Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Virtual Immortality: A Google+ Conversation
PIRATE: RIP, Hitch
ME: Ah, but would Christopher Hitchens really want us to wish him "rest?" After all, as a naturalist he did not believe in spiritual realities like "souls." Hence, he is no more. Gone. Kaput. Finished. Nada. Dead meat. Extinct. Flatlined. Snuffed. Stiff. He returns to the material from which he was constituted, and his "personality" lives on only in the firing of the neurons in the brains of those of us who remain. And when we are gone, he will have really disappeared. Unless... ; )
PIRATE: I'm sure Hitch would hope that his name would be a watchword for The Informed
Let's continue to use Hitch-slap for a delivery of prose that leaves the recipient slack-jawed :-)
ME: Smile. Yes, as I said, that's his only hope: millions of followers of Hitchianity, who worship their idol by the sacred rite of Hitch-slapping! : ) Just what Hitch would have wanted!
PIRATE: You polemicist.
Do you worship Jobs, if you use a MAC, oops, bad analogy...
Do you worship Gates if you use Windows, oops, another...
Do you worship Linus if you use Linux, HA!
I see Hitch as a good stop-gap until I can get my own renown for Moleslaps.
If the only way I can keep an open mind is to worship a rational Humanist.
Then, so be it!
CABIN BOY: There's a bit of a difference between admiration and worship as well. Perhaps there is someone out there who sings songs of praise and prostrates themselves in prayer before Hitch, but I've yet to see it, and somewhat doubt that a person such as this would exist without some sort of mental disability.
EDIT: Grammatical error.
PIRATE to CABIN BOY: Wrote me a book on Mental Instability
You wanna pigeon-hole me, fine.
I've found most people, when asked about me say.
"Yeah, he's a bit mental!"
I'm a one-eyed man...
CABIN BOY - I'm not saying that you do worship him...unless you sing him songs and pray to him. In which case... yeah.
Admiration is one thing, but worship is another.
ME: worship, honor, admire, whatever...it's still the same...he's dead, and the only "life" he has now is in human memory, which isn't a very stable thing.
PIRATE to ME: You in a bad mood today?
CABIN BOY: and the internet. There's a ton of recordings of him. Great thing about living in the technological era is that, when people die, others still get to experience them as they were, in addition to his writings and such, you can actually see his talks, hear him speak, etc. for years and years to come.
PIRATE to ME : Ah'mein ( ;-)
ME to PIRATE Ahoy, matey, just as a pirate must sail where the wind leads, I'm just following reason where reason leads! It's a fact that Hitch is dead, and that he drank his reality neat. No diluting it with any sentimental talk of personal survival!
PIRATE to ME: He never said he was perfect.
As my dad would say
'noone is perfect, 'cepting our Lord Jesus'
with masses of Irish Catholic Irony ;-)
ME to CABIN BOY: that's a fascinating idea: virtual personal survival! It's a rift on what 18th century Bishop George Berkeley wrote, "esse est percipi.'' (To be is to be perceived.) The difference, though, is that instead of God holding things in existence by His perceiving, we become gods, granting immortality to the deceased by perceiving them thru technological means.
Yes, I might live on insofar as someone downloads me, but my "existence" will be at their mercy. So how will I ensure that I am continually perceived online? I can imagine groups in the future devoting themselves to Mormon-style genealogical searches in order practice ongoing perception of the deceased --a virtual "perpetual adoration" of sorts--resulting in a a sophisticated version of ancestor worship. Can you imagine all the money to be made there? ; ) "What do you do?" "Oh, I'm an Observer. I maintain 1387 persons in continuing perceptual immortality."
As Woody Allen said: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work.. I want to achieve it through not dying."
So there are those who wish to escape the physical bonds of their bodies entirely, even before death. If Kurzweil is correct, we'll enjoy virtual immortality in just another 17 years. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/6217676/Immortality-only-20-years-away-says-scientist.html . But what happens if I catch a virus? What happens if my files get corrupted? Are nanobots eternal? What happens if they fail? Is that the "second death?"
"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Forgive me if I'm skeptical of technology on this score.