Re: extropians-digest V2 #23

Anders Sandberg (
Thu, 30 Jan 1997 18:29:42 +0100 (MET)

On Tue, 28 Jan 1997, Joy Williams wrote:

> >> in about 15% disagreement.
> >
> >What parts?
> That there is no Divinity....that immortality is possible nor necessarily
> desireable.

It can be argued that Extropianism per se doesn't make any claims about
divinity, although it is clear that there is a bias against most religions
due to the empirical and pancritical philosophy it encourages (personally
I think that a religion that can't stand being investigated with a
critical eye is suspect; it it really was true, it wouldn't have any
problems with it). Your view of a pantheistic evolution fits in quite
well, it is just a less common view among Extropians.

The same goes for immortality. Immortality is no transhuman dogma; there
are transhumanists who argue that it is impossible and/or undesirable,
although they are a minority too.

Is immortality possible? The question cannot be answered if one refers to
immortality in the strongest sense of the word (not dying, ever) since
that would require an infinite time to determine. A more reasonable
versuin would ask if indefinite life is possible. But this is merely
semantic gymnastics.

As I see it, immortality is possible *and* impossible at the same time.
There doesn't appear to exist any real limits to the lifespan of a being
at a sufficiently high level of advancement (using backups etc). But
living an extremely long life would by necessity lead to the accumulation
of experience and changes; in order to avoid getting trapped in the
Eternal Return the being would have to grow and develop. And herein lies
the rub: it will grow beyond its old nature, becoming something more and
different. The old self will gradually vanish, only to be continually
replaced by new selves. This is a form of death that is unavoidable in
order to reach true immortality.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y