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The Power of Making Friends with Ideological Enemies – Article by Sean Malone

The Power of Making Friends with Ideological Enemies – Article by Sean Malone

The New Renaissance Hat
Sean Malone
September 10, 2017
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Daryl Davis can be a model for how to change people’s minds.

“How can people hate me, when they don’t even know me?”

This is the question that drives the subject of a fantastic new documentary on Netflix called “Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race, and America,” directed by Matt Ornstein.

For the past 30 years, soul musician Daryl Davis has been traveling the country in search of an answer in the most dangerous way possible for a black man in America: by directly engaging with members the Ku Klux Klan.

He’s invited KKK members into his home, he’s had countless conversations, and as unlikely as it seems, now considers a number of them to be his friends.

Daryl might say that he’s not really even doing anything special besides treating his enemies with respect and kindness in the hopes of actually dissuading them from their hateful views.

Yet, that’s something almost no one else has the courage to do, even when the risks are considerably lower.

Disagreements are stressful and difficult, and the more horrifying someone else’s viewpoint is, the easier it is to dismiss the people who hold those beliefs as inhuman garbage who simply can’t be reasoned with. Social media has also made dehumanizing people considerably easier, as we all get to interact with people from around the world without ever seeing their faces or considering their feelings.

As a result, we live in an increasingly polarized time when a lot of people are saying that the only answer to hate and awful ideas is to meet them with even more hate, more anger, outrage, and even violence.

And it’s not just a problem when dealing with the worst ideas in human history like racial supremacy and fascism. Some people now take this approach for even trivial and academic disagreements.

Don’t like a speaker coming to campus? Silence them and prevent them from getting into the auditorium.

Don’t like what a Facebook friend has to say? Block them.

And of course, if you think someone you meet is a white supremacist or a neo-Nazi, the only thing left to do is punch them in the face.

Punching Doesn’t Work

But consider that most of human history is filled with people allowing their disagreements to turn into bloody, horrific warfare; it’s only our commitment to dealing with our adversaries peacefully through speech and conversation that has allowed us to become more civilized. So escalating conflicts into violence should be seen as the worst kind of social failure.

And besides, punching people who disagree with you doesn’t actually change their minds or anyone else’s, so we’re still left with the same deceptively difficult question before and after:

When people believe in wrongheaded or terrible things, how do we actually persuade them to stop believing the bad ideas, and get them to start believing in good ones instead?

Judging by social media, most people seem to believe that it’s possible to yell at people or insult and ridicule them until they change their minds. Unfortunately, as cathartic as it feels to let out your anger against awful people, this just isn’t an effective strategy to reduce the amount of people who hold awful ideas.

In fact, if you do this, your opponents (and even more people who are somewhat sympathetic to their views, or just see themselves as part of the same social group) might actually walk away even more strongly committed to their bad ideas than they were before.

The evidence from psychology is pretty clear on this.

We know from studies conducted by neuroscientists like Joseph LeDoux that people’s amygdalas — the part of the brain that processes raw emotions — can actually bypass their rational minds and create a fight-or-flight response when they feel threatened or attacked. Psychologist Daniel Goleman called this an “Amygdala Hijack,” and it doesn’t just apply to physical threats.

People’s entire personal identity is often wrapped up in their political or philosophical beliefs, and a strong verbal attack against those beliefs actually creates a response in the brain of the target similar to a menacing lunge.

Even presenting facts or arguments that directly conflict with people’s core beliefs or identities can actually cause people to cling to those beliefs more tightly after they’ve been presented with contrary evidence. Political scientists like Brendan Nyhan and Jason Reifler have been studying this phenomenon for over 10 years and call it the “Backfire Effect“.

And when the people whose minds we desperately need to change are racists and fascists (or socialists and communists, for that matter), a strategy that actually backfires and pushes more people towards those beliefs is the last thing we need.

