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Welcome to Methuselah's Library
"A place pervaded by the musings of a multicentenarian elder."
You have entered Methuselah’s Library, a place filled with wisdom collected over the centuries; a space pervaded by the musings of a multicentenarian elder1. Here, we will explore only those ideas worthy of a mind a millennium old.
Or at least, that is my ambition. Obviously, the technology that will enable radical life-extension does not yet exist, so I – with hardly a few decades of experience under my belt – am at best a naïve pretender and at worst an egregious imposter. That said, I will strive to live up the name of this endeavor, and only write things worth your time.
So, what will this blog actually be about? While in the long run I would like the content of my writings to be unrestricted (after all, I would imagine the tomes filling an actual Methuselarian library would be wide-ranging indeed), for the foreseeable future my focus will be on the consequences of the Biotechnological Revolution, which I believe is only now just beginning. After many decades of incubation, this revolution is about to blossom in a manner that will transform every facet of human life. Indeed, it will alter what it even means to be human.
The unfolding of the Biotechnological Revolution is a big topic. Much like biology itself, it is open-ended and self-perpetuating, as is technological innovation in general. Given the difficulty of predicting the far-reaching repercussions of the this complex development, I will try to be as systematic and comprehensive as possible2. Furthermore, in addition to addressing the philosophical and socioeconomic changes advanced biotechnology will render upon humanity, I will go as deep as necessary – and perhaps even further – into the underlying science3. We will not shy away from the technical here at Methuselah’s Library.
While I will always attempt to be intellectually honest, I will also exercise a certain editorial license when discussing matters of subjective preference. To be fully upfront about my bias, I think the Biotechnological Revolution is an incredibly exciting and positive development, with beneficial repercussions that are nearly impossible to overstate. Thus, this will be a distinctly “biotechno-optimist” blog, where we will explore the wonders that advanced biotechnology will enable without implying that such power will inevitably culminate in disaster, which is frustratingly common in mainstream media4. This is not to say that the many dangers associated with the Biotechnological Revolution will be completely ignored – my perspective is not blindly Promethean5 – but we start with the assumption that the possibilities this technology unlocks are fundamentally desirable and worth pursing, despite the risks involved.
So, where to begin? As the name of this blog implies, I am fascinated by the idea of radical life-extension. Therefore, it only seems appropriate to start our journey together exploring this topic, which is but one of many eventualities the Biotechnological Revolution will enable. Without any further ado, please subscribe below, and welcome again to Methuselah’s Library.
For those unfamiliar the Judeo-Christian tradition, Methuselah is a biblical figure who lived to the impressive age of 969.
Methuselah’s Library will attempt to be an intellectually rigorous blog. I will strive to cite the literature as often as possible when making specific claims. Hopefully, as a byproduct, this will enable the reader to discover a curated collection of interesting publications and sources with every post.
While the particulars of my credentials (or even my identity) are not especially important, suffice to say that I have professional experience in a subset of fields that are part of the Biotechnological Revolution. I believe I am well-qualified to write on the relevant science, but I expect you, dear reader, to hold me to account if I do not uphold a certain standard.
A useful model here is Balaji Srinivasan’s concept of perceiving technology as either a “Black Mirror” or a “Bright Sun”. While Srinivasan initially used this framework to contrast the declining West with a rising India, it is a metaphor applicable to technology more generally. Methuselah’s Library aims to be a single beam of light radiating from such a Bright Sun.
It is, however, primarily Promethean. From my perspective, the Greek myth of Prometheus should not be told as cautionary tale, but instead, as a sacrificial triumph. We should celebrate Prometheus, not shame him.