sublimesublemon asked: Huh... well, admittedly, I'm on that super-romantic "death is an inevitable part of life" boat, so I miiight disagree with the thing there, but the rest of what you said about transhumanism seems pretty right-on to me. I mean, ffs humanity has been saying "fuck you" to traditional natural selection for a while now. Sort-of case in point, as a diabetic (with an insulin pump I often refer to as my "bionic thingamajig"), I'm glad I live in an age where I'm not, y'know, dead because of it.
If I might presume to make a suggestion just for the sake of, I guess, giving you some food for thought…
I think the fact that you’re so enthused about your insulin pump keeping you alive is a sign that you’re already anti-death. That’s… kind of all it takes to be anti-death, because all I’m doing is taking that sentiment—I’m glad I didn’t die of chicken pox or food poisoning or any of the other stuff I might’ve died from—and extrapolating it into the future. I’m just saying, based on my prior experiences of being happy to have dodged death, I’m going to continue to be happy to dodge death, therefore anything that makes it more likely that I’ll again be happy for dodging death is a thing I should support.
Like no one is going to create an immortality pill. I think a LOT of people misunderstand that being against death doesn’t mean we want an immortality pill! But we do look to the future and say, wow, I really, really don’t want to die of cancer. And I’m not a big fan of Alzheimers. And in ten years I’d probably be happier with the body I have now than a body ten years older than the one I have now.
It’s like a kind of zeno’s paradox arrangement: as time goes on, I’m going to keep deciding that death is something that can be put off for a few more years. I’ll always say “I’m glad I live in an age where I’m not, y’know, dead because of [x y z ailment].”
So all I’ve done is applied calculus to the problem. I’ve graphed those infinite points and found that in the end I’m always going to be happier with the technology to dodge death than without.
And maybe someday I’ll change my mind and decide it’s time to die… but speaking very, very personally now, I’d want some sort of check on that decision because I associate that kind of decision with how I feel when I’m suicidally depressed. Like if I make a list of things I’m glad haven’t made me dead… I’d appear on that list. So… from that perspective, the will to die is… difficult for me to see in a romantic light. Does that make sense? I don’t think that counts as a “rational” reason, but transhumanists also aren’t Vulcans so fuck it, there’s my concession to weak irrational emotion in this debate.
So that’s my attempt to explain why I care about being anti-death and why I see it as a logical extension of the big fuck you to natural selection that we already know and love :) Sorry, I know this is kind of huge and rambly and I don’t want to seem like I’m lecturing you, it just seemed like a worthwhile thing to at least try to put into some sort of coherent order.
Thanks a lot, Sam. This is probably the best explanation of anti-death transhumanism I’ve ever heard, and definitely the sanest.
Thanks. :) I mean obviously a lot of this is just the personal thought process I’ve used to come to this point so I don’t want to act like I’m representing this ideology as a whole, and I’m sure there are more sane arguments even than mine out there, but I’m glad it makes things a little clearer.
Death should always be a choice. That’s generally where I fall.
Things that don’t end when workshops stop
I finally figured out what’s been bothering me about HPMOR, nearly a year after first reading it, and it wasn’t anything to do with problematic representations of gender but with the concept of rationality itself and the assumption that anti-death transhumanism is the…
Could you be more specific. I mean any system of thought originated in particular places at particular times. If there is a world out there with truths out there to be found we should expect that finding them happens at particular times and places. If physics is accurate and tells the truth then we shouldn’t expect people to have grokked quantum mechanics in feudal japan, feudal europe or in Africa. Why does being historically situated invalidate HPMOR’s conception of rationality?
It doesn’t, as far as I can tell. Post-Enlightenment Europe just happened to be the place where we could discover all these things. There’s a long line of causal graphs leading up to it and a million past events could have gone differently and led to the discovery of Bayes’ Theorem or Quantum Mechanics in Sub-Saharan Africa of Japan. There are reasons Europe came out on top, but those reasons are historical and geographical, not because of any mental superiority of Europeans.
But what I believe @Stormingtheivory (I can’t get tagging to work…) argues is that HPMOR presents rationality as something white, European men do, while rationality is universal. Pretty much every human has the capacity to be rational, and most sufficiently intelligent non-humans have the same capacity, which is something HPMOR tends to gloss over. For me, this isn’t a crippling flaw, but I understand the criticism.
I feel like I should be getting involved here since it’s such a huge important topic and since I’ve been mentioned as a source, but it’s so vast that I’m not sure where to even begin… Particularly since I both embrace a lot of the postcolonialist critique of science, but also I’m pretty absolutist when it comes to feeling that embracing death is just… well… irrational. I almost feel like the two problems aren’t really the same problem and that’s where I’m having trouble finding a way in? Like I just don’t think a postcolonial critique of HPMOR and LessWrong is most productive when applied to anti-death transhumanism.
Also there weren’t that many typos =_=
Jumping in here out of nowhere because I am feeling typy today.
I kind of dropped out of HPMOR for… other reasons, and I can’t speak for this specific subset of people claiming to try to use a set of cognitive and mathematical ideas to achieve something defined as rationality. I tend to think that humanity is rather antithetical to any kind of rationality as I have seen it defined, but I digress.
Being anti-death, I think, is rather independant from most main stream ideas in Western European scholarship. The closest you could come to rooting it intrinsically in “western ideals” would be to say it comes from the platonic desire for timelessness and lack of change, which is something that finds its way into both jewish, and far more importantly, Christian understandings of the ideal and the divine. You could also say something about the Greeks putting the physical and mathematics in places of very high importance, as opposed to say, the human mind, which was the subject of just as intense a philosophical quest for truth in other parts of the world.
If at any point western thought was truly anti-death it was briefly during the enlightenment until the World Wars. The existentialists are about as pro-death as they come. Life is ultimately defined by death. Nietzsche viewed the idea of a desire for immortality as one of the most destructive forces for humanity. Anything since has wedded societal change with a change-over of people. Anti-death-ers will find few allies in current Western Philosophers (well, ones that are even concerned with such things).
Similarly, Anti-death already divorces itself from western religions, the idea of a Kingdom of Heaven only reachable by the dead. Again, this is not completely isolated from christian thought. Theologians and their challengers certainly proposed the possibility of making such a place on earth, or even the requirement of such a place for the return of any god-figures true grace. But Anti-Death means a refusal of a higher plane reachable only by the dead (righteous or otherwise) and thus isolates itself as a movement from the religious who believe in some spiritual purpose in death all over the world.
But I think where this ignores other cultures and their voices, as well as some western voices, is in the assumption that life and living are good things and good states. Even dismissing a heavenly alternative, Buddhism, for instance, teaches that life itself is suffering, and that one should do good acts and then get the hell out of dodge, even if that means a cessation of existence. The rationalist anti-death position seems to take as a given that the enjoyable parts of life make infinitely more life better and that the future will be better still. If life is viewed instead as a time during which the goal is to do as little harm as possible, or to get as close as possible to those around you, or anything that is not strictly monotonic with respect to time, it ceases to be a rationally obvious choice.
I think the problem is that the anti-death position “death should always be a choice” and the anti-death position “ever choosing death is the wrong choice” are differently exclusive. Due to the fact that it is late and I have limited knowledge, the only ways in which I can think that the first of the two is “oppressive” for want of a better word, is 1) to people for whom the acceptance and submission to a divine plan or natures course for ALL people, rather than just for themselves is a necessity - in which case this infringes on other people’s right not to die and I have a lot of issues with that. or 2) cultures that have a strong prohibition against suicide or assisted suicide, and would consider “allowing death” to be suicide once its availability becomes possible.
I would understand people not considering anti-death as pressing a matter as people who call themselves anti-death do. I can imagine that people whose cultural context celebrates deatha s a release or a return might not easily arrive at the idea of death as an ideally choice-only occurrence, but I also don’t think that specific aspect of HPMOR is something that is very in line with western thought or exclusive to it. Any culture where death is a demon, a monster, a thing to be feared, is very much in line with the idea.
This Artist Is Playing ‘Civilization’ Outside of the Whitney Every Day
Animal New York article on an artist playing a computer game under a bridge outside as performance art:
“Art is easy,” says Diego Leclery. That’s the biggest thing he’s learned in the last three weeks as a participating artist in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Sitting outside of the Whitney Museum, just under the bridge that leads to the entrance, Leclery plays the video game Civilization seven hours a day, five days a week. The piece is bluntly titled Me Playing Civilization. It’s a performance, it’s a ready-made, and he’ll be doing this until the Biennial wraps up on May 25th.
Civilization is one of the most addictive and longest-running video game franchises of all time. In it, the player rules a civilization, building an empire that competes with other civilizations. In 1996, Computer Gaming World named it the best video game of all time and compared it to crack.
For Leclery, Me Playing Civilization is about “a long standing attempt to subvert overly structured and predictable ways of making things.”
More at Animal New York here
So our weekend plans are art now?
stormingtheivory, can you give me any background that makes this more than a dude doing what he would be doing anyway but calling it some kind of high art? Is this a response to a thing in the art world? Or is this as, well, silly as it sounds?
Ahahaha so this is hilarious to me because I literally just the other night was video chatting with my amazing artist sister about her trip to the Whitney Biennial and her like… epic crisis of faith in the entire art world due to the sheer overwhelming shittiness of virtually everything there. And then I saw this article and now I totally get it, I totally understand what she means.
Like, what really bugs me about this is that I can think of a number of theoretical arguments that would make this make sense, even if I still would kinda give it a lot of side-eye and be pretty suspicious of it. Like you could theorize this as a political critique of the way certain types of creative action are elevated above others by the art world. Like it wouldn’t be a GOOD theorization because he’s still totally working within the institution so it’d really be just the institution pumping itself up by seeming edgy and self critical without actually changing BUT AT LEAST IT IS A SOLID THEORIZATION.
His arguments though are just like… man, I don’t even know. There’s just nothing there. Some vague stuff about art markets…and cultural civilization… yeah, I got nothing. It just feels so over theorized but simultaneously totally bereft of any kind of theoretical violence… it’s just totally toothless and self-absorbed. It’s like a particularly dumb version of the turn in comics towards an elevation of confessional autobiography above all other subject matter—it’s me me me with nothing really to say about anything beyond this one guy and his attempt to break into the art world hampered by his obsession with Civilization.
He’s playing the dadaist readymade game and doing it way, way worse than Duchamp because it’s so much less funny when you tell the same joke after other people have been telling the fucking joke for A CENTURY. Wow yes elevating nonart things to art status by reframing them very readymade such institutional critique wow. A++ very creative. Ugh.
Yeah, basically, I’d describe this piece as toothless, narcissistic, and ironically very, very outdated.
This is everything I hoped for when I tagged you. Thank you. I feel better about things now. Also worse, but you know.
i see a lot of people spending time thinking about “who tops” in their otp when they should be thinking about
- who quotes twilight at the other person
- who appreciates cat videos more
- who spent a hellish summer working in the worst gamestop you can imagine
- who lets the other person win in ticklefights
- who chews on their pencil
- who’s the person who accidentally thinks of their grandparents one time while they’re making out and kills the mood
is this a meme because I am going to do this like a meme
Angel/Spike - 1)Spike (ironically, but also not) 2) Angel definitely, 3) Spike, 4) neither it is a fight to the undeath. Sometimes stakes are involved., 5) Angel, 6) Spike. But also, isn’t Angel kind of his grandfather? But also for Spike thinking to much about Angel while boning Angel probably ruins the mood.
Billy/Teddy - 1) Definitely Billy, 2) secretly Teddy, 3) Definitely Teddy - omg don’t make someone whose wishes become reality do that. So. Many. Accidents. (i want this fanfic), 4) this also has to be Teddy because if he wanted to he could make himself totally not ticklish, so he has to be willing. 5) both of them, 6) How is this a question when Magneto is an option. (I think I subconsciously chose this pairing because of this question)
RoseMary - 1) Both of them. Rose ironically, Kanaya out of habit. She’s read it at least 5 times. 2) At first, Rose, but Kanaya totally fell for them. Now it’s hard to tell. 3) Rose. Probably because Dave dared her while trying to be ironic and she followed through to spite him, get out of her house, and to get more money that was not her mother’s. Out of spite. 4) Rose, unless she’s feeling kinky, then she lets it get to the biting. 5) Kanaya. She chews on things. 6) Both and neither? How do you even define Rose or Kanaya’s grandparents? Because isn’t Rose kind of her own? And Porrim doesn’t make you lose the mood.
SoRiKai - 1) Selphie made Kairi read it, Riku read it because Kairi and Selphie wouldn’t stop arguing about it, but Sora, who hasn’t read it, ends up picking up mostly ironic quotations and using them in earnest. Because that’s the kind of guy he is. 2) Kairi is the sender of cat videos, normally with the text “OMG this you Riku!” or “SORA YOU ARE THIS CAT” and they get passed around and everyone enjoys them thoroughly and there is much Riku blushing. 3) Sora got the job, was fired for spacing out and then attempting to compensate and knocking down five display shelves. Riku took his place and was told that he needed to be more cooperative and outwardly helpful so he quit. Kairi exasperatedly took over and ended up as assistant manager by the end of the summer. 4) Depending on how grumpy Riku is being, its a tagteam effort and there is no “letting them win”. 5) Sora’s pencils are all either chewed up or lost within a week. 6) Probably Riku.
okay, that’s enough I am going to be doing this all night
Let’s play a game.
Type the following words into your tags box, then post the first automatic tag that comes up.
you, also, what, when, why, how, look, because, never
#YOU EVEN BUILT THE FUCKING CARRIERS
#also they are leaving and I need new housemates if I a
#when all you have is a H.A.M.M.E.R.
#WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE THIS SEASON
#how do you gif wow
#looks like this floor is thinking creatively
#because come on
#2/3s of a threesome that ill never happen that just keep fucking anyway pretending they are in a threesome but totally not
ah yes of course the first thing i draw when my computer starts working again is this butthole
'Ignore sat-nav' sign (by rowanC82)A council has put up a sign warning lorry drivers to ignore their satellite navigation systems after faulty sat-nav directions caused traffic chaos in Wales. Vale of Glamorgan Council in South Wales is the first in the UK to use visual signs warning drivers not to believe sat-nav advice after once peaceful villages were reduced to bedlam when heavy-goods lorries got stuck in tiny country lanes. Now a sign aimed largely at foreign drivers has been put up on the outskirts of the village of St Hilary. “The proliferation of satellite navigation aids used in heavy goods vehicles, and their over-reliance, especially by overseas drivers, has presented itself as a problem within the Vale of Glamorgan,” a spokesman for the council’s highways department said.
*cue people driving into florida swamps*