Toggle light / dark theme

Before the Revolutionary war in North America, a movement in favor of establishing independence paved the way. Common Sense, written by the political activist and philosopher Thomas Paine, became a central part of it. In this paper I go over some of its points while making correlations with the movement for indefinite life extension.

The people of America’s 13 colonies weren’t in agreement on how to move forward with their disputes with Great Britain. Like Thomas Paine wrote, “The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts.” Common Sense fixed the object of independence, rather than reconciliation with tyranny, in enough minds to help make it happen.

True freedom is about much more than things like the ability to sail the open seas or be independent from the authority of kings – it is about access to all constructive opportunities, of which there may be an infinite number, and to which there are still innumerable barriers. Every day asks us whether we want to put in work to break more of the barriers around us, and every day we either reconcile with the conventions of laissezfaire or continue the struggle for freedom.

Movements have broken many bonds over the decades and centuries. What was once a world overrun with crushing suppressions is now manageable and improving in many countries on numerous fronts. We need that “fixed object” that Paine was talking about so we can open the frontiers of industrialized peoples next most pressing freedom. That object is time, the walls of defined lifespans must come down. Nothing is more absolutely enslaving than <125 year death sentences for all, and the times are ripe and ready to take it on. The world works with and engineers biology in many ways now and gets better at it faster as the toolbox of biotechnology continues to deepen. Biological mastery is in the cards if we play them.

Paine wrote, ”O ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been hunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her—Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.” In that style I would write, “O ye that love life! Ye that dare oppose, not only the symptoms of mortal afflictions, but the roots, stand forth! Every spot of the world is overrun with death. Life hath been hunted round the globe. Tradition and religion have long expelled her—politics regards her like a stranger, and trend setters have given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for this survivors blood that fights on through us.”

How many injustices should we accept? How much lack of freedom should we endure? ”There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did. […] The robber, and the murderer, would often escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers sustain, provoke us into justice.” I often say that anger for death is there for the same reason that pain is there when touching a hot stove — it is your body prompting you to take corrective measures to end the pain. We ought endure such misfortunes when we must and take action against them when we can.

The time for life extension is now because the tools and insights are here, and also because as Paine says, “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember, that virtue is not hereditary.” You know that the people in your life deserve to live, you understand the importance of working to get this done now, but our grandchildren might not. Humanity cannot afford to pass the buck off into the darkness. I may believe that posterity will be roughly as virtuous as us, but I’m not a prophet. Dark times tend to sweep in on their own schedules.

It is our duty to get this job done. “[N]othing can settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for independance.” The Declaration of Independence was written after Common Sense, mainly by Thomas Jefferson. A life extension version of it might look something like this:

Declaration of Independence from Death

We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by life with certain unalienable rights, that chief among them is life itself, that is, freedom from incurring the injustice of a defined lifespan. To secure this right, science is practiced among people, deriving its just power from the purest form of the pursuit for answers, for the lifting of the veils of ignorance that hold us back from true freedom. Whenever anything becomes destructive of this end, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new practices, laying its foundation on principles and organizing its power in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their survival. The history of death is a history of repeated horrors and atrocities. Let the facts be submitted to a candid world.

Every person who dies misses out on what very well may be an infinity of incredible wonders and opportunities. This is stiflingly enormous opportunity cost. People lose their freedom, memories, goals, thoughts, themselves; others lose them; all of humanity and the universe loses them, and nothing in the universe compares to a human. The all-around suffering that death causes to the individuals it kills and the people around them is staggering and endlessly traumatic, causing stress and damage on countless levels of every part of life and society. The death process is degrading and undignified, humiliating people for decades as it reduces them to feebleness, senility and dust. Death deprives people of the ability to know what is going on in this mysterious dimension we all find ourselves in here, what we ultimately are and why we are here. It steals away our chance to know what marvels and wonders exist in the expanses of the great unknown, our ability to experience pleasures we haven’t yet, our ability to know what it’s like to experience the fulfillment of all of our goals, and the chance to work for and live in an existence of negligible or perhaps even non-existent fallacy.

We, the freedom loving members of humanity, from all around the globe, of all cultures and creeds, solemnly declare, that we are, and of right ought to be free from death in the form of defined lifespans. To this end we mutually pledge to each other our fortunes and our sacred honor.

The customs of conventions, our current mainstream traditions, are against us, and will be so, until, by a thorough awakening for independence from death, our oldest and most sacred right, takes its rightful and long overdue place among the ranks of other indispensable rights. “The custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until, by an independance, we take rank with other nations.”

“Wherefore, if they have not virtue enough to be Whigs, they ought to have prudence enough to wish for Independance.” People do not need to want to live for thousands of years in order to want independence from death, they need only want their own freedom to choose what course they may, and the same for their friends and families. Some people don’t want to be forced to live for thousands of years, and some people don’t want to be forced to die before the age of 125. Currently, however, only the people who might choose to die at the age of 50 have the freedom to make that choice. With unlimited lifespans, we can all be free. This is about eradicating deaths tyranny, not death, in the same way that the American revolutionaries worked to break the stranglehold of tyranny that Great Britain held over them, not stop every slight and fight they might have post-independence.

“We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; […] we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor ravaging the globe for plunder.” Our war is even more dignified. It is removal of a tyranny and the installation of one of the greatest freedoms of all, all without a shedding of blood.

“[L]et a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.” The ‘law as King’ is superior to ‘humans as Kings’ because people collectively form laws with some amount of oversight of each other’s input. “Law” as the foundation, however, can still tend to be quite arbitrary. Life is what rules us, living, the chance to do people things in a universe of endless opportunities. Let life wear the crown and guide us along our path to true freedom. “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind.” The cause of expanding our frontiers and abilities, of expanding life, is in great measure the greatest cause of them all.

How do we know what to do in life? How do we know where to go, where to start, where we are, what it’s all made of, why it matters? Why don’t we know? Can we know? Why am I alive? What is alive? Why is this place here? What is going on?

In his collection of papers and notes posthumously published as a book in 1969, titled On Certainty, Ludwig Wittgenstein writes, “How does someone judge which is his right and which his left hand?” We are certain that we know, but we really don’t know the answer. “At the foundation of well-founded belief lies belief that is not founded.” He serendipitously illustrated his point from beyond the grave when he wrote: “‘But is there then no objective truth? Isn’t it true, or false, that someone has been on the moon?’ If we are thinking within our system, then it is certain that no one has ever been on the moon. Not merely is nothing of the sort ever seriously reported to us by reasonable people, but our whole system of physics forbids us to believe it.“ We only have the ability to examine a minuscule fraction of the information available in the big picture of it all. We cannot escape uncertainty yet, even though we routinely pretend that we have.

The book talks about “language games”. It’s a concept that Wittgenstein developed earlier in his life to explain how people inherit and subconsciously create unspoken rules of communication that gloss over or emphasize certain words and ideas. He writes, “It’s not a matter of [philosopher G.E.] Moore’s knowing that there’s a hand there, but rather we should not understand him if he were to say ‘Of course I may be wrong about this.’ ” We don’t say we know that our religious, political or even sports affiliations are true, the assumptions are built right into our languaging. What better example is there than the wide-eyed sports fan who is unquestionably convinced that their random group of players is the best that there ever was and will be? Many of them are not bluffing, their language game has programmed them. The word structure that they know will not allow them to see it any other way. People’s various language games assume what they want, often from habit, usually based on subconscious tradition.

“Suppose now I say ‘I’m incapable of being wrong about this: that is a book’ while I point to an object. What would a mistake here be like? And have I any clear idea of it?” There are fake books, tricks are played, there are mind altering substances, coincidences happen, there could be a secret society of magicians controlling public perceptions, or our world could be some kind of solipsistic melting pot of dreams and hallucinations. We could list things like these all day. There are simpler examples for common situations as well, like, somebody might be unquestionably convinced they are seeing a magazine when it is a zine, or a cow when it is in fact a bull. It’s also pretty common for people to think that they know a person made a mistake that they did not actually make. Consider that the way the future is headed, there is a good chance we will all have 3d printers that run on practically free energy and make everything out of basic materials like sand and vegetation, be free to travel around the universe with access to trillions of planets, and so forth. In that reality, theme planets are all but inevitable. There will be planets for specific ecological niches and time periods. People will be able to set up Plato’s Cave, Truman Show style planets, and countless other scenarios. Being that this seems so inevitable (read The Singularity is Near if you are not convinced), why would we assume that we are not in a scenario like that right now?

