The quickening pace at which computer technology continues to advance has given many a futurist the hope for a union between man and machine. When that day comes, they say, many of the things that give human life meaning—memory, thought, and even sensory experience—will be aided and enhanced by our symbiosis with computers. But might it be possible to achieve immortality in a still significant sense without banking all your hopes on the microchip (or quantum computer)? Perhaps becoming immortal means to live in all times and ages through historical records and the imaginings of future societies.
What’s the Big Idea?
There are two kinds of immortality seekers: Ghosts and vampires. “The former want to experience more in order to extract more meaning, which means vicarious, non-participatory experience is valuable on its own. Direct experience is just a bonus, except where it is necessary for extracting any meaning they decide is essential. The latter want to experience more because being alive itself is a valuable state to them. They prefer being alive to being dead, and being young to being old. They want to live a full, direct and pleasurable life rather than a ghostly, indirect and meaningful one.”