The transhumanist quest is not just about becoming immortal; it’s about never losing the ones you love. Some have faith that our loved ones are on the other side waiting for a heavenly reunion. However, there is no evidence to be rationalized, and this causes such cognitive stress. Ernest Becker claims it is the source of all human neurosis. Yet, we are on the verge of defeating death. Science and technology will eliminate the suffering felt with the loss of loved ones. How incredibly beautiful of a thought; to tell our children that they will never have to witness our passing.
Jason Silva has a new series called Shots of Awe that broke me out of my ‘denial of death’. I saw the beauty in the possibility that we can immortalize our loved ones. We clever bipedal apes can create a celestial kingdom here on earth, where antiquated genetic programs causing disease, illness and death, are rendered obsolete. Take a moment to reflect upon this techno poet Silva, who blends a sensorium of visual articulation into his new philosophical Shots of Awe:
A planet that eliminates death, pain and suffering is the metaphorical heaven on earth, actualized by the human imagination through innovation and inspiration.
We have the book of life at our fingertips, and we are finding the fluency to become the editors of this epic, billion year novel within our genome. If god was the author, we are now the editors.
The following is an excerpt from Ernest Becker’s The Denial of Death, which explains this idea nicely.
The individual has to protect himself against the world, and he can do this only as any other animal would: by narrowing down the world, shutting off experience, developing an obliviousness both to the terrors of the world and to his own anxieties. Otherwise he would be crippled for action.We cannot too often repeat the great lesson of Freudian psychology
that ‘repression is normal self-protection and creative self-restriction— in a real sense, man’s natural substitute for instinct’. [Otto] Rank has a perfect, key term for this natural human talent: he calls it “partialization” and very rightly sees that life is impossible without it. What we call the well-adjusted man has just this capacity to partialize the world for comfortable action. I have used the term ‘fetishization’, which is exactly the same idea: the ‘normal’ man bites off what he can chew and digest of life, and no more. In other words, men aren’t built to be gods, to take in the whole world; they are built like other creatures, to take in the piece of ground in front of their noses. Gods can take in the whole of creation because they alone can make sense of it, know what it is all about and for. But as soon as a man lifts his nose from the ground and starts sniffing at eternal problems like life and death, the meaning of a rose or a star cluster—then he is in trouble.Most men spare themselves this trouble by keeping their minds on the small problems of their lives just as their society maps these problems out for them. These are what Kierkegaard called the “immediate” men and the “Philistines.” They “tranquilize themselves with the trivial”—and so they can lead normal lives.
~ Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death
Kevin, who also goes by the moniker ‘Techno-Optimist’, is a philosopher, futurist, researcher, lecturer, and the Executive Director of SeriousWonder.com. He enjoys educating and speaking optimistically about the future and technology. Follow him on Twitter @TechnoOptimist