Principles of Persuasion

The good news is that in addition to knowing what doesn’t work, we also know a lot about how to talk to people in ways that are actually persuasive — and the existing research strongly supports Daryl Davis’s approach.

In the psychologist Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence, he describes what he calls the “Principles of Persuasion.”

One of these principles is called “reciprocity”, and it’s based on the idea that people feel obliged to treat you the way you treat them. So, if you treat them with kindness and humility, most people will offer you the same courtesy. On the other hand, if you treat them with contempt, well…

Another principle Cialdini describes is the idea of “liking”.

It’s almost too obvious, but it turns out that if someone likes you personally and believes that you like them, it’s easier to convince them that your way of thinking is worth considering.  One easy step towards being liked is to listen to others and find common ground through shared interests. This can be a bridge – or a shortcut – to getting other people to see you as a friend or part of their tribe.

You might think somebody like Daryl Davis would have nothing in common with a KKK member, but according to Daryl, if you “spend 5 minutes talking to someone and you’ll find something in common,” and if you “spend 10 minutes, and you’ll find something else in common.”

In the film, he connects with several people about music, and you can see these connections paying off — breaking down barriers and providing many Klan members with a rare (and in some cases only) opportunity to interact with a black man as a human being worth respecting instead of an enemy.

Even better, over time, forming these relationships has had an interesting side-effect.

In the last couple decades alone, over 200 of America’s most ardent white supremacists have left the Ku Klux Klan and hung up their robes and hoods for good.

Many of those robes now hang in Daryl’s closet.

And in a lot of cases, these individual conversions have much bigger consequences and end multi-generational cycles of bigotry. When a mother or a father leaves the darkness of the Klan, they’re also bringing their kids into the light with them. A few of these cases are profiled in “Accidental Courtesy”, and they’re indescribably moving.

Daryl Davis can be a model for how to change people’s minds and with everything that’s going on in the world today, we need successful models now more than ever.

Making Friends From Enemies

There’s another point to all of this that I think often goes unsaid.

Unlike Daryl, most of us aren’t actually interacting with KKK members or trying to change people’s minds away from truly evil ideologies, and yet we all fall to the temptation of yelling and name-calling, and using all those techniques of influence that have the opposite of our intended or desired effect.

It’s easy to allow outrage and emotion carry us off into treating other people as inhuman enemies to be crushed rather than human beings to be persuaded.

But if Daryl’s techniques can work to convince die-hard white supremacists that a black man — and perhaps eventually all black people — are worthy of respect, imagine how effective they can be when disagreements crop up with your friends, neighbors, and co-workers who don’t actually hate you or the things you stand for.

Who knows, if you have more genuine conversations with people outside your bubble, you might even find yourself changing a little bit for the better as well.

“Accidental Courtesy” teaches us that the way to deal with wrong or evil ideas isn’t shouting them down or starting a fight; it’s having the courage to do what Daryl did and making a friend out of an enemy.

Sean Malone is the Director of Media at the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). His films have been featured in the mainstream media and throughout the free-market educational community.

This article was published by The Foundation for Economic Education and may be freely distributed, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which requires that credit be given to the author. Read the original article.

U.S. Transhumanist Party Question-and-Answer Session – July 15, 2017

U.S. Transhumanist Party Question-and-Answer Session – July 15, 2017

The New Renaissance Hat

G. Stolyarov II
B.J. Murphy
Bobby Ridge
Scott Jurgens
Martin van der Kroon

July 15, 2017


In this interactive question-and-answer session, scheduled for 11 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time on Saturday, July 15, 2017, U.S. Transhumanist Party Officers answered members’ and the public’s questions about the ongoing activities and objectives of the United States Transhumanist Party and also discussed other issues of interest that relate to emerging technologies and how to ensure the best possible future for sentient entities.

