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Monday, July 19, 2004 - 4:34amSanction this postReply
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Excellent stuff Lindsay!!

One piece of constructive criticism - it might be said that describing Objectivism as an "alternative to religion" rather elevates religion to a status that, with very few exceptions, it does not deserve :-)

MH




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Monday, July 19, 2004 - 5:33amSanction this postReply
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Amen!



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Monday, July 19, 2004 - 6:55amSanction this postReply
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I'm glad I'm not the only one who keeps pointing out that morality has nothing to do with god[s] or goddesses - but everything to do with man's necessity to making choices: true or false, rational or irrational, pro-human or anti-human... and the recognition that the good is that which enhances the wellbeing of the human, just as the evil is that which destroys or hinders the wellbing...




Post 3

Monday, July 19, 2004 - 11:05amSanction this postReply
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Greetings.

I cannot disagree more with the proposition that immortality would render morality or the pursuit of values meaningless.

Let me give an example: George is a regular wage laborer, industrious, but somewhat frail and easy to tire, thus being unable to put in 18 hours every day for running a small business or generating a vast fortune quickly. Had he lived the average human life span, he would likely have died owning only a small home and having a fairly marginal discretionary income.

But George is fortunate, for he lives in an age where immortality has just been made a commercial product. The company that markets it has obtained a financially expedient way to maintain George's body against all damage and deterioration, and requires no payment from George; it receives its profits from the advertising companies that pay the immortality service to play its commercials for several hours a day in the minds of people like George (if immortality were possible, this would certainly be possible, too). George can go on working as he works, but indefinitely.

On his 200th birthday, George buys himself a lavish mansion with an adjunct park, where he can take walks, sporting his new tuxedo suit, top hat, and gilded cane, which he would not have been able to afford had he had the average human life span.

On his 500th birthday, George's prudent long-term investments have finally allowed him to start a business of his own, and allow himself a leisurely work schedule in the meantime, since he has the means to hire a large staff.

On his 600th birthday, George decides to build the tallest skyscraper in the world in order to house his expanding business.

On his 800th birthday, George decides that his profits now enable him to purchase an entire planet and initiate massive resource extraction operations. He decides to spend some of the earnings creating the world's largest gallery of realist art, which he has always admired.

On his 900th birthday, George decides that it is no longer enough to sponsor the arts, and seeks to become an artist. He hires the best teachers available and begins producing paintings himself.

By his 1000th birthday, George has already mastered musical composition, professional writing, sculpture, and the piloting of just about every advanced vehicle imaginable. There are hundreds of new hobbies and specialties that he would like to master, while constantly magnifying his fortune. Because he is now fabulously wealthy, he risks practically nothing when he attempts anything. However, because he understands that he no longer faces the threat of loss or death, he can truly gain and live, venturing into territory that the mortal man, with his immense frailty and susceptibility to the myriad perils of the elements, cannot conceive of.

There is more to life than mere avoidance of death, just as there is more to pleasure than the avoidance of pain. To claim that one has no point of gaining without the threat of losing, is already a quasi-Daoist "coexistence of opposites" mentality, which I strongly reject. If you think that the pursuit of values is impossible in a state of immortality, it is imperative that you read Eden against the Colossus. There, I explain why the rational man can never stop pursuing values, and why immortality will ensure the utter collapse of irrationality.

I am
G. Stolyarov II
Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917 
Eden against the Colossus
The Prologue: http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/eac_prologue.html

Chapter I: Protector's Summons: http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/eac_chapter1.html

Order Eden against the Colossus at http://www.lulu.com/content/63699.




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Post 4

Monday, July 19, 2004 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
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I cannot disagree more with the proposition that immortality would render morality or the pursuit of values meaningless.

 
Mr Stolyarov,

This may seem an odd thing to say but I really do have mixed feelings about the concept of human immortality. On the one hand I do see your point that the rational pursuit of values would still be possible (and necessary) were humans to become immortal. Indeed, I've often thought it extremely annoying that I will sleep for up to a third of my lifespan! However, I can't help but wonder whether humans would enjoy life as much if they were immortal. Many regular readers of SOLOHQ will be aware that I was at one time a deeply religious Christian, fully believing that my time on this world would be followed by eternity in some supernatural paradise. I enjoy this life now that I'm an Objectivist far more than I did then. On a related note, while I was an exchange student in the US, I decided to go skydiving. My Christian room mate refused point blank to do so, apparently due to fear of dying. It would seem that acceptance of our own mortality does cause us to make more of the time that we have. I will certainly go skydiving again in future, despite the risk of death, and in fact may even take it up on a regular basis once I am able!! (Unfortunately it is rather more expensive here in the UK.) Having said all that, there is of course a huge difference between immortality as a spirit in heaven and immortality as a human.

On a somewhat more flippant note, Highlander is usually a terrific tv show, and the good "Immortals" do appear to me to be mostly rational value pursuers, though of course they are not actually immortal in the strict sense (For those who've not seen the show, the Immortals can in fact be killed, but only by another Immortal!).

MH




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Monday, July 19, 2004 - 2:52pmSanction this postReply
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 ...though of course they are not actually immortal in the strict sense (For those who've not seen the show, the Immortals can in fact be killed, but only by another Immortal!).
That's funny.  I was thinking the same thing.  I think even Mr.  Stolyaraov's immortal George is not truly immortal becuase he would have to continue to pursue the treatment that maintained or fixed his body.   I'd imagine that he would have to keep at it.  But this is immaterial.

In any case, anything can be destroyed, somehow.   




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Post 6

Monday, July 19, 2004 - 3:38pmSanction this postReply
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The possibility of death is built into the nature of life--it is the whole point of the life process. In this sense, immortality is metaphysically impossible, and mortality remains the basis of values even if Mr. S's form of immortality were possible.

However, I do not think even that form of it is possible, because man is not omniscient or infallible.




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Post 7

Monday, July 19, 2004 - 5:12pmSanction this postReply
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Infinity divided by 1000 years is still infinite! George gets no closer to immortality than we do. In any case, he could still be killed by accident. Increases in life expectancy don't make ethics less relevant.

However, if there is *no possibility* of pain or death, then wouldn't that render your choices inconsequential? I'm thinking of the Christian version of heaven and hell - all your actions in either would have no effect on your "life", and so both ways would lead to eternal boredom.

