The Imposition of Death

G. Stolyarov II
Issue CCLXVII - November 24, 2010
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            If you are reading this article, you probably do not deserve the death penalty. You probably have not murdered, raped, or tortured anybody. In all likelihood, you probably have not even committed petty theft. The most elementary understanding of justice requires that only the guilty should suffer, and only in proportion to their guilt. If a person willfully inflicts harm on an innocent human being, this is widely recognized as a heinous injustice. But only the worst offenders deserve death.

            And yet, you have been sentenced to death, and all too few people lament or object. Certainly, you might have the benefit of a drawn-out appeals process, for some of you perhaps as long as eighty or ninety years. During your appeals you can employ various maneuvers – diet, exercise, medical treatments, avoidance of risk – to slow down the sequence of events that threaten to destroy you, collectively known as senescence.  But with the scant few tools presently available to you, the verdict is foreordained. You will lose. The system has presumed you guilty in advance, and it will dispose of you in the same callous, merciless way that it has dispatched billions before you. There is no cosmic justice, and, to survive, you will need to help create such justice.

            The desire to achieve indefinite life is simply the logical extension of the basic principle of justice – for why should only events caused by humans be judged as just or unjust? If the preservation of innocent human life is desirable, it should be desirable even when the threat does not come from another human being. The suffering and deaths of human beings due to accidents and natural disasters are rightly lamented and combated using the most advanced methods available. There is no controversy about the desirability of reducing the impact of these calamities. Neither should there be any controversy about reducing human suffering and death by combating senescence. The closer we come to a world where only moral transgressions bring about suffering and only the most heinous evils conceivable bring about death, the more our lives could be said to resemble anything like justice.

            Death is an imposition you did not ask for. You would not wish it on yourself directly, and you would not wish to bring it about indirectly by committing a crime so terrible as to deserve it. Yet many people today would find your death to be normal, inevitable, and somehow even desirable – a part of their own misguided conception of the natural order of things – despite your innocence and your desire to live. Of course, if another human murdered you, most of these people would condemn the murderer, and rightly so. But if senescence robs you of your life in your sleep at the age of ninety, these same people would shrug and say that this is just the way things are, have always been, and always ought to be.  Why the double standard?

            Fortunately, with the astonishing advances in medical science and technology that are occurring in our time, your appeals against the verdict of the harsh court of senescence need not be lost. Already, dedicated researchers and activists are working on ways to defeat the greatest enemy humankind – including you – has ever faced. You can inform yourself about their efforts and the most cutting-edge longevity science by visiting the following websites:

* SENS Foundation

* Methuselah Foundation

* Immortality Institute

* The Longevity Meme

* Fight Aging!

* Singularity University

            If you would prefer not to be deprived of everything you are and have – of your very existence – without your consent, then exploring these resources and many others on the subject of indefinite life extension should be your first step. If you are not yet persuaded that lifting your death sentence is both feasible and desirable, then I urge you: give this literature an honest, thorough examination. You might just change your mind, and if not, then at least you will learn much that will intrigue, fascinate, and develop you. You have nothing to lose and a potentially unlimited lifespan to gain. And if you are already persuaded, then learn as much as you can about the promise of indefinite life and about the many ways in which you can help.

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This TRA feature has been edited in accordance with TRA's Statement of Policy.

Click here to return to TRA's Issue CCLXVII Index.

Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.