What happens though, is if we were to take the groundlessness of surety into account in our day to day communication, we wouldn’t be able to say anything. It seems we might almost be cornered into adopting language games. “This game proves its worth. That may be the cause of its being played, but it is not the ground.” The temptation to stay locked into them is almost irresistible, especially the hereditary ones. “[W]ould it be unthinkable that I should stay in the saddle however much the facts bucked?” It isn’t unthinkable because the entire purpose of the game is to ride unreasonable broncos and we have been training since we were born. Wittgenstein goes on to ponder, “Certain events would [put] me into a position in which I could not go on with the old language-game any further. In which I was torn away from the sureness of the game. Indeed, doesn’t it seem obvious that the possibility of a language-game is conditioned by certain facts?” It’s possible but usually very difficult because safeguards and defense mechanisms are built into them too. When a person does something detrimental, “it is what it is” — when evidence bucks, faith grips tighter — another team might have won the super bowl, but their quarterback threw for more yards in the season.

There are a lot of incompatible language games being played around the world. If you tell a person embedded in another one that they are wrong, it’s almost as if they cannot know it because if they were to consider that they should doubt parts of it, it would open the door to the slippery slope leading to the “annihilation of all yardsticks”, and it is difficult, maybe nearly impossible, to live in a world without them. “If something happened calculated to make me doubtful of my own name, there would certainly also be something that made the grounds of these doubts themselves seem doubtful, and I could therefore decide to retain my old belief.” In order to take action, you have to make decisions, and in order to make decisions, some of the patterns in your mind need to win out over the others. If there aren’t any execute commands in the code, then the code is lifeless and goes nowhere.

Does this mean that we have to permit some unsubstantiated assertions? All of them? Do we have the right to dismiss any of them? If it turns out to be true that there is no foundation for knowledge or contemplation, then how could we draw such a line? I think a lot of it comes down to what I talk about in terms of how much we are willing to bet at a given time, and the use of words like “seems”. “We just do not see how very specialized the use of ‘I know’ is. For ‘I know’ seems to describe a state of affairs which guarantees what is known, guarantees it as a fact. One always forgets the expression ‘I thought I knew’ “.
It’s not that we know, it’s that certain things look very likely to us from our current perspective, and we all know that our perspectives have changed, and therefore that more of them will likely change as well. We should learn to expect this, and if we are honest with ourselves, be proactive about it. I believe that is the common language game we can all play. It is like we are trying to play blackjack with people who are trying to play poker, war, concentration and rummy with us. If we all played poker, our individual bets would still range in scale depending on our hands at any given time but we would all be playing a compatible game.

When it comes to the concept of “seems”, I have found that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of alternatives, which sometimes makes it difficult to talk in terms of it in a stylistically appropriate way. Being that people are prone to asserting the uncertain so pervasively, it makes sense that we might end up with so few words for expressing variations and shades of doubt. Wittgenstein uses a variety of phrasing throughout the book that give us some ideas on how we might expand it. I pulled many of them together and summed them up:

“Suppose I replaced Moore’s ‘I know’ by ‘I am of the unshakeable conviction’?”
“It stands fast for me and many others…”
‘That’s how it is — rely upon it.’
“I learned it years and years ago”
“I am sure it is so.“
“is an irreversible belief.“
“it gives us a right to assume it.”
“Suppose it were forbidden to say ‘I know’ and only allowed to say ‘I believe I know’?”
“excludes a certain kind of failure”
“I can hardly be mistaken”
“That is the truth — so far as a human being can know it.“

That is not to say that every communication should necessarily be tentative. One of the main conclusions that Wittgenstein reaches is that our beliefs can be justified, but not certain. “[…] I find it quite correct for someone to say ‘Rubbish!’ and so brush aside the attempt to confuse him with doubts at bedrock, — nevertheless, I hold it to be incorrect if he seeks to defend himself (using, e.g., the words ‘I know’).” I think of that in terms of calculated risk. Sometimes you have to remove the language of doubt in order to favor the patterns in life that seem most important. That, though, is less like certainty and more like leadership. All confidence is either bluff or ignorance. If we have calculated the potential value in bluffing our certainty, that is one thing, but to do it blindly, unknowingly, is another.

Wittgenstein talks about how if existential certainty is there to be found, it would probably be in a form similar to a mathematical proposition and proof. “If the proposition 12×12=144 is exempt from doubt, then so too must non-mathematical propositions be.” “If” being a key word there. He reminds us that it seems as though they cannot be certain either but goes out on a short limb to humor that they are. In that process he makes what I find to be one of the most profound and rather Godel-esque insights of the book: ”there ought to be a proposition that is just as certain, and deals with the process of this calculation, but isn’t itself mathematical. I am thinking of such a proposition as: ‘The multiplication 12×12, when carried out by people who know how to calculate, will in the great majority of cases give the result 144.’ Nobody will contest this proposition, and naturally it is not a mathematical one.” That might be a key to extinguishing existential angst and establishing the foundation of common meaning.

It is true that the universe might be infinite and that even if it isn’t, the work to reach certainty might still end up being like trying to reach zero by continuously dividing by half, always inching closer, impossible to reach. In the meantime, we wait in suspense as patterns wind their way through the chaos like armies meandering through mine fields. Certainty is no more than the soldiers out ahead who haven’t been blown up yet, standing in the middle of the field with a universe of unknown mines ahead. Some evolutionary lineages successfully walk on for hundreds of millions of years before they are blown up and consumed by the blur. What choice do we have, what else might we do, use patterns we don’t understand or that are wrong more of the time? We don’t know if we will make it or not. Maybe it is too difficult. Maybe it will take a hundred million additional years. Maybe we are in the home stretch and artificial intelligence of the near future is the calculator of existential proofs. We just don’t know.

We don’t know how long it might take to get a better grip on the nature of certainty, and death is barreling down on us, hence the movement for indefinite life extension. It is tragic to be uncertain about everything, which includes our own wants and needs, when the stakes are so high. It is tragic to live and die as a captive in a dark basement. Earth is that basement and our lifespans are the walls. Some people don’t see that, like captives of Plato’s cave.

As things stand, the best we can do is be willing to make educated bets at any given time. The only thing we know for sure is that we don’t know anything for sure. We don’t even know if we don’t know. That is good news though, therein sneaks the foundation that begins to unravel the absurd. If the only thing we know is that nothing makes sense until we know, and that by working to figure stuff out, we could end up knowing, that small patch of philosophical ground in the quicksands of uncertainty becomes the launchpad upon which we begin stringing lines of certainty together. Anything else would be illogical, against our nature, detrimental to our fitness. Standing on this platform is a stage in our evolutionary trajectory.

“We all believe that it isn’t possible to get to the moon; but there might be people who believe that that is possible and that it sometimes happens. We say: these people do not know a lot that we know. And, let them be never so sure of their belief — they are wrong and we know it. If we compare our system of knowledge with theirs then theirs is evidently the poorer one by far.”

Together with my fellow member of the World Futures Studies Federation, Dr. Thomas Lombardo, we have begun a YouTube video series of ongoing dialogues on topics pertaining to the future. In this first dialogue we focus on the book Science Fiction: The Evolutionary Mythology of the Future and discuss the nature and value of science fiction in the modern world. We discuss the historical evolution of science fiction and the nature of mythology and why science fiction is the modern mythology. In future dialogues we will delve more deeply into books on science fiction and more broadly on futures studies and future consciousness.

CERN has revealed plans for a gigantic successor of the giant atom smasher LHC, the biggest machine ever built. Particle physicists will never stop to ask for ever larger big bang machines. But where are the limits for the ordinary society concerning costs and existential risks?

CERN boffins are already conducting a mega experiment at the LHC, a 27km circular particle collider, at the cost of several billion Euros to study conditions of matter as it existed fractions of a second after the big bang and to find the smallest particle possible – but the question is how could they ever know? Now, they pretend to be a little bit upset because they could not find any particles beyond the standard model, which means something they would not expect. To achieve that, particle physicists would like to build an even larger “Future Circular Collider” (FCC) near Geneva, where CERN enjoys extraterritorial status, with a ring of 100km – for about 24 billion Euros.

Experts point out that this research could be as limitless as the universe itself. The UK’s former Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir David King told BBC: “We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator. And if it doesn’t end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back.”

“There is always going to be more deep physics to be conducted with larger and larger colliders. My question is to what extent will the knowledge that we already have be extended to benefit humanity?”

There have been broad discussions about whether high energy nuclear experiments could pose an existential risk sooner or later, for example by producing micro black holes (mBH) or strange matter (strangelets) that could convert ordinary matter into strange matter and that eventually could start an infinite chain reaction from the moment it was stable – theoretically at a mass of around 1000 protons.

