THE TRANSHUMANIST SCRAPBOOK: CREDIT, DEBT, FINANCIAL PURGATORY & ...April 20, 2014
Mr. A. sent this article to me, and I have to talk about it, because when I read it, and his accompanying email(which we'll get to in a moment), a flood of implications came rushing through my mind. The title of the little spam piece was simply something like "longevity whether you want it or not", and it made me think: why would the idea of longevity as something unsought or unbidden, and as something to be compelled, now be making the rounds? We'll get back to that in a moment. Here's the article:
As you can see, the article is from 2010, and raises once again - as Mr. A pointed out in his email to me - what capabilities might actually exist in secret. If one assumes even a decade or two decade lead time, those capabilities may be extraordinary. But he said something else in his email, which gave me pause. As I said, we'll get back to that in a moment.
But first, a little background. When my co-author Dr Scott D de Hart and I were researching and writing Transhumanism: A Grimoire of Alchemical Agendas, one of the things we talked about was, of course, Percy Shelley's Frankenstein (For the authorship question of the famous novel, see his Shelley Unbound: Discovering Frankenstein's True Creator). In the novel, as he pointed out one morning during one of our early morning "reviews" and brainstorming sessions, the "monster" is the unintended victim of the very technologies and techniques that created him; it was a truly prophetic insight from Shelley, who seemed to have foreseen all the major issues that would emerge in our own transhumanist age. We ran through several "scenarios of longevity." The usual scenario entertained, of course, is that the longevity-technologies, the so-called GRIN technologies of the transhumanists, would only initially be available to the very rich, to those able to afford "life extension." (The GRIN technologies, for those new to the subject, are Genetics, Robotics, Information processing, and Nanotechnology.) The other idea that we kicked around in our brainstorming sessions was the idea that longevity might, in fact, be something that was forced on the population. As I recall, it was Dr. de Hart who made the observation. In the end, we decided not to include extensive speculations of this sort, because we thought the book already wild enough as it was, and that such speculations were down the road a ways.
We were mistaken in that assumption, however, for as I have recently blogged on site, some are already viewing growing possibilities of longevity with some alarm, for the combination of memory-enhancing or downloading and uploading technologies, in combination with life-extension technologies, and - to crawl way out on the end of a Dr Walter Bishop twig of speculation here - the ability to recover the final memories of the dead, would be a horrific punishment. Imagine forcing a murderer to relive his victim's final moments. And then add to this the life-extension technologies, and one would have the ability to make someone relive a horror, over and over again. It would be the ultimate in "perfect justice," since the victim's last memories would be frozen, so to speak, in all eternity, and thus, perfect justice would not only require the forfeiture of the murder's life, but an actual experience of his victim's horrors. If such twisted "jurisprudential logic" sounds awful, just remember that the logic is already deeply embedded in western culture in the "sacrificial logic" at the heart of its religious system. (For the original blog about this subject, see: Another One for the Transhumanist Scrapbook: Draconian Punishments)
But in consideration of the article that Mr. V.T. sent me, and which I saw in my own spam box, the thought occurred: why does there seem to be an effort now, not only to champion and promote 3d printing, science and space careers, space commercialization, and so on, but also a subtle though real uptake in papers promoting the generation of this or that organ, or the successful application of one of the GRIN technologies to this or that problem? Why does longevity also appear to be a theme which is also subtly on the increase as a theme being promoted? (Or am I mistaken in this impression?)
And here is where Mr. A.'s statement in his email hit me: Here's what he said in conjunction with the idea that such technologies may secretly be decades ahead of what is publicly known: " I suspect they are q u i t e a ways further down the road than the public will ever hear for a long time. Don't want these things spent on 'useless eaters' - only them as have large bank accounts and have been suitably blessed by mandarins of the 'breakaways'." That was, of course, the usual scenario that most people consider with regard to the longevity technologies. But what if Dr. de Hart's idea was actually the one in play?
I had to think about this one for a moment, and then the thought hit me: our current system of debt and credit is essentially a system that is based on a human life space of approximately 60-70 years(the typical life span of a human when it was set up). All financial systems, at some point, are about monetizing human labor, work, and ndustry (and no, I am not a Marxist!) We have seen, also, the dramatic expansion of credit in the past twenty or so years, with the creation of new types of "securities" - derivatives in all of their...er... derivatives - which greatly exceed the GDP of the world by several multiples(as we saw with yesterday's blog). The speculation thus arises: what if these two things, seemingly discrete and unrelated, are in fact related? What is longevity is already being conceived as a means of "paying the interest" on all the massive expansion of credit that we have witnessed in the past 20 years?
If that speculation seems more high octane than usual, it is worth recalling a fact that I mentioned in Fnancial Vipers of Venice, namely, that the sacrificial logic of western culture is also a kind of "primordial debt theory," a theory that, as I indicated, is being studied by the financial powers of Europe, and studied with approbation. Longevity would be a method, within such a system, of a kind of "financial purgatory," from which there would be no escape until the high financial-spiritual power had decided that the last minim had been paid.
High octane? To be sure. But it does provide a context from which to speculate why the high financial powers seem to be so concentrated on the Vatican bank recently, for in such a system of monetized longevity, the approbation of a "trusted spiritual authority" might be needed to sell it.
Thank goodness I sold my shares of common stock in Papacy, Inc., long ago.
See you on the flip side.