Abou Farman – On Not Dying: Secular Immortality in the Age of Technoscience


University of Minnesota Press, ISBN-13: 978-1517908102, English, 381 pages, 2020, USA

With the disproportionate power accumulating in its giant companies (Apple just topped Italy’s GDP, for example), how are Silicon Valley ideologies evolving? ‘Technosolutionism’ has been debated and criticised for a while, and thankfully still is, stemming from technologies’ essence to have always ‘extended’, both theoretically and practically, human possibilities. But the supreme extension, to overcome death, has been an underlying and recurrent argument in the whole history of technology. Farman’s thorough ethnography of the ‘immortalists’ movements in its various embodiments and beliefs is pivotal to understand how these are shifting ‘immortality’ from religion to technoscience. It is important to understand how these movements have a real following among major industries’ employees, from the singularitarians’ belief in developing computational super-intelligence, to the latest advances in cryogenics. But most significantly, the author dedicates the whole last chapter to question the key political aspects arising from the movement. It’s plausible that these same technological conglomerates will be the only ones to access and design these technologies. This book extensively documents these new configurations of biopolitics, while anthropologically framing the groups’ doctrines, proving unmissable and vital reading.