CERN has argued that micro black holes eventually could be produced, but they would not be stable and evaporate immediately due to „Hawking radiation“, a theoretical process that has never been observed.

Furthermore, CERN argues that similar high energy particle collisions occur naturally in the universe and in the Earth’s atmosphere, so they could not be dangerous. However, such natural high energy collisions are seldom and they have only been measured rather indirectly. Basically, nature does not set up LHC experiments: For example, the density of such artificial particle collisions never occurs in Earth’s atmosphere. Even if the cosmic ray argument was legitimate: CERN produces as many high energy collisions in an artificial narrow space as occur naturally in more than hundred thousand years in the atmosphere. Physicists look quite puzzled when they recalculate it.

Others argue that a particle collider ring would have to be bigger than the Earth to be dangerous.

A study on “Methodological Challenges for Risks with Low Probabilities and High Stakes” was provided by Lifeboat member Prof Raffaela Hillerbrand et al. Prof Eric Johnson submitted a paper discussing juridical difficulties (lawsuits were not successful or were not accepted respectively) but also the problem of groupthink within scientific communities. More of important contributions to the existential risk debate came from risk assessment experts Wolfgang Kromp and Mark Leggett, from R. Plaga, Eric Penrose, Walter Wagner, Otto Roessler, James Blodgett, Tom Kerwick and many more.

Since these discussions can become very sophisticated, there is also a more general approach (see video): According to present research, there are around 10 billion Earth-like planets alone in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Intelligent life might send radio waves, because they are extremely long lasting, though we have not received any (“Fermi paradox”). Theory postulates that there could be a ”great filter“, something that wipes out intelligent civilizations at a rather early state of their technical development. Let that sink in.

All technical civilizations would start to build particle smashers to find out how the universe works, to get as close as possible to the big bang and to hunt for the smallest particle at bigger and bigger machines. But maybe there is a very unexpected effect lurking at a certain threshold that nobody would ever think of and that theory does not provide. Indeed, this could be a logical candidate for the “great filter”, an explanation for the Fermi paradox. If it was, a disastrous big bang machine eventually is not that big at all. Because if civilizations were to construct a collider of epic dimensions, a lack of resources would have stopped them in most cases.

Finally, the CERN member states will have to decide on the budget and the future course.

The political question behind is: How far are the ordinary citizens paying for that willing to go?

LHC-Critique / LHC-Kritik

Network to discuss the risks at experimental subnuclear particle accelerators


Particle collider safety newsgroup at Facebook:

This paper explores Albert Camus’s notions of the absurd in The Myth of Sisyphus and draws correlations with the movement for indefinite life extension and the big picture of existence.

Calorie vacuums playing in the mud, isn’t that what we are when it comes down to it? We guess our way through much of life, trying not to spend too much time thinking about how trivial it all may or may not be so as to see about keeping the levels of despair down, waiting for our turn on the chopping block… We try to make sense of this life but in the end, can never fully convince ourselves that we have because we never fully do. That challenge is a mountain whose top hasn’t been seen yet.

People are drawn to understand what the most sensible things to do with life are, or as Albert Camus writes “the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions”. It’s a ballpark question. People thirst to make sense of their being, to understand what’s going on, for meaning, to track down and engage the most profound implication. Is thirst proof that water exists, as Gaston Bachelard says? Even rocks mean profound things, and we are self-aware supercomputers in a space filled with variables and has no known walls. It is very improbable that there is not a fundamentally profound implication within such circumstances.

How might we ever make sense of our existence? Masses of people are desperate with this “hope of another life one must ‘deserve’” and often take an irrational “leap”, as Camus says, to “some great idea that will transcend it, refine it, give it a meaning, and betray it.” Many rest on the hope that they’ll land a job they really love and can shine in someday but don’t put serious effort into figuring out what that would specifically be let alone work to make it happen.

People routinely try to correct each other on that issue by saying that work, not hope, builds dreams, yet when they hope that reincarnation, or living a good life, or an evolutionarily consequential life will save them in the eyes of the hypothetical eternal chroniclers, nobody is out there correcting them. You must think it all the way through, work to figure it out and achieve an understanding of it. Hoping and leaping is a distraction from this duty.

Camus explains the leap to us:

“I shall merely analyze here as examples a few themes dear to Chestov and Kierkegaard. But Jaspers will provide us, in caricatural form, a typical example of this attitude. […] He is left powerless to realize the transcendent, incapable of plumbing the depth of experience, and conscious of that universe upset by failure. Will he advance or at least draw the conclusions from that failure? He contributes nothing new. He has found nothing in experience but the confession of his own impotence and no occasion to infer any satisfactory principle. Yet without justification, as he says to himself, he suddenly asserts all at once the transcendent, the essence of experience, and the superhuman significance of life when he writes: ‘Does not the failure reveal, beyond any possible explanation and interpretation, not the absence but the existence of transcendence?’ That existence which, suddenly and through a blind act of human confidence, explains everything, he defines as ‘the unthinkable unity of the general and the particular.’ […]. Nothing logically prepares this reasoning. I can call it a leap.”

” ‘The sacrifice of the intellect’ [-] this effect of the ‘leap’ “

“Husserl aims to make a rational rule: after having denied the integrating power of human reason, he leaps by this expedient to eternal Reason.”

“In truth the way [of leaping] matters but little; the will to arrive suffices.”

People develop a lot of pet coping techniques, leaps. There are some positives in them in that they generate a lot of insight and dig up a lot of leads in the process. A lot of them have come back with invaluable reconnaissance notebooks. Ultimately, we want to go all the way and finish the job though, we want actual realities.

When Friedrich Nietzsche warns us of the revolts of the “mediocre” that tend to take place in the unrestrained and anarchical “tropical tempo in the rivalry of growth, and an extraordinary decay and self-destruction” as he says, the climate of the absurd, in other words, he is warning of being fooled by the communal leap. Can we manage our lives in the absurd jungle without leaping?

“Knowing whether or not one can live without appeal is all that interests me. I do not want to get out of my depth.”

Camus sets off to figure out whether people can live without needing to know or think they know what is going on. It’s a great question.

“I know what man wants, I know what the world offers him, and now I can say that I also know what links them.”

Those are hope/nostalgia, absurdity, and irrationality/the brevity of time individuals have.

“And you give me the choice between a description that is sure but that teaches me nothing and hypotheses that claim to teach me but that are not sure. A stranger to myself and to the world, armed solely with a thought that negates itself as soon as it asserts,”

“what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.”

We describe and archive the world around us in a lot of ways. At the end of the day though we can’t explain things with surety. Our foundation still eludes us. We still don’t know what is at the bottom of the atoms, at the edge of the universe, in the spark of consciousness, written on the gate that unleashed time, what matters, what’s real or illusion, what’s agreed upon or forced, where we are, who we are, what’s going on, why it’s happening, and all the nuances around, in between and in the realities we can’t even conceive of.

“The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world. This must not be forgotten. This must be clung to because the whole consequence of a life can depend on it. The irrational, the human nostalgia, and the absurd that is born of their encounter—these are the three characters in the drama that must necessarily end with all the logic of which an existence is capable.”

He’s saying that the mentality to have among the absurd is “That apparent modesty of thought that limits itself to describing what it declines to explain,” How silent is the world and which limits are definitely not surpassable?

”[Absurd is b]eing able to remain on that dizzying crest—that is integrity and the rest is subterfuge.”

That’s right. It’s very important that we stand there. He’s talking about agnosticism, we don’t know what ultimate realities reside in the landscapes of ignorance.

“Now if the absurd cancels all my chances of eternal freedom, it restores and magnifies, on the other hand, my freedom of action. That privation of hope and future means an increase in man’s availability.”

In other words, anarchy within the obstacles of the absurd is the only course we can justify because we don’t know what is going on and have no concrete fundamentals. That is our starting point, lost in a labyrinth, “thought hurls itself into an abstract polytheism”. Does that justify playing in the mud and chasing our tails?

“To the man lost in the world and its diversions this anxiety is a brief, fleeting fear. But if that fear becomes conscious of itself, it becomes anguish, the perpetual climate of the lucid man ‘in whom existence is concentrated’ “, and to whom he is “forever a stranger”.

People who are captives of anarchy and absurdity want to plan escape but are afraid of the consequences and so excuse their captors. They will never know a full life, never know what is going on, forever strangers to their existence.

Why do they do that? To what degree does the desperation and despair found in nothingness and absurdity stem from death? Isn’t the whole problem not lack of meaning or ability to get it, but truncation of time? If humans were biologically immortal then what existential crisis might there be, what leaps might anyone desperately try to make in a world that gets to perpetually reveal the answers to its riddles?

