Ask Ray | Death can be erased if humanity makes the right moves

November 26, 2013 by Ray Kurzweil

Dear Dr. Kurzweil,

Is it stressful to view life as a sort of race against the clock, in which it’s presumably — at least partly — in your power whether you die like all past humans have, or find a way to survive indefinitely?

It seems like a lot of pressure to live with, no? I’m speaking purely from a personal, psychological/emotional point of view here.

Will Oremus, Slate

Hi Will,

It’s not true that “all past humans have [died].” A significant, substantial fraction of all humans who have ever lived are still alive.

— Ray


You’re very right, of course. May I rephrase? Most people take death as a given, and believe there’s nothing they can do to avoid it. You believe that it can be avoided indefinitely if you (and humanity at large) make the right moves, so to speak. Is that a lot of pressure to live with? Or do you find it energizing?



Both. But it would be more stressful to contemplate the inevitability of the tragedy of death, with no credible plan to avert it.


related reading:
Slate | “The race for immortality — Ray Kurzweil thinks we can stay one step ahead of death

related reading:
Population Reference Bureau | “How many people have ever lived on Earth: 108 Billion
United States Census Bureau | “Current world population: 7,127,577,000

related reading:
book | The End of Aging: The Rejuvenation Breakthroughs That Could Reverse Human Aging in Our Lifetime
book | Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death
book | Redesigning Humans: Choosing Our genes, Changing Our Future

related infographics: