About immortality…

Ray Kurzweil is at it, again. There is a very interesting article about his latest book, Fantastic Voyage: Live long enough to live forever, at Wired.com.
I won’t speculate about the possibility of ever achieving such a feat, it is beyond the scope of what concerns me. The article, as well as the book, as I gather from the comments (I’ve not read the book yet), leaves outside of the debate the philosophical and ethical implications of immortality.
The quest for immortality is as old as death. The belief systems constructed around death have tried to explain or, why not?, speculate about what lies beyond the threshold of death. Who can blame us, homo sapiens, for not trying? As a species, homo sapiens are the only ones in the Animal Kingdom to contemplate their own death. Survival instinct in the rest of the species does not account for contemplation. Homo Sapiens -leaving the word humanity out on purpose- hate, above all, uncertainty and death is the biggest uncertainty placed on our path, the moment our embryos start dividing cells a fortuitous event pairs a female egg with a sperm.
In the face of uncertainty our species wriggle around it until either the temporal continuum resolves it -which usually is the case for most of them-, we find logical explanations for it, or we build a mystic surrounding it. Death is one of those uncertainties that has been laughing at time and logic and enclosing it in “mystic” is one of our species favorite pastimes.
Most, perhaps everyone of us, go to their graves clutching onto their own “mystic” of death, wrapped around -or perhaps wrapped inside– a dogma of their choosing, even if that dogma is the belief in nothing. Yes, that temporal continuum is merciless and resigning to a certain outcome is a choice thrust upon our chest as a one sided coin.
Still, it appears though, that some bright minds still quest for a Philosopher’s Stone that would, if nothing else, build a wall between our psyches and that unsurmountable of all uncertainties. I suppose that, at some point in time, someone may succeed in building that wall. (If you are still around, keep an eye on the news…)
The past few centuries of human history have shown our species in a path of suppression of natural selection. Improvements in science and health care appear to have been an equalizer in that natural selection. But, the real, inequitable truth, is that equalization depends on access. Modern societies have, for the most part, socialized access to health care. But only to a certain extent. Much room for improvement is left for the socialization to spread fully. If the above quest ever succeeds to achieve its goal, the shift back to human natural selection will be so sharp and dramatic that would make virus mutations the inspiration for poetry…

Just Rants

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