Re: a to-do list for the next century

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sun Mar 26 2000 - 21:22:29 MST

Hello, David

I agree with the main thrust of the posts on the extropian list: spell big
to get rid of death, as fast as possible.

I put it this way at the close of my 1999 pop sci book THE LAST MORTAL


For those of us who are now alive, the signal and astonishing difference
from the immemorial past is that we really do have a chance, finally. One
might think, if an audacious analogy is required, of the freedom fighter
and political prisoner Nelson Mandela, locked away from life for a quarter
of a century - but freed at last in a triumph of democracy, and not just
freed as a wretched old man with no future but elevated into the presidency
of his new nation, sought out in many high places of the world for his
wisdom and charisma.
                The 20th century witnessed this kind of cruel oppression and phoenix
recovery again and again, most poignantly, perhaps in the survivors of the
Holocaust. Millions died, but some prevailed even in those hellish
conditions. Perhaps it will be that way for us, too, faced by the
impersonal and mindless cruelty of evolution's strategies of death. We
must live as vividly as we may, while life is ours - hoping that we will
triumph, in the end, even over that final enemy. And not merely passively
hoping, but acting to make it so.
                If we are to be the first immortal generation - the first for whom death
is not an automatic imposition of our genes - then we must be prepared to
fund the necessary research, demand that every effort be spent on this last
and most extraordinary quest, make the overthrow of routine human mortality
our epoch's responsibility and wonderful privilege.


Regards, Damien

Dr Damien Broderick / Senior Fellow, Department of English and Cultural
        University of Melbourne, Parkville 3052, AUSTRALIA
        @: <>
        Ozlit biography/bibliography listing:


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