Infinite regress, Descartes’ methods of systematic doubt, Derrida’s door blocks the answer to the question of all questions: ‘How can I make sense of anything without a foundation to start from?’; General Death backed by the Army of Oblivion guards the door. Camus thinks we have to protest the door and shout over the top of the death army at it while at the same time being content to know that this will never accomplish anything. He tells us to appreciate the absurdity for what it’s worth and engage “permanent revolution” against the door without desiring the need to be successful lest we go too far and get our hopes up for nothing.

“That revolt is the certainty of a crushing fate, without the resignation that ought to accompany it.”

“The real effort is to stay there, rather, in so far as that is possible, and to examine closely the odd vegetation of those distant regions. Tenacity and acumen are privileged spectators of this inhuman show in which absurdity, hope, and death carry on their dialogue.”

“what is one to conclude, how far is one to go to elude nothing? Is one to die voluntarily or to hope in spite of everything?”

He cannot even conceive of the notion of taking General Death on. We don’t know if death can be beaten but we do know that it can’t be beaten if we don’t engage it. The movement for indefinite life extension reminds us that, “We don’t have to know we can get there to go there, but we do have to go there to get there.”

“I can negate everything of that part of me that lives on vague nostalgias, except this desire for unity, this longing to solve, this need for clarity and cohesion. I can refute everything in this world surrounding me that offends or enraptures me, except this chaos, this sovereign chance and this divine equivalence which springs from anarchy. I don’t know whether this world has a meaning that transcends it. But I know that I do not know that meaning and that it is impossible for me just now to know it.”

“He seeks his way amid these ruins.”

Since everything can be negated, no sense can be made of anything except for the sense in wanting everything to make sense, and it is impossible to make sense of it with death standing in the way. What should we do then? Find deaths Achilles heel and attack it, that’s your way out of this absurd thicket.

“[They have] not enough imagination to visualize that strange future; that [they are] losing immortal life”

They are distracted by excuses and don’t know why, bowing to the bossy kid’s demands to build a fort out of sticks, just like they spend years bowing to deaths demands to arrange their own burial.

“To abolish conscious revolt is to elude the problem. The theme of permanent revolution is thus carried into individual experience.”

Camus is so close to the path out, if he would have sought the alpha obstacle to the expansion of humanity’s horizons with honesty and courage and engaged it in battle, if he would have turned the power of that revolution on it. He doesn’t elude the door but he does elude the gatekeeper.

The worst of pains that come with winning or failing for a great cause feel better than the best joys accrued in slavery. Facing them comprises the key to happiness, the self-actualization that comes from engaging them makes even the worst kinds of suffering negligible. That fear of death must be used as a catalyst to take it on with fury, not to flee from it into comforting leaps and rationalizations. Personal perfection can only be pursued by eliminating your limitations and as Immanuel Kant tells us, the pursuit of our individual perfection is a duty.

When Camus wrote that the absurd is composed in large part of “the unreasonable silence of the world” to our attempts to understand it, he was confusing a 500 trillion trillion piece puzzle whose pieces have been scattered far and wide with a puzzle whose pieces cannot be found because he didn’t even recognize death as an alpha obstacle. It’s a part of the puzzles whose urgency is priority. He like so many makes the mistake of thinking death is an absolute given, doesn’t even consider it, can’t even see the obstacle when it’s the main one, the Allied invasion we have been putting off, he gave up before he even began. Imagine if Eric the Red, Magellan and Alexander Graham Bell had decided to devote their lives to mud wrestling instead – that’s us.

Camus is right that any riddle we find ourselves submerged in must end with all the logic with which existence is capable and we are capable of a lot more than screaming at the door over the head of death. Once we find the honesty and courage to apply logic to death, realize that it’s a vulnerable target, and turn that revolt on it too, the path that can get us out of the tangles and fogs of absurdity and to the big picture of existence become clearer.

Understanding the big picture requires pioneering everything, the stuff in the atoms, the parts of the universe and what might be beyond, the jungles of the mind, all the things we can’t even conceive of yet, and as much of time as possible, past, present and future, and that practically and inherently takes a lot of time. With success, we would then have a chance to know the totality of what is going on so we can make informed decisions about what we ultimately need and want, or as Ray Keyes calls it, the philosophy of existrophy. To know what we ultimately need and want is the most profound implication of our existence, the place that the Camus’s and leapers of the world would head if they could gain enough bearing in the mazes of the absurd.

Unlike Camus’s absurdist, the existrophist isn’t content to remain on that “dizzying crest” until their time is gone, they agnostically dig through the richness and burn through the glitches, slammed into the back of their drag racing Army of Oblivion slaying, retrofitted universe pioneering F-22 Raptor. If “the theme of the irrational, as it is conceived by the existentialists, is reason becoming confused and escaping by negating itself” and “the absurd is lucid reason noting its limits”, existrophy is the conjuring of the optimal to light with imagination, tracking down its alpha obstacles, and boring through those bedrocks of potential to reach it whether it makes it or not. Death is the next alpha obstacle between us and escaping absurdity and understanding the big picture.

One cannot draw the conclusion that a riddle is unsolvable because a riddle is unsolved. One must mount up, powered with the vitality of purpose, and meet darkness head-on in immortal combat. It’s not guarantee of victory that a person requires to make it worthwhile, it’s the chance that is there in the thrill of the fight, the fulfillment in rising to the challenge. Enough focus and determination make the bullseye look like 99% of the board, naturally attracting people-power, resources, electric charge and momentum from all around.

Cellular engineering is General Death’s Achilles heel. Death is the effects of the damage that accumulates in and around our cells, and people engineer cells in all kinds of ways every day. Our knowledge, insights, and skills in doing it keep getting better, the number of kinds of ways we can do it continue to increase, and our toolbox for working on it constantly grows and expands at an accelerating rate. What are we going to do, get worse at it over time? We will become the master mechanics of our biology.

That happens sooner than later with your participation, and all you have to do is help beat the drum. The bigger this parade of support, the faster people will come to contribute to it in all the ways it takes to get this done. So, if you can’t do experiments, beat the drum, it’s just as important. If you need help then all the information, organizations, projects and everything is on Facebook at /movementforindefinitelifeextension. Send us a message on the page there if you need anything.

“The workman of today works every day in his life at the same tasks, and his fate is no less absurd. But it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious. Sisyphus, proletarian of the gods, powerless and rebellious, knows the whole extent of his wretched condition: it is what he thinks of during his descent [when his boulder rolls down the mountain and he is returning to it to roll it back up]. The lucidity that was to constitute his torture at the same time crowns his victory.”

It is only tragic when people are NOT conscious of it. When they do think about it and it causes them grief, that is a healthy process telling them that there is something there that needs changing. One only ignores it if they think they are powerless and give up, but they are not powerless. Again, an unsolved mystery does not make a mystery unsolvable, and hard work is not an excuse to run away, even if it is constantly worked at for 10,000 years by 10 billion people and still not solved. There is not a lot of time for chasing our tails when there is so much work to get done. Like Tim Ferriss says, “Being busy is a form of laziness — lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.” It cannot be concluded that ‘all of our hopes of eternal freedom are canceled’.

“One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Happiness is what the freshmen of life think we should pursue – self-actualization, from working for a transcendent cause, is happiness on steroids. One must hope that Sisyphus never gives up working for a way through to understanding of it all or dies in the process.

“If one could only say just once: ‘This is clear,’ all would be saved. But these men vie with one another in proclaiming that nothing is clear, all is chaos, that all man has is his lucidity and his definite knowledge of the walls surrounding him.”

I agree, existrophy is clear: We need to want to know what we ultimately need and want because it’s a contradiction to not need and want what we need and want, and we can’t get that unless we beat death and pioneer the big picture. Traveling the path to it is worth it whether anybody makes it or not.

“If thought discovered in the shimmering mirrors of phenomena eternal relations capable of summing them up and summing themselves up in a single principle, then would be seen an intellectual joy of which the myth of the blessed would be but a ridiculous imitation.”

And that principle is existrophy.

Is working to pioneer the full scope of everything that exists a duty? I have been contemplating aspects of that question for some years now. Here I move in the direction of articulating its nature and making the case by drawing out correlations with life extension and Immanuel Kant’s thoughts in The Metaphysical Elements of Ethics.

“IV. What are the Ends which are also Duties? They are: A. Our own perfection, B. Happiness of others.”

His notion of “categorical imperative” is that of a universally applicable, non-contradictory, absolute necessity which everyone can use pure practical reason to understand without it needing to be experienced or taught to them.

He says that “ethics may also be defined as the system of the ends of the pure practical reason.”

