Immortalism – also known as contemporary immortalism or scientific immortalism – is an ideology based on avoiding death. Max More defines an immortalist as one who "believes in the possibility of, and who seeks to attain, physical immortality", in contrast to a longevist, whom he describes as not necessarily desiring immortality.
Usage of the term
From the 18th century to the 1960s, "immortalism" referred mainly to the belief in the immortality of the soul. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term as "a doctrine of or belief in the soul's immortality". The Ism Book by Peter Saint-Andre describes "immortalism" as the "belief that human beings (or, more precisely, their souls) survive after death."
However, after the 1967 publication of The Immortalist, a journal by the Immortalist Society, use of the term "immortalism" came to mean advocacy of extreme life extension. In 1969, a book also titled "The Immortalist" was published, increasing the term's popularity.
Life-extensionist Maria Konovalenko calls scientific immortalism "a worldview based on the striving to avoid physical death or, at least, to postpone it to the maximum with the help of the achievements of exact, natural, and technical sciences." Academic Gregory Jordan says that contemporary immortalism "argues that scientific and technological solutions to the problem of death can be found, thus questioning the inevitability of death."
A sometimes preferred term is "indefinite life extension" to avoid the negative connotations of "immortalism".
- Harrington, Alan. (1969). The Immortalist.
- H+ Magazine – "Immortalism: Ernest Becker and Alan Harrington on Overcoming Biological Limitations" by Jason Silva
- "Some Problems with Immortalism" by Ben Best
- IMDb – The Immortalists (2014)
- Library of Congress – Immortalism
- More, Max (Spring 1993). "Self-Transformation: Expanding Personal Extropy". Extropy 4 (2): 15–24. "Immortalist: A person who believes in the possibility of, and who seeks to attain, physical immortality. Longevist: A person who seeks to extend their life beyond current norms (but who may not wish to live forever)."
- Stambler, Ilia. (2014). A History of Life-Extensionism In The Twentieth Century. ISBN 1500818577. "It seems, the term 'Immortalism,' referring to the advocacy of radical life extension, took hold in the late 1960s, after the inauguration of the journal The Immortalist in 1967 by the Immortalist Society, led by the American founder of cryonics Robert Ettinger. The term gained in popularity after the publication of Alan Harrington philosophical-apologetic book, The Immortalist, in 1969. But the term appeared in English as early as the 18th century (though since then until the 1960s it mainly referred to the belief in the immortality of the soul)."
- The Ism Book
- Maria Konovalenko – "Main problems of scientific immortalism"
- Evidence-Based Cryonics – "Fearless in the Face of Death"