The following Officers were present for this Q&A session:

– Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman
– B.J. Murphy, Director of Social Media
– Martin van der Kroon, Director of Recruitment
– Bobby Ridge, Secretary-Treasurer
– Scott Jurgens, Director of Applied Innovation

Because of an unexpected technical difficulty, the video stream was split into two portions.

Watch Part 1 here.

Watch Part 2 here.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free by filling out our membership application form at https://goo.gl/forms/IpUjooEZjnfOFUMi2.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party website at http://transhumanist-party.org/.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USTranshumanistParty/.

Visit the U.S. Transhumanist Party Twitter page at https://twitter.com/USTranshumanist.

Panel Discussion on Hereditary Religion – Nevada Transhumanist Party

Panel Discussion on Hereditary Religion – Nevada Transhumanist Party

The Nevada Transhumanist Party invited notable panelists to participate in a 2.5-hour conversation via Google Hangouts on Air, in order to discuss free thought and the prospects for children to be allowed the freedom to choose how (or whether) they will approach religion, instead of being compelled to follow the religious beliefs of their parents or the surrounding society.

This independent panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Stolyarov and occurred on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

Each participant offered a unique, unfettered perspective on the subjects discussed. Panelists were asked to opine on the subject of how cultivating free thought and independent decision-making from a young age can result in children growing up to be more interested in advancing science and technology and solving the great problems of the human condition.

See the Constitution and Bylaws of the Nevada Transhumanist Party here. Of particular relevance are Sections XXIII and XXVI of the Nevada Transhumanist Party Platform:

Section XXIII: The Nevada Transhumanist Party supports the rights of children to exercise liberty in proportion to their rational faculties and capacity for autonomous judgment. In particular, the Nevada Transhumanist Party strongly opposes all forms of bullying, child abuse, and censorship of intellectual self-development by children and teenagers.

Section XXVI: The Nevada Transhumanist Party welcomes both religious and non-religious individuals who support life extension and emerging technologies. The Nevada Transhumanist Party recognizes that some religious individuals and interpretations may be receptive to technological progress and, if so, are valuable allies to the transhumanist movement. On the other hand, the Nevada Transhumanist Party is also opposed to any interpretation of a religious doctrine that results in the rejection of reason, censorship, violation of individual rights, suppression of technological advancement, and attempts to impose religious belief by force and/or by legal compulsion.

Panelists

Adam Alonzi is a writer, biotechnologist, documentary maker, futurist, inventor, programmer, and author of the novels “A Plank in Reason” and “Praying for Death: Mocking the Apocalypse”. He is an analyst for the Millennium Project, the Head Media Director for BioViva Sciences, and Editor-in-Chief of Radical Science News. Listen to his podcasts here. Read his blog here.

Troy Boyle is a comic-book artist, writer, and former president of The National Atheist Party (now the Secular Party of America), which he co-founded in March 2011. Troy has worked for Image Comics, Desperado Publishing, Caliber Press, and Boneyard Press. Some of Troy’s comic-book art is included in “Mysterious Visions Anthology”, “Ppfszt!”, “Tribute”, and “The Return of Happy the Clown”. He also provided artwork for David Gerrold’s comic “A Doctor For the Enterprise”. See his Wikipedia page here.

Roen Horn is a philosopher and lecturer on the importance of trying to live forever. He founded the Eternal Life Fan Club in 2012 to encourage fans of eternal life to start being more strategic with regard to this goal. To this end, one major focus of the club has been on life-extension techniques, everything from lengthening telomeres to avoiding risky behaviors. Currently, Roen’s work may be seen in the many memes, quotes, essays, and video blogs that he has created for those who are exploring their own thoughts on this, or who want to share and promote the same things. Like many other fans of eternal life, Roen is in love with life, and is very inspired by the world around him and wants to impart in others the same desire to discover all this world has to offer. Roen also runs the Facebook page “Gods are unproven hypothetical conjecture“.