Perfection is doing what’s necessary, virtuous, moral, ethical and so forth, and doing it well, but it’s more of a direction to move in than a destination to be at.

He says it’s adding to happiness of others that is necessary, not happiness of ourselves, but if pain, poverty or so forth are to become us, it is our duty to remedy it not for our happiness, but to secure proper functioning of our moral agent in pursuit of our own perfection and happiness of others.

“That this beneficence is a duty results from this: that since our self-love cannot be separated from the need to be loved by others (to obtain help from them in case of necessity), we therefore make ourselves an end for others; and this maxim can never be obligatory except by having the specific character of a universal law, and consequently by means of a will that we should also make others our ends. Hence the happiness of others is an end that is also a duty.”

It’s pursuit of perfection of oneself that already covers personal happiness. If we took our own happiness on as an end then it would be unstructured, superfluous and generally unconcerned with imperative ends. That time could be used on the fulfilling and consequential variety of satisfaction that comes from sense of uprightness, accomplishment, and humanity-scale progress and security gained from contributing to and belonging to a happier collective when one is in pursuit of perfection. As people like Viktor Frankl and Abraham Maslow have told us, the brand of fulfillment derived from contributing to progress of humanity takes a person to a level beyond happiness and is capable even of eliminating suffering. Kant says:

“For he who is to feel himself happy in the mere consciousness of his uprightness already possesses that perfection which in the previous section was defined as that end which is also duty.”

To make others happy is not to go out of one’s way to shower them with greatness so much as it is to make sure that you aren’t a creator of its deficit. It’s just as easy to keep the peace. Any joy we impart beyond that is all bonus. A needlessly rude neighbor, for instance, is neglecting their duty because they are throwing off peoples focus, rhythm, productivity or whatever it may be.

“Moral well-being of others […] is our duty to promote, but only a negative duty […] it is my duty not to give him occasion of stumbling.”

Kant says you can’t just consider reasoned priorities that urgently need to get done and forget about them, because a pure and practical rational end demands an action. It’s unethical to bring them to mind and not move toward them by acting. It would mean we are not free because a free person internally compels their self to get what they know is indispensable done.

Most of the industrialized world is happy to be free to work for enjoyable things, games to play, skills to hone, prestige to build, vacations to go on, and so forth. We are not truly free though, when unable to respond to these duties of self-perfection and happiness of others.

“The man, for example, who is of sufficiently firm resolution and strong mind not to give up an enjoyment which he has resolved on, however much loss is shown as resulting therefrom, and who yet desists from his purpose unhesitatingly, though very reluctantly, when he finds that it would cause him to neglect an official duty or a sick father; this man proves his freedom in the highest degree by this very thing, that he cannot resist the voice of duty.”

If people cannot trade in some jet ski vacations, 5% of dart league time and 25% of television time to engage the necessity of survival and advancement of humanity for sake of removing absurdity and waste from the core of our existence then they are slaves to dart league and television and are neglecting duty. Those things have shackled them and taken control of their mind, are holding them back against their will. They need to find the source of those obstacles and remove them.

“all duty is necessitation or constraint”

It is sine quo non, indispensable for us to know what’s going on and constrain ourselves from absorbing too much of our time with things that distract us from figuring it out. We can’t do it right if we don’t know what it is we need to be doing right.

Since the worlds flow energy is generally preoccupied with these trends, hobbies and grunt labors, it can make it hard to reason this stuff through. That causes a lot of people to take shortcuts and let others think for them. Sometimes we’re just mentally lazy. It’s dangerous to close our eyes and let others lead us, but when challenged to look and think things through, tend to get defensive. “Thinking is stupid, don’t think a lot. Just say what pops into your head, that’s obviously best. If I have to exchange more than two sentences about a profound topic then I’m going to insult you with as much underhanded passive aggression as I can muster.”

If people cannot or aren’t wary enough to see these obstacles they are stumbling or stuck on, it is then upon those around them to counteract that, and we do that not through force or demand, but by enabling them to overcome in what ways we can. It’s a categorical imperative because if everybody stumbled and nobody cleared and lit paths then progress would be wasted, overall happiness would suffer, and it would be harder for anyone to pursue perfection in such a world. The Sumerians wouldn’t have shown writing to cultures around them, fire making and agriculture wouldn’t have been passed down, and the steam engine wouldn’t have kicked off the industrial revolution.

“Now I may be forced by others to actions which are directed to an end as means, but I cannot be forced to have an end; I can only make something an end to myself.”

As Kant explains, and many others tell us as well, you must let people make duty their end, it doesn’t work well enough when it comes from things like laws or customs.

People need policies, not commands, that promote education of their need to figure out what is going on, so they can know what to ultimately do. People at city and state levels can vote in policies supplying X amount of supporting infrastructure without having to make commands. An ethical pressure on the FCC and broadcasting directors can push to get enough information about it on air. Kids books, libraries, monuments, songs and slogans, scholarships, movies, banners, there are all kinds of spaces for ethics to delineate influential promotional action potential that helps enable realization of duty.

“To every duty corresponds a right of action”

That’s an interesting concept to consider and I find that I agree, every person has a right to act on duty. Not only is it ethical to make people happy, everyone has a right to be able to make people happy. A person would be denied a substantial part of their right to engage their duty to perfection if language were kept from them or all their earnings were taxed away. No one deserves to be rendered “Raphael without hands” as they say.

What, then, is the general fundamental thing preventing everyone’s perfection? What is the name of the limb that all of us Raphaels are missing? If you did arrive at perfection, how would you know? It couldn’t be known. The world isn’t in the right position for that yet. In order to achieve perfection, an understanding of the nature of existence is needed. What is going on in the full scope of reality needs to be known. That’s our missing limb: we don’t know what is going on. Our vision of the playing field and the game is missing. Figuring out what is going on in the full scope of reality is our most important duty; it is the path to perfection. If we didn’t work to know what is going on, knowing what to do could never be known. If we don’t know and don’t try to know what to do, only lives of absurdity and waste are possible. Neglect that renders life an absurd waste is anything but pursuit of perfection, and who would consciously choose or promote that?

Kant quotes this line by Albrecht von Haller which makes for a good summary of much of what he is saying, “With all his failings, man is still — better than angels void of will.”

I would say that for all their troubles, freedom fighters are still, better off than the slave by choice with no voice and no will. It’s unbecoming of an animal with the superpower of intellectual sentience to forgo its use. Our responsibilities in life aren’t something to sleep through.

“Virtue then is the moral strength of a man’s will in his obedience to duty […] strength is requisite, and the degree of this strength can be estimated only by the magnitude of the hindrances which man creates for himself, by his inclinations. [We valiantly fight those internal and external monsters that keep us from duty] wherefore this moral strength as fortitude constitutes the greatest and only true martial glory of man; it is also called the true wisdom, namely, the practical, because it makes the ultimate end of the existence of man on earth its own end. Its possession alone makes man free, healthy, rich, a king, etc., nor either chance or fate deprive him of this, since he possesses himself, and the virtuous cannot lose his virtue.”

That’s right, being completely virtuous, moral and ethical isn’t what makes us great, because it is likely that none of us are or can be. It’s in taking time to recognize what’s right and committing ourselves to move in its direction that makes us great martial activists, free, wise Kings and Queens fighting for the glory inherent in the ends of the human condition. Nothing can take away your work and struggle for morally and ethically virtuous, categorically imperative ends of life. You will either take your place as a burning star in causes great pathways across the skies of history — and like all stars you will cast a tremendous swath of light across the universe in all directions whether anybody sees you from a given point or not — or you will be one of those lucky enough to be there when the worlds collective virtue helps lay the first train tracks to the future. You might ride that path of stars toward full realization of it all with a pocket full of intergalactic nickels and a backpack full of dreams. Either way, you’ve done your job, and that’s all you can do. All success possible to you will be yours when you heed duty.

All in all it seems to be the case that everyone is inherently endowed with the necessary right of living in a world where everyone tries as hard as they can to wield that tremendous and wise power of setting personal and non-binding tentative societal policies that enable but not force stoppage of any flow impediments that may hold their self back from pursuing perfection or anyone else back from being happy so that we all have opportunity to fill out our fullest, richest volume of potential.

Duty to perfection involves knowing what is going on so we can know what to do. It is an absolute necessity being that since it’s unknown, we have no idea if there are crucial things to be done or not. This fundamental necessity can be brought to our attention through pure practical reasoning. To know what is going on the full scope of existence needs to be pioneered and cannot be done without everyone pitching in to secure an indefinite amount of time to make it happen. Hence the movement for indefinite life extension and pioneering the full scope of existence are categorical imperatives, and therefore ethical and duties.

