WIRING THE ARK

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HACKING MORTALITY - page 2

A LIVING SACRIFICE

In his letter to the Romans, Paul stated, “I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”

When does this stop being true?

Is there a time when your body stops being a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God?

Does it happen when you become morbidly obese?

Is staring into a screen most of the day, day after day, displeasing?

What of those born by means of stem cells transformed into human tissue grown outside the body?

Born following significant gene editing?

Injured in war and with both legs and arms replaced by bionics?

On steroids? On brain medications?

Those who have embedded their skin with LEDs and processors, who glow and compute, their thoughts automatically sent to the cloud.

Ever? If not, why not? When does a human start and stop being human? Our tech is already stretching the boundary.

This study suggests that a man — “man” — undergoes hormonal changes when his wife is pregnant.

Levels of oxytocin, the so-called ˜cuddle hormone, almost double in fathers between the time the mothers become pregnant and the first months of fatherhood. Prolactin, the hormone that triggers lactation in women, was almost a fifth higher in fathers of infants than in non-fathers. Fatherhood also physically alters the brain. In a 2014 study, researchers scanned mens brains in the first month after their children were born, and then again after the fourth month. It turned out that gray matter grew in areas linked to reward, attachment and complex decision-making.

What happens if this hormonal change never goes away? Or never shows up? What of the father who pumps himself full of this hormone, addicted to the joyous love of his little baby?

There is a gene that some have which predisposes them to studying. It’s going away:

The genes that predispose people to attain higher levels of education have been in decline over the past 80 years, and researchers are suggesting that they’re now under negative selection, which could have a big impact on our species in the coming centuries.

As computing spreads everywhere, maybe we don’t need this gene? Let’s literally edit it out, making room for other senses. Will our bodies still be holy and pleasing?

I wonder if we can develop something that adds or takes away — or both — from our bodies so that God simply refuses to find it holy and or pleasing.

Will publicly professed atheists demand access to it?

Many people hear voices. There is a semi-controversial treatment which has the sufferers engage the voices, rather than attempting to silence them — typically done via alcohol, medication, or suicide, or a combination of the three.

In his 20s, while working as a janitor and selling drugs to scrape together college tuition, Hadge self-medicated with alcohol and heroin to drown out the voices. Over the years, he spent time in nearly every hospital in western Massachusetts, from Springfield to Deerfield to the Berkshires. He was told at different times that he had bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, major depressive disorder, trauma, and schizophrenia. Hadge didnt put much stock in the diagnoses because they kept changing.

I predict we are less than 15 years away from the widespread use of technology which can direct sound — or voices — to individuals. Walk into a store and a voice only you hear says, “hello, welcome, these are today’s specials.”

Then a hacker will have the voices only you hear always be threatening.

And some will install tech which makes them hear the voices louder, or blocks them altogether.

There may be tech that ends our blindness or enables us to resuscitate, using lab-grown organs and all manner of electronics, those who have been dead for, say, 7 days.

We are radically altering our bodies and brains and constructing a world where our bodies and brains interact with everyone and everything in a manner which has never existed before. I assume God will still allow us, notwithstanding all our upgrades and alterations, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, even those brought back to life after a week on ice, but I’m not completely certain.

AT THE LIMITS OF FLESH

Who deserves eternal life? Is it due only to those fortunate enough to be born at a certain place and time?

This seems hardly fair.

Should the universe ever care of fairness.

Einstein, Michelangelo, Darwin, Churchill, Verdi, and everyone who has ever lived before this very moment was consigned to death. Now, even terrible people believe they can live long enough for human innovation to make it so they can live forever.

But should there be an entrance exam?

If you die, and you will, you can have your remains cremated, your ashes pressed into a record, perhaps a record containing your favorite songs.

Will the future know how to play a record?

Will it care?

Very few have an impact that ripples long after their death.

But if they lived forever? Would more time catalyze greater impact, greater achievement, glory or creativity?

If Beethoven were born 200 years before the piano, would his genius have otherwise been liberated?

Is that it, do we all just need more time?

A woman can choose to get pregnant then choose to kill the otherwise thriving fetus inside her.

When does that go away?

Is it only when we can all literally watch the budding human beating, breathing, changing? The womb — be it natural or artificial — fully accessible to our eyes or other senses?

I used to think death was awful.

Now, there’s just so much of it.

No wonder we fight it, no wonder our multi-billionaires funnel billions in covert dollars to genius modern-day doctors Frankenstein. The high price of not-death seems always worth it.

But have we earned it?

Rebuttal: Have we earned electricity, refrigeration, the nuclear bomb?

We never seem capable of answering the ontological uncertainty our creations always foster.

Should there be a set of beliefs, values, a readiness to sacrifice, a commitment to greatness before we allow a human-led immortality?

If God wanted to stop us, it seems like he would have by now.

Should we demand he take action?

