Immortality The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilisation by Stephen Cave  » Books  »
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  • Immortality by Stephen Cave is an enjoyable and interesting read regarding the history of humanities quest to attain immortality and how this in the authors opinion has helped to drive and develop human civilisation itself
  • The final conclusion details a potential fifth and final narrative which Cave calls The Wisdom Tradition a narrative that has thread running throughout all religion and philosophy, and it is here Cave argues that here lays humanities best path to dealing with the problem, not by seeking magical or scientific cures for death or denying it happens altogether through religion but by facing up to the reality of the death on it's own terms and then understanding that there isn't anything particularly within the nature of the state of death itself to be concerned over only what happens to you before that point and how you deal with life on it's own terms face on
  • While committed atheists would certainly enjoy Caves bold assertions and find they agree with every word someone of a religious persuasion or someone who would be more open minded to the possibilities in general would find his approach to the subject jarring
  • Immortality as whole is a book that would be greatly enjoyed by people within a very narrow demographic though the tone of the book is generally friendly and non-patronising compared to other books of this kind


    • by Adrian Bingham
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      Immortality by Stephen Cave is an enjoyable and interesting read regarding the history of humanities quest to attain immortality and how this in the authors opinion has helped to drive and develop human civilisation itself. Cave describes what he considers to be the four main “immortality narratives” of history these are staying alive, physical resurrection the soul and legacy. The book details each of the narratives in turn and from ancient myths and religions, elixirs of immortality, cryonics and modern day alternatives such as genetic modification and the downloading of consciousness into super computers or android bodies. The final conclusion details a potential fifth and final narrative which Cave calls “The Wisdom Tradition” a narrative that has thread running throughout all religion and philosophy, and it is here Cave argues that here lays humanities best path to dealing with the problem, not by

      seeking magical or scientific cures for death or denying it happens altogether through religion but by facing up to the reality of the death on it’s own terms and then understanding that there isn’t anything particularly within the nature of the state of death itself to be concerned over only what happens to you before that point and how you deal with life on it’s own terms face on.

      Overall the book is well written, researched and laid out with some excellent samples of ancient myths and legends concerning humanities confrontation with the subject of death, each section build up toward the final conclusion which is makes for fascinating reading. The book does have a few flaws however in that while the author makes some good philosophical points against each of the narratives these are generally points everyone understand and points that do have counter arguments. Stephen Cave merely dismisses these potential objections as being ad-hoc and purely the result humanities fear of death without basis in scientific evidence. Potential areas of interest such as near death experiences, past life regression and the paranormal are dismissed with barely a second thought when perhaps these are deserving of greater attention.

      The author doesn’t spend a great deal of time on Jesus and his “resurrection narrative” described in the New Testament, he only describes the philosophical impracticality of restoring a decaying corpse to life through the restoration of physical matter or information, claiming that at best only exact physical copies can be made. This however seems more like the authors personal opinion rather than actual philosophical proof that such a thing could not ever be practically possible. The author also dismisses physical resurrection by scientific rather than supernatural means by ...


      • Immortality The Quest to Live Forever and How it Drives Civilisation by Stephen Cave
      comparing such a restoration process to Frankenstein’s Monster. This would be understandable had the author been a particular religious man himself but he clearly is not. It is therefore very difficult to understand Caves moral and practical objections regarding physical restoration of the dead, assuming it could be done if the supernatural realm does not exist.

      Stephen Cave makes numerous bold assertions that he had proved beyond any reasonable doubt that metaphysical suggestions or “immortality narratives” as he calls them are entirely impossible, though he certainly didn’t come to that degree of objective conclusively as it is easy to argue against many of his opinions. While committed atheists would certainly enjoy Caves bold assertions and find they agree with every word someone of a religious persuasion or someone who would be more open minded to the possibilities in general would find his approach

      to the subject jarring. Essentially this a book of atheists and particularly new atheists as the book is primarily intended to shore up these (non)beliefs and to demonstrate that such a (non)belief need not be nihilistic but could in fact be life affirming.

      Immortality as whole is a book that would be greatly enjoyed by people within a very narrow demographic though the tone of the book is generally friendly and non-patronising compared to other books of this kind. Religious people and even secular non-religious people may find some of the books claims and conclusions perplexing and/or frustratingly due to the many of the alternate arguments and conclusions someone could potentially make being dismissed as ad-hoc or unscientific when perhaps the claims, arguments and the beliefs of billions of human beings ought to be given greater attention than was given in this book.




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The review was published as it's written by reviewer in July, 2013. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 1726071615150731/k2311a0726/7.26.13
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