The universe is filled with uncountable amounts of mystery, discovery, opportunity, experiences, marvels and more. So, let’s not die if we don’t have to.

It’s much harder to make the case that radical longevity cannot be engineered into our biology than that it can. Humanity engineers cells in countless ways all the time now, and our knowledge, capability and tools keep growing exponentially.

Now, a mainstream amount of demand to create a bustling global industry of life extension R&D is the only thing standing between you and the ability to live indefinitely.” — Eric Schulke

Fifteen thousand years worth of Netflix are watched every day. Fifteen billion dollars are spent on the Super Bowl and fifteen billion dollars are spent on Valentine’s day. Those aren’t bad things but we need some perspective. Survival is humanity’s main and oldest occupation. We have what it takes to survive if we pay attention and get with the program.

“Yes, the future is transhumanism. Who would ask ‘Is the future being alive and prosperous?’ As if anyone should expect humanity to work for a future of hardship and death.” — Ray Keyes

People suffer in great existential voids these decades, not only do they need life, they need deep meaning and purpose. The movement for indefinite life extension is giving them both.

In the vicissitudes of life, our recent and living generations moved from the hard times of a hundred years ago to the exponential good times of today. Now a few hundred key pioneers have positioned the world in front of the opportunities of Transhumanism and its main tenet, indefinite life extension. Will we unite the world on these issues and capitalize or waste it and let the weeds reclaim our “wheel”, the magnum opus of our generations? I challenge all would-be leaders and followers to honor our ancestors’ long tradition of pioneering the next stages of our future. Everything about you was crafted and honed for this and there is no other time. Find the blazers of our emerging values and paths, your philosophers of the future, out there at the forefronts on this epic new transhuman voyage of freedoms and discoveries and follow them. All leaders who haven’t already, I implore you to fully embrace your roles, triple down and raise your flags even higher. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote a book preluding this philosophy of the future, which serves as the structure for this paper and is quoted here throughout.

“[Conditioning to hard times] is thus established, unaffected by the vicissitudes of generations; the constant struggle with uniform unfavourable conditions is, as already remarked, the cause of a type becoming stable and hard. Finally, however, a happy state of things results, the enormous tension is relaxed; there are perhaps no more enemies among the neighbouring peoples, and the means of life, even of the enjoyment of life, are present in superabundance. With one stroke the bond and constraint of the old discipline severs: it is no longer regarded as necessary, as a condition of existence—if it would continue, it can only do so as a form of luxury, as an archaizing taste. Variations, whether they be deviations (into the higher, finer, and rarer), or deteriorations and monstrosities, appear suddenly on the scene in the greatest exuberance and splendour; the individual dares to be individual and detach himself. At this turning-point of history there manifest themselves, side by side, and often mixed and entangled together, a magnificent, manifold, virgin-forest-like up-growth and up-striving, a kind of tropical tempo in the rivalry of growth, and an extraordinary decay and self-destruction, owing to the savagely opposing and seemingly exploding aptitudes, which strive with one another ‘for sun and light,’ and can no longer assign any limit, restraint, or forbearance for themselves by means of the hitherto existing morality. It was this morality itself which piled up the strength so enormously, which bent the bow in so threatening a manner:—it is now ‘out of date,’ it is getting ‘out of date.’ ” – Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future

Our elders came from the great depression and world war. Then they had to watch what they called “morals”, but which were actually just coping mechanisms particular to their vicissitude of time, as Nietzsche gets at in various places, become increasingly disregarded. That happened faster than ever because, little did they know, the bell curve of exponential advancements in fields across the board were upon them. The variations of excellence and monstrosities proliferated like no other time and were supercharged for an abundant harvest by the buds of enlightenment and technology that had been poking their heads out of the fertile intellectual fields of civilization from the smatterings of good times they were able to come upon throughout the century. A lot of it was stored as compounding action potential. It went off like rifles in the 50s and 60s, with so much force that the bullets are still flying today, and the shots of individual aptitude have been firing ever since. Like he is saying, it’s a jungle of individual morals competing in the survival of the fittest, so you must find ways, that hard times naturally make, to get all these independent construction workers of the best ideas behind the same projects in order to tap that energy for the big stages and human potentials.

This is our window in time here, as I often say, to get projects like life extension, transhumanism, space exploration, and some other things done. The people of the past didn’t have this opportunity and the chance here isn’t available forever because death will close us off from it or bad times will set back in. A great gate in Plato’s cave has opened, the eternal guard lions of death have left their posts and we don’t know how long until they come back or the gate closes. It is devastating watching those who have been hypnotized by the cave, by the death trance, sitting there with a wide-open door and the clock ticking down. The climb must be made, now is the time, there is no other. Team up and follow the leaders on these new emerging circumstances and moral imperatives or everyone will die as the marvels of space and boundless technology tumble from our hands. We rouse them to action slowly but surely, though all as one, more gets done.

It is not difficult for Transhumanists or the masses to mistake increased privileges, like so many of the industrialized world have these decades, as chance to secure leisure, pride building, keeping up with the Joneses and so forth. When people start to make good money, do they generally harness all the opportunities they seethed about missing out on when they were poor — the recording studio, the seminars, the investments in life extension that I have heard countless people say they would be back to make when their worldly careers were secured? Many times, we just eat more expensive food, wear more expensive clothes, drive a better car and take more extravagant vacations, wasting the capital gains that were there or dreamed about.

Do hard times need to come back again to allow us to see how incredible the opportunities of this generation and the next “were”, so we can spend our time mourning instead of capitalizing? Or as is happening at present, do we need to let the existential voids gut the bulk of an increasing number of the masses around us until the despair is so great that it forces us back into the undistinguished moral frameworks of the intellectually deflated and delicate, those abasements of our character that grow among the fields of new excellence like weeds?

You see it emerging everywhere, lots of people want it to be a trend not to talk about noble ambitions because it infringes on peoples sacred opinion bubbles, as though open discourse isn’t integral to the human condition and as if those opinion bubbles weren’t arrived at by forms of discourse themselves. Nihilisms everywhere try not only to discourage people from leaving the void but to take up residence in it and work to enrich themselves with absurdity. New kinds of spirituality insist upon random arbitrariness and make it a trend to taboo all dissent. Some in science work to turn what is a mode of investigation into a mechanical way of life. Religion looms there always ready to take advantage of the lost and reclaim its full-time hymn hummers. Television turns gossip and trivialities into an art and trains people in it. Since the world doesn’t have enough leadership yet, or rather, doesn’t recognize enough of it yet, most of the rest of television is reserved for pounding general politics uninspired aimlessness into people’s heads so a few can covertly jockey for power, just to waste that power on screaming into the void from atop piles of gold.

As Nietzsche refers to when talking about politics, and it applies in some ways to the rest of these competing frameworks for wasting time,

”Supposing a statesman were to bring his people into the position of being obliged henceforth to practise ‘high politics,’ for which they were by nature badly endowed and prepared, so that they would have to sacrifice their old and reliable virtues, out of love to a new and doubtful mediocrity;—supposing a statesman were to condemn his people generally to ‘practise politics,’ when they have hitherto had something better to do and think about, and when in the depths of their souls they have been unable to free themselves from a prudent loathing of the restlessness, emptiness, and noisy wranglings of the essentially politics-practising nations;—supposing such a statesman were to stimulate the slumbering passions and avidities of his people, were to make a stigma out of their former diffidence and delight in aloofness, an offence out of their exoticism and hidden permanency, were to depreciate their most radical proclivities, subvert their consciences, make their minds narrow, and their tastes ‘national’—what! a statesman who should do all this, which his people would have to do penance for throughout their whole future, if they had a future, such a statesman would be great, would he?”

The brevity of the portal of opportunity itself must become the crisis. That, along with the worst crisis of all that has always been here ready to propel us to ascending, unifying action if the masses hadn’t tucked tail and ran to hide among rationalizations and excuses, trying vainly to escape it: the 100-year lifespan. More of us must lead on the issue and follow the lead on the issue of the enormous opportunity cost of death and the horrific tragedy of it. People are rightly held to account for excusing death away, but the blame is also ours for not keeping the injustices of death pronounced so that the excuse makers don’t have such a cush and comfortable time construing them. When pro-death culture is rebutted the messages start soaking in for everyone who hears them, and the people who are still forming their worldviews then have the chance to take in substantive versions of all sides of the story. Many people take a side that’s not conducive to life extension simply by default.

