Discussion Board

Topic: Immortality

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 03/21/2009

Great Lord Bear!

I hope you are continuing your quest for immortality, your life extension is very important for everyone and yourself.

The work you have done has inspired so many around the world and science has increased everywhere from what you have done. Never give up on living a longer healthy life and exploring space and the inner and interdimensional realms.

Yours in Second Life
Nemo

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 03/21/2009

Hello, Aaron! If you read my books, especially VITALS, you'll see that I'm not a big fan of biological immortality--and have severe doubts about uploading into silicon. But I'll happily stick around to watch somebody else try it. I've got a big freezer in the garage... There's a guy with a yellow sweater inside at the moment.

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!

Re: Immortality

From: Mike Glosson
Location: San Diego, CA
Date: 03/21/2009

I actually remember you addressing the social factor of rejecting easily available Biological Immortality way back in your first "Interstellar" series of Stories, Novellas, and Novels...especially in BEYOND HEAVEN'S RIVER.

At the time it reminded me of the slightly expensive bio-immortality in Niven's Known Space stories.

And there's always Frank Herbert's Biologicial Phantasy that everything we experience get'd download into genetic memory...and what's up-to date get's passed on at conception...the "Other Memory" of the Bene Gesserit, and the Abomination state of Alia and Leto II.

Me: Living for ever? Not so sure? Living a few centuris or thousands of years opens up all sorts of options for getting the full human experience. Millions of years? Hmmm...I'm not Alvin of Loronei, pining away in Diaspar being ignored by the Stars....

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 03/22/2009

Heinlein also described a few problems with immortality(for Lazarus Long), as did Poul in BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS. One of the best novels on this topic is Joe Haldeman's THE LONG HABIT OF LIVING, aka BUYING TIME.

Re: Immortality

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 03/22/2009

Great Lord Bear

I thought your novel Vitals was about the quest for life extension and the disruption of the quest by "men of ill will" as part of its plot. City memory in eon and eternity I thought was a type of life extension and the multiple lifetimes corporeal as well as partials etc.

Strength of stones had the "builder" who incarnated periodically to inspect his cities which lived for thousands of years. Thinner and Jeshua lived longer as mimics etc.

Lamarckia where olmy was trapped until found at old age and repaired. I kinda thought with the amount of books on extended life that it was part of your quest.

Your Partial in Second Life
Aaron

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 03/24/2009

Uploading is one issue, with its own problems both practical and philosophical. But biological immortality--keeping a single physical body for long periods of time--comes with some very dire consequences for society, if the individual is allowed to continue to accrue power, knowledge, and wealth. Which of course we all would...

Re: Immortality

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 03/28/2009

Not necessarily, Greg. The problem, as it's always been, and as I've always 'opined', is that humans still have 'animal brains', and hence maintain a social system that enables 'power', etc.

One of the reasons Iain M. Banks' Culture universe works is because Minds have taken over for humans, to keep them safe from themselves. And as Minds are essentially immortal, it begs the question what they may do for eternity. Or, orthogonally, how tied is one to their memory?

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/01/2009

Hmmm... Minds without biology? Minds unconstrained by motivation, competition, but still curious and benevolent? Sounds a bit like gods and angels to me!

Re: Immortality

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 04/02/2009

Yeah, I guess life extension in a human form may only be possible for a few centuries before the individual and society encounters challenges.

I read recently in a physics book that every particle in the universe is attracted to each other via gravity, this amazed me because I guess that means everything is connected as a totality and nothing is forgotten even cause and effect perhaps. Maybe the spiritual beliefs hold some water and salt dissolved in it as an afterlife in spirit.

I can't experience the universe as a human body. Gods and Angels wouldn't surprise me, disembodied intelligences and all that. Maybe a yoda type immortality or something.

Re: Immortality

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 04/04/2009

Greg. How honorous of you.

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/09/2009

Hmm... honorous, or onerous?

Re: Immortality

From: patrick
Location:
Date: 04/09/2009

Actually, it would be honorary.

Re: Immortality

From: little river
Location:
Date: 04/17/2009

actually, not honorary either...

but indeed, there are minds as such. unconstrained by, and despite even, their biology. curious, benevolent, and not at all competitive... without needing to be honored as a god, or given the honorary title of angel. patrick may merely wish to recognise the great respect greg is expressing regarding such individuals.

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 04/25/2009

As I have something immaterial watching over my shoulder right now, I can't comment. Can angels have a facebook page?

Do angels have faces?

