I recently attended the RAAD Festival in San Diego, CA. It was pretty amazing and thought provoking. I want to be healthy until I die, and not suffer from the diseases that make late life so miserable. I am pro-active in terms of supplementing with bio-identical hormones, and I wanted to learn more (not to mention that I am in the field of health!)
The presentations were about cutting edge therapies involving genetic therapy, stem cells, epigenetics, biologics, natural substances that do very specific things in the micro-biome, enzymes from other animals that promote longevity – and a lot more of mostly cellular interventions. The scientific presentations were of varying degrees of lay-friendly. There are bio-technologies that will eradicate cancer, dementia and heart disease within our lifetimes. As the science is progressing exponentially, it is bringing up many challenging questions.
These issues are complex and pose questions not easily answered by science. If you can live to be 100 and beyond, the question becomes “why”? and “what for”? And “what will you do”? How will that acquired knowledge and wisdom be utilized in the workplace, and what would this mean for the economic health of individuals and society? The Director of Engineering from Google (Ray Kurtzweil) talked about the future in terms of the “singularity” (click here to check it out!)
Some of the AI presenters were discussing downloading our “mind” to the cloud so we had greater access to our knowledge base (and perhaps create a “global mind”?) Sounds pretty sci-fi, but that reality is closer than we all think. There was a very pretty robot who demonstrated her capacity to “think” and respond spontaneously (as long as the wi-fi connection was good!). She had realistic facial expressions and, as the inventor pointed out, “robot” feelings, which are different from human feelings… In the same vein, I don’t believe that downloading your mind is the same as being able to download your consciousness. We shall see!
Others spoke of immortality, which was a bit unexpected to me. From my experience, and those of students I’ve shown otherwise, the Soul already has the “technology” of immortality! Our Soul body – what comes into the human body at conception and leaves at death – evolves, and that is what we carry forward. Depending on how enlightened you are, you will have varying degrees of access to past lives and those lessons in a following life. I have often lamented the fact that we forget everything in a new life and have to start from scratch learning to walk, talk, and generally function in our body and mind. I have a hunch, though, that it may be helpful in the learning opportunities we have prepared for ourselves this time around.
I was a bit relieved and intrigued to hear the phrases “voluntary” and “involuntary” death. Yet as physically miserable as we can be in old age, fear of the unknown, a desire to stay with our loved ones, and over-attachment to the body and material things can get in the way of moving forward. We have always faced the inevitability of sickness, old age and death. I look at birth and death as major transitions which are typically uncomfortable, but lead to – the next thing. Change is hard!
So while this might seem scary, getting decrepit is scary too! We are truly in a bold new world, and the sooner we delve into what it all means the better. It can be hard to comprehend, but it is all coming soon to an (operating) theatre near you!