Ultimate Satanic Trick?
By Ammond Shadowcraft
On lifespan extension for our future...
Recently I found Alan Harrington's book, THE IMMORTALIST, at a used
books store. He wrote in 1970 (Discus Books by Avon) much of what I
felt and still feel to be true about man's religious and emotional
state. I've said for a couple years that humans were insane. I
suspected death was at the root of this condition. Now I have a little
'Tracking man's spiritual history, we can follow this path: from the
beginning, human consciousness longs and plans to perpetuate itself.
Out of individuated consciousness , which is the original sin, what
Miguel de Unamuno called "the hunger for immortality" is born. Man
craves personal immortality, but observes that everyone dies. He then
creates gods, and worships and placates them. Assuming that "we must
have done something wrong" he constructs systems of self-punishment to
pay for the primal crime. Still everybody dies. Then, since eternal
life on earth obviously is not forthcoming, and placating divine
authority hasn't worked, he more or less unknowingly resolves to knock
down the gods, or replace them, or to become God . Since this must
be done warily, for fear of retribution, he informs himself of what he
is doing through myths . In these dream-projections the Promethean
and satanic types, or the "Foolish Woman" such as Eve, always undergoes
a severe chastising, but the idea of rebellion is thereby passed along.
 No good, everyone goes on dying.
He attempts to trick fate, as in the Far East, by pretending that he
doesn't want to come back to life. That doesn't accomplish anything
either. Now he grovels before the gods saying, All right, I won't eat
or make love too often; I'll play half-dead in advance, refuse to
enjoy, even die before I die, offer myself for wounding, expose my
undefended belly, genitals, backside, anything, is that what you want?
Thus men alternate between abject surrender and assertiveness. But
whatever our tactics, we have always been in a state of Permanent
Revolution against Gods. Rephrasing and extending the Freudian
conception, all culture has been a subtle and devious attempt to usurp
divine authority, to conquer death--at the same time taking care not to
excite the anger of the gods who inflict mortality on us until we are
strong enough to overthrow them. 
Man is a rebel, as Camus says, but he also resists himself, resists
and sabotages his own rebellion. The Permanent Revolution is constantly
being interfered with. Counter-revolutionaries in humanity's own ranks
have always managed to slow down the centuries-old drive to remove
death. Their counter-measures spring from an everchanging set of
A fifth column of superstition obstructs every advance against the
citadel of death. Oddly enough, in an evolutionary context, the race's
sabotaging of its own progress may turn out to have been functional.
 An innocent revolutionary spirit running ahead of scientific
advances, without superstition to slow it down, might long since have
killed itself off after prematurely looking death in the face.
To rein ourselves in, we invented primal guilt. Even as it has or
once had evolutionary sanction, guilt is more than painful. The
imaginary gods in our psyche exact a toll when they are threatened. 
They strike back and sometimes cause us to panic, to twist and turn,
and to become frightened of our own daring, and to hate and fear others
who dare. Challenging the gods can estrange us from ourselves as well
as from others and make us odd and unconfident. It can reduce natural
exuberance, and make this acceptable as payment for hubris. The rebel
is at all times exposed, vulnerable, and afflicted by the suspicion
that in his refusal to accept divine authority which leads to death he
is somehow "wrong".
Above all, we conceal from ourselves the existence of our
underground drive against the cosmic establishment. Men must keep it
from themselves that they are in revolt against the gods, or "against
Nature."  Only by means of this hypocrisy has our species been able
to keep the revolutionary program going. It has enabled man to plot
against the his gods while he worshiped them.
A disguised drive toward divinity, the creation of our own divinity,
carries us forward. At certain times we advance too quickly, and the
gods in our heads  inflict a terrible revenge--sometimes on
ourselves, more often on others. Galileo and Bruno move too far out in
front of their day, and are cut down. But in another country, in Jung's
phrase 'the godly sense of curiosity strives for birth." Man, in the
person of Francis Bacon, sets up the scientific method to dominate his
environment, to remove all mysteries (divine property), in order to
find the base Archimedes sought, the place to stand from which he could
move the world, and ultimately remove death." [IBID, pgs 18-20]
Notation ([*]) is my own.
 Alisandra (my lover) and I have discussed several times the
psychic shock children receive when they realize they have a body, a
self, which is not entirely part of their imaginary world. It's a great
shock to realize that our imaginary world really isn't reality.
(Evidently some haven't realized this yet.) It does hurt, but can be
coped with. Although I don't remember mine she vividly remembers (as a
tactile dominant) hers. As well can be seen when we learn about death
as children we are generally confused because death really isn't part
of the program for little humans.
 When I came to realize that either God was a cold, heartless SOB
or an imaginary and emotional data structure in my brain I realized
that I had to do something to change my point of reference. If God
truly exists as commonly believed by many, then I'm at risk. However I
don't think so and consider my own emotional programming first.
 In my opinion some myths, dreams and Gods are our fondest
aspirations for ourselves. After all, who in their heart-of-hearts
doesn't really secretly covet Q's (of ST:TNG) status?
 It is the odd human circumstance that what we struggle against
we pass along. Memes are that way.
 Have I never felt fully free of my fear of Daddy-God sitting on
my lonely shoulder, waiting for me to screw up?
 Man's religions do serve the purpose of coping with the
realization of mortality. But even as our Christian friends rejoice in
their imagined victory over death we should remind ourselves that their
self deception is indeed useful.
 I sometimes describe the Gods as memes. Memes, if they exists as
I envision them, are informational entities with a synergistic life of
their own. They can perform and act in their subjects gray-matter.
 A revolt against nature? Surely you must be joking Mikie? Surely
not he replies. Alan Harrington speculates that if (as Americans) put
as much money into an immortality project as we did with Apollo we
might be on the knife edge of overcoming death today. Supposedly we
have entered the "materials era" of human science. Nanotechnology is
not too far beyond. We could have built a national community by
tackling death. And in a synergism we might have progressed far.
 Many times I've approached the abyss of meaninglessness and the
eternal blank screen. I've met the same dilemma as others and think
that now is the time for an adventursome group of humans to tackle this
thorny project. With a substantial percentage of persons working on
this project we could achieve our goal in our lifetimes.
It'd be a damn shame to die the day before immortality processes are
free for all humans. Being an optimist I feel our future is bright
providing we get a grip on our insanity and deal with the root causes.
The human species should know itself from the inside out, not from the
POV of our fantasies. We should stop pretending and use the tools
available to achieve the dream which will begin all new dreams.
"Surely you shall not die, but become as the gods, knowing good and evil."
--- A certain slink snake in a faraway garden.