Wednesday, February 16, 2011

John Gray Podcast on His New Book 'The Immortality Commission'

Thanks to commenter Rob. Another nice download for the mp3. Thanks!

About halfway in, he makes a passing remark that what some call immortality is more aptly named 'indeterminate longevity'. I think this is an appropriate distinction, especially in light of the Becker excerpt from the previous post. Where death denial is concerned, aren't any advances in longevity mere postponements of the inevitable? Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, other than the possible negative manifestations- through time and technological advancement- of the dark side of mankind's cumulative psychological repressions. I'd hate to think my personality might end up loaded into the guts of a laptop stamped 'deSade Inside'.


Karl said...

I don't if any of the commenters on the site are on the European side of the Atlantic, but if you are and are anywhere near London in April, there's a conversation taking place on April 18th between John Gray and James Lovelock of Gaia theory fame. Lovelock is convinced that mankind is doomed becasue of his environmental meddlings and that it's too late to reverse affairs and Gray, of course, is the master of exposing human delusion. Should be a feast for any pessimist!

Rob said...

Another nice appearance by Gray at LSE:

(Just follow the given links for the video or audio.)

Todd said...

My concern with any sort of life-extension technology is that it makes ridiculously long lives the rule rather than the exception, so that any person who wants to live for a length of time that's less than effectively forever is forced to commit suicide- either in the normal, "active" sense, or passively, by refusing (further) life extension.

If I know anything about human nature, a 200-year-old in the immortal future who commits suicide will be just as stigmatized as a 20-year-old who kills himself today. "You've got so much potential, Methuselah. I know it's tough right now, but trust me, it'll get better. You're still young- you've got centuries, even millenia ahead of you! Why throw it all away? You've only been at it for a few hundred years now- at least give life a chance!"

I'm 23 years old. In ages past, that would've meant I was at roughly the midpoint of my life if I were unusually "lucky." Nowadays, when someone dies in their forties, it's a tragedy. Thanks to emerging technologies, the age at which it's considered acceptable to forgo life-prolonging treatments and return to the comforting embrace of Mother Void will be pushed back and back and back, until it vanishes with the horizon.

Karl said...

Great lines about the 200 year-old!