was in no way calling you adolescent.

    Fair 'nuff, though I'm starting to lose sight of the ball now… Are we even playing the same sport? :-)

    I equate human life to a peak experience that by its very nature can not be sustained. (…)

    Well, if you equate human life as a peak experience that can not be sustained "by its very nature", then it's hardly surprising that you don't think it can be sustained! :-) However I'm still at a loss as to why you think this. I was (and still am) looking for a description of why you think this about human life, I'm not looking for another restatement of your beliefs. What evidence (note that I'm only asking for evidence, not "proof") do you have for this position? What makes you think this evidence is convincing? I'm interested! I used to believe that life without death was pointless. But I slowly realised I had no convincing (or even credible) evidence for that position, so I let it go.

    Also, I see an important difference between peak performance and peak experience. More semantics, I guess.

    Whoops — every occurance of the term "peak performance" in my posts was a typo I'm afraid, so for each occurence please read your term "peak experience".

    Oh, and for the record, as I'm sure you agree, semantics matters! I didn't mean to imply in my last post that any discussion of semantics is automatically "playing semantic games".

    I think that death is essential, because it validates our choices and experiences.

    I used to believe the exact same thing when I was nineteen (note: this is not an accusation of immaturity!). I no longer believe this, and on this matter we genuinely differ I think. This is not to say that I strongly believe the reverse, just that I do not believe that death is essential for life to have meaning (death [of some kind] is probably inevitable, but that's a different matter!).

    In my twenties I could no longer ignore the fact that I had no convincing evidence for believing that death was essential, nor could I find any argument or chain of reasoning for that position that wasn't hoplessly circular or based on enormous assumptions or leaps of faith. So I eventually dropped my belief that death was essential for meaning or "validation" of life. In fact, reading your original post reminded me how far I have moved away from that position.

    An indefinitely prolonged being would, in my opinion and from a human perspective run the risk of turning into a valueless monster.

    Hmm, but since from a "human perspective" an "indefinitely prolonged being" is a mysterious thing, and could only be described as "not human" or even "post-human" (in a non-immortalist minimal use of the term), this isn't really saying anything useful.

    Look at it this way — as a post-adolescent I can now look back on that other teenage Skevos (back in adolescence) and (I think!) I can see him much more clearly than he could ever hoped to have seen me (or any other post-adolescent). The unknown always seems mysterious or even alien. You're a human staring at the unknown life of a very-long-lived human and guessing as to the outcome. A being with very different values might seem value-less from your current perspective. Neither of us can even guess at the values and motivations of a very old being, even assuming nothing is different about them compared to us but their increased lifespan.

    For example, my 90-year old grandmother (Dad's mother – no Altheimer's on that side) constantly surpises me with her views and values, and any attempts by me to classify each of her opinions as "conservative" or "radical" etc in order to build up a complete picture of her values hits a stone wall – her perspective is just too different to mine – and this is a woman who helped shape me during my adolescence! I see no evidence that she has stopped developing/growing as an individual, and I see no evidence that any of us will either (I wish I could say the same about her increasingly frail body). Her death will merely end that process of growth and development, I assure you her life already has meaning in and of itself. So does yours…

    Death is the mountain we are climbing, and it is what makes peak experience possible at all.

    Almost exactly what I used to believe – but it assumes that "peak experience" is the goal. Maybe reaching the peak of the mountain (death?) isn't the point of life or the thing that gives meaning to the journey — maybe it's the climbing itself! Maybe life is in the living, and maybe, just maybe, we don't need death to give life meaning. Seems counter intuitive I know but it's a position I find myself moving towards, reluctantly at first as I used to believe as you do, but after much consideration and experience I'm beginning to suspect that it's not only an attractive position (which is what gave me pause for so long), but a logical and rational one too.

    Or to put it another way – don't think of massive life-extension as trying to deny that there is a mountain-top, think of it as just making the mountian a lot taller. Stretching the mountain doesn't make the journey any easier or less interesting! At the risk of stretching the analogy, one day you'll look back at the peak that you thought was the top, and realise how close it is to the ground… :-)

    As for substituting peak performance (again, not a phrase I used) (…)

    Oops, as mentioned before, I was trying to refer to your use of the phrase in reply to me as part of explaining/illustrating your orgasm analogy, and I found it less than relevant to life as I know it. I have a slightly clearer notion of what you mean by it now, I think, but it's still not very useful for me, or perhaps we have very different views on life.

    As for substituting peak performance (…) for intense, well of course it doesn't fit. I can't substitute orgasm for intense in the original statement, either. It was an elaboration, not a substitution.

    I wasn't suggesting a simple swapping of words, as I'm sure you know. I was just reminding you that after I asked you why a long life couldn't be intense, and wondered what you meant by "intense" with regard to life, you replied in part that "Intensity is a peak experience", and I could not (and still cannot) make any possible permutation of the meaning of "peak experience" fit in a meaningful way with talking about living. I see now that the problem is not one of misunderstanding your words, but of having very different world views.

    I think we are both playing a game of blind men and elephants here.

