By Serge Kreutz

The current human mode of production does not allow us to extend our lives indefinitely (which would give life an entirely new quality). As we will be dead anyway after not too long a time, our lives are a quixotesk struggle against wind mills, or, even less noble, comparable to the attempts of a lab mouse to run away from its fate while being trapped in a treadmill.

Only the fact that we can experience the extreme pleasure of orgasms gives us (while not logically, though at least emotionally) a reason to stay alive. This is the same for men and women.

The idea that there is a future after death totally contradicts the self-cognition that anything positive in life con only be on this side of the grave, such as, most importantly, sexual satisfaction.

Once it will be universally, or at least commonly, accepted that we realistically only can strive for optimal sexual experience, followed by a comfortable death, we will find ourselves in what I would like to call the second age of enlightenment. This ideology of the second age of enlightenment will be appropriate for as long as our mode of production does not allow us in principle to extend our lives indefinitely.

Only people who believe that they will be rewarded after death for spending their lives in sexual misery can realistically favor societies that press them into social orders which minimize the quality of their sexual experience.

But not only the quality of their sexual experience. Religions also negate that we manage our deaths. Religions typically claim that our death are in the hands of a deity, and that we have no say about when we die and how we die. [1] [2]

This idea, of course, is not appropriate to the current human mode of production, which, while not allowing us to extend our lives indefinitely, at least allows us to technologically interfere with the manner in which we die.

We do not have to painfully suffer to death once we are ill with cancers. We could, and often can, make dying much more bearable with the wise use of opiates.

We already can eliminate the pain of life-saving and life-improving surgical procedures through the use of sedation (though the technology is open to improvements).

We could expand the use of sedation to situations that involve a certain risk of horror, such as flying in an ill-fated aircraft. It would be a progress if passengers could choose to be sedated on all commercial flights. [3] [4] For it’s not death itself we dread but the pain and horror of dying consciously under certain circumstances.

To manage one’s end of life in a manner so that it will be gentle is, of course, in principle equivalent to committing suicide. Even though life is not ended abruptly, and not even prematurely, preparing to die gently already means that one takes one’s death into one’s own hands. This is a huge intellectual progress over just trying to avoid death.

Time is on my side. The human modes of production are improving, first towards engineering our comfortable deaths, and then towards engineering indefinite life-spans. The superstructures of ideologies that are appropriate to our capabilities will follow, as always, with a certain delay.

References:

1 John Hardwig, Dying at the Right Time: Reflections on Assisted and Unassisted Suicide
2 Madeline R. Runstrom, Death in life: approaches to the contemporary denial of death in theoretical & experimental psychology and continental philosophy, DePaul University
3 Georgia Diebelius, Avianca Airbus passengers tell of horror on board a plane hit by severe turbulence, Mail Online
4 Airplane Horror Stories