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#405271 - 12/10/09 12:01 AM Satanism and Transhumanism
Techno_Demon Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 3
I'm curious as to the thoughts of other satanists on the topic of transhumanism.I recently read a book on the subject called "The Singularity is Near" by Ray Kurzweil. Kurzweil predicts radical human life span increases by steadily tracking the exponential growth of information technology.Everything from nanobots to gene therapy, and human immortality by means of being able to digitally upload and emulate human brains electronically by as early as 2030. And he predicts that Artificial Intelligence will surpass Biological intelligence by 2045 spawning a singularity of self-improving evolutionary AI.

I myself have often contemplated on how future technologies could extend my life span and alter my intelligence. I think anything that could enhance ones understanding of the world and time among the great party would be heavily endorsed by satanism. But I've also thought about how living forever and knowing everything might take the meaning out of a vital existance.

One of Kurzweil's more ambitious plans following this technological singularity is extracting DNA from his father's grave, and taking memories of interactions with him from nearly everyone who knew him to essentially re-create and resurrect his late father. I'm not sure if I would agree with this practice, but it's amazing to think about the possibilities technology could present us with in the not too distant future.

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#405273 - 12/10/09 12:03 AM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Quaark Offline

CoS Reverend

Registered: 08/22/03
Posts: 8865
Calling Magister Nemo... wink
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#405275 - 12/10/09 12:32 AM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
VictorWolf Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 08/01/07
Posts: 237
Originally Posted By: Techno_Demon


I myself have often contemplated on how future technologies could extend my life span and alter my intelligence. I think anything that could enhance ones understanding of the world and time among the great party would be heavily endorsed by satanism. But I've also thought about how living forever and knowing everything might take the meaning out of a vital existance.


I'm not a particular expert on the subject of transhumanism, though I follow it with interest. The idea of immortality is a fascinating one that I doubt that I could pass up.

I'm momentarily confused by the idea that living forever and knowing everything would take the meaning out of vital existence. I think that pursuing experiences in Life is the essence of vital existence and that death, being the ultimate end of these experiences, would be quite the opposite of vital existence. This is a simplistic statement, but is something that needs to be examined.

I enjoy many things in life. One thing I enjoy is watching the same old movies over and over again. I couldn't tell you how many times I've watched Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. I could probably recite it. It's true that I know what's going to happen and practically all that I can about the movie, but that doesn't detract from enjoyment of it. It is still vital to me.

The debate about immortality usually concerns whether or not a person could stand to do it. They might become "bored." But if I'm not bored now, how could I ever be bored? There's an infinity of experiences that I still haven't gone through. Vital existence is pursuing these and also enjoying the ones that I have always enjoyed.

Now, maybe "knowing everything" might seem intimidating, but I doubt that anybody will ever "know everything." Even so, human beings are not purely intellectual creatures and "knowing everything" only addresses one facet of life. Again, if you saw every movie, heard every symphony, or read every book, you could still go back and enjoy your favorites.

I think that the natural progression and pursuit of Vital Existence would mean that the person could live forever and not lose that love of life. And really, what's the alternative?



Edited by VictorWolf (12/10/09 12:34 AM)
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#405276 - 12/10/09 12:38 AM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: VictorWolf]
Techno_Demon Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 3
Ah, point taken about finding enjoyment from timeless favorites...I guess I was thinking that somehow living forever(Which I am totally for!) might somehow take the thrill out of a human deadline...As if you were using cheat codes in the game of life.But I guess it would make more sense to look at immortality being time enough to do everything and live vitally for as long as you would desire.

Also absolutely right about there not being much of an alternative!


Edited by Techno_Demon (12/10/09 12:54 AM)

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#405280 - 12/10/09 12:59 AM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Cryptodelic Offline


Registered: 07/17/09
Posts: 134
Loc: Seattle
Unless we figure out how to survive the heat death of the universe, "immortality" as such is absurd. I prefer to frame this pursuit as "negligible senescence".

So, If I don't want to die at this time, I presume that I don't want to die at a future time, therefore I resolve to live as long as I want to, and want to as long as I live.
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#405282 - 12/10/09 01:40 AM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Cryptodelic]
SpeshulK Offline


Registered: 11/09/09
Posts: 25
Loc: UT
I'm personally very much into Transhumanism, and I'm always reading up on new modifications and additions to the human sensorium, among other topics. On the subject of the singularity I recently read an article that spoke of a supercomputer in Switzerland being used to simulate the brain of a rat. While it's a long way from human-level AI, and probably uses a lot of processing power for tasks not required of a singularity-AI (random virtual neurons and such). The research is clearly moving along, and I wouldn't be surprised if Kurzweil's predictions end up being dead on.

In addition, the human body modification scene is starting to take off. People with disabilities are hacking electronic implants such as cochlear hearing-aids in order to get more functionality from them than possible with the software originally available from the manufacturer. Body modification experts have implanted small magnets into the fingertips of mod-ees, giving them the ability to sense electromagnetic fields, as well as identify metals based on their magnetic conductivity. I've also read about an anklet connected to a few gyroscopes that puts a slight pressure on the north-facing side of the wearer's leg, giving him or her a perfect sense of direction.

With the advent of augmented reality technology and the increasing popularity of implantation technology in disabled people, I think it's only a matter of time before all sorts of goodies are available to the general public. I'm willing to bet within 20 years all kinds of implantable devices will be available to the average consumer.

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#405344 - 12/10/09 12:03 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Discipline Offline
CoS Warlock

Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
I find the idea fascinating and would be pleased to see it become a reality. Do I take everything that Kurzweil says as gospel? No.
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#405946 - 12/16/09 01:36 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Zaranell Offline


Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Arizona, USA
Originally Posted By: Techno_Demon
...As if you were using cheat codes in the game of life.

Haven't you ever used cheat codes in a game like Crackdown? It makes it way more fun. If I had the strategy guide to Life, you can bet God Mode would be turned on for me.
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#405948 - 12/16/09 02:17 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Zaranell]
Drakkar Tyrannis Offline


Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 122
Loc: Maryland,USA
Isn't Satanism the closest equivalent to God Mode we can get?

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#405953 - 12/16/09 02:54 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Drakkar Tyrannis]
Zaranell Offline


Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 56
Loc: Arizona, USA
Not if the advances in technology Kurzweil predicted come true.
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#405954 - 12/16/09 02:55 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Zaranell]
Drakkar Tyrannis Offline


Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 122
Loc: Maryland,USA
You have a point there...but until then...

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#405960 - 12/16/09 04:34 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Nemo Offline
CoS Magister

Registered: 10/06/02
Posts: 12571
Loc: Point Nemo s48:52:31:748, w123...
Quote:
But I've also thought about how living forever and knowing everything might take the meaning out of a vital existence.


So here's the real deal:

Example One:

You suddenly have a car accident and see that you are gushing blood from your leg where broken bone is sticking through.

Do you call 911 on your cell phone or skip it since sooner or later you might discover that life loses meaning because you learned too much?

Example Two:

You are 85 years old and are in a car wreck exactly the same. You are still you. Do you call 911 or do you skip it because you decide "your time has come" (whatever the hell that means!)?

Example Three:

You have a heart attack tomorrow evening. The surgeons tell you that if you are going to survive you will have to accept a heart transplant but this will mean you will need to take immune suppressant medications for the rest of your life to prevent your body from rejecting your new heart.

Do you agree to the heart transplant or do you decide that having to take meds for years to come is too much bother so you choose to die?

Example Four:

Same as above with a bad heart but the surgeon asks you if you would accept a heart that they will grow in the lab from your adult stem cells, which will take about ten weeks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9hEFUpTVPA).

There will be zero rejection of your new heart because it is your own tissue.

Do you agree to the procedure or do you skip it and choose to die because in some future yet to come you might become bored?

Example Five:

You are 95 years old and feel lousy. Your eyesight is bad, your hearing is bad, you can hardly walk - you are in terrible shape.

Your doctor asks you if you would like to have a series of injections that will reverse the aging of your body so that you will grow younger"? (See Aubrey de Grey's SENS project).

Do you take the treatment and allow your infirm body and brain to grow younger or you do you skip it and "let nature take it's course"?

Example Six:

Your body is maintained at a physical age of about thirty through various medical repair injection treatments as well as swarms of nanobots that swim through your bloodstream. Unless you get hit by a bus or get blown sky high by some terrorist attack, you can expect that your physical machine including your brain can be maintained indefinitely.

(The IRS loves you because you will also keep paying taxes indefinitely. grin ).

You have also been taking advantage of brain scan backups to save your memories "just in case". (This technology has been around since about 2040, ten years after the first computer would equal the computing power of the human brain, enabling the effective back-engineering of the brain).

You are hit on a sunny afternoon by a meteor and your body is vaporized. You wake up in a hospital bed and are informed by the doctor there that you are actually a clone of the original "you" who was killed by the meteor and your memories of your former life were uploaded into your cloned brain.

You feel just like yourself. You remember everything about your life (including how the IRS loves you). You find it very hard to believe that a former "version" of you was killed.

Do you thank the doctor for restoring you to health or do you choose to erase your back-up memories and blow your brains out because your new existence is an affront to God?

