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Amaryllis Fox
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Immortality is a Waste of Time

Forget about immortalizing yourself.  Don’t waste money.  Don’t waste time.  Don’t waste thought or anxiety on having yourself frozen or your brain frozen.  


Don’t curtail all your everyday enjoyments for the sake of a rigorous diet which is what Kurzweil among others has written.  He has in fact written a diet book with this very goal in mind and if you follow this rather radical diet you’ll live long enough to become immortal because you’ll live long enough for the Singularity in which believes, this explosion of knowledge and technology will occur.  Forget about all that.  

It’s a waste of time because in the meantime all kinds of contingencies will occur to you.  Some of them will be welcome.  Others will be less welcome, but there will be personal contingencies, changes in your life. But also history will go on and history is a great mocker of these kinds of projects because if there are wars, if there are civil upheavals, if there are great economic changes that you have no prospect at all of controlling, your best bet for a fulfilling life is to respond by creative improvisation as things occur, not to try and outwit them by escaping from history, by escaping from time.  You can’t do that for the reason that the very technologies that you use to attempt to escape from history are themselves tied up with history.  

I'll give one example.  You might project a version of yourself into cyberspace, but as we now know, cyberspace is not a deathless realm of invulnerability.  Cyberspace is a battlefield.  It’s a battlefield between corporations and Wikileaks and governments and others in which they are constantly trying to get the better of each other. So you might find yourself in the middle of virtual battlefield if you end up in that world.  Forget about all of that.  

It makes good sense to take care of your health, to try to remain healthy for as long as possible because you can enjoy more of your life. And as new life-extension possibilities develop, make use of them, but not by obsessing with death because if you obsess with the prospect of immortality you lose your life.

That’s why I don’t want a society that is one of cryonic suspension, a freezer-centered society, a society in which we spend our thoughts, our desires, our passions, our incomes on tending freezers.  That is a death obsessed society worse even than anything that happened under the ancient Egyptians.  On the contrary, we should use the new technologies to enhance the mortal life we have.  Beyond that, we should rely on our own animal powers of invention and resourcefulness, and if we then come to die or we grow tired of life, which is entirely possible, we can end it.

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