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Embracing Overlapping Lifetimes
Death becomes a triumphant reclamation of youth
Midjourney and I imagined an 80 year old alumnus accompanying his regenerated self to the UC Berkeley campus, to register him as a freshman.
Whoa! Perhaps we can review this ‘regenerated self’ status before considering further?
I acknowledge that some explanation is in order, please do see my earlier articles, notably:
The Somatic Chain
Precisely one skin cell in anyone’s body can become the singular seed molecule for your next life cycle. The same process can then be repeated for each successive regeneration, from one tube of a cryo-preserved whole blood sample. This Somatic Chain implements a technology (SCNT somatic cell nuclear transfer) wherein our own DNA replaces another in a zygote (egg cell). Ectogenesis (optimized lab gestation) is a technique that famously produced Dolly the sheep in 1996. Animal cloning has been performed using this procedure on many species ( dogs, horses, monkeys) since then.
Today’s existing biomedical tech can renew the life lease of any man—do that and more for women by offering each reproductive alternatives that can bypass conventional gestation. These options together allow our DNA (and its unique awareness) to pass through a life cycle unchanged. As a network designer, I am presenting my work.
Biobanks are very patient, enabling centuries of storage before our own regeneration, these cryobanks thus functioning as a bona fide time machine. Imagine mausoleums with bio-powers, how Asian peoples e.g. will recognize this passage/ritual—visibly realized. DNA repositories require long term security, to safeguard their sacred purpose—the dedication of ancestral respect via continuing tradition and ritual.
Biobanks defeat time, our ultimate enemy, then ectogenesis provides the gestational support to be reborn, each century perhaps? on this heavenly, virgin planet.
The Humanist Union Society of Canada invites your participation in pioneering cryobanking for this purpose, for continuing ectogenesis research. Within a WEB3 structure built on the Ethereum blockchain for absolute certainty, so that smart contracts on Ethereum co-operatively fund the child through youth.
I’ll debate the likelihood of this happening at any time—humanity’s quest to keep life’s window open indeed has a solution right there before us. There are cells in our body now that will probably be the seed for our life for centuries to come. Don’t underestimate your own flesh - it can power your franchise indefinitely. Our lives will be a somatic chain/continuum, or our neurons will be extinguished—one or the other.
Biobanking is our time machine, ectogenesis our regeneration expertise. Both technologies have already been utilized for this purpose, they need only be optimized through continuous development, which is underway. By doing some prescient housekeeping today with our DNA, we can maintain our genetic config to be immutable at -137 C with a whole blood sample frozen to vitrification (~$100/year for cryo-storage).
Humanism on Ethereum does the rest, as we are a young species of killer apes upgrading our parlous governance—we hope. With its hegemony complete the UN and liquid democracy will allow humans to resolve militarist poverty in favor of UBI.
For clarity, I am discussing personal regeneration here. I’m not revisiting Hollywood dystopias of cloned armies and their evil dictators. This time it’s personal—your biological ID is on the table—unequivocally—one time only. Individual regeneration speaks to the future of our own life franchises - of our existing DNA. We must garden it, sequester it - yet there is no great virtue in numbers. Others may travel to Mars, or await their singularity, transhumanism, or protracted diabetic death sponsored by the health industries. We can suffer those events calmly if we have biobanks and smart contracts overseeing our personal continuance.
Overlapping Life Cycles
If we envision the most egregious possible scenario—that we someday find our self to be resident in two bodies simultaneously—how could we understand that?
The old man pictured could simply be doing what many a father or grandfather has always done—taking a loving interest in a child’s higher education. But here he is introducing his identical twin to his alma mater. A world expert on such twins, Nancy Segal throughout her life’s work on twin studies notes that the identical ones share traits that go beyond their common genetic identity—such as private languages.
“Segal, now a psychology professor and founder of the Twin Studies Center at California State University, Fullerton, noticed that her school’s identical twin pairs were strikingly similar. “When I was a child, I didn’t know about genes, of course,” she says. “But what I did realize was that the identicals looked a lot alike, and they seemed to be a lot alike. My (fraternal twin) sister and I looked different, and we were different.” The identical twins also appeared to have a strong bond with their counterparts, while Segal and her sister were never especially close.”
What her work documents is that identical twins, being de facto clones of each other, share more than a conventional sibling or parent-son relationship. They are reproductive anomalies, being monozygotic (same egg cell) and their own, autonomous structures. Their identities are shared via a chance happening—can that chance be replicated? Or might this syncing be a natural demonstration of advanced human reproduction— one that carries many of us into the coming centuries?
What then are Identical Twins?
“Identical twinning is officially described as monozygotic. Monozygotic twins form from a single (mono) fertilized egg (zygote). The zygote splits into two parts after conception, resulting in the development of two individual embryos. Because the two embryos are the result of a single egg/sperm combination, they have the same genetic origins and thus the same DNA.” - NIH
So the old man and the boy have the same DNA—does that mean they’re the same person? I maintain that they are—in the sense that they share one unique genetic franchise, one phenotype through time. They are simultaneous ‘printouts’ of one DNA, these bodies are morphing Markov blankets for this enclosed DNA. Segal’s research documents the affection and high interest identical twins have for each other, that extend beyond familial bonds. What would it be like to experience such continuity?
As a philosopher I examine the existential prospects of the individual, more than of our species - who have their own apologists and critics. Here I sense the indescribable and touching coincidence of two lifetimes, each bonded to the other like nothing in human history. It is true that they needn’t have inhabited coincident time frames, to live again in the future—that a biobank and some smart contracts shall effect the same, if spaced out over the critical centuries before us, while we adapt to AI. But to plan for such, as an independent individual—this may be where courage lends a hand.
I am myself somewhat ‘superannuated’ for implementing this college diorama myself—my days at Berkeley are long past. Yet that is where I first understood that biosciences actually hold these keys to persistence —not physics nor philosophy—as I had supposed as an undergrad. Perhaps I can transition from my next life cycle C2 to C3 in this fashion, to hold my own hand in passage.
Greater love hath no man than for Life itself.
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