B.J. Murphy is the Editor and Social Media Manager of Serious Wonder. He is a futurist, philosopher, activist, author and poet. B.J. is an Advisory Board Member for the NGO nonprofit Lifeboat Foundation and an Affiliate Scholar for the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET). He’s done work as a Tech Adviser for both TV and short films and is currently an Ambassador for artificial intelligence tech. company Humai.

B.J. is a co-author of The Future of Business: Critical Insights Into a Rapidly Changing World From 60 Future Thinkers, his chapter being “The Future Business of Body Shops,” which explores how 3D printing, cybernetics, and biohacking will fundamentally change not only the business industry of the future, but subsequently the human biological substrate itself.

Demian Zivkovic is the president of the Institute of Exponential Sciences (Facebook / Meetup) – an international technopositive think tank / education institute comprised of a group of transhumanism-oriented scientists, professionals, students, journalists, and entrepreneurs interested in the interdisciplinary approach to advancing exponential technologies and promoting techno-positive thought. He is also an entrepreneur and student of artificial intelligence and innovation sciences and management at the University of Utrecht.

Demian and the IES have been involved in several endeavors, such as organizing lectures on exponential sciences, interviewing experts such as Aubrey de Grey, joining several of Mr. Stolyarov’s futurism panels, and spreading Death is Wrong – Mr. Stolyarov’s illustrated children’s book on indefinite life extension – in The Netherlands.

Demian Zivkovic is a strong proponent of healthy life extension and cognitive augmentation. His interests include hyperreality, morphological freedom advocacy, postgenderism, and hypermodernism. He is currently working on his ambition of raising enough capital to make a real difference in life extension and transhumanist thought.

Panel-on-Hereditary-Religion-NTP

Third Interview of Gennady Stolyarov II and Wendy Stolyarov by Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club – May 2, 2015

Third Interview of Gennady Stolyarov II and Wendy Stolyarov by Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club – May 2, 2015

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II and Wendy Stolyarov
September 6, 2015
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ELFC_DIW_Third_InterviewNote by Mr. Stolyarov: On May 2, 2015, a hot spring day in Roseville, California, Wendy Stolyarov and I visited Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club and had a lengthy discussion with him on a wide variety of subjects: life extension, our illustrated children’s book Death is Wrong, healthcare policy, criminal punishment, and the political prospects of the Transhumanist Party and third parties in general. This was Roen’s third interview with us (watch the first and second interviews as well), and his skillfully edited recording offers a glimpse into its best segments. This conversation occurred approximately four months before Wendy and I took the step to found the Nevada Transhumanist Party, but my comments in this interview are a good example of the evolution of my thinking in this direction, as I was already inclined toward endorsing Zoltan Istvan’s 2016 Presidential run.

Watch the interview here.

Join the Nevada Transhumanist Party here.

Changing the View of Aging: Are We Winning Yet? – Article by Reason

Changing the View of Aging: Are We Winning Yet? – Article by Reason

The New Renaissance Hat
Reason
June 28, 2015
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Peter Thiel, who has invested millions into the SENS rejuvenation research programs over the past decade, has of late been talking much more in public on the topic of treating aging. Having wealth gives you a soapbox, and it is good that he is now using it to help the cause of treating aging as a medical condition. One of Thiel’s recent public appearances was a discussion on death and religion in this context.

In the struggle to produce meaningful progress in rejuvenation research, the tipping point can come from either a very large amount of money, hundreds of millions of dollars at least, dedicated to something very similar to the SENS research programs, or from a widespread shift in the commonplace view of aging. At the large scale and over the long term, medical research priorities reflect the common wisdom, and it is my view that public support is needed to bring in very large contributions to research. The wealthiest philanthropists and largest institutional funding bodies follow the crowd as a rule; they only rarely lead it. They presently give to cancer and stem-cell research precisely because the average fellow in the street thinks that both of these are a good idea.

