Future Life – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

Future Life – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

The New Renaissance Hat
Kyrel Zantonavitch
June 9, 2015

It wouldn’t completely surprise me to learn that Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Epicurus, Zeno the Stoic, Cicero, Lucretius, Horace, Rabelais, Montaigne, Bacon, Locke, Smith, Voltaire, Jefferson, von Mises, Hayek, Rand, and Branden were all still alive in some real sense. Nor would it entirely shock me to find myself in conversation with these greats at some point.

If it happens, I don’t know whether they’ll treat me with a decent amount of respect and honor, or rather regard me with fairly acute criticism and even scathing contempt. But almost certainly their behavior will be based upon merit and justice, and be a remarkable and fascinating experience. I just hope they haven’t totally evolved beyond the desire and need for discussion and debate.

Life is beautiful. Almost certainly any afterlife will be also!

The catalyst and base to these wondrous events, if they occur, very likely won’t be “God”, who quite probably doesn’t exist, but rather some demi-gods or superior space aliens, who fairly likely do. If such creatures are indeed around and active, they may well take an interest in human endeavors, and further utilize their immense abilities to preserve the life spark and cognitive psycho-spiritual essence of the various worthy human individuals they run across, such as those above. In fact, such marvelous ETs might even grant a type of immortality to a few meritorious and distinguished apes and whales, if not cats and dogs.

Of course, such demi-gods may not exist in the universe, or they may not be found in our area. Even if they do, and assuming they easily possess the capacity to save us, they still may well choose to let us insect-like creatures perish forever, hardly caring a jot about all of us combined.

But this last dolorous possibility seems somewhat unlikely. In my judgment, we human beings — at our best — are rather magnificent! We’re decently worth saving, it would seem.

I would speculate that the consequent afterlife will be on a considerably higher plane than our current one, but it will likely be such that the unique individuality of the various persons rescued is still initially preserved. This ultralife will very possibly be ten times as hard and challenging, but perhaps a hundred times as fun and worthwhile.

By necessity we will existentially and spiritually ascend. But eventually, and even fairly quickly, the aboriginal human individual will probably be unrecognizable, even to himself. But this initial human living spark and psycho-spiritual essence is as good a place as any from which to build and create future demi-gods.

Those who truly love life, and accomplish something during it, and make an immense, noble, heroic effort, may well live on and on! I think the post-mortem result and reward will be strictly based on personal merit, justice, virtue, and greatness. Humans who live well in this life, and who are good and great, may eventually achieve wonders and a magnificence beyond description!

Kyrel Zantonavitch is the founder of The Liberal Institute  (http://www.liberalinstitute.com/) and author of Pure Liberal Fire: Brief Essays on the New, General, and Perfected Philosophy of Western Liberalism.

2 thoughts on “Future Life – Article by Kyrel Zantonavitch

  1. corrected version:

    Below are a few comments with regard to Mr. Stolyarov’s related article, from five years ago, which is located here: http://rationalargumentator.com/issue256/Iliveforever.html

    If the brain is competently frozen and revived, the “I-ness” or Self may well remain and continue. When the brain is reanimated, even with a completely fresh body, for the Self it may be subjectively and personally like waking up from a dream or from unconscious sedation.

    Additionally, if your “knowledge and memories” are competently uploaded to a computer you may well have a eureka moment in which you think and realize: “Aha! It’s still me! Yes, I’m stuck inside a computer and my sensations of the physical world are now radically different from when I had a body but — it’s still me! I now learn very differently and my revived self is now changing rapidly and in odd ways, but right now my consciousness is preserved. It still feels like me from before my brain was frozen or before the contents of my brain were uploaded to a computer.”

    In the last case there might well now be two “me”s in existence for a while, one of which will likely die, but the computer one will still live on as a true Self. Continuity of “I-ness” and consciousness will be preserved.

    So people today have two reasons to hope!

    (This is a perhaps tricky issue, and so I welcome any confirming or dissenting views on it.)

  2. Mr. Zantonavitch’s article “Future Life” provides interesting material for contemplation, especially as it evokes certain proto-transhumanist ideas of thinkers like Nikolai Fyodorov (1829 – 1903) – an early advocate of systematic eradication of death, who saw it as humanity’s “common task” not just to remove the threat of death from those currently alive but also to eventually resurrect everyone who had ever lived in the past. I certainly cannot rule out some future technology allowing a reasonably accurate reconstruction of the bodies and brain-states of those who have previously died. It is conceivable that this may be achieved by more advanced humans (or the successors of humans, if they no longer wish to be considered Homo sapiens), by artificial intelligences, or by other intelligent civilizations (if they exist). Of course, as with all progress and achievement, no outcome is guaranteed, nor is it possible to predict with any accuracy the timeframe for such a momentous achievement (which may even be millennia in the future – whereas biological life extension for those who are still alive may come much sooner).

    As I pointed out in my essay “How Can I Live Forever?: What Does and Does Not Preserve the Self”, which Mr. Zantonavitch referenced in his comment, I would welcome any such physical resurrection of deceased individuals, no matter which entity achieves it. Mr. Zantonavitch’s essay has the merit of focusing on possible this-worldly, secular ways by which this could occur – without invoking any deities or any supernatural concepts (e.g., an immaterial soul or spirit). Without any supernatural or non-physical aspects to it, the human organism – as an exquisitely complex arrangement of atoms and mutually dependent and interrelated processes involving those atoms – could conceivably be repaired or restored to any condition, provided that one meets the admittedly formidable prerequisite of having the proper techniques of controlling and arranging those atoms (directly or indirectly). The question that my essay raises, however, is that, even if a physically indistinguishable arrangement of atoms from that of a previously deceased person were created, does this transfer the previously deceased person’s “I-ness” to the created/re-created person? I answer that question in the negative, and this can be seen via the thought experiment of constructing an atomically identical replica of a still-living individual. For instance, if I and my hypothetical replica – GSII-2 – were to exist simultaneously, GSII-2’s experiences would begin to diverge from mine from the time at which he began to exist. If he were to go off on his own and pursue activities that I do not have time for, I would not be able to directly experience the world through his eyes or his awareness more generally. His behavior might resemble mine in similar situations, but gradually he might even develop crucial differences based on the variations in life lessons he draws from his experiences. If, thereafter, I were to cease to exist, my direct awareness of the world would not automatically transfer to GSII-2; we would only have whatever common memories we both had at the moment of his creation (though he would not have directly experienced the events that brought about the memories; he would simply have acquired them by virtue of being created with a particular physical brain-state that included them), and I would still no longer experience even those memories or anything else.

    With that being said, this is certainly not an argument against the recreation of previously deceased individuals. Surely, the virtues and intellect of some of history’s great thinkers and doers would be tremendous assets to all humans, and the recreated individuals would be fully human, rights-bearing beings who would experience life fully and would deserve to enjoy it. However, this may still not be a solution to preserving the I-nesses of those who have already died – which is why it is imperative, in my view, to avoid death in the first place if at all possible.

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