notthisbody     Mon, Jul 27, 2009  Permanent link
A challenge: What's the point of living longer if the evolution of our minds does not progress alongside?

I disagree that anti-aging must be our priority. As soon as anti-aging technology really gets into its groove, we're going to encounter a new slew of diseases that we are not necessarily prepared for - that of technology's impact on our consciousness (which extends as impact upon our bodies).

There are viruses that corrupt computer programs - involvement in augmented reality opens up the doors to corruptions of our subjective realities - just as the ability to manipulate our own subjective realities implies the myraid forms "mental" illness can take. These will have the ability to have a direct impact on the control that our minds have over our bodily functions - if you've got different drugs & nanotechnology being controlled by your mind or a computer program for maximum aging efficiency there's going to be the opposite side of the coin - a virus in your firmware could very well speed up the aging process greatly. There are documented cases of hysteria and psychosomatic syndromes having very real effects on the body's health.

You do have a point here, but it comes loaded with caveats:

This is obviously so that we can have more time to explore all the other exciting aspects of the future.

There is a generational turnover that moves quickly today - from segregation in the US there was enough of a change in the consciousness of the US population to elect a black president. But if we are to enable anti-aging technology for a wide population, and most of that population has entrenched ideologies, ontologies & "values", there might be new problems for the evolution of society and ideas.

Apply it to the last two generations - those who will benefit most from anti-aging technology. Most are growing up under a traditional value/accelerating technological hybrid society. For real evolution to occur there is a dichotomy here that needs to be overcome. Anti-aging is a double-edged sword.

The priority in my opinion is the questions of how our minds develop, "age", evolve, for that has a direct result on the relationship with our physical self. How are our mind models changing? What problems/issues/concerns present themselves in the context of extended physical lifespan if our models of minds lag behind?
Spaceweaver     Tue, Jul 28, 2009  Permanent link
The priority in my opinion is the questions of how our minds develop, "age", evolve, for that has a direct result on the relationship with our physical self. How are our mind models changing? What problems/issues/concerns present themselves in the context of extended physical lifespan if our models of minds lag behind?

I certainly agree that the evolution of mind must be the primary and leading aspect of thinking about the 'big picture' of the future of humanity especially in the light of accelerating change and the maturation of disruptive technologies such as radical life extension.

You certainly do not mean however to offer death as the means of getting rid of entrenched values, conceptions and ideologies. In Kuhn's writings about scientific revolutions and paradigm shifts, he remarks that a paradigm shift takes place only when the majority of those who held the old paradigm simply perish. Admittedly, there is some practical wisdom in that, for many would prefer to die before even considering to change their mind. But I, perhaps naively so, still believe in the capability of minds to transform, to become open ended and give up the habit of entrenchment altogether. (see my idea of a-territorialism)

notthisbody     Wed, Jul 29, 2009  Permanent link
I'm not advocating death as a means, not at all. As you point out however it is a factor.

I am an optimist, so also believe in the capability of minds to transform (and witness it every day). But the methods of inclusion for that population who do not wish to change their minds is a tricky tricky game. These habits & entrenchments (of time, mind & place) will not be easy nor quick to rid ourselves of.
rene     Wed, Jul 29, 2009  Permanent link

This thread made me think of one of my favorite posts by Spaceweaver, in which he quotes a writer by the name of Brian Appleyard:

But if we lived for 1,000 years or more in a condition of youthful health and vitality the postulated life extension technologies promise to hold us permanently in our late twenties then would we come to see these poems as the curious remnants of an antique world rather than urgent expressions of the deepest truths of our predicament? Would any art of the past survive this revolution with its dignity intact? Would there be any art of the future?

Many may think that, as they suffer from no illusions, fantasies or sensitivities, new life extension technologies are nothing but good news, simple additions to the portfolio of benefits delivered by modern technology. But their worlds are also threatened.

For example, the language of relationships is the vernacular of our contemporary, secular life. What would our precious relationships look like to medical immortals? Love itself would have to be redefined. Romantic love depends for its very meaning on the promise that it will last forever. But 'forever' now means no more than, say, 50 years, the average span, in other words, of the human life from falling in love to death. If falling in love actually meant a commitment for 1,000 or more years, then 'forever' starts to take on a new meaning. Love is suddenly relativised, its significance thrown into doubt.
Spaceweaver     Fri, Jul 31, 2009  Permanent link
Rene: Rereading Appleyard's reflections brings to mind the wider perspective of time and how deeply our very conception of time is rooted in our biology. While we naturally associate the cycles of birth and death with change, transformation and regeneration of life, the concept of eternity is associated with permanence, constancy, crystallization and perhaps even stagnation. It is very difficult to associate eternity with evolution, they seem to be in contradiction. Time is conceived in change and the realms beyond time are beyond change and therefore beyond transformation. Moreover, the sense of purpose, of progress of achievement and fulfillment are all possible only in the context of time and its roots in the life of the organism.

But I think that the riddle is deeper and has to do with time itself. Could we conceive of a life without time? A meaningful existence free from the passage of minutes?

I can imagine a future when we might encounter beyond the option of a greatly extended life span something much more profound: the possibility of a timeless existence. Just imagine that all the organic processes and cycles that govern and synchronize our lives are made obsolete. Imagine living in a body that does not need to eat, to sleep, to breath. Even the mysterious heart beat that accompanies any single moment of our lives is no more. The shifts of mood and sense have been made to disappear, we are far from our home planet and its shifting seasons for we dwell among the stars... What then?

It seems to me that at such imaginary future, time itself will dissolve (unless we purposefully hold unto it). It will not be a primary or even present aspect of our experience anymore. Instead, we will exist in a timeless, directionless flow of events. And there will be moments of course; Significant moments of being, of insightful reflection, of emotional profundity, of coming to Know, of spiritual integrity. We will meet and interact in sharing the life of moments. We will count our lives by moments, not anymore by the passage of days and years. Even the experience of continuity will never be the same, for these life-moments will not carry with them a chronological or causative order of any kind. There will be no before or after, early or late. Perhaps we will find an aesthetic continuity as a fit replacement.

Compared to this, longevity is a child's play, let us dream far and consider the dissolution of time.

Just a thought invoked by your comment...
gamma     Sat, Aug 1, 2009  Permanent link
I plan on living smashing extended years like a king.