In memory of Dan Massey

Our dear friend Dan Massey is no longer with us. We mourn a Renaissance man interested in everything under the stars, a visionary thinker, a relentless social activist, a scientist, a teacher, and a friend.

I met Dan for the first time at Transvision 2010 in Milan, Italy (summary and video of Dan’s presentation). The day before the Conference Dan and Alison came to Como with K&K and went to Bellagio on the lake by boat.

My last picture with Dan, April 2012, New York

I remember the intriguing hints that Dan kept dropping about a “Cosmic Government.” Then I had frequent opportunities to discuss mythologies and cosmologies with Dan, among many other things. He was really interested in everything. He was persuaded that death is not the end, and expected to go on an eternal, infinite journey after death. Dan, may the eternal cosmic winds be fair and wonderful to you.

Participating in the August 2012 Discussion Group of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, Dan described very eloquently the idea, also outlined in his comment to How to cope with death: the Cosmist ‘Third Way’, that other civilizations in the universe may have already developed resurrection technologies and may be already “providing resurrection services” to less advanced civilizations like ours. If this is the case, we and everyone else in the universe will be resurrected by the “Cosmic Government.”

Here is a (slightly edited, but almost literal) transcript of Dan’s words, beginning at minute 23 in the video below:

I think you start out realizing that the universe is vastly older than the little area within the light sphere that we can see from this planet on the backwater of the Milky Way galaxy.

Let’s say just for the sake of argument that it is not merely a few billion years old, but it is a few trillion years old, maybe even quadrillion years old, I have no idea obviously, no way to find out, really, right now anyway, but I feel that there is a well organized cosmic government and civilization, that populates literally millions and millions, I really should say billions and billions (Carl Sagan) of planets scattered throughout this part of the universe, and they are all, you know, most part of them are in some degree of communication with each other, there is some sort of coordinated sense of purpose in this community, and they have been at it for a very long time by our standards.

So during this time, you expect that this kinds of things, life extension, and mind uploading, and all these other technologies that we speculate about, would have been long explored, analyzed, built on, other things developed. Frankly, I think the promises of many religions of personal immortality on some terms, sometimes the terms are absurd, but the idea of personal immortality is not absurd at all, because just as we think that we could resurrect our dead, and we might go out and help other people to resurrect their dead, well, rather than being at the front-end of that process, we are at the back-end of that process, we are the clients, not the service company for the project.

Why? Because there is some really big project going on in the universe, and it’s bringing about the universe in unity and harmony. It has really long ways to go, but on this planet it has incredibly long ways to go, because, you know, whether you call it the fall of man or the planetary rebellion or any of these things that are written down in some garbled form in the myth books of world religions, the fact is that something very bad happened here a long time ago, and we have been pretty much in the backwater, cut off from cosmic civilization ever since.

This eulogy honors only one of the many, many facets of Dan. See also this long video interview with Dan and Alison on sexual freedom, the occupy movement, transhumanism, the singularity, physics, religion and spirituality, and their forthcoming book. LGBT rights and quantum entanglement in the same talk, and see his articles here and on his website Venus+X.

Dan Massey at Transvision 2010
Dan Massey at Transvision 2010
  • Philippe Van Nedervelde

    Farewell, Dan! Looking forward to meet… again, and again, and again! ;)

  • Great conversation with Dan. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mike Perry

    Yesterday I watched this (in the midst of a currently very busy schedule). I’m sorry that I haven’t been more involved with this group myself and hope to attend at least some of the monthly meetings henceforth. Dan comes across as a sensitive, caring, thoughtful thinker who believes in immortality and that it is the right outcome for a person’s life. In other words, he is no deathist! However, I see that his views differ significantly in some respects from my own and others in cryonics. We are strongly committed to physical, proactive intervention against death whereas he didn’t appear too concerned about it, comparing it, I gather, to a process of “replanting.” That is to say, you will be taken to some other domain or realm and resume life there, perhaps without much fuss or fanfare. And it appears that he thinks that this will be accomplished by superhuman agents, maybe advanced ETs. I don’t have as much confidence in that (or supernatural gods or whatever) and think we should take action ourselves, the best option for now in my view being cryonics. This is not to say that I have no hope for alternatives, however, for I do think resurrection by other means is possible (and have written on the subject) just that for various reasons such an approach as cryonics is a *better* path to take.

    I also wanted to comment about Giulio, who deserves much credit for organizing this forum and lending his presence. Giulio is an immortalist who is also a cryonicist and shares much of my view on the whole subject. Bravo, bravo, Giulio!!! That said, I see during the video that he is sometimes smoking a cigarette and sometimes coughing afterward. Well …

    Best wishes to all, for now and in eternity

  • Khannea Suntzu

    Aging and death is absurd, insulting and very depressing. I sure hope Dan’s analysis is correct. Miss him so much it stings.

  • Giulio Prisco

    @Mike – Dan’s ideas on resurrection by superhuman agents, our own descendants in the far future or advanced ETs (in the future, or even now) are not incompatible with cryonics as a current option.

    In other words, I look forward to waking up in the far future, and/or in a cosmic Heaven built by intelligent life, but I wouldn’t want to miss the fun of the next few centuries on this planet.

    Thanks for your kind words! Re smoking, well, we are not perfect, are we?