“Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”
Two things strike me here about what Jesus is saying.
The first — and I think not enough attention is paid to this — is that Jesus appears to be saying that heaven is life.
“Enter into life.”
To get to heaven is not easy, according to Jesus, but for those that do, that is life. Everlasting life.
Question: What is this?
The second, more obvious part of his statement, already acknowledged, not that that makes this any easier, is that “to enter into life” is hard, so hard, in fact, that it may require each of us to cut off a hand or foot or pluck out an eye — our own — and that we must do this because the hardness of entering heaven, of achieving immortality, hard because we are so tainted with our humanness, with sin and foul thoughts, with tendencies to violence and vengeance, so far from worthy, demands all we possess.
Is the Singularity our best hope? Or worst?
Must we pluck out our eyes, cut out our limbs, digitalize our self?
The Financial Times states that radical life extension, be it uploading our ‘consciousness’ into a computer, or all other visions of (near-) immortality are merely a continuation of our most human trait: awareness of a reality beyond our death.
Silicon Valley tech evangelism and transhumanism are merely the latest forms of culturally evolved self-deception. They present us with a new metaphysical placebo for existential palliative care. Will we upload ourselves into virtual reality? Perhaps a benevolent superintelligence can help us break through into a life beyond all suffering? Could the church of the technological singularity be right in proclaiming that immortality is nearer than we think?
It is tempting to dismiss scientifically inspired presentiments of immortality as arrant nonsense, but we should not underestimate the way ideas like transhumanism speak powerfully to our unconscious need for delusion. This is not only a new religion that does without God and churches — it also is a marketing strategy for new technology. A novel form of cross-promotion and co-branding, tech evangelism really aims at a deeper and more efficient penetration into the digital marketplace by offering mortality denial in the same package.
This young mother is dead.
A Michigan woman who sacrificed the chance to prolong her life in order to give birth to her sixth child has died.
Carrie DeKlyen, 37, died early Saturday surrounded by family. The last words Nick DeKlyen said to his wife were, “I’ll see you in Heaven.”
If there is a heaven, sacrificing your life so that a child may live seems worthy of entry.
If there is no heaven, applying our biggest brains and greatest tech toward extending life significantly, this too seems worthy of support.