Socrates_Efes_Museum

Socrates Had Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea

Dale Carrico writes: “I updated and extended a golden oldie in response to a report posted at the World Future Society by transhumanoid Hank Pellesier about how Robot Cultists want expect demand technno-immortality. I must say it probably qualifies as one of my grumpier columns.” Not surprisingly, he doesn’t even bother to spell Hank Pellissier‘s name right.

Hank’s report is here. Dale’s rant is titled “All Humans Are Mortal. Socrates Is Human. Therefore, Socrates Is Mortal.” His main point: “Everybody who has ever lived has died. Everybody dies. You are going to die. That you are going to die is part of what it has always meant to be human. If you didn’t die, you wouldn’t be living a legibly human life. But of course you are going to die so there is no reason to belabor the point, and to do so is probably just to indulge in panic-stricken distraction or denialism about it anyway.”

As usual, Carrico seems to believe that very strong histrionics can compensate for very weak logic. According to Carrico’s flaky “logic” Armstrong didn’t walk on the Moon, since nobody had ever walked on the Moon before 1969.  Women cannot vote in the U.S. today, since they could not vote until the late 19th century. People with poor eyesight cannot read, since they could not read before eyeglasses were invented. Forget your politically incorrect dreams to make the world a better place, things will always stay the way they were, because that’s the way things are, and Carrico proves it with a syllogism!!! I wonder how poor Socrates would feel seeing his name used to justify similar crap.

I believe death is a very ugly thing, and I believe science and technology will make death a thing of the past, before the end of this century. Carrico’s “That you are going to die is part of what it has always meant to be human” is total bullshit. What it has always meant to be human, is to fix what we don’t like, explore new places, and do our best to overcome all limitations. Aubrey de Grey‘s work shows that medical science may be able to very radically extend the lifespan of our meat cages, and Mind Uploading research shows that we may be able to leave biology behind and become cyber angels. Ken Hayworth sees mind uploading research as a cure for death: in a new paper in the International Journal of Machine Consciousness, he argues that mind uploading is an “enormous engineering challenge” but one that can be accomplished without “radically new science and technologies.”

Of course, those who worship aging, disease and death as holy symbols of their precious human vulnerability, should feel free to die if that is what they want. I hope they will also accept that others may have different ideas and aspirations, and accept that they try to do their best to escape death. But sometimes I fear that things will not be so simple.

Last year, in reply to a similar rant with the same title, I wrote this:

—-

Initially published as a comment to Mike Treder’s excellent article Will you die? @ IEET.

I just found this gem of our old friend Carrico. He criticises this article because “That you are going to die is part of what it has always meant to be human…”

Inspired by previous debates (see below) I have taken the liberty to re-write his apology of death, changing a couple of words:

“Everybody who has ever lived has suffered from haemorrhoids and diarrhea. Everybody has haemorrhoids and diarrhea. You have haemorrhoids and diarrhea. That you have haemorrhoids and diarrhea is part of what it has always meant to be human. If you didn’t have haemorrhoids and diarrhea, you wouldn’t be living a legibly human life. But of course you have haemorrhoids and diarrhea so there is no reason to belabor the point, and to do so is probably just to indulge in pathetic panic-stricken distraction or denialism about it anyway.

Mike Treder, Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (long-time readers may recall that I tend to call it “stealth Robot Cult outfit, IEET” and tend to call its high level muckety mucks as “Very Serious Futurologists” or, alternatively, “White Guys of ‘The Future'”), asked the question in a post yesterday, Will You Continue to Have Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea? (The answer, for you kids keeping score at home, is: “Yes, Mike, yes, you will continue to have haemorrhoids and diarrhea, as will every single person who reads these words.”)

It doesn’t seem right to make fun of people this desperate and deluded and dumb, but, well, I say, go ahead. Especially rich for regular readers will be the robotic predictability with which the Robot Cultists and the industrial-militarist complex continue to announce the arrival of a Cure For Haemorrhoids and Diarrhea, Artificial Intelligence, Drexlerian Nanotech, Designer Babies, Clone Armies, Immersive VR, the Paperless Office, Energy Too Cheap to Meter, Orbital Space Hotels, the Cure for [insert disease], and the history-shattering Singularity when the Robot God inaugurates Tech-Heaven or eats the world for lunch (you decide). No less enjoyable is the accompanying illustration for the piece of drawing-board nanobots on graph paper backgrounds just like real engineers use and with orange arrows indicating the immortalization action, and also, too, the reference to cyber-immortalization via “uploading” presumably involving something called your “essence.” Science!”

It is interesting to note that in previous debates Carrico has, instead, considered haemorrhoids, diarrhea and similar things related to what he considers as the noblest parts of the sacred human anatomy and the holy human biology as better examples of your “essence.” See for example:
Cyborg Angels Live Forever and Never Ever Have to Poop
The Power of Poop; or, Prisco Responds

Dale, my boy, please feel free to live a legibly human life and to pursue happiness and meaning your own way. If this means continuing to suffer from haemorrhoids, diarrhea and death, so be it. I would not wish these things upon my worse enemy, but you are the best judge of what is good for you and makes you happy.

But I hope you will forgive me for choosing to do my best to avoid haemorrhoids and diarrhea. And death. If these things must remain part of legibly human lives, then fuck legibly human lives.

—-

I think the last sentence should be capitalized and emphasized:

IF THESE THINGS MUST REMAIN PART OF LEGIBLY HUMAN LIVES, THEN FUCK LEGIBLY HUMAN LIVES.

Carrico seems to consider mortality and other aspects of “human finitude” as beautiful things to revere (hence “holy”), whereas I consider them as ugly things to eliminate like haemorrhoids and diarrhea.

Of course I know that I will probably die. I am almost 55, and I have never bothered to adopt a “healthy lifestyle.” I may be able to escape death via cryonics or chemical brain preservation, or I may not because there are so many things that can go wrong. I will give it a try though, and it is my own fucking body to try with.

I will probably go into that good night, but be assured that I will not go gentle. I will rage against the dying of the light and say “FUCK DEATH“. Not because saying so renders me immortal, but because it is the right attitude.

I hope future generations will be able to escape death, and I feel happy for them. On the basis of my understanding of the related science facts, I am optimist.

Don’t worry for your precious “human finitude.” Even if we as a species leave mortality and biology behind there will still be obstacles to overcome (or, of you prefer, holy limitations to revere), and then others, and so forth. Any finite quantity is infinitely small compared to infinity.

Wall painting at a house depicting Socrates, 1st-5th century CE. Museum of Ephesus, Efes, Turkey
Wall painting at a house depicting Socrates, 1st-5th century CE. Museum of Ephesus, Efes, Turkey.

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

  • thanks for posting this, Giulio! I didn’t know that Amor Mundi wrote about my very brief posting at WFS. I wonder why he gets so enraged about anti-deathism? Curious.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Hank, curious indeed, and sad. Sad that a supposedly intelligent person hates others so obsessively to make a fool of himself and forget not only respect and manners, but also logic and clarity. He is now embarked in a full deathist crusade against imagination, about which he writes:

    “Flim-flam artists like the Robot Cultists love the “imagination” game, in which all sorts of fraudulent promises become confident predictions and all sorts of lies become truths and all sorts of nothings become somethings and all sorts of silences become forthright representations. Futurologists wipe your asses with imagination. Rather like your treatment of professional standards, consensus science, responsible reportage, or serious civic-mindedness.”
    http://amormundi.blogspot.hu/2012/07/david-brins-novel-existence-reviewed-by.html

  • Hank, you are part of the “techno-immortalist” sect of the Robot Cult. You are not part of an “anti-deathist” resistance movement, because there is no such thing as a “deathist movement” for you to resist. To notice that everybody is mortal is not to be a “deathist,” it is to be straightforwardly sane.

    If I may circumvent the inevitable objection, advocacy of more medical research and greater access to healthcare (which I fiercely approve) is not “techno-immortalism,” so do please refrain from trying to sanewash your soul-migration and shiny robot body wish fulfillment fantasizing by retreating momentarily to actually scientificially literate and progressively legible positions that nobody joins a Robot Cult to fight for.

    I must say that it is “curious” indeed that one could read a piece providing reason after reason after reason after reason why it is nonsensical to indulge in technno-immortalist handwaving and then profess to be curious why a person might find techno-immortalism nonsensical.

    Giulio, I thank you for continuing to link to and extensively quote my criticisms of your viewpoint — I daresay there are occasionally reachable folks among the Robot Cult ranks who can wake up before they waste too much time flogging for the guru-wannabes, scam artists, and tech celebrity CEO parasites who are the only real beneficiaries of all this pernicious crackpottery.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Dale – my pleasure! I will continue to link to and quote your nonsense, and I accept the risk that some gullible readers may agree with it.

    As you say, advocacy of more medical research and greater access to healthcare is not “techno-immortalism.” We agree, from our respective positions, that it living 90 years in good health is good.

    What about 91? Or 92? What’s wrong with 93? Does something change if somebody lives 94 years in good health? 95?…

    Apparently something must change at some point, at least for you, because you seem to think that living 1000 years in good health would be no good because it would deny your precious vulnerability of the frail human body, and it would not be a “legibly human life”, whatever that means.

    Where you draw the line? 99? 101? 110?…

    And who draws the line? If you are willing to let me draw the line, I just want to live as long as I can in good health. If that is not vulnerably human, or legibly frail, then fuck all these things.

    But somehow I have the impression that you are thinking of a committee of self-righteous bigots who think they know better than others what is good for them, and decide what is a politically correct lifespan for everyone. No thanks, these people have done enough damage already.

    You are right, advocacy of more medical research and greater access to healthcare is not “techno-immortalism.” We are techno-immortalists because we want to live much longer than your precious PC “legibly human” lifespan.

    You seem to consider a short lifespan in a too vulnerable body as the essence of what being human means. For me, instead, the essence of being human is exploring new places and rejecting all limits.

