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June 2008 Archives

June 12, 2008

Sandwiches and Mortality

Last summer I fell in love with the concept of the (technological) Singularity and transhumanism I read about in Ray Kurzweil's "The Singularity Is Near". I'm still hoping for it to come true. Extending my lifespan and abilities would be desirable. Maybe immortality is a bit much, but I fused my, at the time, concerns with the environment in the future with my new Singularity beliefs and decided that humans are on their way out so there's no point in me having a child. Biology will merge with technology, consciousnesses will merge, the Earth will be spared and everything will be cool. (I still don't want to have kids, by the way.)

My concerns for the environment and further interest in cosmology/physics have given me reasons to reconsider what's possible and natural. I don't believe that things that are "unnatural" are bad. I just think we may be at fork in the road with accepting our fate as (very, very intelligent) animals in the natural order of the world as one path and becoming gods as the other path. I'm becoming less convinced that we'll be able to conquer nature and evolve into Kurzweil's predictions.

This bugs me. I'm afraid of death. Not even the dying part, just being dead. I'm not comfortable with mortality yet. I had a dream when I was about 8 where I went into our family's living room and everything felt different and I just knew 'the world ended'. We were in heaven or something. I looked at an alarm clock that read "2000". When I awoke I was convinced for about 5 years that the world would end in 2000 and I just accepted it. I wasn't morbid. I just didn't consider the future as a real possibility. I was more comfortable with my mortality then than I am now. The main reason is that I believed in heaven back then. For making us accept death, in a cheap "there's an afterlife, kiddies!" trick, I can give religion credit.

I eventually outgrew my doomsday (I had a flowery version where everything just turned into heaven- no rapture, apocalypse, y2k) vision and just didn't think about death. I'm not obsessed with it now, but I recognize my fear of it as a fear of accomplishment. And that plays into my irksome desire for fame and thinking I have to accomplish something that garners fame or it's as if I never lived anyway. While I was in France away from the internet for a month I noticed a greatly diminished desire for fame and the celebration of my individuality, and an increase in the desire for the celebration of community with no standout stars. Blah.

ANYWAY. I went to the International Conference on Peak Oil and Climate Change: Paths to Sustainability" two weeks ago as a gift from my parents. I'll save all that knowledge for my next entry, that ties into this one. Suffice it to say that I became inspired and a little scared after it. And that I don't really think Singularity is possible.

I became more comfortable with that while eating a Tuscan sandwich from Martha's Vineyard the other day (something that I also think will soon be impossible). How I eat is similar to how I "live". I rush through it, ignoring the details, never feeling satisfied. I actually took my time while eating that Tuscan and made it a point to be gross and move the food around my mouth so my tongue could taste and appreciate all the flavors. I put the sandwich down several times for a few minutes each time to think about the sandwich and pause. I didn't want to finish the sandwich, but I was ready. I was full and enjoyed it as much as I could expect. After I ate it I fell asleep.

PS: I need to get a camera. I want to get it through eBay from someone in the Grand Rapids area. Then I'll be less boring. Someone find me one!

About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to spacebase in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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