Example Seven:

Same meteor, same accident but this time when you wake up the doctor explains that you are not in the real world. Instead, your brain scan backup was used to create "you" in this simulation of the real world, a virtual reality (such as was portrayed in the film "The Matrix").

You still feel exactly the same. You feel like you are yourself. You seem to be able to remember your past just fine.

Do you thank the doctor for saving your life or do you demand that they pull the plug on this simulation of life because you only want to live in the real world, not one that is indistinguishable from the real world?

-------------------

I will stop here since you are only discussing longevity and not really what happens as human beings have the option to become incrementally smarter and stronger. (Clark Kent, move over!).

All of the above issues are simply choices between life and death.

If "survival is the highest law" for the Satanist, then these questions will answer themselves as they come into play.

I have no doubt there will be groups who will reject such schemes when they come into existence, just as there are religions that still reject blood transfusions.

However, most people will continue to follow the instinct for survival and choose life over death.

To me, it is a no-brainer.

Something is better than nothing.

Some chance is always better than no chance.

Just my opinion.

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#405963 - 12/16/09 04:56 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
Iscariot Offline


Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 144
Loc: United States
Originally Posted By: Techno_Demon
But I've also thought about how living forever and knowing everything might take the meaning out of a vital existence.


Existence, in my opinion, has no inherent meaning. One must create meaning for one's existence. If knowing everything (intellectually) was your meaning and you achieved it, you simply have reached your own, personal goal and need to reach for a new goal (perhaps a political, social, interpersonal, economical, one.) Its that simple.

You just create a new meaning for yourself. Humans do it all the time, its just, for us, the clock runs out eventually. If you lived forever, you could have an unlimited number of goals or meanings... sounds pretty damn sweet to me.

Besides, "knowing everything" seems fairly impossible. I mean... if the universe is as big as we estimate, you got a long task ahead of you if you want to explore and understand it all...


Edited by Iscariot (12/16/09 05:00 PM)
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#405977 - 12/16/09 08:57 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Techno_Demon]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
Quote:
But I've also thought about how living forever and knowing everything might take the meaning out of a vital existence.


I have read what I think are great replies on this particular portion of your post. Of course, I am going to chime in with some of my own thoughts, but your statement remains unqualified.

What are your reasons for thinking that? It could be that you are (understandably) inundated with learned deathist biases that you are just missing some otherwise obvious benefits to living forever.

And, what do you mean by "meaning ... of vital existence"? Do you mean it like "meaning of life"?

A lot of people say living forever would be painful for having to witness their friends and family die. But, really, this seems flimsy to me.

What kind of weird world would it be that you could live forever, but somehow, all your friends and loved ones or even everyone else in the whole world would be unable to take advantage as you?

Assume that some of your friends and loved ones, or even all of them eventually die as you live. That would be saddening, but would not the sorrow eventually pass? Would it be a requirement that you also die? Would you not be able to kindle new relationships?

Many people point to eventual, insatiable boredom.

What?!? Speaking for myself, I can listen to the same song year after year after year. Still like it. Maybe if one were to live forever, a body floating in some black void of nothingness, that could get boring. Frankly, that must be what some people must think, or thereabouts. I could keep myself well occupied and engaged with things forever just on Earth... The United States... My city... My home... Shoot. I keep myself pretty well entertained here in this chair on this Internet thing.

For all the untold numbers of reasons to think that living forever would become meaningless and devoid of vitality, there are at least dozens of reasons to know it would be anything but. Even if there was only one good reason, one well thought-out good reason to live works better than a million cookie-cutter answers to die.

Quote:
One of Kurzweil's more ambitious plans following this technological singularity is extracting DNA from his father's grave, and taking memories of interactions with him from nearly everyone who knew him to essentially re-create and resurrect his late father. I'm not sure if I would agree with this practice, but it's amazing to think about the possibilities technology could present us with in the not too distant future.


What do you find disagreeable about it?
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#405978 - 12/16/09 09:06 PM Re: Satanism and Transhumanism [Re: Iscariot]
prenna Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 07/11/01
Posts: 543
Loc: QLD, Australia
The question of life extension came up recently as a Livejournal "Question of the Day". As is usual within this deathist culture there was reference to "the wisdom that comes with growing old and dying". To me this is an insane idea. I can gain much more wisdom by living and experiencing many millenia here in the real world than if I was to stop existing. This seems obvious to me.

I also find it disturbing when people say that death gives life meaning. If death is all that gives a person's life meaning they should really re-evaluate their life.


As for the other aspects of transhumanism, such as increasing intelligence and physical capabilities, I'm all for it. For me being the elite, alien or otherwise, is not something you attain and then stop. It is a constant process of development. A permanent evolution. If transhumanist technologies can assist in this I want in.
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