Oct 02 2011

Euthanasia — How FUN Should It Be?


Euthanasia is looking like a great way to go in the future, for everybody who can’t survive long enough for the Singularity.

It’s an excellent advance in “taking a dirt nap.” It’s on our own schedule, with our own toys.

We deserve it; we’ve had a horrible time waiting. Examine the primitive history of suicide:

Stone Age? Hari-kari Hominid would either: 
1) Jump out of a baobab, bellyflopping on a mammoth tusk
2) Bash out his own brains with flint axe

Roman era?  Ditto, bad endings. Classic Christian options were:
1) Gobbled by lions, to colossal applause
2) Hanging out on the Appian Way, crucified

Renaissance? Romeo and Juliet got to slumber forever on each other’s bosoms,  but wasn’t the stench horrible? Didn’t Medievalists only bath annually?

19th century?  Overdosing on leeches… sucks.

20th century? Join a cult. Drink Kool-Aid. Bloat in jungle heat until your cadaver explodes.

Finally, euthanasia has arrived as the exciting H+ option for Self-Terminators! Big Sleep Opiates will be so drop-dead euphoric the desire to snuff oneself will be almost over-powering. 

Do you want: Immortally Tedious Life Extension? or Cathartic Neurochemical Xanadu… hmmm…

Cashing in your chips is already very affordable.  Dignitas in Switzerland will put you down for $6,000.

That’s so cheap I might borrow the Gs from someone I envy, like my rich cousin, just for the pleasure of offing my ass without paying him back.

Oregon’s ticket on the Stygian Ferry might be even cheaper than Dignitas because it doesn’t have a state sales tax. Libertarians love that!

If Ron Paul chooses Oregon, his faithful Paulites will follow, probably paying in coin.

Cambodia also has euthanasia — it invites all customers to join their Bone House. But will they pile up the new skulls in a “Killing-Self Fields” ?

Martin Amis suggested in 2010 that the UK build “death booths” on street corners to help the “silver tsunami” top themselves off instead of lingering on, bankrupting the welfare system. He suggested a free Martini and medal to all volunteers.

Is he right?  Yes, but it’s dangerous. It might end up gravely out-of-control. What about “Impulse-Snuffers”?

They might find a parking ticket on their car and use the booths as a convenient way to avoid the fine. Or they might be walking their dog, and suddenly decide, “I’m tired of picking this shit up.” Amis’ plan is also not “user-friendly”

Parkinsons’ fingers are tremulous, they’ll push the wrong buttons and Alzheimers’ won’t remember why they entered the booth

Besides, we don’t want euthanasia to be better than life, do we?  I think Luddite obstacles are necessary.

It used to be, killing yourself left a mess that bothered the relatives. Hemingway’s brains on the wall. Sylvia Plath’s head in the oven. For tidy people, this was a deterrent but with euthanasia… hey, what’s the downside?

I predict that capitalist markets will invent incredibly enticing euthanasia options.

For example, there’ll be “Heavenly” choices for religious folks who want to meet their Maker.

Neuro-psychedelic components in death cocktails will guarantee synthetic visions of “Paradise” to every creed:

Catholics will be able to experience glorious facetime with the Almighty, He’ll explain the inexplicable Trinity.

Muslims will virtually party in mosaic water parks with 72 virgins

Buddhists will jump off the Eight-Fold Path into Nirvana

Atheists can either drink & smoke with Christopher Hitchens (who might check his actual meat-bag in soon) or they can have secular sex with humanist hotties like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Sam Harris.

Environmental biologists will select dream-death scenarios where they see themselves  as actual “Worm Food” or “Sleeping with the Fishes”

Ex-athletes will pass the torch after an imagined Ultimate Work-Out; a single studly day where they climb Everest, surf Maverick’s, and beat the crap out of Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Ray Kurzweil will of course choose to depart wrapped in virtual “Dad Time.”

Aubrey de Grey will leave the living convinced he just won the “Merlin the Magician” Look-A-Like Contest

A best-selling category will be Dying-Ecstatic-As-You-Visualize-Humilation-of-Your-Political-Enemies. Croaking Chechens will experience sweet vengeance on Vladimir Putin. Fading Gays will watch Michelle Bachmann-Sarah Palin cunnilingus porn on Fox News.

What about Transhumanists?  Unlucky ones who have to kick their own bucket before the Singularity?   What do they want for their final vision? I suspect they’d like to see everyone who thinks they’re immortal get buried by a ghastly surprise; Call it my “Sour Grapes” theory. 

Either of the following options might help dying H+ers chortle as they enter oblivion:
1) Virtually observing Grey Goo squelch all sentient life in the Universe
2) Watching Hugo de Garis’ “Artilect War” break out, and… the Terrans Win.