Is there a person alive today who does not fear dying? Well yes, if they are asleep or in a coma. But most of us, while we are awake and going about our business, harbour a deep-seated fear of dying. (“Thanatophobia”, in case anyone was wondering, being Greek for “fear of death”.)
We have all experienced the frustration of trying to impart some kind of knowledge only to be met with obviously fake arguments. What we may be less aware of, however, is the extent to which people come up with such arguments because they simply don’t want to know. And even if we are aware of this, we may not know what to do about it.
According to the Wikipedia entry on “major religious groups”, 85% of the world’s population subscribes to some kind of religion. While in reality the world is obviously not divided neatly into “religious” and “non-religious”, and while religion and theism are not quite the same thing, this statistic nevertheless shows that the various concepts of the divine continue to hold considerable sway over human thought.
The Longevity Party - started by IEET contributors Ilia Stambler and Maria Konovalenko - already has chapters in 18 nations, after only two months of existence: Russia, the US, Israel, Finland, Georgia, Canada, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Mexico, Uganda, South Africa, Korea, Philippines, Singapore.
Why are we drawn to blood and suffering? Do we lack the courage to believe in dramatically-positive visions of the future? If we had this courage, would it give us the visceral, emotional drama that we crave?
The comment threads here at IEET have changed somewhat over recent days. After what Hank Pellissier has described as “a two-month battle between religious and irreligious commenters”, suddenly peace has broken out, and everything is peace, harmony, love and understanding. The Buddha must be allowing himself a faint, Gioconda-like smile. Or is he?
For technoprogressives it can be excruciating to witness the persistence with which spurious objections to promising technologies wield massive influence over public policy, law and attitudes. This article explores what is arguably the main underlying reason for this—namely fear—and what are the options for addressing this underlying fear.
Recently there has been commenters’s discussion here at IEET about whether it should be moving from being essentially a website that provides reading material and a forum for public debate towards more of a genuine “think tank” model, clearly advocating a techno-progressive point of view and attempting to influence policy (both public and private) in a more direct, substantial and well-defined way.
“Empathy” is a word that props up quite frequently in IEET articles and comment threads, but it is also one of those words that people use quite a lot without necessarily having a very clear idea of what it means. I therefore thought it might be helpful to share some reflections about what empathy actually is, and why it might be important for the future of humanity.
It has been suggested by Peg Tittle in her recent article that the prefixes Ms. and Mr. be abandoned, on the grounds that they reinforce discrimination between sexes. What this and most other contemporary debates about gender might be missing, however, is that the whole concept of gender may be about to go the way of the dodo.
Can Europe, whose motto is “unity in diversity,” help to navigate humanity through the upcoming decades like a clear-eyed Renaissance astronomer? Or will it simply sink, squabbling and sniveling, into irrelevancy?