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Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Robb Buy This Book. Buy Immortal In Death by J. Leave A Comment Cancel reply Comment. Close window [X]. Guest Reviewer. Futuristic Romance. In the far future, consenting adults might welcome a symbiosis with useful augmentations, such as photosynthesising organisms that could be stored in our skin in a way similar to lichen, rather than splice the information from such organisms into our own genome.

Or, we might go the whole way and incorporate the genetic information of specific endangered animals into our lineage in perpetuity, in order to become their advocate and information-bearer into the future, as an intimate and protective act.

In the movie Annihilation, nature is warped but often strangely beautiful Credit: Netflix. All this potential genetic manipulation might feel uncomfortable and strange to many people in the present day. Philosophers, however, have proposed two ways of thinking about the transfer of information which these future trajectories would encompass, which I believe will become increasingly important in the post-natural age. He is against separating ourselves from nature by beatifying it, and therefore making ourselves a foreign, estranged and increasingly corrupt influence. For example, the cells of our own bodies are the result of symbiosis of two separate microbial lineages in the deep past — a major evolutionary transition discovered by evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis.

Process philosophy points out that we are inescapably emmeshed with everything and in constant material and informational exchange. In a far future where bio-technologies have matured, and restrictions on genetic transfer have been removed, we might be able to view a radical change in evolutionary processes from a process philosophy or dark ecology viewpoint.

Simply put, a new form of genetic information transfer will have evolved, much like in the major evolutionary transitions of the past.

Death and duty

A ribless mouse embryo, created in the laboratory to explore the function of Hox genes Credit: Center for PostNatural History. Rewilding, while currently seeming unlikely, remains the safest and most moral path for the future. But assuming that biotechnology becomes more ubiquitous, it is unclear how exactly we will exist in the post-natural era.

The engineered mouse embryos, BioSteel goat, and fluorescent fish at the Center of PostNatural History may just be the beginning. Instead it is a careful exploration of how lives might be lived together.

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Sign up to our newsletter. Around the bbc. But the image of a person you can relate to on a human level, smiling out at you from the screen, standing in a before-and-after, shoulder-to-shoulder with their former, lesser, processed-food-eating self, is something else altogether. Their creation myth and redemption—how they were lost but now are found—is undeniably compelling.

There are twin motives underlying human behavior, according to Becker—the urge for heroism and the desire for atonement.

Eating Toward Immortality

At a fundamental level, people may feel a twinge of guilty for having a body, taking up space, and having appetites that devour the living things around us. They may crave expiation of this guilt, and culture provides not only the means to achieve plentiful material comfort, but also ways to sacrifice part of that comfort to achieve redemption.

It is not enough for wellness gurus to simply amass the riches of health, beauty, and status—they must also deny themselves sugar, grains, and flesh. They must pay. Only those with status and resources to spare can afford the most impressive gestures of renunciation.


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    Immortal In Death

    The Vitamix! The otherworldly glow! They could afford to eat cake, should the bread run out, but they quit sugar. What more glamorous way to triumph over dirt and animality and death? And you can, too. People willingly, happily, hand over their freedom in exchange for the bondage of a diet that forbids their most cherished foods, that forces them to rely on the unfamiliar, unpalatable, or inaccessible, all for the promise of relief from choice and the attendant responsibility.

    If you are free to choose, you can be blamed for anything that happens to you: weight gain, illness, aging—in short, your share in the human condition, including the random whims of luck and your own inescapable mortality. Humans are the only animals aware of our mortality, and we all want to be the person whose death comes as a surprise rather than a pathetic inevitability. But diet culture is constantly shifting. Legumes and grains are wholesome, life-giving staples to many vegan eaters, while they represent the corrupting influences of agriculture on the state of nature to those who prefer a meat-heavy, grain-free Paleo diet.

    Nutrition science itself is a self-correcting series of refutations. There is no certain path to purity and blamelessness through food. The only common thread between competing dietary ideologies is the belief that by adhering to them, one can escape the human condition, and become a purer, less animal, kind of being. This is why arguments about diet get so vicious, so quickly. You are poking at their life raft.

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    But if their diet proves to be the One True Diet, yours must not be. If they are right, you are wrong. This is why diet culture seems so religious.


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