So it is very important that we reach a point at which research into treating degenerative aging is regarded as a sensible course of action, not something to be ridiculed and rejected. Over the past decade or two a great deal of work has gone into this goal on the part of a small community advocates and researchers. It is paying off; the culture of science and the media’s output on aging research is a far cry from what it was ten years ago. When ever more authorities and talking heads are soberly discussing the prospects of extended healthy life and research into the medical control of aging, it is to be hoped that the public will follow. Inevitably religion is drawn in as a topic in these discussions once you start moving beyond the scientific community:

Quote [Source: “Peter Thiel, N.T. Wright on Technology, Hope, And The End of Death” by Max Anderson – Forbes/Tech – June 24, 2015]:

The Venn diagram showing the overlap of people who are familiar with both Peter Thiel and N.T. Wright is probably quite small. And I think it is indicative of a broader gap between those doing technology and those doing theology. It is a surprise that a large concert hall in San Francisco would be packed with techies eager to hear a priest and an investor talk about death and Christian faith, even if that investor is Peter Thiel.

Thiel has spoken elsewhere about the source of his optimism about stopping and even reversing aging. The idea is to do what we are doing in every other area of life: apply powerful computers and big data to unlock insights to which, before this era, we’ve never had access. Almost everyone I talk with about these ideas has the same reaction. First there is skepticism  – that can’t really happen, right? Second, there is consideration  – well those Silicon Valley guys are weird, but if anyone has the brains and the money to do it, it’s probably them. Finally comes reflection, which often has two parts – 1. I would like to live longer. 2. But I still feel a little uneasy about the whole idea.

The concept of indefinite life extension feels uncomfortable to people, thinks Thiel, because we have become acculturated to the idea that death, like taxes, is inevitable. But, he says, “it’s not like one day you’ll wake up and be offered a pill that makes you immortal.” What will happen instead is a gradual and increasingly fast march of scientific discovery and progress. Scientists will discover a cure for Alzheimer’s and will say, “Do you want that?” Of course our answer will be “Yes!” They will find a cure for cancer and say, “Do you want that?” And again, of course, our answer will be “Yes!” What seems foreign and frightening in the abstract will likely seem obvious and wonderful in the specific. “It seems,” Thiel said, “that in every particular instance the only moral answer is to be in favor of it.”

One of Wright’s objections was to articulate a skepticism about whether the project of life extension really is all that good, either for the individual or for the world. “If [I] say, okay I’ll live to be 150. I’ll still be a sinner. I’ll still be conflicted. I’ll still have wrong emotions. Do I really want to go on having all that stuff that much longer? Will that be helpful to the world if I do?” This roused Thiel. “I really have to disagree with that last formulation…it strikes me as very Epicurean in a way.” For Peter Thiel, Epicureanism is akin to deep pessimism. It means basically giving up. One gets the sense he finds the philosophy not just disagreeable but offensive to his deepest entrepreneurial instincts and life experience. “We are setting our sights low,” he argued, “if we say everyone is condemned to a life of death and suffering.”

Reason is the founder of The Longevity Meme (now Fight Aging!). He saw the need for The Longevity Meme in late 2000, after spending a number of years searching for the most useful contribution he could make to the future of healthy life extension. When not advancing the Longevity Meme or Fight Aging!, Reason works as a technologist in a variety of industries. 
 ***

This work is reproduced here in accord with a Creative Commons Attribution license. It was originally published on FightAging.org.

“Death is Wrong” Reviewed by Robert W. Franson of Troynovant

“Death is Wrong” Reviewed by Robert W. Franson of Troynovant

Read the excellent new review by science-fiction author and literary essayist Robert W. Franson of Death is Wrong. The review is published on Mr. Franson’s website Troynovant, which offers extensive literary and philosophical analysis.

