Re: Can You Live Forever? Esquire article

Anders Sandberg (
10 May 1999 13:23:05 +0200

"J. R. Molloy" <> writes:

> The Jekyll and Hyde story offers a metaphorical lesson: Once Dr. Jekyll
> changes himself, he loses control and Mr. Hyde takes over... And Mr. Hyde
> has no interest in nor ability to make a potion quickly returning him to the
> Dr. Jekyll entity. So, if humans sever their ties with biology, and then
> something goes wrong (as it always does), the new posthuman techno-species
> will have no recourse, having burned its bridges behind itself. (The phrase
> "up the creek without a paddle" seems apropos here.)

Why would they not be able to go back to biology? Having bridged the gap once, they will understand it fairly well at that point. Having backups is common sense, but not the reason to never take the step upwards/outwards.

The meme "something always goes wrong" is dangerous. It is a meme of passivity, of never attempting anything. It is a meme that helps luddites and conservatives to keep us "human" (i.e. trapped within *their* system). Sure, things do go wrong sometimes. But that can often be fixed. And we are usually better off when we do something about a situation than just accept it.

> As part of the environment, Homo Sapiens deserves conservation as much as
> does the mountain gorilla or the panda bear. But in our case, we have to do
> it for ourselves (despite science fiction about Powers).
> If humans attain immortality via non-biological means, then it no longer
> makes sense to call them human. Then they have died and gone to posthuman
> afterlife.

Sure. And I think that is a *good* thing. But I seriously doubt all humans will take that step, there will always be a pool of people who for a variety of good and bad reasons chose to remain human.

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