Re: Immortality

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 05/10/2009

Is there anyway to speed up technology faster than Ray Kurzweils predictions for the singularity, since I don't want to wait to 2035 or 2045. I hear evolution somtimes jumps ahead quickly instead of gradually evolving over time. Hopefully this will happen - instead of a long wait till the singularity...

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!

From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 05/31/2009

Greg,

Now THAT is funny! I literally laughed out loud at that one. A cross between the seventies television show (Beedeebeedeebee) and the WB cartoon with Daffy Duck, I believe.

Regarding angels, this brings up an important theological subject for the modern age: How many angels could fit on a facebook page? And, would they be required to dance? :)

I suppose this is another topic, but regarding freezing people, I've always wondered how the proponents of this plan on patching up all the perforated cells, or preventing them from being punctured in the first place? I can just imagine thawing on a drip tray in a pool of stuff that's supposed to be inside me, like the roasts I've taken out of the freezer.




Re: Evolution

From: Kelly
Location: Everett, WA
Date: 05/31/2009

Aaron,

Indeed evolution does occasionally jump ahead quickly, but only under unusually adverse conditions, and, regarding vertebrates, at least, only if your idea of "quickly" is "within a few millennia. :)

Also, evolution is notorious for not happening within the lifetime of an individual, at least to that individual, so most likely we'll just have to keep plodding along as we are, in that regard.

Technology, on the other hand, often progresses in leaps and bounds, and who can tell what may or may not happen within the next decade or two?

Most people were still riding horses as little as a century ago; then (with a lot in-between) in the sixties came the space program, and most of us back then thought people would be living on Mars by now, or at least that we'd have flying cars. :)

It would indeed be nice to be able to spur technology along, wouldn't it? I still want my flying car!

Mr. Rogers... in the twenty-fourth and a half century!

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/31/2009

Even pack in the old days, corpsickles were perfused with subtances that supposedly prevented ice-crystal formation. The goal was a "glassy" freeze rather than a "quartz" freeze. Cold vitrifying, anyone?

Re: Evolution

From: Greg Bear
Date: 05/31/2009

And once there were flying horses...

Re: Evolution

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 06/02/2009

I was wondering if perhaps the Greek mythology hints at some sort of earlier mastery in biotechnology and other things more profound than modern science (so called) believes was in the ancient times. Pegasus, centaurs, minotaurs and other high end chimeras, like some weird experiments with human and animal DNA. I wondered if perhaps the science in mythology is from the future - now in the past - or whether the ancient world had high sophisticated technology that only now is being rediscovered after the Romans "civilized" the world. Do you have any beliefs or ideas regarding practical time travel or an alternate viewpoint on the technology of the past?

Re: Evolution

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/02/2009

As a Trekkie, I'm well aware what those Greek gods were up to... But personally, I think imagination is a more likely explanation. (I'd hate to have people blaming my aliens and beasts and such on time travel or superscience or alien interventions. Wait a minute--there's a blue police booth buzzing into my office corner...)

Re: Evolution

From: Aaron
Location: Tasmania
Date: 06/04/2009

Have to show you my Tardis in Second Life sometime lol will endeavor to send pics at least.

Re: Immortality

From: Bill Goodwin
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date: 06/12/2009

TASTY FREEZE: Kzinti or their like arrive at Earth to find humans all gone...except for the Alcor folks of course, frozen in their double-walled dewers. "How thoughtful!"

I wonder what will happen when we finally clone animals (people) capable of speech. Might the "duplicates," exposed to the right stimuli, begin to pick up the interupted memory-strand(s) of the originals, like Heinlin's telepathic twins? Might that be all memory is in the first place: a "telepathic" resonance with this-or-that former self (the one who's ALSO smelling jasmine, for instance, or hearing a favorite song)? Maybe if I want to "upload" myself I should just listen to a unique musical phrase (a mental "address") over and over, devloping an intense association between my "Billness" and a one-of-a-kind (but reproducable) experience, which I could leave for posterity along with a record of my genetic sequence (physical address).

I console myself that it's already taken care of "in the nature of things--that music, or language, or ANYTHING, conveys meaning to us because we're ALREADY immortal, drawing on our eternal foundation in the Matrix/Akashic Record/Bell Continuum/Omega Point/Whatever for the very ideas we juggle when we worry about dying.

Sometimes, in fact, materialists scare me more than Kzinti. "Logic is the BEGINNING of wisdom..."

Out of my depth too early in the day,
Bill

Re: Immortality

From: Greg Bear
Date: 06/13/2009

And we used to call them corpsickles... would Kzinti lick or chew?

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