If you haven’t seen the deluge of “Roger Ebert is awesome and moving” posts on the internet about his Oprah interview, here is all the good stuff from Gawker.
Often we ask, “Why does it take tragedy for us to notice these great people?” The reason is that it is not tragedy but crisis, that beautiful fusion of danger and opportunity wherein the choice to persist or to succumb highlights and underlines the qualities latent in a human being. It’s why our favorite stories all involve a crisis, and our favorite heroes are forged in the hottest crucibles. Ebert was always a great man in the making, but cancer was his kiln and fired him into a work of heroic art.
Transhumanists, like nearly everyone else on the planet, are obsessed with human nature. Unlike others, we are obsessed with it because some believe we are in constant danger of undermining or ruining it with the technologies and ideas transhumanists support. I believe human nature is orders of magnitude more resilient than proposed by the Fukuyamas and Kasses of the world. Each of us constructs a self-identity based on what we’ve been given. For Ebert, his voice was not his self because it just was, but because the man talked and talked and talked. He tells stories about how no one could shut him up and the very fact that there was enough pre-recorded audio for his artificial voice to be made is proof of that. Alternatively, a man like Stephen Hawking has done guest appearances on The Simpsons and Futurama with his “artificial” voice, because it is the voice he has had for the bulk of his life.
Ebert has been, in effect, reborn through his disease, rediscovered by the media and public at large, in no small part to the Esquire article chronicling his life. I am very, very excited to see what he does next.
Bioethics is controversial.
No one endorses the ideas or concepts explored here, not even me.
You will develop a strong opinion about something you find here. I want to hear it. Philosophy is a conversation.
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