Killing Death/ Sharing Life
Comparative Cultural Inquiry – UCL
Reason for embargo
This is the author accepted manuscript. It is currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Comparative Cultural Inquiry – UCL.
It has been claimed, most emphatically by transhumanists, that individual death is the greatest evil and that we therefore need to do everything we can to defeat the disease of human senescence and mortality. In other words, we need to kill death. I have argued elsewhere that we actually benefit from death and that death is, all things considered, not an evil at all. However, in this paper, I am not disputing the claim that death is an evil. Instead, I suggest that it can only be an evil for us if we understand our existence as separate from all other existence, which is by no means inevitable. The independent, autonomous self whose annihilation we fear is the product of a particular self–conception, a particular way of seeing ourselves in relation to others. There is an alternative. If we understand our own lives as prolonged and extended in the life that surrounds us, then our own individual death loses its significance. When life is shared and being understood as shared, then there is no need to kill death.