Also, infinite lifespan would magnify the slightest risk of accidental death to a certainty of eventual death. Therefore, as long as there is a slight risk, true immortality is impossible. Quasi-immortality, however - a cure for aging - is highly desirable. Why would anyone choose to get old and die, if they had that choice?


(Edited by Philip Howison on 7/19, 5:14pm)




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Monday, July 19, 2004 - 8:20pmSanction this postReply
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I most certainly would love to have five times my life span or more.  There are a couple of planets I want to visit in the next closest solar system.  Space exploration becomes a lot easier if you don't age, then the issue of speed is not as large a factor.

~E




Post 9

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 6:11amSanction this postReply
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Hell, I just want to see how future generations will look upon Spongebob Squarepants: 

Visionary, or Pariah???




Post 10

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 7:57amSanction this postReply
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Mr. Stolyarov,

I think you missed the point.

Linz said:

A creature endowed with immortality, denied the alternative of life or death (& their barometers, pleasure & pain) would have no need of values & could discover no meaning in anything since nothing would be of any consequence to it.

The point is, if nothing causes either pleasure of pain, and no action either adds to or diminishes one's life, there could be no reason to prefer anything over anything else.

For example, you said of your fictional immortal:

On his 200th birthday, George buys himself a lavish mansion with an adjunct park ...
 
Why? Why would he buy a mansion? He would be just as comfortable sleeping in the dirt and eating insects, or not eating at all, and the consequences would be exactly the same. There can be no values and no reason for action where nothing is at stake, where there is no reason to prefer one thing over another. There is no reason to learn if ignorance is just a successful and there is no reason to seek beauty if there is no more pleasure in observing art than in contemplating garbage.

Your fictional character, if truly immortal, incapable of dying, would be a monster, experiencing pain and pleasure without meaning. What is the purpose of  pain if not to indicate something is, "wrong," or pleasure, if not to indicate something is "right?" If nothing could possible endanger a person's life in any way, what would be the purpose of pain and pleasure? What could be learned from them or about them? Why would some food taste better than other food, since all food would be equally valuable or valueless, since one does not die, if immortal, whether one eats or not.

Why would one choose pleasure over pain? Even pleasure, when indefinitely prolonged becomes boring and painful. Imagine what it would be like to experience meaningless pain and pleasure, pain and pleasure unrelated to any actual value, where the things one suffered or enjoyed had no connection, in any way, to the value of one's actions and experiences, or any relationship to the success of one's life.

Immortality is Hell!

Regi





Post 11

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 8:18amSanction this postReply
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Linz,

This really is a poignant article. The level of despair in young people today is both appalling and astonishing, and your explanation of the reason is exactly right. Ideas have consequences, or, in our age, I guess it should be, the refusal to admit there are ideas has consequences.

This perfect metaphor is the heart, I think, of your article:

If one chooses death, there is nothing more to be said; if one chooses life, the book of morality opens, & one must fill in the pages oneself, making one's choices in the presence of alternatives to the ultimate value of: life.

Values are only needed in the face of alternatives and where there is some objective or purpose. Unlike animals, we have no purposes thrust on us. We must choose from the beginning, and the first choice is whether or not to live. If we do not choose to live, we need no values, and do not need to choose anything else. Unless one is impatient, no one needs to take any action to die, doing nothing accomplishes the deed, if somewhat slowly.

If we choose to live, we must have values, and those values will be determined by whatever is required to fulfill the chosen objective, which is, as you say: life.

Thanks for the great article.

Regi




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Post 12

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 10:56amSanction this postReply
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Greetings.

Mr. Humphreys: On a related note, while I was an exchange student in the US, I decided to go skydiving. My Christian room mate refused point blank to do so, apparently due to fear of dying. It would seem that acceptance of our own mortality does cause us to make more of the time that we have.

Mr. Stolyarov: But if you had known that there would be no risk of death while skydiving, and, even if you were to experience an accident, you would be quickly patched up and returned to normal, would it not provide an even greater stimulus to enjoy skydiving and its positive qualities, knowing that you will have exactly what you asked for when undertaking the venture?

If such were the state of things, I might go skydiving myself! For the time being, however, I consider my existence too precious to risk, however slightly, for a momentary thrill.

Mr. Humphreys: Having said all that, there is of course a huge difference between immortality as a spirit in heaven and immortality as a human.

Mr. Stolyarov: Very true. I see the primary difference between a man of reason and a man of faith in that the former seeks to create a perfect life in this world, whereas the latter sees the perfect life as ultimately given "elsewhere" and thus sees this world doomed to inadequacy and imperfection. Certainly, the status quo is far from perfect, but this does not mean that it is not perfectible.
 
I also consider a major difference between advocates of reason and faith to be that the latter perceive perfection as a static condition, whereas the former must in some manner recognize that perfection is inherently dynamic and open-ended. Rand sought to characterize this in the persons of John Galt and Howard Roark, who, though endowed with firm and immutable moral principles that fully determine their character, continue to act for the pursuit of values in their buildings and inventions. I, however, think that more is required for a state of this-worldly perfection: 1) perfect health, 2) unmitigated moral integrity, and 3) a ceaseless desire to create and expand. The former two can be achieved in the status quo, but the first goal would require perhaps centuries more of medical/scientific/commercial progress.

Time is man's sole true limitation. Any other resource can be compensated by an individual's effort. If one has been bankrupted, or experiences political persecution, one always has the chance of regaining one's funds or assuring enforcement of one's rights over time, so long as one is alive. But, when time saps the very energy needed to live, the very vitality of youth, from an organism, such pursuits become ever more inconceivable. Unlike the mainstream culture, I do not consider aging "normal." I consider it a gradually increasing severance of one's intellectual and fysical capacities from the external reality. When this severance is complete, death results. And one cannot compensate any resources when dead!

Mr. Rawlings: The possibility of death is built into the nature of life--it is the whole point of the life process. In this sense, immortality is metaphysically impossible, and mortality remains the basis of values even if Mr. S's form of immortality were possible.

However, I do not think even that form of it is possible, because man is not omniscient or infallible.