Here is an excerpt: “Death is Wrong is a short book, clearly written and easy to read. I like the personal approach: it doesn’t talk down and is quite accessible. A striking concept presented quite reasonably and supported matter-of-factly. There are apt quotations from a variety of thinkers, including several of my personal heroes of modern times: Francis Bacon, Benjamin Franklin, Friedrich Nietzsche. These people and some scenes from nature are nicely illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov. For readers who want a little more about the background concepts, there is a brief Appendix discussing the seven basic causes of senescence, such as cell loss and atrophy. There are some links for further learning. It’s a good book, entertaining and thoughtful, and certainly gives us a challenge to think about.

Indefinite Life Extension: The Pay is $Infinity – Article by Eric Schulke

Indefinite Life Extension: The Pay is $Infinity – Article by Eric Schulke

The New Renaissance Hat
Eric Schulke
September 22, 2014
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World awareness of indefinite-life-extension research increases the percentage of people who will then want to contribute to its success. When we inform the mainstream of most of the industrialized world and beyond, about the people, projects, and organizations working directly and indirectly toward indefinite life extension, then a percentage of that world – which is a lot of people at even a fraction of 1% – will be helping to execute the projects that need to be completed to see if we can make this happen.

It looks like we can make indefinite life extension happen, and in more of our lifetimes. All arrows point to the probability of this occurring. We can stop a lot of things that are like the diseases and damages that cause aging already. There are ways to move genes around to cure some diseases; other diseases have been fixed by delivery of proteins in ingenious ways. We can move material between various nuclei, tag specific neurons, custom-make enzymes, do intricate work on the nano-scale, create amazing new methods and mechanisms for working in our cells, and there are countless other inventions. The numbers of them are increasing in fields across the spectrum by the day.

There are also dozens of organizations with countless projects that are working directly toward indefinite life extension every day. Begin contributing to the research and the support structures that help this all excel. Stand up for your life by getting involved. There is seriously way too much to know and experience in this universe to be laying around in a graveyard for eternity.

Everything that humans do is about striving for sustainability and development. Our elders are among the most important capital that we have. Humans, are as far as we can see, among the universe’s most important capital. We can’t afford to “let the universe down”, so to speak, by letting our negligence cause it to lose any of the extraordinary phenomena of sentience that it has produced.  Do you know how long it took it to do that? Do you know how many times it failed to do that across the universe?

You are an important asset to reality, and you are dying, being killed by aging, disease, and biological frailty, and so are all the people around you. You are under attack by mechanisms that are working to kill you at all times. There is not a day that goes by that they don’t drag you closer to your grave. Some of us aren’t able to help ourselves, because those people are dead now. You are still alive, you can still help yourself. There is still a chance for you. You are still able to continue taking part in the marvels and wonders of the universe. Seize the opportunity. Seriously, what more do you want? How much is enough to entice you to stay? What more could you ask for? How much can a person voluntarily throw away? The journey, work, and fun are profoundly fulfilling, and the pay is $infinity.

Come on, let’s get going. We want you on our teams. Be a leader to your peers on this issue. Don’t procrastinate or let your anxiety about talking to people about it let them down. All you have to do is lead them to the extensive networks of indefinite-life-extension projects and organizations. We have the tools and insights to convince people over time, if you would only give them that first chance. A new thought opens a person’s mind more by allowing that person to collect, think about and sort through more insights related to it. Every wave of people that joins us makes it that much easier to get the next and bigger wave to join in. This is critical. Get the people around you to read and think about the various facets of this life-and-death reality, and join its groups and websites. Subscribe to the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension page here to get a lot of core information about organizations, events, activism opportunities, and related topics.

Remember now: when the percentage of world awareness of this cause goes up, then indefinite life extension, if it is possible, will get here faster.

Eric Schulke was a director at LongeCity during 2009-2013. He has also been an activist with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension and other causes for over 13 years.

