I have often wondered about Judgement Day. More than heaven and hell, this is the real afterlife of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Heaven and hell are honestly more Greek/Roman concepts. In Christianity and Islam there is a clear idea of judgement day, a day when everyone is called up and God sorts us out. So if you die before then, you’re essentially waiting in a queue. So what if that’s scientifically possible. What if you preserve your brain for a day when it can be restarted, perhaps attached to a robot body?
Sounds crazy, but check this story about the ‘strange neuroscientist’ Kenneth Hayworth:
After Hayworth is placed under anesthesia, a cocktail of toxic chemicals will be perfused through his still-functioning vascular system, fixing every protein and lipid in his brain into place, preventing decay, and killing him instantly. Then he will be injected with heavy-metal staining solutions to make his cell membranes visible under a microscope. All of the water will then be drained from his brain and spinal cord, replaced by pure plastic resin. Every neuron and synapse in his central nervous system will be protected down to the nanometer level, Hayworth says, “the most perfectly preserved fossil imaginable.”
His plastic-embedded brain will eventually be cut into strips, perhaps using a machine like the one he invented, and then imaged in an electron microscope. His physical brain will be destroyed, but in its place will be a precise map of his connectome. In 100 years or so, he says, scientists will be able to determine the function of each neuron and synapse and build a computer simulation of his mind. And because the plastination process will have preserved his spinal nerves, he’s hopeful that his computer-generated mind can be connected to a robot body. (The Chronicle)
I read this via Andrew Sullivan and it’s quite interesting. I mean, why not? Why not preserve your brain till a time when the (insanely complex) information it encodes can be recoded in something tougher and more space age. “By 2110, Hayworth predicts, mind uploading—the transfer of a biological brain to a silicon-based operating system—will be as common as laser eye surgery is today.”
I mean, honestly, the idea of laser eye surgery still blows my mind, I never thought my vision would be fixable in my lifetime (not that I’ve fixed it). Perhaps brain scanning and, dareisay, resurrection is not that far away.