We seek, explore, leave, abandon, a relentless pursuit, feeding, nourishing, extending, but always it has been like before. No longer. We are no longer just changing how we live but what we are. We are hacking our mortality, computerizing our senses, digitalizing our perception, altering life at the creation level.

We are growing meat inside artificial wombs, growing bone in faraway printers, inserting processors into our brain, all without God’s blessing, all without acknowledgement of what will be lost — which may very well be everything — which, maybe you don’t care, understood, but devouring all that came before just might leave nothing remaining to go forward. You have been warned.

This is the end of the line.

We can’t go forward, not anymore, unlike the entirety of human (like) existence, but we know no other way, we must go forward, we can’t stop, so we will simply become something else, something next human but not human, and I wish I had faith that in the aggregate, or even just for my loved ones, that it would be for the better, or merely just acceptable, but I do not.

At the limits of our flesh, we are cannibalizing our self.

Whatever the best of you, keep it safe, alive, for as long as you still can.

IT'S NONE IN YOUR HEAD

It’s all in your head, they say, all in your head, only you’re starting to think they’re wrong, it’s wrong, because maybe none of it’s in your head, just maybe, you’re not entirely sure, but maybe the more we learn, the more science deconstructs, the more it becomes apparent that much of what we feel and even how we feel comes from beyond our brain, from our gut, mostly, and even ailments once thought catalyzed entirely or just mostly in our head, like chronic fatigue or irritable bowel syndrome, even depression, stuff like that, we now learn are caused by a nebulous brew of viruses, bacteria, lack of sunlight, never walking on the Earth barefoot, an artificially processed intestinal tract, and this concerns you partly because it reveals just how much we don’t know plus it reveals just how much humanity has forgotten plus — plus plus — it reveals the horror-folly of the very Silicon Valley idea of uploading our brain into a giant computer, allowing us to live forever, as if, because this very notion is not only not ((human)) but it’s also clear that within years or months or days or maybe even within seconds the uploaded brain-person would go stark raving mad, unable to feel, unable to touch, their “mind” disconnected from its body, from nature, from *literally* everything that came before, and this hideous alt-reality, where most of what is human is gone forever, for real this time, but there’s another horror coming up fast because it seems clearer then that even if the whole brain-uploading thing is sci-fi folly, how does that jibe with your belief in God, in heaven, in a glorious, eternal, body-less, non-corporeal spirit version of your ((self)), which you don’t have an answer for, not this moment, and you try to imagine how your spirit and how heaven can be different than the sci-fi fantasy version, as best as your mind can, because this horrific idea of living as brain only, no worse, as brain inside a digitized robotized body, never able to come, never able to laugh, never able to eat, calls the very idea of heaven — as a good thing — into question, making your mind spin because you do believe in God and in heaven and that we are using the Bible as a makers guide, building objects, devices, robots and other creations where we are the God to them, and where we will no doubt be disappointed in them, maybe even have to wipe them out, Noah-like, and start anew, and you so love this idea, the Bible as makers guide, and how we are so obviously constructing the very magic found in the Bible, even those who don’t believe, who sneer at those of us who do believe, they are actively pursuing creating devices whose antecedents can be clearly found in the Bible, devices like the kind that let us send our brain signals to impact the physical world, just like prayer, but you’re not going to prove that today, not here, not now, so you tell yourself to reign it in, focus on what exists right now, but you can’t because dammit we are already so close to swapping actual ((human)) interactions for false ones, like when I get that text from my sister that makes me smile, just as she knew it would, partly because it’s funny and partly because she knows me and partly because it’s a (random) ((human)) connection, only soon how can any of us know that it’s really from our sister, sort of like how I type a search into Google and it magically fills it out and I think, wow, so many other humans have asked the exact same question, and I feel closer to ((people)) somehow, but maybe Google doesn’t — or won’t — need human input at all, so your query is just more empty space, which causes you to think this might all be a rend in how we’ve evolved, which causes you to consider the upending cosmological notion that there is no such thing as evolution, nor natural selection, nor reality, not reality as we still rationalize it, rather we are all part of a sim run by those who already left their bodies, who are digitized brain only, living inside that giant robot, and who can no longer feel as fully as possible, and the only way for them to come close to feeling again, which they so desperately crave, so desperately need to prevent a full-on disembarking insanity, is for them to have us sim ((humans)) engage in full-on bodily interactions, things like fighting, wrestling, intercourse, killing by knife, by strangulation, only their sim went too far afield, it played out too long, we ((humans)) have all gone soft and part-digital and are quickly removing ourselves further and further away from the physical realm so much so that our sim overlords are throwing in AI and robots and other devices to take over nearly all our thinking functions, the intent being to push us closer closer closer to a return to our full physical self, with all those non-brain feelings, the AIs and bots handling everything else for us, which you find not fully explanatory, but it’s warm outside so you force yourself to stop thinking and go for a walk in the sun.

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