the purpose of life is life

sat12jul2008—28w194d53%— 07h21m00s—0utc

It’s been a while now since I read this Reason interview to Peter Thiel but I’m still moved by it. The purpose of life is life. How mindblowing a concept, huh?

Thiel: One of the things that’s very misleading about acceleration and exponential growth is that it’s slow at first and then it’s fast, and so the future happens more slowly than people expect and then it happens more quickly.

reason: There’s another popular narrative for the 21st century that says humanity is going to wreck the planet. Are the environmentalist doomsayers right? Thiel: My sense is that they’re not right. I’m not an expert on it, but what I think is different from climate-change catastrophe vs. the Singularity is that climate seems like such a pedestrian thing to talk about. You talk about it every day. There’s a tendency to overdramatize the climate, and it’s something everybody can have opinions about. So I don’t think there’s a cognitive bias where people are incapable of imagining the world’s climate changing. That seems like a very easy thing for people to imagine, and maybe it’s also an easy thing for people to get hysterical about. On the other hand, computers running the world or this radical progress of technology — that’s something where I think there’s just no imagination at all.
reason: Do you consider yourself a transhumanist? Thiel: The problem with the label is that it suggests that we should run away from being human. Take the question of aging. If you define that as the essence of being human, then transhumanists are anti-aging and therefore you try to transcend this human limitation. I don’t think that death and life are inextricably interconnected in some sort of Eastern mystical sense in which for everything white there’s something black and there’s always a yin/yang type of thing. Every myth on this planet tells us the purpose of life is death, and I don’t think that’s true. I think the purpose of life is life.

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