Mr. Stolyarov: 101 years ago, the most eminent advisors for the United States Navy stated with the same degree of confidence that powered flight is metafysically impossible. Yet omniscience was not required to create it. Nor will omniscience be required to indefinitely prolong the human lifespan. What omniscience does it take for a man to say: "I recognize a disease, or a genetic flaw. I shall now eradicate it, using known methods." If he has the technological capacity to eradicate such a disease or genetic flaw, or to maintain an organism's genetic status quo, I do not see how omniscience is a necessary criterion for him to use it.

The possibility of death is the point of the life process, is it? Tell me, how does this differ from the words of those cynics who say: "The goal of life is death."? I may have missed a certain implication you made that distinguished your words from the latter, but I think greater elaboration from you is necessary.

I, for one, do not see it fit to describe an absence (death) as an essential characteristic of a presence (life). Once again, that is too reminiscent of Daoism (or Hegelianism) for me to accept.

Mr. Howison: Infinity divided by 1000 years is still infinite! George gets no closer to immortality than we do. In any case, he could still be killed by accident. Increases in life expectancy don't make ethics less relevant.

Mr. Stolyarov: What if George were equipped with an emergency response system that would momentarily repair any damaged cells in his body, before the effects would set in? The technology in his organism is so advanced as to mend any wound on the spot, and, in his brain, exist advanced computers that record the information stored in every brain cell and are able to restore this information in the event any, or even all, of the brain cells are damaged. Furthermore, these computers have become so compact that they suffer from accidents on a human level no more than bacteria do; they are not affected at all by anything that could kill a human being.

I would argue that ethics is still relevant under such a condition; George, and all the people he interacts with, would still have the full range of property rights, prerogatives to action, intellectual freedoms, etc. I do not see how immortality and immunity from accident would destroy these or render them useless.
 
Mr. Howison: Also, infinite lifespan would magnify the slightest risk of accidental death to a certainty of eventual death. Therefore, as long as there is a slight risk, true immortality is impossible.

Mr. Stolyarov: Probability does not equal certainty. There is a 0.0001 probability each year that the average individual's house will burn down. However, George chooses to install automatic fire extinguishers in every room and flammable piece of furniture in his mansion. He can, in his personal situation, reduce this probability to zero by means of his choices. For probability is not immune to individual choice-- choice can reduce, and even nullify it.

For example, let us presume that the average probability of a man ever getting AIDS is 5%. But this takes into account the statistical averages in the entire world. George chooses to be wise and abstain from all casual intercourse and intercouse outside of marriage. His particular probability of getting AIDS is zero. This is possible with any other possible peril. I challenge you to give me an example where you think there is still a probability of eventual death, and I will be able to propose a scenario where this probability would be absolutely nullified.

Ludwig von Mises used a similar argument against an over-dependence on statistics, probabilities, and averages in economics. He claimed that a group probability of an event happening (that is, an average of all individual past occurrences), cannot be used to infer the individual probability of an event happening, because the circumstances in each individual case are unique in some ways at least. This is one of the reasons why government regulation of any area based on generic group predictions is doomed to failure.

Mr. Firehammer: The point is, if nothing causes either pleasure of pain, and no action either adds to or diminishes one's life, there could be no reason to prefer anything over anything else.

Mr. Stolyarov: So, you claim that one pursues values for the sake of the sensations of pleasure or pain that accompany those values? To agree with this is worse than emotionalism; it is sensationalism, in the truest sense.

The "pleasure-pain barometer" is one of the greatest problems I have with Randian thought. For example, long-distance running is one of my hobbies. I can run for up to fourteen miles at a time, not because I have been trained to do so by someone else, or because I am allured by competitive glory (I do not compete), but because I seek to maintain myself in proper fysical form. This is not necessarily pleasurable to do! If you have ever experienced a so-called "side stitch" while running, you will know what I am talking about. On an especially moist day, or one when the intensity of sunlight is extremely strong, the discomforts are magnified. Yet, running is good for my health and my objective well-being. That is why I continue it.

In order for true happiness to be obtained, I think that reason must replace sensationalism in all things. The ideal man will not care about how an action makes him feel. He will care about what the action does to him. If I can improve my circulation, lengthen my life expectancy, and obtain greater energy by running, I will do it, no matter how much pain it causes me. This does not mean that the action is intrinsically valuable for its own sake, but a sensation does not necessarily indicate (though it sometimes does) objective gains or losses for an individual.

Drug addicts are an example of individuals misled by the "pleasure-pain barometer." Because they experience euforia from the momentary highs of their consumption, they continue taking the drugs. The drugs eventually kill them. Animals are, too, entirely guided by sensations of pleasure and pain. They indeed have an automatic mechanism that works roughly. But, put a desert rat into the arctic, and it will not survive, because its automatic impulses are inherently limited, by their preprogrammed nature. Only the open-ended volition of man can assure his survival in any situation, and, for this to occur with full efficiency, the pleasure-pain mechanism needs to be analyzed in terms broader than itself. Where it is consonant with reality, there is no problem with seeking pleasure or avoiding pain, but sometimes this is counterproductive.

George still experiences pleasure, by the way. He can find ways to obtain it from those activities that are genuinely beneficial for him. He can, for example, design a pastry that has zero calories, and consume immense amounts of it, without any drawbacks. He has all eternity to do this!

As for those beneficial activities that can cause pain, technology can find ways to alleviate this pain. For example, if George chooses to run, he will likely be equipped with technology that allows him to do so flawlessly for as long as he wishes. Thus, an individual organism will not suffer, even in the short term, for undertaking self-enhancing actions. I think that the pleasure-pain mechanism can be technologically reconditioned to be an objective indicator of one's well-being, but, in the status quo, this is far from being the case.

I am
G. Stolyarov II
Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917 
Eden against the Colossus
The Prologue: http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/eac_prologue.html

Chapter I: Protector's Summons: http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/eac_chapter1.html

Order Eden against the Colossus at http://www.lulu.com/content/63699.





Post 13

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 11:22amSanction this postReply
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Greetings.

Mr. Firehammer: Why? Why would he buy a mansion? He would be just as comfortable sleeping in the dirt and eating insects, or not eating at all, and the consequences would be exactly the same. There can be no values and no reason for action where nothing is at stake, where there is no reason to prefer one thing over another. There is no reason to learn if ignorance is just a successful and there is no reason to seek beauty if there is no more pleasure in observing art than in contemplating garbage.

Mr. Stolyarov: Because there is more to life than mere active escape from death. There is also expansion into further realms, which can be most effectively and confidently undertaken when the least is at stake. And nothing is the least of all possible stakes.

Besides, though there is no issue of loss, there is the issue of gain. If one does not build a mansion, one does not gain that mansion and the opportunities that come with it. If one builds it, one does gain all this. Thus, once one builds it, one has more than one had before. Now, the choice becomes not one between gain and loss, but one between gain and no gain. It is still a choice that must consciously be made. The chance of gain does not imply a risk of loss! There is nothing in reality that dictates this!

Mr. Firehammer: Your fictional character, if truly immortal, incapable of dying, would be a monster, experiencing pain and pleasure without meaning. What is the purpose of  pain if not to indicate something is, "wrong," or pleasure, if not to indicate something is "right?"

Mr. Stolyarov: In the status quo, pain and pleasure fail miserably at serving such a purpose, as I have already demonstrated. However, in George's world, they function much better. Pleasure would indicate that George has gained something, while pain would be limited to only sensations of loss, which George can avoid feeling altogether. Only technology can accomplish this! We cannot just wish this state into being. Our job, as filosofers, is to champion an intellectual atmosfere where technology can flourish and expand in an unlimited manner, because this is the only way that we can hope to benefit from this progress.

Mr. Firehammer: Why would one choose pleasure over pain? Even pleasure, when indefinitely prolonged becomes boring and painful.

Mr. Stolyarov: I have already stated in the "Rational Defense of Marriage" discussion that boredom is a sign of a lack of inner resorces to expand one's realm of activity and make creative use of one's time. I do not understand how pleasure can become boring or painful, how more can become less, or how such opposites can coexist at all. This notion seems contrary to the law of non-contradiction. If one cannot perceive pleasure as what it is, i.e. pleasurable, then the problem is not with the source of the pleasure, but with the perceiver. The perceiver should not blame such a world for being too good, blame himself for not living up to the standard of such goodness.

Mr. Firehammer: Immortality is Hell!

Mr. Stolyarov: Then I am Great Satan. (After all, my initials are GS!)

I am
G.S.
Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917 
Eden against the Colossus
The Prologue: http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/eac_prologue.html

Chapter I: Protector's Summons: http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/eac_chapter1.html

Order Eden against the Colossus at http://www.lulu.com/content/63699




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Post 14

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 4:02pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Stolyarov’s points are true if all we’re talking about is extending lifespan. But as Regi points out, this wonderful article was referring to:

A creature endowed with immortality, denied the alternative of life or death (& their barometers, pleasure & pain) would have no need of values & could discover no meaning in anything since nothing would be of any consequence to it.


As much as I am loath to detract from the spirit of this article and engage in this rationalistic, sci-fi fantasy, what we are talking about here is an indestructible human. Not merely a human with a long (or even infinite) lifespan. The nature of life is the basis for the entirety of the Objectivist morality. If you radically change the nature of life, it follows that you radically change the required morality.

 

An indestructible human does not need reason to survive - it’s not confronted with the question of survival. Its life requires no values. Its desire for a top hat and cane would be completely arbitrary. They’re not symbols of productive effort. It doesn’t need to work to sustain its life, so any expressions of productivity have no meaning. Virtues don’t arise in a vacuum. We’re productive for a purpose. And that purpose doesn’t apply to the example in question.

 

It has no need to acquire knowledge, so any pursuit of knowledge would be similarly arbitrary. It has no special regard for reason or knowledge. It would have no desire to explore space. Reason is of no use to it. It would not be human and it would not be life.

 

Linz also mentioned that this hypothetical creature is denied the barometers of pleasure and pain. (So if “George” feels pleasure, he’s somewhat of a strawman as a challenge to Linz’s argument.) Therefore, the living conditions of such a creature are immaterial. It makes no difference whether it lived in a trash heap or a mansion. (What am I saying? It doesn’t need to “live” anywhere!) But if the thing wanted a mansion on a whim, it can just move in and kill the owner. It has nothing to fear. The initiation of force is not immoral to such a creature. As mentioned, it has no special regard for the sanctity of reason. Reason is not its means of survival – it has no need for means of survival. Its life requires nothing to sustain or enhance it, so a result, it would be completely amoral. Any adoption of reason and morality for such a creature would be no more than an eccentric quirk. We value reason for a reason. Reason is not a substitute for God.

 

Linz’s article imagined the existence of this indestructible human in our real context. I can’t imagine what life would be like if all humans had always been indestructible. It would be a nightmare


(Edited by Glenn Lamont on 7/20, 4:09pm)




Post 15

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 5:06pmSanction this postReply
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Mr. Stolyarov,

So, you claim that one pursues values for the sake of the sensations of pleasure or pain that accompany those values? To agree with this is worse than emotionalism; it is sensationalism, in the truest sense.

If I had said that, I would agree. I did not say that.

I made two points, for someone who cannot die: 1. if one could experience no pain or pleasure at all, there would be no essential difference between eating garbage and eating a steak, between cutting off one's arm or lifting weights, and 2. if one did experience pain and pleasure, if those experiences were not connected to what is true, if one felt pleasure for what is bad and pain for what is good, pleasure and pain would be disconnected from reality and have no value whatsoever, which for someone who could not die, for whom nothing is at stake, is exactly the kind of meaningless pain and pleasure they would experience.

This is not necessarily pleasurable to do! ... Yet, running is good for my health and my objective well-being. That is why I continue it.

My statements were regarding the nature of pain and pleasure themselves, and in the context of someone who is never going to die. If you were never going to die, Gennady, why would you run, since you do not do it for glory or pleasure, and if you were never going to die, you would not need to do it for your health?

But, even in your case, suppose running meant ultimately your last years would be years of suffering, years you could not enjoy because the pain was so great it even blotted out your interest in things intellectual, and the drugs that might mitigate that pain made you uninterested in doing anything. Even if the running made you life ten years longer, would you still do it?

In order for true happiness to be obtained, I think that reason must replace sensationalism in all things.

You want to make men robots. Mr. Stolyarov, we have only one kind of consciousness, perception. We do not experience "sensations" directly at all, and conception is not another kind of consciousness, it is merely a volitional form of perceptual consciousness. The only way we have of actually experiencing life is perceptually, that is, our conscious perceptual experience, including our feelings.

From the tiniest tickle to the most profound experience of ecstasy, the experience is perceptual. It is about the world we perceive, including all our feelings that we reason about. The desires and passions are the motivators of life. Without them we would never have a reason to act in the first place or a reason to think about anything. The emotions, our reactions to the content of consciousness, are either the reward for our right choices or the punishment for our wrong choices experienced viscerally in our very beings. Mr. Stolyarov, if you hate the conscious awareness of life that is only possible through the perception of our pains and pleasures, at every level, you hate life, in the human sense, itself.

Drug addicts are an example of individuals misled by the "pleasure-pain barometer." Because they experience euforia from the momentary highs of their consumption, they continue taking the drugs. The drugs eventually kill them. Animals are, too, entirely guided by sensations of pleasure and pain. They indeed have an automatic mechanism that works roughly.

You've almost got it. The passions (pain, pleasure, desire) are motivators of life, for both man and animal. The difference is, animals' passions automatically produce the right behavior to fulfill the desires of each creature. Passion is the motivator for man too, but in man, the passions to not provide the behavior required to fulfill them. The passions do not even tell us what they are passions for. We have to discover that feeling in our stomach is hunger and the thing we must do to satisfy the desire is eat, but we must discover what to eat, what is food and what is poison. But if we never had the hunger at all, who would bother finding out any of those things.

Where it is consonant with reality, there is no problem with seeking pleasure or avoiding pain, but sometimes this is counterproductive.

Yes. It's call prudence.

George still experiences pleasure, by the way.He can find ways to obtain it from those activities that are genuinely beneficial for him.

Beneficial how? I doesn't matter what he does, he is going to live forever.

He can, for example, design a pastry that has zero calories, and consume immense amounts of it, without any drawbacks. He has all eternity to do this!

Does he do that for the sake of the pleasure of eating the pastry? (Seems to me that would be the very pain/pleasure barometer that you and I both reject.) And what possible drawbacks could there be to eating pastry with gazillions of calories?
 
As for those beneficial activities that can cause pain, technology can find ways to alleviate this pain. For example, if George chooses to run, he will likely be equipped with technology that allows him to do so flawlessly for as long as he wishes.

What possible motivation would he have to run? What possible motivation would he have to do anything? He's going to live forever if he does nothing? Certainly it would not be because he has a desire to run, would it?

Thus, an individual organism will not suffer, even in the short term, for undertaking self-enhancing actions.

"Enhanced," implies some standard. What is that standard. What is the objective by which the values of "enhancement" are determined, when life itself is not an issue? Enhanced for what? What's the purpose?

I think that the pleasure-pain mechanism can be technologically reconditioned to be an objective indicator of one's well-being, but, in the status quo, this is far from being the case.

So what is the point of living? I mean, now, before these technical breakthroughs straighten our passions and emotional consciousness. Since the experiences of happiness and joy, the feelings of confidence and competence, the thrill of accomplishment and ecstasy of beauty are far form being objective indicators of one's well-being, even apparently for one whose emotional experiences are the result of objective values, how does one determine the state of their being?

Mr. Stolyarov, the sole purpose of life is to enjoy it. It is what every living orgnaism lives for. The advantage the other creatures have over man is they cannot make the wrong choices about what behavior will produce the kind of life they will enjoy. By doing whatever they desire, they automatically do what their nature requires for them to enjoy their life.

Man must discover all of that. That is exactly what Linz was talking about when he said: "if one chooses life, the book of morality opens, & one must fill in the pages oneself, making one's choices in the presence of alternatives to the ultimate value of: life." But not just life, the purpose of life is not making it last as long as possible, but to enjoy it.

Regi






Post 16

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 5:10pmSanction this postReply
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Glenn,

Excellent post.

An indestructible human does not need reason to survive - it’s not confronted with the question of survival. Its life requires no values.
 
Yes, exactly. Nor would there be any need for desires or pleasure, and if there were any they would be supurfluous and absurd.

Regi




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Post 17

Tuesday, July 20, 2004 - 5:54pmSanction this postReply
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To Mr. Stolyarov: What I meant was that life is a process of self-generated and self-sustaining action—its inherent goal and that of any of its sub-processes is to perpetuate the entire process (as you doubtless know). Anything that threatens to interfere with the “machinery” is attacked and dealt with by the process. Thus, in the case of germs, antibodies are produced; in the case of dictatorships, philosophical ideas are produced. It is a metaphysical given, therefore, that death is always a possibility—that living beings are mortal. It is this fact that gives rise to the whole phenomenon of values.

It is in this sense, the metaphysical sense, that immortality would be incompatible with the pursuit of values. This is the concept of immortality that I was saying is a fantasy. No technological breakthrough can change such a fact.

Even if science were able to stave off all foreseeable causes of death, what about the unforeseeable ones? New diseases? A meteorite? Irrationality and evasion? Low self-esteem? Honest error? Forgetting to look both ways when crossing the street because one got distracted at exactly the wrong moment?

So, if you think about it, immortality is impossible in every sense. Mortality is a metaphysical fact, values spring from the situation, and there is no justification for projecting alternative worlds.




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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 3:41amSanction this postReply
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Mr Stolyarov: But if you had known that there would be no risk of death while skydiving, and, even if you were to experience an accident, you would be quickly patched up and returned to normal, would it not provide an even greater stimulus to enjoy skydiving and its positive qualities, knowing that you will have exactly what you asked for when undertaking the venture?

If such were the state of things, I might go skydiving myself! For the time being, however, I consider my existence too precious to risk, however slightly, for a momentary thrill.

 
Wouldn't it also be more enjoyable to fly to another country if there was no risk of death in a plane crash? Or go for a drive if you knew there was no possibility of a car crash? Or cross the road if there was no risk of being run over?

It seems to me that you are making a similar mistake as my Christian friend, in that you are denying yourself something that you admit may be worthwhile, because of a small risk of death. I would also reject your assertion that skydiving is merely a "momentary thrill". As there is no mind/body dichotomy, we should surely push ourselves to the peak of our physical, as well as mental, abilities. For some people, this will involve engagement in some form of "extreme sport", whereas for others this may not be a suitable option. Though some Objectivists do regard such extreme sports as being a form of whim worshipping, provided that the participant is fully aware of the risks and relishes the challenge within the wider context of his life, I see no reason why this is necessarily the case. 

