The Reality of Death as a Challenge to Living Destiny Values
It has now been many months since I put Destiny thoughts into printed articles. I have, as it were, taken a vacation from serious philosophical reflections and social commentary while getting other parts of my life in order. Much has happened on the technological front, the political scene and in local and world events, and I have at times considered comment, but nothing has moved me to action. Today, however, my mind has once again ventured into aspects of life and death, with the realization that the Destiny path is not easy for we mere humans of today.
What is the Destiny path? Those of you who have read the book, Destiny, already know the answer. For the rest of you I offer this inadequate synopsis: The purpose of life is to discover the answer to the question, "How did we get here?" That question applies to knowing all aspects of the Universe and anything else that comes along of which we are not currently aware. The evolution of Humanity requires immortality among other functional capabilities only dreamed about so far. Death and ignorance are the enemies that we will conquer. Immortal life and the joys of living, learning and ultimate discovery are what we will achieve. Getting there from here is most challenging. I suggest you read Destiny.
The precipitating event that got me thinking about this article was the death of my mother, and my subsequent reflections on the meaning of lives past and present became a cause for action. In short, I became an orphan and thus felt the loss of my connection to my history. All humans directly related to me genetically from my parental lineage no longer exist. Interaction with the individuals and their personalities is gone from me forever. All that they were is no more except through my siblings, my children and myself. Yes, it is egocentric to look only at my losses and my needs and fail to appreciate the aspects of the lives of my predecessors that directly or indirectly have led to development of Humanity. Well, one must grieve and so I have. Now let us move on to the central thesis of this article, which is dealing responsibly with the reality of death as we move forward in time to develop our knowledge to eliminate it.
What does it mean to us personally to no longer exist as a functioning life? Is it not difficult, indeed overwhelming to realize that nothingness as a personal future for those of us alive today is essentially a 100% probability? Is it not easy to understand why humans have historically felt a critical necessity to invent gods and religions and afterlife scenarios to give some sense of immortality? Those of us who develop a keen sense of life, and realize how fabulous it is compared to the existence of a rock or a snowflake, cannot help but want life to continue indefinitely and get better all the time. But the reality, to date, is aging, disease and death. Nothingness is not a pleasant contemplation, yet it is our fate for the foreseeable future. We are so abominably slow in developing and applying our knowledge to our benefit that we have wasted dozens of generations of humans and consigned them to nothingness.
The burden that we bear is the responsibility to move Humanity forward to the point that we are immortal and capable of continuing progress and enjoyment of life individually. All that we can speak to now are the steps necessary to hasten the realization of that goal. Destiny has defined the path and the major required accomplishments. But the downside is that we who can make the future exceptional for Humanity will not share immortality. We appear to have a bleak personal future, for there seems to be nothing that we can do, either to help or to hurt Humanity, that will have any bearing on our personal, complete and permanent demise.
We thus have an apparent dilemma, for any act that we commit has no permanent personal effect on us. We can rightly assume that if our life choices are murder and mayhem we will have no price to pay beyond this life. Now you can understand the awesome responsibility of the Destiny-minded person. You first must overcome a natural selfishness that has no permanent personal consequences. You must accommodate the need for the many to have belief in an afterlife, else they go mad and destroy, for they cannot grasp the profound implications of death without an afterlife in a constructive way, nor can they accept or participate in the realization of Destiny today for lack of inherent ability. You also need the qualities of a "saint" to put aside your anger and your greed on behalf of those who cannot appreciate your contribution, and who actually work to hamper your efforts. Finally, you must come to terms with your own final mortality in such a way that you still believe in the worth of human progress and work diligently for realization of Destiny. That is a tall order.
How then can one focus unselfishly on development of immortality for future humans in the face of personal mortality today? Is loving your progeny enough? I know plenty of us love our children and grandchildren, but it is quite a stretch to feel anything personal for your offspring of ten or more generations into the future, for they are completely unknown to you. Now we might consider doing a "Walt Disney" or advanced personal preservation of some other type while we are waiting to be cured of age or disease. You might imagine a "rest" home on the backside of Pluto for cryogenically frozen folks who will be restored when technology so permits. One might earn the right to transport, storage and later restoration based on one's efforts on behalf of Humanity while "alive."
We do see a way around mortality, though the practical realization of cryogenic preservation or any other means conceivable today depends on the development of practical and affordable space travel or giant advances in cell preservation at ambient temperatures here. There may be other means to preserve the human mind/body as well. I simply have made my point that there can be a reward of immortality for some of us alive today. How soon then can this capability be available to all, regardless of direct personal involvement in realizing Destiny through contributions to human advancement?
If you want something to chew on during your idle time, simply think about what you would do with your life if offered eventual, reliable immortality. This has been the domain of religions, and they have failed utterly to prove results and thus have failed in their mission to "humanize" us under the will of some god. But think now of the implications of actual personal immortality, even if its realization is delayed a thousand years into the future. Think of personal freedom to grow and to explore and to experience all of our future. If that doesn't capture your attention and excite you, you are already dead.
One of the timeless problems we have had is the philosophical consideration of activities that contrast, i.e. good vs. bad. If I am forced to define bad and good in tangible terms instead of relative sociological mush, I can do so simply by stating that any activity that hampers our realization of our Destiny is bad, while all other activities are either good or inconsequential. Consider our species passing along the river of time, slowly, dropping our dead off the boat as we go. Eventually, we will arrive at our destination, unless we sink the boat or travel unwittingly backwards and forwards repetitively and make no overall progress. Clearly, bad is sinking or no progress. Good is moving forward as reasonably fast as we can.
With the above foundation in mind, there is no problem for a Destiny minded person today in moving towards our goal, for we see undeniable technological progress and the possibility that very soon we may not cease to exist in a final sense. The incentive is strong to say the least. Meanwhile, what attitudes and actions might you find rational to hurry us along? I cannot abide by any of our actions that deny rapid progress or risk our potential by destroying our environment. The seemingly endless repetition of our mistakes is unacceptable, for that repetition delays our goal realization and puts us at risk of complete failure.