Leaders are needed to start the processions of masses on their courses of history, but there are leaders. So, what it is that’s needed is people to start following them. It’s like they say in movements, the first follower is the first leader because they inspire the next 2 to follow, which inspires the next 4 to follow and so forth. What is lacking is enough people courageous enough to set the example and become the first followers.

These are my leaders and they should be yours too: Aubrey de Grey, Michael West, Dave Kekich, Bill Faloon, Kevin Perrott, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Natasha Vita-More, Max More, Zoltan Istvan, Keith Comito, Paul Sandford Mcglothin, Ben Goertzel, Bill Andrews, Dave Gobel, Dave Pizer, Michael Rose, Cynthia Kenyon, Gennady Stolyarov, Nikola Danaylov , Brian Kennedy, David Wood, Hank Pellissier, Eric Klien, David Kelley, Ilia Stambler, Roen Horn, Maria Konovalenko, Mikhail Batin, Michael Greve, Steve Hill, Elena Milova, James Hughes, Reason, Velerija Pride, Peter Rothman, Sven Bulterijs, Adam Ford, Nick Bostrom, Ray Kurzweil and at least a hundred others. Every small action taker is a priceless leader as well and every follower leads by example.

We need the media to start portraying our leaders until they can be recognized as such from a distance, when they have large enough crowds of followers clamoring around them. Media: make the people named here regular pundits and guests on the major news networks around the world. Do that and the people will follow, they will create the demands that get these jobs done. Aubrey will go to the head of the NIA and Kennedy to the head of the NIH, Faloon will go to the head of the FDA, Comito will become the Executive Director of CNN, Reason will have a top rated show on ABC, Danaylov on CNN and Al Jazeera, and Wood on the BBC, Magalhaes will become the Director General of the World Health Organization, Kurzweil will become President. A bunch of them will become unofficial advisors and golf buddies of billionaires. They will fill out more of the roles in pop culture from movies and songs to celebrity personalities and cultural references. Many will become Governors and join Congress, become Deans and Chancellors and the world will be ripe for indefinite life extension and all the rest that follows from it. All of us transhumanists must continue manually building these followings until the media fixes better sight of the growing stories that are leading up to things like those and catches up.

Humanity engineers cells, does more of it and gets better at it every year. With enough resources and focus, we will become master mechanics and precision engineers of the biological clock. Let’s ALL act like we aren’t suicidal and do these things that it takes to get the bustling world industry that supports this built.

In those good times where people’s individual aptitudes increasingly show, Nietzsche says that then,

”Danger is again present, the mother of morality, great danger; this time shifted into the individual, into the neighbour and friend, into the street, into their own child, into their own heart, into all the most personal and secret recesses of their desires and volitions. What will the moral philosophers who appear at this time have to preach? They discover, these sharp onlookers and loafers, that the end is quickly approaching, that everything around them decays and produces decay, that nothing will endure until the day after tomorrow, except one species of man, the incurably mediocre. The mediocre alone have a prospect of continuing and propagating themselves—they will be the men of the future, the sole survivors; ‘ be like them! become mediocre!’ is now the only morality which has still a significance, which still obtains a hearing.—But it is difficult to preach this morality of mediocrity! it can never avow what it is and what it desires! it has to talk of moderation and dignity and duty and brotherly love—it will have difficulty in concealing its irony!”

Nietzsche talks at length about the clever moralists of mediocrity weaving webs of stagnancy. These leaders of mediocrity, the loafers and chicken littles are out there drawing crowds right now. Are you going to let them develop large followings that assimilate the masses to the standpatisms, aimless conventionalities and the evolutionarily flightless bird-like destinations of life that absorb so many now, or are Life Extension and the overall frontier expanding trajectories of Transhumanism the competing evolutionary principles that will win? Will we unite and build the vast armies of pioneers who blaze open the frontiers of Sapiens potential? As Natasha Vita-More writes, “We need a worldwide league of activists and experts to help spread positive news, reliable information, and a well-thought-out socio-political stance.” More heads of life extension organizations and initiatives: take up administration positions at the movement for indefinite life extension page, there are many now and we need you all. Post important things related to life extension there and refer people back to it when the opportunities arise. By getting people to join there, they all join the whole, create solidarity, and a larger show of force, which is crucial in grabbing large-scale attention. We involve increasing percentages of these grassroots supporters from there.

A quarter of a billion people of the world can make these transhuman goals happen and a quarter billion are there to follow if we want them to. Our stance is established in themes and concepts that are written about in papers and books around the cause. I’m writing a key book on the fundamental imperative of indefinite life extension that I have condensed and worked out over the years and suggest that all who join as administrators of the movement for indefinite life extension contribute to a series of books to be called The Movement for Indefinite Life Extension. The admins will meet to develop a list of all foundational stances that we will seek to have covered and make the final decisions on what goes into the series for philosophy, politics, sociology, ethics, history, psychology and so forth. We will also develop one coordinated mass movement for indefinite life extension event to involve the participation of no less than 1,000 people, designed to drive world spotlight to the cause and drive up these “likes’/defacto petition signatures, with no time frame yet set.

When other people try to get transhumanism’s would-be followers to play Duck Duck Goose instead of cosmic chess, they are coming for your future, destiny, place in the history books, all of our lives, your holodeck, our tickets to vacations on other planets and chance to live in a world of superabundance. Things like 3d printing and cheap energy sources can make the entire population of the world richer than the richest Forbes List billionaires of today like the middle class among us today are richer than the richest Kings and Queens of a thousand years ago. Your golden geese circle daffy ducks while the windows close. We can get more people to show up for this than they can for that. Beat them, play to win, you are the alpha thinkers, step into the role, claim your destiny. Who among us is seriously going to follow through with letting these people stomp out the purpose of all our lives? Those are our followers but what is happening is that by leaving them to their own devices, and idle to what’s important, we foster the very conditions that slow us down.

The unique position of this generation, the last and the next is in front of this window of the opportunities of all time and space. Technology can develop far enough and get enough done in time for us. Self-actualization and beyond are ours if we’ll only expedite these goals, if we’ll speed up the process of generating awareness and participation. We know where we’re going, why, and how to get there. Lead by leading or lead by setting the example and following, it’s the same difference, it all gets us there.

“They determine first the Whither and the Why of mankind, and thereby set aside the previous labour of all philosophical workers, and all subjugators of the past—they grasp at the future with a creative hand, and whatever is and was, becomes for them thereby a means, an instrument, and a hammer. Their “knowing” is CREATING, their creating is a law-giving, their will to truth is—WILL TO POWER.—Are there at present such philosophers? Have there ever been such philosophers? MUST there not be such philosophers some day?”

Let’s keep the mediocre at bay by engaging our ethic of the tradition of progress. Stand behind the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Transhuman Declaration, the Transhumanist Bill of Rights, and the Technoprogressive Declaration to make sure there is enough support to signal to the world that this is where we all need to be. Otherwise, the scales of supernaturalism, nihilism, consumerism or some other thing could tip us too far into the abysses of lost potential.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, for example:

Article 27: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

Article 28: “Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.”

In other words, the world’s goals are no longer to figure out ways to free ourselves from the worst of the struggles, tediums and grunt laboring — now our goals are to make sure everyone does what it takes to implement the achievements that have unlocked those limitations and enable the right of everyone to stand before the fertile fields of our aptitude.

The spirit of that declaration and centuries of progress and evolving mindset that built up to it have helped establish a foundation for transhumanism to gain its footing and flourish, and those are two of its articles that sum up the angle that the Transhuman Declaration, Transhumanist Bill of Rights, and Technoprogressive Declaration expand on. As they outline, the time to focus on adding to our overall condition, or as we call it, “Humanity+”, is here.

Another line in the UN declaration suggests that these conditions and our morality naturally prescribe this transhuman expansion and direction.

Article 29: “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.”

Developing our species is the overarching reason why you exist, the nature of your reality. We must know what is going on in order to know what we need and want, and that cannot be known until we develop enough to have the chance to do so. New technologies and extended lengths of lifespan are imperative.

The Transhumanist Declaration, the Transhumanist Bill of Rights and the Technoprogressive Declaration declare these kinds of fundamentals of our condition in various ways.

In the Transhumanist Declaration:

“Reduction of existential risks, and development of means for the preservation of life and health, the alleviation of grave suffering, and the improvement of human foresight and wisdom should be pursued as urgent priorities, and heavily funded.”

In the Transhumanist Bill of Rights:

Article IV. “Sentient entities are entitled to universal rights of ending involuntary suffering, making personhood improvements, and achieving an indefinite lifespan via science and technology.”

Article VIII. “Sentient entities are entitled to the freedom to conduct research, experiment, and explore life, science, technology, medicine, and extraterrestrial realms to overcome biological limitations of humanity.”