In general I would have no hesitation in preferring a well-lived and thoroughly enjoyed life to a longer but less fulfilled existence.

MH




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Wednesday, July 21, 2004 - 12:27pmSanction this postReply
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Greetings.


A lot of comments have been made, and I intend to respond to all of them. This has been quite an interesting—and atypical—discussion thus far, both of which are extremely desirable in my estimation.

 

Mr. Lamont: As much as I am loath to detract from the spirit of this article and engage in this rationalistic, sci-fi fantasy, what we are talking about here is an indestructible human. Not merely a human with a long (or even infinite) lifespan. The nature of life is the basis for the entirety of the Objectivist morality. If you radically change the nature of life, it follows that you radically change the required morality.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Whatever you may think, I will contend that this discussion is crucial to this article, since this article hinges on defeating itself by claiming to “affirm life,” yet loath the unhindered, dynamically perfect manifestation of life, toward which man and technology should strive.

 

I contend that any peril can be technologically remedied eventually. This means that, sometime in the future, given the requisite economic and political freedoms, man will develop solutions to every known problem plaguing our time. This means that every disease and potential cause of accident known to us today will someday be cured. If new diseases or causes of accident should arise, they will someday be cured as well. Then I ask: is there an infinite possibility of diseases or causes of accident? If the nature of existence does not permit simultaneous infinities, I do not see how this is the case. (This topic will deserve a more extensive discussion of infinities, which ones can exist and which ones cannot, and the mistakes that can be made concerning them.)  If my premise is granted, there is only a finite amount of perils that can ever afflict man. Given that man’s conscious faculty is capable of perceiving and interacting with all of reality, there is no reason why it inherently cannot someday devise cures to the entirety of possible perils.

 

Thus, it is possible that man may someday be indestructible, literally, as a result of employing his own reason. The individuals that devise cures to these perils may make permanent contracts with customers like George, whose invincibility will thus be guaranteed him, without him having to do anything but allow advertisements to be played in his head for a few hours.

 

How does this alter the nature of morality if reason was required to devise all these protections? Please note that it is impossible to consistently embrace a state of being while rejecting those attributes that brought it about. It is, for example, impossible to reject capitalism while embracing economic prosperity, or to reject individual liberty while embracing moral actions. Once you take away the prerequisites, the consequences collapse like a skyscraper without a frame or foundation. This was the mistake made by the socialists (who sought to redistribute wealth that free commerce created) and by “progressive” moralists (who sought to impose certain moral actions on people while abolishing the chosen nature of such actions, which renders them moral).

 

Thus, the indestructible man will find it impossible to consistently reject reason or the Objectivist morality!

 

Mr. Lamont: Linz also mentioned that this hypothetical creature is denied the barometers of pleasure and pain. (So if “George” feels pleasure, he’s somewhat of a strawman as a challenge to Linz’s argument.)

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Now, why would George be a strawman, if he is closer to a human being than this imagined creature you put forth, yet he possesses the very qualities that Mr. Perigo condemns (i.e. immortality, which is as far as Mr. Perigo goes to describe it)? George is human, looks human, experiences the human mode of thinking, and is capable of feeling anything that a human today would feel, except that he can technologically condition himself to feel in a manner appropriate to his objective well-being. (That is, were George to try a drug, he would feel pain, instead of pleasure. However, George is a rational man who loves his life, and would never take drugs or anything else that would hinder his objective well-being.)

 

Mr. Lamont: What am I saying? It doesn’t need to “live” anywhere!

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Mr. Lamont, tell me, how would having a Leonardo painting on the wall of your house protect you against death? It would not. But it is a value, nevertheless. If George were immune from death or harm, he would still have no reason to view Leonardo’s art as being of less value to him than had he been mortal. And, in order to display Leonardo’s art, he would need a building to put in it! The same goes for any other esthetic element of his existence.

 

I ask you this, closer to the present age: why do some people wear collared shirts? It seems that an ordinary T-shirt protects one from the elements just as well. Wearing T-shirts and wearing collared shirts has the same effect on one’s survival, which, in temperate climates, is almost nil. It is not an arbitrary decision, I will add. If anyone forced me to wear a T-shirt when I am not exercising, I would consider that person a tyrant. I can explain this fenomenon: all things esthetic are a representation of an individual’s character. I enjoy the firmness and geometric intricacy of collared shirts, and would pay the extra money to buy them, just as I would pay the extra money to purchase my vast classical music library, or invest the hours needed to create Mr. Stolyarov’s Gallery of Rational Art, though, if the world had nothing but Pollock blobs in it, I would not be fysically harmed by such a fact.  I value these things, and expend some of my present resources to obtain them. Yet, they are just about fysically neutral.

Yes, there is no mind-body dichotomy in the sense that the values of the spirit should not counteract those of the body. (Also, these values have fysical manifestations!) But, having values of the spirit does not make one’s body a bit healthier. Why does one pursue them, then? Because there is more to life than merely escaping death! And if that escape from death were guaranteed, the more part would be emfasized in an individual’s value pursuits. This changes nothing about his fundamental morality!

 

As for having top hats and canes, there may be a symbolic dimension to this as well, demonstrating one’s essential agreement with and appreciation of the great 19th century industrialists and gentlemen who sported such attire. George, an immortal man, realizes that, without those industrialists, his immortality would not be possible. Thus, he honors their legacy symbolically, just as we honor capitalism through the symbol of the dollar, or the United States through its flag.

 

What I have written here covers a lot of the later comments as well.

 

Mr. Firehammer: 1. if one could experience no pain or pleasure at all, there would be no essential difference between eating garbage and eating a steak, between cutting off one's arm or lifting weights.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Ah, but you still make that same mistake! You attribute intrinsic value to sensations rather than states of being! I claim that running for fourteen miles is objectively good, no matter how it makes you feel, while taking drugs is objectively bad, no matter how it makes you feel. If so, then feelings in themselves cannot be legitimate objects of value, but rather states of being. I feel nothing when I finish a book or a worthwhile article, yet intellectually I experience immense pride and contentment. No external stimulus has altered the balance of chemicals in my brain, but, rather, my volitional faculty itself, tells me, “You have done a good job.” That is reward in itself. If it is accompanied by feelings of pleasure, this is absolutely fine. But those feelings should not be pursued for their own sake!

 

Eating garbage is objectively bad, so is cutting off one’s arm. Even if I were to be immune from pain while doing these things, I would still not do them. What these perils do to my organism does not equal my response to them. My feeling of pain does not cause what they do. My pain is not in itself what they do. Rather, it is consequent upon what they do. It is an active response of my organism, i.e., my agency. If my agency were absent, the nature of the perils would remain, they would still exist and would still inflict harms of an identical magnitude. What technology could accomplish is condition the responses to properly meet the perils. Then, the pleasure-pain barometer could indeed become a useful indicator of states of being, and a good tool, but nothing more.

 

Mr. Firehammer: 2. if one did experience pain and pleasure, if those experiences were not connected to what is true, if one felt pleasure for what is bad and pain for what is good, pleasure and pain would be disconnected from reality and have no value whatsoever….

 

Mr. Stolyarov: True. This is why the pleasure-pain barometer in the status quo must be treated with great scrutiny, skepticism, and caution. It cannot be unconditionally embraced or elevated to the level of a filosofical truth, in the manner most modern Objectivists do.

 

The next part of your statement, I disagree with, however.

 

Mr. Firehammer: …which for someone who could not die, for whom nothing is at stake, is exactly the kind of meaningless pain and pleasure they would experience.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Very well. Consider this: eating one piece of chocolate a day is perfectly healthy. It does not ruin one’s teeth or increase one’s weight, if one brushes and maintains a proper diet. Yet, let us presume that eating this chocolate also does not fortify one’s chances of survival. Why do rational people still eat chocolate? I answer: there is an esthetic value to chocolate, conveyed, not only in its form, but in the taste that it conveys. (Perhaps you have tasted Belgian chocolates or the “Mozart” chocolates from Austria—you might then agree that there are certain life-affirming values contained in them, and that their purpose is more than the attainment of a mere sensation.) Similarly, there is an esthetic value to the drinking of tea, which has been elevated in Britain, Russia, and the Orient, for example, to the level of an elaborate art. Tea has zero calories and all of its nutritional benefits can still be consumed by drinking water. Yet, it has spiritual values, symbolizing gentlemanliness, hospitality, and good taste.

 

I have hitherto argued that feelings and sensations are not ends in themselves, and I will extrapolate this onto such leisurely values as tea and chocolate. These are worthwhile not for the feelings they induce per se, but for the esthetic states of being that they induce. The chocolate’s taste is an organism’s response to it. What chocolate does to bring about the taste, is the esthetic state of being that it creates. If a technology were devised to simulate the exact same chemical effects on your taste buds as chocolate would do, this would be no substitute for a genuine Belgian chocolate!

 

Mr. Firehammer: If you were never going to die, Gennady, why would you run, since you do not do it for glory or pleasure, and if you were never going to die, you would not need to do it for your health?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: The question here would become: is there an esthetic value to running? Are the movements that running requires, and the act of motion by their nature contributive to man’s spiritual fulfillment? Suppose you saw the portrait of a Greek Olympic runner. Then suppose you saw the portrait of a couch bum. Which portrait would appeal to you more? Neither of them adds to your health, nor subtracts from it. If you were immortal, the exact same case would be true! Anticipating your preference, I will confidently claim that there is an esthetic value to running, to be pursued for purposes beyond mere survival. (Though survival is, too, always a worthy aim for us mortals.)

 

Mr. Firehammer: But, even in your case, suppose running meant ultimately your last years would be years of suffering, years you could not enjoy because the pain was so great it even blotted out your interest in things intellectual, and the drugs that might mitigate that pain made you uninterested in doing anything. Even if the running made you life ten years longer, would you still do it?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Yes. I reason as follows: running would not turn healthy years of my life into painful ones. The painful years I get are in addition to the healthy years I had before. Thus, I can obtain X amount of values from the healthy years plus a far smaller Y amount of values from the ill years. X+Y > X, thus, it is more desirable, if the pursuit of values is what I am after. No matter how small Y is, it is greater than nothing, which is what would exist in death, since any state of existence means some sort of perception and integration, which in themselves constitute very slight but still unique values.

 

Thus, living longer under any circumstances is desirable. I am contemplating a fictional story in which a man gives away the entirety of his gargantuan fortune to prolong his formal existence under life support. This will be a story with a nice twist at the end!

 

Mr. Firehammer: The emotions, our reactions to the content of consciousness, are either the reward for our right choices or the punishment for our wrong choices experienced viscerally in our very beings. Mr. Stolyarov, if you hate the conscious awareness of life that is only possible through the perception of our pains and pleasures, at every level, you hate life, in the human sense, itself.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: I must protest. Our conscious awareness is not only possible through the pain/pleasure mechanism. I refer you once again to that intellectual mechanism, the volition of the mind, that tells an individual, “You did a good job.” This has no actual bearing on the individual’s fysical experiences of pain or pleasure, or the lack thereof, but it follows from far more monumental endeavors than those that would cause pain or pleasure. Writing a book is an accomplishment of a greater scope than getting a good night’s sleep, though both are important. After you sleep well, however, you often feel, in sheer fysical terms, better than after having written a book. Nevertheless, your mental state, after having written a book, is far higher than after merely sleeping well. You are an author yourself; would you not agree?

 

Mr. Firehammer: The difference is, animals' passions automatically produce the right behavior to fulfill the desires of each creature.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: It is not necessarily the right behavior. An animal placed outside a very limited set of environmental conditions, toward which it had evolved, will perish. Only conscious interaction with the environment, as man is capable of, can guarantee the right behavior in the event of full rationality.

 

Mr. Firehammer: The passions do not even tell us what they are passions for. We have to discover that feeling in our stomach is hunger and the thing we must do to satisfy the desire is eat, but we must discover what to eat, what is food and what is poison. But if we never had the hunger at all, who would bother finding out any of those things.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: If parents spoon-fed a baby without a sense of taste until it was able to furnish its own food, and then told the child which types of food were safe and which were not, what would stop it from finding out these things? There is, again, no inherent barrier. In the wilderness, feelings of hunger are quite useful, especially the impulse to eat as much as one sees, since one can never be sure of the spoils of the next hunting or foraging expedition. In our era, however, when food is in abundance, the original stimuli of hunger may be misleading and cause men to eat beyond their due, since food is always available in technological societies. This creates health problems because of an unconditional adherence to sensations.

 

I recommend that you read my poem, “Who Says Man’s Body’s Perfect?” for additional examples as to why we cannot elevate present bodily functions to the level of filosofical ideals. (http://solohq.com/Articles/Stolyarov/Who_Says_Mans_Bodys_Perfect.shtml) By the way, I am an evolutionist, and thus see no inherent guarantee of perfect function to any species of organisms under a dynamic system of natural selection. What man had evolved prior to obtaining a technological capacity is better than anything that came before, but it is far from ideal. (And what I describe in the poem are only some of the “cleaner” examples of this; I am acquainted with biology at about the level of a college undergraduate, and know far more than anyone would be comfortable with about the grievous errors plaguing the human organism.) Only by supplanting the law of the jungle and becoming the prime mover of further technological evolution can man condition his organism into the state of perfection I had described earlier.

 

Mr. Firehammer: And what possible drawbacks could there be to eating pastry with gazillions of calories?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Perhaps it would expand a bit more energy from the robots maintaining George’s system to render all these calories inconsequential. George wants this energy better spent, even though he is guaranteed survival in either case.

 

Mr. Firehammer: "Enhanced," implies some standard. What is that standard. What is the objective by which the values of "enhancement" are determined, when life itself is not an issue? Enhanced for what? What's the purpose?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Esthetic value, symbolism, the “gentler” pursuits in life that do not take the matter of survival into question. I have given myriad examples of these existing in the status quo, and claim that these gentler values will come to dominate the life of the immortal man.

 

Mr. Firehammer: So what is the point of living? I mean, now, before these technical breakthroughs straighten our passions and emotional consciousness. Since the experiences of happiness and joy, the feelings of confidence and competence, the thrill of accomplishment and ecstasy of beauty are far form being objective indicators of one's well-being, even apparently for one whose emotional experiences are the result of objective values, how does one determine the state of their being?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: One must use the entire context of the knowledge available to him in order to objectively determine his state of being. This means looking outside emotions to the insights rendered available by science and filosofy, as far as they have developed. If one still comes to an erroneous decision, it would be because of a lack of knowledge, not a moral flaw, as there is no guarantee against a particular ignorance. There is, however, a way to reduce the possibility of making mistakes by doing one’s best, as the situation permits.

 

As technology progresses, the caliber, frequency, and manner of one’s mistakes will, too, be progressively reduced.

 

Mr. Rawlings: Even if science were able to stave off all foreseeable causes of death, what about the unforeseeable ones? New diseases? A meteorite? Irrationality and evasion? Low self-esteem? Honest error? Forgetting to look both ways when crossing the street because one got distracted at exactly the wrong moment?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: You seem to have taken up my challenge by presenting cases which you think refute the very possibility of immortality. Now, I respond:

 

1)      New diseases: New diseases are known to evolve. They do not originate ex nihilo. By further studies of evolution and existing microorganisms, scientists can eventually pinpoint the very mechanism by which new diseases evolve from old ones or from harmless microorganisms, and use gene-altering technology to preemptively monitor existing organisms against such change. If by chance some alien microbe from another planet is brought in contact with man, cures to it can be eventually devised as well. Because the entire amount of perils in existence (including alien germs, if any) is finite, there will someday be a means to cure all existing ones while preventing the emergence of new ones.

2)      Meteorites: Honestly! If we ever have the technology to maintain an individual organism in perpetuity against every existent microorganism or process of decay, would you not think that we would, by that time, have the means to vaporize or deflect or redirect a far larger and more conspicuous body?

3)       Irrationality and evasion: Each man can choose to be rational and not evade for himself. A free market in ideas and goods will encourage such choices to be made, but no coercion will be used to bring them about. The immortal man must choose to be rational, still, if he wishes to keep the foundation on which his present capacities rest! This is my point exactly! The man who chooses to be rational will remain immortal; the man who does not will die. How this contradicts the Objectivist morality is beyond me.

4)       Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem will not want to be immortal. Let them have their wish, I say. This does not deny the possibility of immortality.

5)      Honest error: As I have stated, as technology and science progress, the scope, caliber, and frequency of one’s errors will be continually reduced. Thus, there will eventually come a point (given unlimited possibilities of progress) where no honest mistake will ever lead to loss of life (presuming that a mistake of a certain magnitude is required to bring about such a loss).

6)      Forgetting to look when crossing the road: Who says people will not just teleport from one place to another in that remote future? J

 

My challenge still stands. So far, I have been able to explain how immortality could exist given each of the perils Mr. Rawlings mentioned.

 

Mr. Humphreys: Wouldn't it also be more enjoyable to fly to another country if there was no risk of death in a plane crash? Or go for a drive if you knew there was no possibility of a car crash? Or cross the road if there was no risk of being run over?

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Of course!

 

Mr. Humphreys: It seems to me that you are making a similar mistake as my Christian friend, in that you are denying yourself something that you admit may be worthwhile, because of a small risk of death.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: What is small? The risk of death by skydiving is far greater than the risk of death by walking along a city street and having a loose brick fall on your head. We mortals have to weigh benefits against risks, to see whether it is worthwhile to undertake a given activity. We need to have a internal hierarchical understanding of risks, not necessarily with any precise quantities or measurements, but rather a relative hierarchy, which will help us decide what risks we are willing to take. There is still the possibility of great error here, but it is the best system we have so far! I hope technology will be able to render benefit-risk calculation more objective and less prone to error. Yet, in every case, the burden remains an individual one.

 

Mr. Humphreys: In general I would have no hesitation in preferring a well-lived and thoroughly enjoyed life to a longer but less fulfilled existence.

 

Mr. Stolyarov: Here is where we differ greatly! If X+Y>X, then longer à more fulfilled.

 

 am
G. Stolyarov II
Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917Atlas Count 917 
Eden against the Colossus
The Prologue: http://www.geocities.com/rationalargumentator/eac_prologue.html

Chapter I: Protector's Summons: http://www.geocities.com/rational_argumentator/eac_chapter1.html

Order Eden against the Colossus at http://www.lulu.com/content/63699.






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