our misguided quest for immortality

Here’s the last paragraph of a dazzling essay by Kester Brewin about artificial intelligence, of all things, in the current issue of Adbusters. It’s an eloquent rationale for why the radical life-extension people have it all wrong.

Most important, though, our task as we face the future is to deal with this religious drive within us, this desire to lift away from our bodies and become divine. This is the demon that sustains the worse excesses of both the technology of religion and the religion of technology.

We need instead to come to terms with our finitude and embrace our existential imperfection. Our striving for the impossible risks destroying the good life that is possible. Just like the gleaming new phone in that commercial, you are one day going to die, to slow down, shut down and be lowered into the earth. The intelligence that promises otherwise is artificial. Real wisdom lies in the embrace of the short time we have together, and the calm rejection of desperate ways to extend it.

Brewin sure sounds like he’d be good company in that psychedlic hospice.

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