“Death is Wrong” Free PDF Files Available for Download – Post by G. Stolyarov II

“Death is Wrong” Free PDF Files Available for Download – Post by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 11, 2014
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Now that my campaign to spread over 1,000 Death is Wrong books to children has succeeded, I have asked myself what I could do to spread the book and its message even further. In an effort to increase the readership of the book, I have made the Second Edition available for FREE download as a PDF file. Perhaps, in this way, the book could reach tens or even hundreds of thousands of readers. Thus far, PDF versions are available in English, Russian, and Spanish.

PDF URL – Death is Wrong – English Edition: http://rationalargumentator.com/Death_is_Wrong_Second_Edition_Full.pdf

PDF URL – «Смерть неправильна!» – Russian Edition (translated by Marcus Baylin): http://rationalargumentator.com/Death_is_Wrong_Russian_Edition_Full.pdf

PDF URL – La muerte está mal – Spanish Edition (translated by Néstor Duno): http://rationalargumentator.com/Death_is_Wrong_Spanish_Edition.pdf

If you have read the PDF version and enjoyed it, consider purchasing the paperback version on Amazon for yourself, a friend, or a child, and/or consider making a PayPal or cryptocurrency donation via the sidebar on The Rational Argumentator.

Death is Wrong - by Gennady Stolyarov II, Illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov

Death is Wrong – by Gennady Stolyarov II, Illustrated by Wendy Stolyarov

Click on the cover for a high-resolution image that you can download, save, and distribute.

Over 1,000 Kids Will Indeed Be Taught That Death is Wrong – Article by G. Stolyarov II

Over 1,000 Kids Will Indeed Be Taught That Death is Wrong – Article by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 7, 2014
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At least 1,029 children in at least 14 countries will be taught that death is wrong as a result of the successful provision of Death is Wrong books to 50 longevity activists throughout the world. On August 7, 2014, the last book shipment, free for all recipients, was made, paid for by the funds raised through the Indiegogo campaign I ran in coordination with the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) from February 22 through April 23, 2014. (Read Eric Schulke’s earlier article about the success of the fundraiser and the tremendous efforts and publicity that made it possible.) While some of my critics, such as Slate’s Joelle Renstrom, preemptively proclaimed that the funds raised would fall well short of the goal, we actually not only reached the goal in time but even exceeded it – and we have already spent all the money raised on providing free books to children.

I am triumphantly proud to report that the fundraiser’s target of providing a book for every $5 raised has been strictly adhered to. In repeated postings to various social-media outlets – conducted at least once weekly – I did not stop seeking out new dedicated recipients until 1,029 books were provided. My persistence paid off, as every posting made new people aware of the book and its promise in spreading the message of indefinite longevity to children.

I have created a table displaying the numbers of books sent to longevity activists in each of 14 countries, the total cost of shipments in each country, the costs per book by country, and the total project costs.

DIW_Distribution_Summary Our Indiegogo campaign raised $5,141.00 in total. Printing and shipping the books cost slightly more than this amount – $5,259.23 – largely because international shipments are often more expensive than domestic shipments within the United States. An additional amount of $453.05 was paid in fees to Indiegogo, PayPal, and the payment processor used by Indiegogo to make transfers to my bank account. However, all of the cost overruns were covered out of my personal funds – and therefore I consider myself to have made an additional $571.28 donation to this distribution effort. This is certainly a worthwhile expenditure for facilitating the spread of life-extensionist ideas among the next generation of scientists, technologists, doctors, philosophers, and activists – people whom we will need to join us in the struggle against death, so that we might have any hope of personally achieving indefinite lifespans.

While some shipments are still en route, many of the ones that have reached their destinations have already begun to have significant impacts.

Some activists have sent us videos and pictures of children responding to Death is Wrong and its message.

Watch this brief, charming video of Aleksander Kelley interviewing his sister Hanna, who has been giving out Death is Wrong books to kids she knows. Thanks go to David J Kelley for making this possible.

Here is Hanna again, handing a book to a friend. This is a wonderful and inspiring vignette of what can happen as a result of our dedicated and persistent activism in support of indefinite life extension.

