I am re-reading for zillionth time my collection of works of the Master, Sir Arthur C. Clarke. This is a selection of his writings on time scanning, resurrection and afterlife.
Sir Arthur was not a believer in any traditional religion, and did not believe in resurrection and afterlife. Yet, he had a “Possibilian” open mind and often said, for example in conversation with my friend José Cordeiro: “I’m always paraphrasing J. B. S. Haldane: “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.”
In Profiles of the Future, revised millennium edition, at the end of the chapter “Brain and Body,” Sir Arthur wrote:
“I recently sacrificed some of my few remaining hairs, to be launched into space as part of the AERO Astro Corporation ‘Encounter Project’.
If all goes well, they will leave the Solar System (after a boost from Jupiter) and the hope is that, maybe a million years from now, some super-civilisation will capture this primitive artefact from the past.
Recreating its biological contents might be an amusing exercise for their equivalent of an infants’ class.
Of course, I’ll never know — unless the experimenters are both very considerate — and Masters of Time.”
It is easy to imagine that a super-civilisation may be able to recreate a body from biological samples, but to recreate his personality and memories, thoughts and feelings, they would need to be Masters of Time with at least read-only access to the past. So it seems that here Sir Arthur had in mind resurrection via time scanning technology plus mind uploading, aka “copying to the future” or quantum archaeology. In the chapter “About Time” of the same book, he is more explicit:
“If there is any way in which we can ever observe the past, it must depend upon technologies not only unborn but today unimagined. Yet the idea does not involve any logical contradictions or scientific absurdities…
The reconstruction of the past is an idea even more fantastic than its observation; it includes that, and goes far beyond it. Indeed, it is nothing less than the concept of resurrection, looked at in a scientific rather than religious sense.
Suppose that sometime in the future our descendants acquire the power to observe the past in such detail that they can record the movement of every atom that ever existed. Suppose they reconstruct, on the basis of this information, selected people, animals, and places from the past. So, though you actually dies in the Twenty-First Century, another ‘you’, complete with all memories up to the moment of observation, might suddenly find yourself in the far future, continuing to live a new existence from then onwards.”
In the novel “The Light of Other Days,” Sir Arthur and Stephen Baxter describe a fictional time scanner, the “Wormcam”: a remote viewing device that permits scanning any location at any time, including in the past, by using micro wormholes naturally embedded with high density in the fabric of space-time (every space-time pixel is connected with every other space-time pixel). Soon, engineers are able to resurrect the dead:
“It was possible now to look back into time and read off a complete DNA sequence from any moment in an individual’s life. And it was possible to download a copy of that person’s mind and, by putting the two together, regenerated body and downloaded mind, to restore her…”