Death is Wrong is a delicious little book for children and for life-extension advocates of all ages. Written by philosopher and futurist Gennady Stolyarov and illustrated by artist Wendy Stolyarov, the book shows that death is not inevitable, but a disease that can and will be cured by science. I am very pleased to see that Death is Wrong is going viral, with mentions and discussions all over the mainstream Internet.
Announced a few months ago by, among others, transhumanist author Zoltan Istvan on Psychology Today (A Children’s Book Ponders Death), Death is Wrong has recently gone viral on the mainstream Internet, with hundreds of thousands of views and thousands of opinions. See for example:
Jezebel – Should We Be Teaching Kids They Never Have to Die?
Mashable – Children’s Book Teaches Kids ‘Death Is Wrong’
Motherboard – A Transhumanist Wants to Teach Kids That “Death Is Wrong”
Slashdot – Transhumanist Children’s Book Argues, “Death Is Wrong”
Slate – The Most Terrifying Kids’ Book
Of course not all reviews are favorable, for example the Slate article is negative (and extremely stupid if you ask me), but the book is making big waves. “There is no question that Transhumanism has arrived,” says blogger David Paul Kirkpatrick. “It has now even been wrapped in a creepy propaganda package for our kids. They probably have no objection to Transhumanism.”
Death is a disease, and hopefully future scientists, perhaps including the young readers of the book, will find a cure. Previous generations thought that death is inevitable, and invented delusional fake philosophies to make death easier to accept. This reaction is understandable – if you can’t avoid something, you look for ways to accept it – and explains all usual rhetorical babbling in praise of death: “overpopulation, make room for the young, death is a tool of evolution, boredom after a long life,” and the utterly idiotic “death gives meaning to life.” The book deconstructs all these fake “arguments” and calls them what they are: understandable but pathetic attempts to rationalize the inevitable.
But today’s children will know better: perhaps death is not inevitable, and since it is not inevitable, we should fight it aggressively, and find a cure. I am not very optimistic about the chances of curing death within my own lifetime, but I think there is a good chance to develop indefinite life extension by the end of this century, in useful time for many of today’s children. Or their children. I hope many young readers of Stolyarov’s book will become scientists and engineers, join the war on death, and contribute to the victory.
From the book description: “If you have ever asked, ‘Why do people have to die?’ then this book is for you. The answer is that no, death is not necessary, inevitable, or good. In fact, death is wrong. Death is the enemy of us all, to be fought with medicine, science, and technology. This book introduces you to the greatest, most challenging, most revolutionary movement to radically extend human lifespans so that you might not have to die at all.” After reading the book cover to cover (it is short, an adult can read it in half an hour, and I am sure a young child can read it in one or two days), I am very pleased. The book is simple, crystal clear, accurate yet easy to read, and nicely illustrated.
Have the Stolyarovs found the way to make transhumanist ideas go viral? Perhaps yes. Provocative strong messages get heard, and teaching children that death will be cured is very provocative in today’s dull, defeatist, politically correct cultural climate. I think writing for children forces to keep things clean end simple, without big words and endless caveats, cutting through the noise and getting to the point. Clear, clean, and simple communication focused on the core message, with qualifications and caveats (if they are really needed) in footnotes, is something that transhumanists should practice more, and writing for children is a good way to learn. Bravo Gennady and Wendy Stolyarov! My own thoughts on death can be summarized by FUCK DEATH.
In the picture, Wendy Stolyarov in front of banners promoting the book while holding up signs, saying “I want to live Google years.” This comes only a few days after several Transhumanist activists took to California and New York to protest and show solidarity to Google in their subcompany Calico’s goal in finding a cure for aging. Gennady and Wendy are holding a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to help raise $5,000 so they can distribute their book to 1,000 children throughout the country.