DIW_Hanna

Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club has begun a strongly publicized series of book giveaways, the first of which he captured on camera. Here is his video featuring two kids who know that death is wrong.

Accompanying Roen’s video are excellent graphics like this one.

Children_Know_That_Death_is_WrongThe books were enthusiastically received at the Church of Perpetual Life in Hollywood, FL, a science-based Transhumanist church, whose primary focus is on ending death and reversing aging. Here is a picture kindly provided by Officiator Neal VanDeRee, where he presents a copy of Death is Wrong to the music teacher Dr. Angie Cook Wong and one of her students, who sang at the service.

DIW_IMG_0687Some of the book recipients have been librarians throughout the United States. Jameson Rohrer, the Transhumanist Librarian, has connected me with fellow librarians who have placed the books in libraries near them. Here are images of Death is Wrong books on display.

DIW_Rohrer_2DIW_Rohrer_3Successes like this one and many others have been chronicled on The Rational Argumentator, on a dedicated page that I continually update, informing readers of new developments in this unprecedented distribution effort. The updates are not finished. As the remaining book shipments arrive and books are given out to children, there will be more pictures, videos, and promising news to share. Indeed, even these impacts will just be the beginning. The true effects of this effort will be seen years and decades in the future – as the young readers of the books grow up and are hopefully motivated to develop their lives and pursuits in directions that will aid us all in overcoming the greatest enemy – death. I will know that my success is complete once even one young researcher or activist informs me, “I read Death is Wrong all those years ago, and it was this book that nudged me onto the path of discovery and development toward who I am today.” We supporters of indefinite life extension still have tremendous obstacles to overcome in achieving our vision. I hope that this effort to distribute over 1,000 Death is Wrong books will erode those obstacles at least somewhat – gradually injecting the ideas of indefinite life extension into the cultural mainstream and nurturing the next generation of advocates for this most worthwhile of endeavors.

DIW_World_MapPhotograph Courtesy of Eric Schulke

“Death is Wrong” Distribution Campaign Nears Completion – Update of August 6, 2014 – by G. Stolyarov II

“Death is Wrong” Distribution Campaign Nears Completion – Update of August 6, 2014 – by G. Stolyarov II

The New Renaissance Hat
G. Stolyarov II
August 6, 2014
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Only 9 Death is Wrong books remain to be sent out as part of our worldwide distribution effort! If you wish to help in providing the books out to children, this is your last chance to get your free shipment now.

10 books were recently sent to Jason Limbert – a long-time supporter of radical life extension in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. He will be distributing these books to children in his extended family, their friends, and children of neighbors.

3 books were sent to children of relatives of Wendy Stolyarov, my wife and the illustrator of Death is Wrong.

2 books were sent to RJ Lewis in California, a mother, inventor, publicist, and supporter of life extension and cryonics.

We continue to receive excellent exposure from the previous shipments. Here is a picture sent by Jennifer Huse of the shipment that recently arrived at the Spot the Knot medical spa in Eatontown, New Jersey.

DIW_Books_Received_Huse Roen Horn of the Eternal Life Fan Club has begun a strongly publicized series of book giveaways, the first of which he captured on camera. Here is his video featuring two kids who know that death is wrong.

Accompanying Roen’s video are these excellent graphics.

Children_Know_That_Death_is_WrongChildren_Know_That_Death_is_Wrong_2

All this was made possible by our distribution campaign. We see here great examples of the impact this book is having right now. We are making history by gradually injecting the ideas of indefinite life extension into the cultural mainstream. Help us finish this effort by spreading our last freely available books! To receive your free shipment, e-mail me at gennadystolyarovii@gmail.com with (i) your name, (ii) your MAILING ADDRESS, (iii) your support for indefinite life extension, (iv) the NUMBER OF COPIES of Death is Wrong requested, and (v) your plan for spreading the books to children, free of cost to them.