In the Technoprogressive Declaration:

“Our vision is a sustainable abundance of: clean energy, healthy food, shelter, affordable healthcare, all-round intelligence, mental well-being, and time for creativity, enabled by application of converging technologies, with no one left behind.”

Did the people of 1,000 years ago have opportunities like these? Most of the opportunities they go over weren’t even conceived of yet, not even 100 years ago. Only some of the seeds were then growing deep in the forests of daily awareness. Now the fruits are falling off the trees in groves as far as the eye can see. There has never been a time like this before. Anyone who is considering getting in on this movement, do it now before it’s too late. Just message me and I will personally pitch you indisputable reasoning why you ought to join. Stay tuned to the movement for indefinite life extension post feed for a steady stream of the news, reasoning, philosophy, sociological insights, declarations, opportunities for involvement, updates and everything else.

”The problem of those who wait.—Happy chances are necessary, and many incalculable elements, in order that a higher man in whom the solution of a problem is dormant, may yet take action, or ‘break forth,’ as one might say—at the right moment. On an average it does not happen; and in all corners of the earth there are waiting ones sitting who hardly know to what extent they are waiting, and still less that they wait in vain. Occasionally, too, the waking call comes too late—the chance which gives ‘permission’ to take action—when their best youth, and strength for action have been used up in sitting still; and how many a one, just as he ‘sprang up,’ has found with horror that his limbs are benumbed and his spirits are now too heavy! ‘It is too late,’ he has said to himself—and has become self-distrustful and henceforth forever useless.—In the domain of genius, may not the ‘Raphael without hands’ (taking the expression in its widest sense) perhaps not be the exception, but the rule?—Perhaps genius is by no means so rare: but rather the five hundred hands which it requires in order to tyrannize over the kairos, ‘the right time’—in order to take chance by the forelock!”

We all ride the same orb through the galaxy here, products of the same glorious struggle for survival, progeny of the same springs if ingenuity and imagination, the accomplishments of many triumphant generations worth of “a better tomorrow for our grandchildren”. Life extension, space travel and all the rest aren’t just goals for some particular culture or two, this is for all of us, this is for continuing the tradition of the evolution of our species and the universe.

The Roman Empire never did conquer the North East. Communication was harder back then but let’s say that they had a signup sheet and a newsletter that went out to the whole empire within a minute. Do you think they would have been able to drum up enough support and unity to get it done then? Of course, it would have been simple then. They would have conquered the world. That’s what a Facebook page does for us. It SEEMS too simplistic, but it’s not. If you don’t want the window to close, then just “like” the movement for indefinite life extension page and add and direct people to like the page like your life depends on it. Every aspect of the cause goes out to those “likers”, those defacto petition signers, and increased percentages of them are actively sent off to fitting projects and organizations and involved by us, one on one, via notices and others methods from there. One, solid, unified showing of numbers, social proof, is the only thing standing between you and the train ride to the future.

“the most divergent, the man beyond good and evil, the master of his virtues, and of super-abundance of will; precisely this shall be called GREATNESS: as diversified as can be entire, as ample as can be full.”

Now, on through the window and into the mysteries, in pursuit of the homunculus, to the edges of infinity, through the wonders of imagination, down into the atoms, in search of the purpose of life we go!

“The Future: A Very Short Introduction” (OUP, 2017) by Dr. Jennifer M Gidley.

Oxford University Press has just released a wonderful little animation video centring on my book “The Future: A Very Short Introduction” published in 2017. In an entertaining way it shows how the concept of the future or futures is central to so many other concepts — many of which are the subject of other OUP Very Short Introductions. The VSI Series now has well over 500 titles, with ‘The Future’ being number 516.

To watch the video click here.

You can read a full sample chapter of the Introduction. The abstracts can be read for all of the other chapters at the links below.


List of Illustrations


1 Three Thousand Years of Futures

2 The Future Multiplied

3 The Evolving Scholarship of Futures Studies

4 Crystal Balls, Flying Cars and Robots

5 Technotopian or Human-Centred Futures?

6 Grand Global Futures Challenges



Further Reading & Websites

Appendix: Global Futures Timeline


The book is available to purchase at OUP.

‘The Future’ has been very well received globally and an Arabic translation has recently been released by the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquity.

The Arabic translation of ‘The Future’ will be available in all book fairs in the Arab region and the distributor covers the important libraries in all Arab countries and Saqi books/UK and Jarir book store/USA . It can also be purchased through the following:

A Chinese translation has been licensed and is underway, and discussions are in process for translations into German, Turkish, Italian and French.

Create your own VR space with STYLY’s intuitive interface.
There is absolutely NO need to code

Recently, I spoke at VRTO2018 in Toronto, Canada—which gave me a chance to see some of the bleeding edge tech in VR, AR, and Mixed Reality. Of all the VR tech I encountered there, it was Psychic VR Lab’s creation Styly that captured my imagination most of all.

Terrence McKenna once described virtual reality as a “technology that will help us show each other our dreams.” He discussed this angle at length, finding that VR’s potential to share our subjective experiences with each other on an embodiment-based medium, to have vast consequences for our species. “In the cyberdelic future, artists will rule because the world will be made of art.” McKenna further speculated that he saw VR as a potential next step in the evolution of language itself. When and how and with what technology this will be achieved has been an open question. Yet, with the arrival of Tokyo-based company Psychic VR Lab and their new tool Styly, we seem within closer striking distance to McKenna’s dream of “inhabiting” the imagination more than ever before.

Psychic VR Lab made a splash in 2015 by providing a website that hosted and processed images using Google’s phantasmagoric Deep Dream. Their new project Styly is a hyper-user-friendly platform for creating shareable VR worlds. The browser-based interface consists of just a few buttons. Model content can be browsed and imported from a variety of pre-existing libraries like Sketchfab, 3D Warehouse, Unity’s asset store, and Google Poly. This means you do not need to make your own models from scratch — they can be imported in. Images can be uploaded from Instagram, videos from YouTube (including 360 videos), and music from Soundcloud are all a single click away. Mp3s and image files can be imported from you desktop, and it also supports Unity, SketchUp, Blender, Tilt Brush, Blocks, Maya, and Mixamo.

For me, the Styly interface had about a 12-minute learning curve — And I have not played with a modeling or animation program for about 15 years. The first thing I created was a Gigeresque nightmare world, and it took less than half an hour to build.

Eliott Edge’s unreleased H. R. Giger-inspired VR world

Though still a fresh tech, what Styly made vividly clear to me was that one of the big winners in the ongoing race for VR supremacy is going to be whoever develops the first VR Instagram. Instagram was an easy-to-use streamlining of several kinds of image editing software. It ended up becoming the most successful prosumable photograph tech since the Polaroid — and far outstripping it.

“The future lies in the realization of beauty — making it more and more explicit.”

Another wonderful feature of Psychic VR Lab’s Styly tool is a gallery for users to share their own VR worlds with each other. This gallery feature, along with their easy-to-use VR world builder, is McKenna’s VR philosophy in full effect. McKenna pointed out throughout his career: whoever democratizes VR world building and sharing for user-producers, prosumers, call them what you will — artists — whatever company or tech that enables the spirit of the artist in us, just as Instagram has, is the one that is by definition going to be the most overwhelming novel, interesting, and important. The alternative VRs are going to be who has the best sandbox community, the best market-researched Whateverworld, the most addictive Blockchain Casino, the most useful listen-to-me-talk speakerspace, and so on. All that is inevitable. Nevertheless, it is whoever enables the artists that is worthy of attention; because whoever enables the artists enables the future.

Styly’s user gallery of VR worlds

The easy-to-use prosumer angle is one that will likely be the most interesting and the most ethically and spiritually important when it comes to the VR question. As McKenna said:

“The importance of virtual reality, as I see it, is that it is a technology that will allow us to show each other our dreams. We will be able to build structures in the imagination that we cannot now share with each other. I imagine a world where children begin to build their virtual realities when they are five, six, seven. By the time they are twenty these virtual realities might be, practically speaking, the size of Manhattan. Well, then what real intimacy will mean is saying to someone ”Would you like to visit my world?” My world with my visions, my values, my dreams, my fears. In a sense, what virtual reality is, is a strategy to let us turn ourselves inside out. So that we see each other’s minds […] But virtual reality is going to allow us to share much much more of ourselves. After all my reality is not how I look. My reality is who I am. And the only way I could give that to you is by inviting you inside.”

Groups like Psychic VR Lab and tools like Styly are helping to make McKenna’s cyberdelic vision a reality.

Enjoy 8 hours of McKenna discussing VR and the Future.

Originally published at Medium