Immortality is a Waste of Time

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.

This is what aliens would 'hear' if they flew by Earth

A Mercury-bound spacecraft's noisy flyby of our home planet.

Image source: sdecoret on Shutterstock/ESA/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

Study helps explain why motivation to learn declines with age

Research suggests that aging affects a brain circuit critical for learning and decision-making.

Photo by Reinhart Julian on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

As people age, they often lose their motivation to learn new things or engage in everyday activities. In a study of mice, MIT neuroscientists have now identified a brain circuit that is critical for maintaining this kind of motivation.

Keep reading Show less

End gerrymandering? Here’s a radical solution

Why not just divide the United States in slices of equal population?

The contiguous U.S., horizontally divided into deciles (ten bands of equal population).

Image: u/curiouskip, reproduced with kind permission.
Strange Maps
  • Slicing up the country in 10 strips of equal population produces two bizarre maps.
  • Seattle is the biggest city in the emptiest longitudinal band, San Antonio rules the largest north-south slice.
  • Curiously, six cities are the 'capitals' of both their horizontal and vertical deciles.
Keep reading Show less
Surprising Science

Scientists discover why fish evolved limbs and left water

Researchers find a key clue to the evolution of bony fish and tetrapods.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast