Yuval Noah Harari caught in the Immortality Trap: how to frame Open Lifespan poorly

Several friends of mine, ones I respect a lot, recommended me to read Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari. I was told Harari writes about the potential of longevity technologies lengthening healthy lifespan. I decided to give it a go and purchased the book for GBP 6.99.

My main reference is the ‘Immortality’ section of Homo Deus called The Last Days of Death. That is and was plenty enough.

1. Immortality vs Open Lifespan

The last Days of Death chapter opens with:

In the 21st century humans are likely to make a serious bid for immortality.

Stop right there: Harari thinks the term ‘immortality’ captures the human quest of continuously lengthening biologically human, healthy lifespan.

With in opening like this Harari is conceptually instantly closing the serious discussion of this topic by falling into the Immortality Trap.[1] Continue reading “Yuval Noah Harari caught in the Immortality Trap: how to frame Open Lifespan poorly”

Individual Open Lifespan Trajectories as hyperobjects; Temporal Undulation

Let’s continue studying Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects to harness it for Open Lifespan. Earlier I talked about ‘viscosity’ and ‘nonlocality’ and applied them to Open Lifespan trajectories.

Quick recap: Hyperobjects are ‘things that are massively distributed in time and space relative to humans’: think global warming as a paradigmatic case. Now consider a (counterfactual)  individual open lifespan trajectory that is your life lived for hundreds of years: wouldn’t that object qualify for being a hyperobject in the Mortonian sense?

Temporal undulation is the hyperobject characteristic that I was most confused about initially but after couple more careful readings of the corresponding chapter in Hyperobjects it turned out to be the feature where Open Lifespan trajectories can be enlightened and benefit most from Morton’s deep ecological OOO thinking and accompanying superb linguistic forms. Continue reading “Individual Open Lifespan Trajectories as hyperobjects; Temporal Undulation”

Celebrate World Philosophy Day: ideas of philosophers helping Open Lifespan

Let’s celebrate UNESCO’s World Philosophy Day here by listing 6 philosophers (5 still living, 1 dead), whose 6 ideas have been used so far to develop Open Lifespan philosophy further. ‘Ideas’ are meant broadly here including concepts, arguments, theses, all the logical units used by philosophical discussions. Below a quick intro to these philosophers with the particular relevant idea type highlighted in bold. Continue reading “Celebrate World Philosophy Day: ideas of philosophers helping Open Lifespan”

Daily effort: Open Lifespan does not rely on strong anthropocentrism

Anthropocentrism is also known by other names as humanocentrism, human-centeredness or human exceptionalism. It has something to do with attributing a special significance to humans in the universe.
According to the Environmental Ethics entry of Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy strong anthropocentrism only assigns intrinsic value to human beings alone. So intrinsic value, whatever it would be, is captured in absolute terms and applied only to humans.
In weak anthropocentrism value assignment gets relative and quantitative by human beings representing greater amount of intrinsic value than any non-human things.
Ecological thinkers and environmental ethicists have a rather easy job finding traces of anthropocentrism in the works of canonical thinkers of Western philosophy.
Object-oriented ontology also attacks and rejects anthropocentrism and moves away from epistemological approaches.
When working out bits and pieces of Open Lifespan philosophy Continue reading “Daily effort: Open Lifespan does not rely on strong anthropocentrism”

Politics of longevity: 4 current trends to face

The following are edited versions of some of the slides from the second part of my recent Fourth Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing talk in Brussels, dealing with longevity advocacy. I chose to talk about politics there and turns out several others were focusing on politics too. Not going to over-explain the slides here.

The 4 trends and my slides providing some tips as well mainly through earlier Open Lifespan post titles.

1. ethical tech backlash, social inequality

2.  identity politics

3. sustainability

4.  anti-liberal, anti-globalist trends

And the concluding slide

The concept and reality of a Longevity World Community, reading Jens Bartelson

Introduction

The immediate focus of this post is to investigate the possibility of a world community centered around longevity. Is there an existing seed of such a community and conceptually what other features make a compelling case for the emergence of an organised Longevity World Community?

