Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remember Vakulynchuk!


posted by Brit

Another good thing about blogging is that when you get of a bit of l'esprit d'escalier, you can always put it in another post. Weeks after what will be forever remembered in Thought Experiments legend as the October of the Transhumanists, obscure pro-death arguments are still throwing themselves at me. The Wurzels provided one, now Vakulynchuk provides another.

Vakulynchuk, as the well-informed readers of Thought Experiements will not need telling, is the Stalin-tached rabble-rouser in Eisenstein's classic Commie propaganda flick The Battleship Potemkin. I watched it recently when suffering from a brief but debilitating bout of food-poisoning. (When you're ill and there's nothing better to do, The Battleship Potemkin is the kind of worthy film you can force yourself to watch.) It is notable chiefly for two things: the famous Odessa steps sequence and, amusingly, the apparently arbitrary insertion of unnecessary captions, especially at the beginning (my favourite is "Boiling soup" - I defy even the most reverential film buff not to hoot between chin-strokes when that little beauty pops up).

Anyway, Vakulynchuk leads the crew of the Potemkin in their mutiny against the cruel Czarist officers, and is killed along the way. His brave sacrifice inspires the others, ultimately to glorious victory, much in the manner of other revolutionary martyrs such as Che Guevara, Jesus Christ, and Michael Hutchence.

Which leads us to such questions as: in a transhuman world, what do we do for our martyrs? Must all revolutionary heroes be like Castro and grow old enough to witness the full, dismal extent of their failure? Or will death be so unthinkable a price to pay when immortality is on offer that nobody will ever be prepared to lay down their precious life for anything? I don't know. I'm just running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes.

8 comments:

  1. Is that Ronnie Barker playing Vakulynchuk?

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  2. Vis-a-vis Castro I think you mean "the full dismal extent of their failed intestines."

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  3. Brit, ref undead revolutionaries, who said the cigar smoking old twerp is still alive, he could be like Chuck in the final scenes in El Cid, bunged onto a nag with a pole up his arse, or a Polish hooker.
    Could you put that question about martyrs to the trannies again, this time in Janet and John writing, there's been no response so far.

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  4. In a transhumanist world we'll be able to upload our brains to a back-up computer and martyr ourselves over and over again for the cause!

    See, there is nothing (not even terrorism) that isnt improved by the singularity!

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  5. Wait, wait -- the repeated martyrdom of clones was in a movie I recently saw. Oh, yeah, it was Hugh Jackman in "The Prestige."

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  6. In a perfect transhumanist utopia I would create a backup clone to martyr himself for me by watching Battleship Potemkin on my behalf. Then I'd get him to martyr himself further by reading Proust and Jane Austen and all those massive Central European classics Milan Kundera is always banging on about in his 'Art of the Novel' type books. I would keep him locked in a room so I could steal his knowledge and feign cultivation to the outside world. I meanwhile would sit around in my underpants drinking Coca Cola through a curly straw and watching 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here'.

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  7. I expect the trannies have been so overwhelmed by our irrefutable pro-death arguments that they've seen the error of their ways, torn up the whole project and disbanded.

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  8. Viva la muerte!

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