What would you say if someone told you they could kill you, embalm your brain and upload its memories to a computer?
A startup is pitching a mind-uploading service that is “100 percent fatal”. Nectome will preserve your brain, but you have to be euthanized first.
You can find any number of articles on this subject. I’ll refer to this one. They propose killing you, embalming your brain and promise to upload its memories to a computer sometime in the future. I suppose you have to pay for this before you get turned into a stiff!
This next bit is straight out of Frankenstein, though I am also reminded of Dr Phibes as he lies in the tomb next to his beloved Victoria and has a machine suck out his blood and pump in embalming chemicals – and then he rises from the dead for the sequel of Dr Phibes Rises Again.
This story has a grisly twist, though. For Nectome’s procedure to work, it’s essential that the brain be fresh. The company says its plan is to connect people with terminal illnesses to a heart-lung machine in order to pump its mix of scientific embalming chemicals into the big carotid arteries in their necks while they are still alive (though under general anesthesia).
There’s even a waiting list for this procedure!
This “Frankenstein’s laboratory in the mountains of wherever” is getting Federal grants in America for doing this thing to a – – – pig. If your computer starts going “oink” and talking about troughs and all those lovely mud baths, and having nightmares about sausages and bacon, you’ll know where the virus has come from!
The trouble is that these people are going to have to prove that they can get memories from a dead brain onto a computer. Convincing? The deposit is $10,000, which is refundable if you change your mind. That’s nice to know…
This whole idea goes from the assumption that consciousness comes from the brain rather than using the brain as an “interface” with the body as we know it in this life. A dead brain is exactly that – dead. This whole idea is based on materialism and the mechanistic and deterministic nature of things as taught by men like Stephen Hawking. “Realist” materialism is a dinosaur! For an Idealist, this “experiment” is a fraud, and not only is it unnecessary but it is also impossible – just like bringing cadavers back to “life” using electricity. Mary Shelley knew that in 1816! It is also no less an abomination against human life and the spiritual soul.
We are all concerned as human beings to leave something to posterity, for the simple reason that we have no knowledge or experience of what lies on the “other side”. It is the old Pascal’s Wager. If consciousness precedes matter, then there is life / consciousness after death. There are medically attested cases of human beings with extremely damaged brains whose consciousness and life functions are completely normal. How can this be? There are many things we can do, like writing books, composing music, being remembered for our goodness, being creative, doing great things for other people.
The trouble with writing horror stories and making horror films nowadays is that “reality” is even more terrifying. To end on a light note:
How terrible and saddening this is! (Not least that there’s a paying waiting list!)
Thank you for the Hoffnung – one I had not encountered before! (Dr. Phibes was my introduction to Mendelssohn’s wonderful “War March of the Priests” from Athalie, though I did not know that’s what it was, and was very disappointed when the ‘soundtrack LP’ I bought did not have it on it.)
I have the score of this piece arranged for the organ. It isn’t difficult to play. Dr Phibes has a very special technique of continuing to play whilst his hands are off the keyboard! Of course the films are cheesy but fun for man’s ingenuity at finding sadistic ways to kill other human beings. Someone once said to me “If it can be imagined, it has been done”. Sobering…
Reminds me of C.S Lewis’s That Hideous Strength in which scientists keep a disembodied genius’s head “alive” in some sense, and which then functions as a demonic medium. I suspect these people would offer you an unending consciousness, but decapitated with your arteries & veins connected to a artificial heart, if they could. There’s something diabolical about it – maybe the idea that a person can become just another datum to be stored and accessed, the complete and utter objectifying of thought & meaning?
I seem to remember that the chief Dalek in Dr Who was something like this brain-in-a-machine following a nuclear war on its planet. Mary Shelley, but also Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, were prophets of modernity and could see what was coming. I am discovering something enormous and terrifying. We are human beings with souls or potential “subjects” in Dr Mengele’s lab. This is the heart of our “Blue Flower” work.
I have just found this https://culturalanalysis.net/2018/03/01/the-rise-of-antihumanism/. He muses on a number of themes I have tackled. There is also https://culturalanalysis.net/2018/03/10/the-ontological-limits-of-artificial-intelligence/. They are highly relevant.
As a life-long Whovian (until they went silly and turned the Doctor into a woman) your mention of the Daleks reminds me that they were an embodiment of what Nazis would evolve into. They all became “brains in vats” as the result of the experiments of Davros who himself was based on an amalgam of Hitler and Mengele. He was also a wheelchair-bound genius not unlike Dr Strangelove.
This reminds me of that film of long ago. Perhaps they will use Abby Normal’s head?