The historical apropos is the emergence of such a world-wide longevity community in the last two decades starting in the nineties of the last millennium and the very recent turning of part of this community into a world-wide longevity industry aiming to capitalise on the breakthrough understanding of the biological aging process and interventions counteracting it in order to increase healthy lifespan.

The background context of this mini-study is the question of how longevity can be introduced into politics. One prominent feature of this introduction is informed by the philosophical discussion between Rawls-ian liberalism and its communitarian critics.

The intellectual trigger is Jens Bartelson’s book, called Visions of World Community, published in 2008 by CUP. Continue reading “The concept and reality of a Longevity World Community, reading Jens Bartelson”

Individual Open Lifespan Trajectories as hyperobjects

I am more and more interested in connecting ecological thought and open lifespan longevity philosophy and in this book blog I have so far made 2 direct attempts, please see Open Lifespan & ecological awareness: scaling up to become global humans  and Wanted: a Global Healthy Longevity report a la IPCC study on Global Warming of 1.5ºC .

My current main theoretical inspiration and guide is Timothy Morton’s Hyperobjects. Here I need to acknowledge that I am less certain in what I have to say as Morton writes in the style of continental philosophy and draws largely from that tradition, while the knowledge and method base am using mainly comes from analytic philosophy. But I welcome the uncertainty that comes with moving into a stranger territory.

Let’s start with the thought experiment of assuming that Open Healthspan technologies counteracting the biological aging processes have been developed and mature enough to grant individuals Open Lifespans, that is people have open-ended, indefinite lifespans and a fixed low mortality rate.

Consider now an individual open lifespan trajectory that is your life lived for hundreds of years: wouldn’t that object qualify for being a hyperobject in the Mortonian sense? Continue reading “Individual Open Lifespan Trajectories as hyperobjects”

Would you choose to live longer than anybody else or first help others to do so?

Forget everything you know about the complexity of interventions giving you indefinite healthy lifespan and imagine for the sake of a thought experiment that accidentally you have found a pill giving you this feature, but only you. Would you swallow that pill? Continue reading “Would you choose to live longer than anybody else or first help others to do so?”

Daily Effort: Why coma is not a good fit for first-person, moral thought experiments?

This is going to be a very dense daily effort as I’m sitting alone in a big reception tent at the Eden Project in Cornwall, tired and it’s getting cold.

Already discussed Nagel’s Death essay twice, now is the 3rd time. In the text, after he has introduced the principle of life’s default positivity he is aiming to conceptually restrict discussion on the value of one person’s life. So he makes the following attempt to dismiss ‘mere organic survival’:

The value of life and its contents does not attach to mere organic survival: almost everyone would be indifferent (other things equal) between immediate death and immediate coma followed by death twenty years later without reawakening.

Nagel is asking us here to do a first-person, moral thought experiment in which we are given 2 options to conclude quickly that mere organic survival (coma being an obvious example of it) is not satisfactory (fit enough) when the value component of the principle ‘it is good simply to be alive’ is being discussed. He knows that coma technically speaking is still being alive so it’s important for him to dismiss it from the discussion.

I think mere organic survival cannot be simply dismissed with a one-sentence thought experiment like this. Here’s quickly why. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Why coma is not a good fit for first-person, moral thought experiments?”

My talk in Brussels: Preparing to live (way) beyond current lifespan

I was invited to give a talk at the upcoming Fourth Eurosymposium on Healthy Ageing in Brussels, early November, please see abstract below:

For some people, wanting to live longer lives is genuinely motivated by a serious interest in pursuing multiple and different activities in life and realising the strict time constraints current life expectancy imposes on pursuing such a plan. For others, the trigger is coming from the fear of death and disease and the accompanying pain and suffering. Let’s call the former the upbeat, the latter the downbeat path to longevity advocacy. Continue reading “My talk in Brussels: Preparing to live (way) beyond current lifespan”