By Christopher Hunt
“Living Forever”, the Philosophy Behind Transhumanism, Is a Transcendent Not a Materialistic Quest
“All our lives we sweat and save, Building for a shallow grave. Must be something else we say, Somehow to defend this place...” lyrics of The Soft Parade by the Doors. Eternal life on this earth has been a pursuit of some since time immemorial. Today, we have scientists and researchers trying to accomplish this, we have religions such as the Church of Perpetual Life located in Florida that are dedicated to this. Today we have the transhumanist movement.
The longing for eternal life is a God-given, and good desire. The desire to always be with those we love and with the Creator of all is a worthy pursuit; but, like all good desires, these can be twisted toward an evil end. Sadly, this idea of “curing death” is a twisted, disordered desire of the pursuit of the greatest transcendent good, because it seeks to arbitrarily and artificially cure aging and disproportionally extend life span.
The materialist, though not a believer in God or eternity still has an internal longing of the eternal. If the only thing that exists is matter, if there is no such thing as the immaterial, if there is no God and no eternal soul, when our short time on earth is done, we are done. A pure finality. As the materialist 20th century existentialist and feminist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir explains her contemplation of death after becoming an atheist, “I loved the world, and it was suddenly God whose price was small... one afternoon in Paris I realized that I was condemned to death... I did not attempt to control my despair. I screamed and tore at the red carpet.”
As Beauvoir’s life partner and fellow philosopher of the 20th century Jean-Paul Sartre proclaimed, “Essence does not precede existence. In pure subjectivity the human being is not anything. He is measured by his acts.” - Being Nothingness. With these ideas, will and personal desire is the end all-be all of existence. If this is the entirety of existence, all that we have and are, and after this life we simply no longer are, then this life is the only step of existence. There is no other. This is it. As empty as this might be, if it is all there is, we must cling to it.
For religious people, the meaning of life is to learn who God is and to fall in love with God. To see Him in a special way through His creation of His own image, namely, man. We have need for religion, we have an internal longing for eternal life with God. We see this pursued even by the atheist, the agnostics, the materialists. The only way to have spiritual peace is to practice true religion and hope for rest in the vision of God.
Life garners its value not in longevity, but in the giving of oneself for the other. The greater the love practiced toward our neighbor, the greater the value of the life lived. This holds true in politics and parenting, in working and in leisure. Transhumanism is clinging to creation while rejecting the Creator. This is a movement that must be transcended.