- Paperback: 648 pages
- Publisher: Universal Publishers,US (1 Sep 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1581127243
- ISBN-13: 978-1581127249
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 3.6 x 21.6 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,290,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The work deals with the subject of post mortem survival from two basic angles. The first is his involvement with cryo-preservation as a pssible means of medical restoration of life. The other, and in my opinion, more profound avenue; is Perry's investigation of the Cosmological potentiallities that exist in physics and the burgeoning capabilities of computation.
Also, R. Michael Perry examines what many thinkers from different disciplines regard as what is being preserved or reconstitued; what is your identity, what is your personality, what is the sense of self, that we all seem to know, but find difficult to precisely, define? Perry also focuses on the works of several physicists who dwell upon the possibilities of Multiple Universes-what the author calls "Unboundedness". This is just like Physicist, Julian Barbor's Platonia, in which all logically possible universes may indeed occur!
Perry continues with and examination of Good and Evil and what is preserved, and what is remidied. My only caveat, for this book is to those of religious bent who require "scripture" for their emotional needs. R. Michael Perry is a logical positivist, and is atheistic in direction. Yet, I for one, can see this as a plus, because if the author can explore and define possibilities for post-mortem survival; then "God" as the ultimate Mind in existence is practically a given--providing enormous amounts of time for the development of minds and mind that are trans-universal!
As I mentioned before, Perry works at one of the few cryo-preservation labs in the world, do if you need more information on cryo-preservation; or Biostasis, as the author terms it, this is an excellent source of data regarding this. I myself find the "cosmological" areas of the book much more compelling; since much of the biostatsis work seems at this point, in need of much greater research.
The work is a work of an essay into philosophy as much as it is a work of science and sdvocacy. I am glad I purchased it, because good news, even as a bit of purely materialist, good news, this is not a thing to turn down (you can't anyway!). The old phrase; "all this and Heaven too", comes to mind. Worth the bucks, in this reader's opinion.
For myself, being a more down-to-earth immortalist, this part was quite hard to get through and I must admit that I even left out some pages. The assumtion of personal interchangeability I find especially hard to accept. For an argument how it leads itself astray see John Perry's short but comprehensive "Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality" (Hackett).
It must be mentioned to the author's favor that he keeps on reminding us that his basic assumtions are to be regarded as working hypothesis, which need reconsidering when more information will be available.
Thus I was mainly interested in the second part which, after considering our motives to strife for eternal life, provides an extensive investigation of today's scientific prospects for immortality. Discussion ranges from such technical topics as cryonics, biochemical anti-aging research, nanotechnology, computer science and brain-computer interfacing to ethical and psychological ones the like free will, personal responsibility, gaming theory, dangers of Nietzschean eternal return, personal identity, memory problems, theology and more.
For the widespread opposition or indifference towards immortalism, a powerful memetic/genetic explanation is provided and possible counterstrategies are pointed at. The book helps the already convinced immortalist to develop his own moral standpoint, as well as it may introduce and fascinate the skeptic. We are called for an active stance in bringing about what many do not dare dream of.
All in all, overlooking the lengthy and not always really productive discussions in the first half, for the most comprehensive summary of today's immortalist thought and a beautiful read: Five Stars !
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