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From the point of view of evolution, one of the most fundamental properties of life is its disposability. Barring a small minority of “immortal” or negligibly senescent organisms, such as some species of sturgeon, tortoises, bacteria, and jellyfish, all living beings are subject to a planned obsolescence. To be born is to die, to be replaced, such is the natural order of things, “the cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.” Our presence on this planet has been the result of a 4 billion year experiment, carried out by a blind scientist, whose only visible goal is to arrive at the best solution to the ever-changing problem of survival. The whole earth is a laboratory for the trials of an indifferent and uncanny animator which seeks only the selfish propagation of its experiments without clear purpose or end. For evolution, just as for the scientist in the laboratory, the disposability of earlier iterations is necessary if better hypotheses are to be tested and improved. Each of us is born as an expendable and incomplete form, a step on a ladder that climbs infinitely upwards and out of sight, and on the grand scheme of things, what constitutes our individual selves including the mind and what some have called the soul, is simply the waste product of reproduction, bound irrevocably for the cosmic garbage can.
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Kirkwood, T. (2001). The End of Age. BBC Reith lecture. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2001/
Hobbes, T. (1651). Leviathan. Penguin Books, 1981.
Huxley, J. (1957). Transhumanism. In New Bottles for New Wine (1957), Chatto & Windus, London.
Bostrom, N. (2003). Transhumanist Values. Ethical Issues for the 21st Century, ed. Frederick Adams (Philosophical Documentation Center Press, 2003).
- Taking Up the Cosmic Office: Transhumanism and the Necessity of Longevity
- Chapter 27
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