IMMORTALITY. It’s what we all long for. Sure, some may deny this and claim they’re just on the rollercoaster ride we call life and when it’s over it’s over. But when you look in dark corners and listen to hushed whispers you’ll often find it’s the nihilists who are hungering to live forever no matter the cost.
In 2018, Netflix debuted a series called Altered Carbon. The show is based on a 2002 novel by the same name. This won’t be a review or critique of the series or book, but I should mention that spoilers will follow to an extent.
In the nebulous future presented to us, humanity is no longer bound to their bodies. In fact, death – for the most part – has lost its bite. A breakthrough technology allows an implanted cortical stack to be situated below the brain at the base of the skull and top of the spinal column. This stack houses a person’s consciousness. All of your life, essence, memories are stored like pictures, mp3s and data on a computer hard drive.
When a person dies it’s no longer a problem. The body is just a vessel – a material host – to house the stack. The body is so degraded in importance that it’s no longer even called a body. It is now a sleeve. Much like how you change your sweater or your underwear, you can now change your age, body type, sex, you name it.
In the world of Altered Carbon it’s only Roman Catholics that have any issue with re-sleeving after they die. It seems that they alone hold to the belief that the soul goes to heaven upon death so they do not choose to participate in the perpetual life extension process.
Naturally, this makes them easy prey for the rest of society. If done correctly, murdering a Catholic can just be a thrill-kill because after they die the murderer has no worry that they’ll come back in a new body to testify against them as an eye witness to their own demise.
And while theoretically immortality in perpetuity can be achieved, there’s the matter of cost. Most people still go through a full aging process and only re-sleeve shortly before the body gives out. So the new life goal becomes being able to afford a new sleeve before you get too old so you can turn around and start the process again.
Most can only afford to do so once or maybe twice. But those with the means can buy sleeves for as long as they have wealth.
Think about it. A billionaire like Gates or Musk or a Rothschild being able to just upgrade into a new body time after time. Think of the worst tyrant and an empire that never ends. In the mythology of the show these people are called Methuselahs or “Meths” for short.
They do not believe the biblical account of the man with the longest recorded life span, they only seek to usurp the name as a title and outdo the Most High and His purposes.
In addition to being able to re-sleeve almost at will, Meths are also able to afford near real time backups of their stacks to a remote storage location. So you live a day or a week and then you update a copy of your consciousness to a server off shore somewhere to ensure that if you were to come to an untimely end you can boot back up into a new body with your most updated memories intact. It would be way uncool to die only to wake back up with the last 10 years of your life gone. And copying yourself into two bodies – double-sleeving – while technically illegal according to the show’s laws, is not unheard of or impossible to achieve.
In 2011, a nonprofit organization called The 2045 Initiative was created. As the name implies, 2045 is the year that they hope to achieve or be able to sustain virtual or other physical means of extended life unto immortality. The goal of this initiative is outlined as follows:
“…to create technologies enabling the transfer of an individual’s personality to a more advanced non-biological carrier, and extending life, including to the point of immortality. We devote particular attention to enabling the fullest possible dialogue between the world’s major spiritual traditions, science and society.”
The Initiative was founded by Russian entrepreneur Dmitry Itskov. For being a billionaire and a fairly famous transhumanist there is scant information about him or his past other than what is regurgitated in basically every article written about him. The Wikipedia entry barely rates a paragraph.
All that we’re told is that he made his billions as the founder of New Media Star, a Moscow-based news publishing company. It’s all rather murky. For a guy just approaching 40, he seems to have just popped on the scene.
He’s managed to pull scientists and experts in all sorts of fields and specialties into the initiative to explore creating the neural interface to machines and robotics along with engineering for the creation of artificial organs, systems and limbs.
Hardware and software.
The initiative has enlisted Philippe van Nedervelde as its chief evangelist. Officially he is listed as the Director of International Development.
Think Darwin’s bulldog Huxley and you’ll get the picture.
Van Nedervelde is touted as an expert in such things as virtual reality and nanotechnology. In addition to the 2045 Initiative he also serves on the board of directors of the Lifeboat Foundation which is dedicated to reducing existential threats to humanity.
He was a reserve officer in the Belgian Army and is apparently trained in nuclear-biological-chemical defense. He also has multiple degrees and language proficiencies as well. As an almost aside Wiki tells us that he has also worked alongside various European Union agencies and attended EU parliamentary hearings as well as with Washington D.C. and the CIA on detecting unconventional security threats.
Hmmmm….no spookiness there. No sir.
Lastly, he’s also a co-founder of the Order of Cosmic Engineers. Freemasons in space!?!