    And I think some of the time we're looking at the same glass and one of us is calling it "half-full" as the other calls it "half empty".

    Shut up and kiss me.

    Where would you like it? Where you think the sun shines from? :-)

    Okay, you adolescent premature ejaculator.

    Damn! I must have left the web cam on again! ;-)

    I certainly think that it is pointless and in most cases impossible to sustain the true nature of peak experiences.

    We don't disagree on this and never have — after all, a peak experience has a peak! The peak can be heightened I guess, but if it is prolonged too long the peak becomes a plateau, right?

    What we disagree on is whether life can be usefully described as a peak experience. I don't believe it can. My life contains peak experiences sure, but it is not, in itself, a peak experience or anything like one. It can be much better described as a journey, and the meaning/joy/point of the journey is in the journey, not the destination. Based on experience (so far!) I believe that the length of the journey is largely irrelevent to the meaning/joy/point of the journey — a short journey can be as meaningful as a long one.

    Could it be a never-ending journey? Maybe, though based on experience I suspect the journey will continue to transform the traveller greatly, and I have no evidence to support the notion that this process greys-out or stretches or becomes less "intense" with extended time. In fact, based on my own experience and observation, I believe it likely build on itself, amplifying its effects over time. More time could mean more growth/meaning/joy/change/insert-criteria-here. If it helps you to think of the journey as consisting of many gradual deaths which give the journey meaning, then go ahead, but I submit that we're already on that journey.

    The mighty Iron Sun (…) having once again initiated the best discussion this failing site has seen in many months!

    True! Though I humbly point out that it takes two (or more) to tango… :-) Alas, given the lack of other responses or even moderation, I suspect we amuse mostly ourselves. The fact that a non-specialist like myself is posting says a lot. Come to think of it, it seems like ages since I got any moderation points here, even slashdot.org gives me moderation points more often than nanodot. Is moderation broken?

  23. Coldplazma Says:

    Re:He Said You Said I Said They Said We Said

    I would like to say that I have always found Iron Sunís comments interesting and insightful. I not only search Nanodot for news concerning nanotechnology but I always search it for his comments and counter points. I do enjoy the devilís advocate. I do not agree at all with most of Iron Sunís opinions though. Because I am one of those wannabe immortals. The only reason I have not dared to jump in or challenge any of Iron Sunís points is because I fear I am not able to match wits with the great Iron Sun. But I do timidly come out now from my dark cave to respond. Skevo you and Iron Sun do not only amuse yourselves. But you amuse me very much as well. But it is unfortunate that Nanodot is used as a frontline of pro immortality debate. It is an absolute certainty that nanotechnology does not only concern those of the desire to escape the restrictions of their humanity. But also concerns a very large portion of humanity with varied interests. It is this sole reason I feel that Iron Sun finds such poor personalities to test his mind and his views against of the wannabe immortal ranks. I feel his views would be better appreciated by joining the various transhuman or extropian mailing lists. Not that we do not enjoy them, it is just I feel he would have a greater audience elsewhere. But he might already be part of these debate groups and take an active role within them, which I am not aware of. Now my opinion of why I am a wannabe immortal. I feel that it is all a matter of long term planning. For instance at what point do we say enough life is enough. Obviously this is very personal question which every individual must answer on their own. Especially since improvements in medical technology and health care are slowly stretching an already lengthy human life. We can say what an awful predicament as animals we are that, not only must we be aware of death. But now we must choose when we should die. No I do not believe in forcing anyone to choose death or immortality, or should I say a death which might never happen. But we as a species chose to take this burden upon ourselves when we started to alter our bodies and environment to survive longer. All we can try to hope for is that as individuals we will live our lives the way we desire, no matter how long. Sure there can be a certain point when life will seem pointless. But I feel I will always find a reason to live. And yes I do try to live everyday of my life as if this could be my last. But it does not change me from investing some effort of my present in insuring I have a happy unending life. But Iron Sun, this wisdom you have handed down to us disillusioned wannabe immortals. The wisdom one should live life to the fullest, and experience it the best we can. To have fun, to fall in love, to see sights no one will ever see, to help others do the same. Then finally after such a full life to finally accept that which makes it meaningful. To die a good death. Is this the wisdom you plan on passing to your children? Now remember your children will grow up in very different world you did. Even if their life and world is so ideal that it shall not hurt or break them. Will you tell them the same wisdom you have told us? Most likely they will not have a life span defined in hundreds of years. They will be unable to apply your wisdom to their lives. Because by the time your generation would have died of old age, they still will be at play upon the playgrounds of a world we help to create. I understand this all can be argued. The world could be destroyed by something at any moment. I am sorry Iron Sun, all I ever been told and ever learned is that, for sure, some day I should die. Regardless death is not something I plan for. Because if it comes it comes, till then. I plan always to be like a child discovering a wondrous world. Forever at play within a universe with endless possibilities. You know Iron Sun we wannabe immortals are not the majority, we are not even a cult. All we are, are dreamers. Come try our dreams for awhile. What is the worst that could happen? We are all going to die anyway right?

  24. Says:

    http://www.message_vicadomeltri.com/

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