“Who wants to live forever”, sang the late Freddy Mercury, singer of the rock band “Queen”. Since the beginning of the world, human beings dreamed of being able to prolong the duration of their existence in a significant way, and their only hope resided perhaps religious beliefs that promised eternal life in some paradise. But the recent dazzling progress of science in the fields of medical science, nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence might perhaps liberate us from divine intervention and open the doors to a paradise where death will indeed be a thing of the past!
In an article published last February 15th on the CBC French website “Those transhumanists who promise immortality” (see also “The Immortalists – can science defeat death?”), engineer and futurologist Ray Kurzweil “has a clear ambition to end death”. He says that soon it will be possible to upload one’s brain into the cloud. Another transhumanist, Laurent Alexandre, doctor and Web entrepreneur, author of the book “The death of death”, “is convinced that children born today will live much longer”.
Even if they don’t all agree on the means we will take to prolong our existence, transhumanists share this vision that the current limits of life, that sentence human beings to face death, will soon have their frontiers blasted! But will we wish to live forever inside a computer program, as sophisticated as it may be? Or inserted into a robotic machine made of metal and electrical wires? Would there not be another alternative, which would respect our morphology and our biology?
It seems that yes! Rael, in his book “Yes to Human Cloning” (www.rael.org), argues that thanks to the technology of human cloning, we will be able to extend our existence significantly and within a biological “envelope”: “In stage Three cloning, instead of downloading our personality and memory into a computer, it is transferred directly into the young body that we just cloned from ourselves. It is just a matter of inserting the software into the hardware, and we then wake up in a young body with all our memories and personality intact, ready to live another cycle of life. This process can be repeated indefinitely, moving from one cloned body of ourselves to another new cloned body. That is why cloning is the key to eternal life.”
It must be understood here that the cloning technology to which Rael alludes implies the making of a perfect virgin copy of oneself, a clone, thanks to an accelerated growth technique, an improvement over current cloning techniques, which will allow producing an “adult” clone in a very short time.
One would think that we all want to access this technology that will allow us to live hundreds if not thousands of years, but what about people who are suffering, people who are depressed; what we wish to do here isn’t it to extend life but not the suffering?
Rael answers this question very well: “Euthanasia should be offered to all those whose suffering remains incurable, whether it be physical or mental. The right to eternal life and the right to die go hand in hand in a modern society that respects freedom of personal choice.” (Yes to human cloning, P45).
On this issue, we will not be able to separate eternal life and happiness in life!
And if Quebec poet Claude Péloquin, who recently died, came back to life, he could yell his famous sentence to anyone wishing to hear it: “Aren’t you sick of dying, you suckers! It’s enough!”
Whoever has ears, let them hear…
Raelian Church Columnist