The OCE is an activist group with the aim of engineering the whole future of human civilization in a way that provides the best possible existence for every human being. Or at least their version of the best possible existence. Further, they hope to be able to engineer the entire universe.
Unlike other transhumanist groups, the OCE fully embraces the spiritual side of reality. Their ruling body is dubbed the College of Architects.
I wonder if they also embrace the 33 degrees.
To achieve this best possible existence, their hope is to create a universe where Clarke’s third law is reality: Highly advanced technology is considered to be indistinguishable from the supernatural or magical.
Here’s a quote from one of the Order’s other founders, William Sims Bainbridge:
“The human condition is one of extreme absurdity unless fixed in a cosmic context to provide meaning… A species which does conquer the stars will have developed a culture including a cosmic religious faith well-adapted to continue expansion indefinitely… I have suggested that only a transcendent, impractical, radical religion can take us to the stars”.
The fiction of Altered Carbon further reduces a person’s consciousness to a mere product to be bought, sold, traded or imprisoned. The consciousness can be transferred via needlecasting like a radio or video signal over wi-fi. It is referred to as D.H.F or Digital Human Freight.
So basically just cargo.
Virtual realities are spun up and you can be locked away digitally with no way out – indefinitely. It’s a Patriot Act/Guantanamo Bay wet dream. Various methods of pain, torture and punishments can be programmed into these realities for you to re-live over and over and you cannot escape and you cannot die.
Conversely, if your stack is just removed from your sleeve you are just basically in a type of stasis, almost the equivalent of extinguishment. No active memories or consciousness, no present experiences, nothing to sense. Just cold storage of digital human freight.
The sleeves are a mixture of organic tissue and nanotechnology by way of sci-fi wizardry. Enhanced reflexes, agility, strength, eye sight, etc. Weapons can be bio-encoded to a sleeve so that if your pistol is on the table 10 feet away a kind of magnetic or Star Wars force-like telekinesis can be employed to bring it back into your grip. Uplinks to networks via wireless signals are standard fare.
One of the main goals of the 2045 Initiative is called the Avatar Project. This project has four stages with various target dates for completion. Avatar A is scheduled for completion by this year and calls for a robotic body being remotely manipulated via a brain-computer interface directly from a human mind.
They appear to have achieved their first milestone as various experiments in 2019 proved that robotic appendages could be moved via human commands through an artificial interface.
Avatar B will see a human brain transplanted to a life support system, thus allowing the brain to not die and possibly allowing interaction with the environment. If possible, the brain will be transplanted into a robotic body. The deadline for this goal is 2025. Avatar C, slated for being in “production” by around 2035, will see the human personality transferred from the brain to a computerized storage system or media.
And the coup de grace will be Avatar D. Target 2045, obviously. A hologram like avatar where the person just has an ethereal projection-like “body”. I just love what Wikipedia has to say about this phase:
“This is the ultimate goal of this project but is optional since, assuming either the upload is involuntary or all humans chose to upload, biological diseases are prevented in the previous phase…”
Involuntary uploads. I guess Altered Carbon’s fiction is a little too forgiving when it comes to even Catholics being conscientious objectors. In reality The Powers That Should Not Be will likely just try to force everyone onto the latest Bill Gates funded Microsoft Holodeck full body Minecraft virtual world.
I previously wrote about the emerging hive-mind machine god that artificial intelligence and quantum computing purports to be creating. See Escaping from Westworld. Couple having an all powerful, all knowing deus en machina with being a subject in a universe that it controls and regulates all aspects of.
Consider the definition of a system image:
In computing, a system image is a serialized copy of the entire state of a computer system stored in some non-volatile form such as a file. A system is said to be capable of using system images if it can be shut down and later restored to exactly the same state. In such cases, system images can be used for backup.
Here is the perseverance and faith of the kedoshim.
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived. The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Will the Quantum Artificial Intelligent Dragon create a Cybernetic Anti-Messiah from an imaged backup of his consciousness after his physical body is killed? You tell me. We know that’s what Netflix would want us to hope for and we see that goal being worked for in our reality by Initiatives and Orders.
We who believe in our king and high priest, the messiah, understand that our death is inevitable. Our sin has a penalty. It’s inescapable. Our souls will not permit to be backed up to silicon. We cannot live in hulls of steel. The billionaires have miscalculated. The Most High will not be mocked.
To dust we shall return.
Only through walking as our messiah walked, doing the commandments of the Father shall we be reckoned. Only through our faithful high priest’s atonement for us shall we be resurrected to newness of life. Then, truly it can be said:
Where, O Death, is your victory? Where, O Death, is your sting?