  • Any child of two can indulge in wish fulfillment fantasizing. It’s not a philosophy, it’s not a movement, and the way you Robot Cultists do it makes you a kind of techno-transcendental New Age cult too hype-notized to notice you are functioning as a crowdsourced cheerleading squad for celebrity CEOs and ramped up consumerism at a time when the world is literally perishing from extractive- industrial- petrochemical- consumer-indebted- corporate- militarism (neoliberalism/neoconservatism). The digital revolution is a lie, cyberspace isn’t a spirit realm, it belches coal smoke, it is accessed on landfill-destined toxic devices made by wretched wage slaves, it abetted global financial fraud at every level of society around the world, it’s freedom is the freedom of targeted marketing harassment, panoptic surveillance, and zero comments, but rather than grasp this catastrophe, you hyperbolize it into a more delusive fantasy still, fancying it will be home to a history shattering perfectly parental God-AI, where your “spirit self” can live forever and be anything and everything forever. The robot cult takes all the lies of crass commercialism — with its boner pills and anti-aging kremes and endless promises of consumer ecstasy — and sets the volume dial on eleven, turning what were just ugly stupid deception into full on fulminating faith, drawing on deeply disseminated figures and conceits of mythology and theology whose intuitive force reassures you, together with the fervency of the never-changing professions of your fellow-faithful, that there is some substance in your faith-based initiative, that your roseate “The Future” is real and that in it you can be young and rich and invulnerable and right and cared for forever. As I said, any child of two already knows where you are coming from. As an adult, though, what matters is that you are going nowhere. We have serious problems in this world and we need serious people to help solve them. You might be enjoying the haze you’re in, like any techno-fetishizing bourgeois consumer dupe, but you are part of the problem. You could have been something better, you could have done something else, but you didn’t.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Dale re “We have serious problems in this world and we need serious people to help solve them.”

    But I am not serious people, I am a Robot Cultist! You yourself said it hundreds of times. What contribution could I ever give to solving the serious problems in this world?

  • Stop being one and start trying something helpful instead.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Dale – giving up my ideas because you say so? No way pal.

    Perhaps I try to do something helpful in your sense _besides_ being a what you call a RC, but I guess you would not consider it helpful if it comes from a RC.

  • Giulio Prisco, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Giulio Prisco

    Is that supposed to mean something?

  • Giulio Prisco

    Interesting exchange at Amor Mundi:
    http://amormundi.blogspot.hu/2012/08/more-anti-futurological-histrionics.html

    DC (interrupting what had been a civilized exchange): There, there, dear. Shall I help you back to your clown car now? The grownups are watching Curiosity at the moment and aren’t much interested in Robot Cultists at the moment.

    GP: Yes it was great to watch the landing online and chat with people from all over the planet. Today a robot on Mars, tomorrow uploaded humans roaming the galaxies. NO LIMITS!

    DC: Who invited that weird cult dude in here anyway? We were all having such a good time! No limits? Good thing NASA scientists don’t hold with such nonsense or they’d be wasting their time playing at squaring the circle instead of painstakingly working to get Curiosity to Mars. Uploading? Yeah, migrating your “soul” into cyberspace by pretending a picture of you is you? Some scientist! Where’s your lab, Hogwarts? What next, piss and ink baldness cures? What’s he elbowing in for, anyway, peddling his scams where he isn’t wanted? Aren’t we celebrating a real accomplishment here? What an asshole!

    DC: Prisco, you can post your nonsense here, but I won’t let you commandeer threads. I’ve deleted two infantile jibes from you already and I’m not letting any others through tonight. You’re not spoiling this celebration of real science with your cult crowing. If you can’t respect that, I can always spank. Thank you.

    For the record, the “two infantile jibes” that Carrico mentions were:

    “I thought you did!” – in reply to his very thoughtful and adult comment “Who farted?” (then deleted).

    “Here we go.” – in reply to his very thoughtful and adult comment “What an asshole!” (see above).

    Since I wish to keep higher standards of civilized and respectful discourse than Carrico, I must leave this without further comments.

  • I do not care much for “immortality” (beyond the heath death of the universe? for which kind of identity, since infinite time posits infinite change?) myself.

    But what I definitely would like is an *indefinite lifespan*, where I am not programmed by my biology to die anyway (at the very, very best) around age 114, and not exactly in good shape, no matter how healthy a life I live and the kind of medical attention I enjoy.

    The effort to push forward progressively such limitation is a valuable goal per se, as it is that of pushing against all other limitations affecting one’s life, in a promethean prospective, and the degree and timing of possible success are after all as secondary as they may be for Dale’s Carrico pursuing of more or less humanist ideals.

    So, his “no se puede” sounds as a religious prohibition itself, because final solutions to other problems he mention are not really likely either, unless in a fully eschatological perspective.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Stefano — Yes, the likes of Carrico see themselves as progressive and emancipated, but they propagate the mindless and bigot Thou-Shalt-Not crap of traditional religions. Carrico and his friends are really working for the Pope and the Ayatollahs.

    This is especially evident when they launch their vitalist edicts against machine consciousness and mind uploading.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitalism