Immortality Or Bust: Transhumanism In The White House – Forbes

Posted: June 28, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Zolt speech

Whilst the media reports on generational tremors taking place on the streets and campuses of the United States of America, and institutions stroke their metaphorical chins contemplating ways to change, a much more radical shift is taking place that seems to be going unnoticed.

Mainstream media are missing the story about how people are taking back control of their physical bodies and dedicating their efforts to the enhancement of their own lives. For years now, biohacking has been on the rise: nootropics, supplements, technological implants being just some of the favoured tools to take apart ones body and rebuild it in a better way. Not only that, there is a genuine interest in better understanding our genetic make up and using that to optimise our personal performance. You can see this in the rapid rise of commercial genetic testing services that are now affordable for everyone today.

Even more radical than that is the Transhumanist Movement. A movement that believes in using science and technology to overcome death and fundamentally change the very nature of the human being itself. Its a movement made up of various factions and slightly different beliefs but there is one man who could be said to be have become its natural leader. And that is Zoltan Istvan.

Zoltan has a more radical idea of change than almost anything else you are seeing on your TV screens today but the mainstream media continue to miss him. Thats why its good to see he has made his own documentary film explaining to a broader audience what hes doing, how it all works, and why they should be interested in transhumanism at all.

Immortality or Bust, winner of the BreakoutAwardat the Raw Science Film Festival in Los Angeles, follows Zoltan on his2 year campaign running for President of the US. The film starts by explaining his passion for this transhumanist cause and shows him building a custom-made Bluebird motorhome like his father drove when he was a kid, turning it into a mobile coffin to take him on his journey to Washington DC. There he is to deliver his Transhumanist Bill of Rights.

He enlists friends and family in his quest but we also see him travelling to meet unbelievers and skeptics too, putting his case for Transhumanism over traditional religion. At one point in the documentary he reminds us that atheists never bomb anyone. An important plank of his policy platform is to drastically reduce military funding and redistribute that investment into science. He makes a strong argument that we are living in a military-industrial complex that is out of date, whilst the war we should really be fighting, in this century, is the war on cancer.

Hes actually fighting a war on ageing. For at the heart of transhumainsm is the idea of life extension. As the title suggests, it is life extension that ties together the threads of the film. Those threads include a man on a mission to spread the word of Transhumanism, a U.S. Presidential candidate coming face to face with the religiosity of his nation, and a son whose father has had four heart attacks and whom he would love to protect so he can live forever. These three stories together depict Zoltan as the impossibly human face of Transhumanism.

Over 731 days we follow him as he presents his ideas virtually in Second Life, meets with the Terasem Movement where people download their thoughts and upload their mind files, debates with a crowd of Evangelical Christians and introduces us to the Immortalists at The Church of Perpetual Life . The culmination is when he tries to pin his Transhumanist Bill of Rights on the US Capitol building in Washington DC. After reading out the Bill, he attempts to attach the piece of paper to a wall and is prevented from doing so by a policemen who redirects him to Senator Barbara Boxers office. It is there where the paper is politely filed by an administrative assistant who promises to pass it on at the very first opportunity. A scene that demonstrates just how impenetrable the system is to radical ideas, or any idea of change at all.

zolt with bus in DC

I caught up with Zoltan on the eve of the films launch and asked him whether he will ever run again. We are going to come to a point, probably twelve years from now when the things Ive been talking about really make sense. Technology will catch up and these things will become the norm. Hopefully then a lot of my policies will start to be revisited, and people will say, wait a sec, hes been talking about these things from the very beginning.

My ideas are still pretty far out there, and therere no significant comparison to them in a political sense yet. I think it will take some revolutionary technology like brain implants or an ageing reversal gene shot that makes my ideas go mainstream.

Sometimes I feel I belong to the Star Trek era and not the early 21st Century Earth. But that could change quickly if the technology changes humanity enough, and then the politics I represent are needed in a hurry.

Its an insightful point because whilst most media headlines and future of work reports occupy themselves with tales of automated futures that displace human beings from the jobs they need or love, Zoltans vision is to harness automation in the service of an enhanced human being.

The film is a tale of presidential pilgrimage but also a love letter to longevity when facing the pain that death bestows on us all. But for the most part it is two fingers up to determinism, spitting in the eye of appeasement and challenging us all to make a radical change not leave it to someone else. I hope that a younger generation will watch it. They may not be interested in life extension or yet face dilemmas of mortality but this film would provide them with a welcome antidote to the relentless victimhood in todays culture and its obsessive search for the security of safe spaces. Zoltan takes on life and bends it to his will. I hope an emerging generation will absorb that message and rekindle their autonomy, and in Zoltans own words, have no respect for fate.

Immortality or Bust trailer here. Film now available on Amazon, iTunes, Vimeo

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Immortality Or Bust: Transhumanism In The White House - Forbes

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