Bill Gates recently had a “questions from the public” event at Reddit. These days, he is mostly involved in his charitable foundation, and has less to do with Microsoft. Now here’s the thing – what I suspect that Bill Gates will never get is that he has done more for the world with Microsoft than he can, unfortunately, ever do with his charitable foundation. That is not to say that he isn’t doing good, charitable things – I’m fairly certain that he does – but probably nothing can compare to the wealth he has created through Microsoft products, which have effectivized the world to an extent previously unimaginable. But it takes a proud capitalist to know such things.
I had previously heard histories about how he (and his wife, which co-chairs their Charitable foundation) have used emotional scare-tactics to try and get people to donate to charity. Gather a room of rich people, let loose a bunch of mosquitoes and say “what if I told you these have malaria”. Pretty nasty stuff, in my book. Besides, all people need is DDT. But this wasn’t meant as a post for bashing Bill Gates, however from things I’ve previously gotten a distinct feelign that he is definitely a “crusader” when it comes to his charity work.
And a comment from his Reddit-appearance really stood out, and made me feel sorry for him.
Q : Anything left on your bucket list?
A : Don’t die…
It’s normal to not want to die. Dying probably isn’t any funnier just because you have a gazillion dollars. But I’ve gotten this feeling before, not only from Gates, but from many other high-profile philanthrophists (Warren Buffett anyone?) : They are, in a way, hoping to buy a ticket to heaven, despite the fact that many of them are atheists. I believe that the same goes for people like Ray Kurzweil, who desperately wants to survive long enough to become immortal (at least, in the digital sense). It really is sad, that we have lost so much when it comes to our spiritual lives. Now, I’m not going to say its easy. I do not really want to die either. But I am coming to accept that I will, no matter what. I won’t be 200 years old (a recent prediction said that people born now may survive to be 200 years old – I’ll gladly bet against that, unfortunately I will never alive to either say “Hah! I told you so!” or admit I was wrong).
Modern man is desperately trying to transcend his biological nature. It reminds me of how during periods authors have tried to reach a “higher consciousness” by doing drugs. It never ends well. Trans-humanism is, I believe, a dead end. What is the purpose of becoming immortal if it ISN’T YOU? People have this strange way of denying us being anything but biological creatures (without any metaphysical aspect) and at the same time thinking that if only they could change their biological vessels, they could live forever.
What then, is your essence? This is a strange kind of metaphysical nihilism, where you are neither your biology, nor anything beyond it. I can’t understand what these people are thinking. Now, of course, I may be wrong about Bill Gates. He may just be a nice guy. But regardless of him specifically, this just re-inforces my view that in a metaphysical sense, we are all dying. Some people are probably already dead – because they can never be made to believe in anything beyond the atoms in their bodies moving around.
And I feel sad for them. I really do. Because while I cannot KNOW that my faith will mean that my existence isn’t wiped out a few seconds after I draw my final breath, at least there is hope. I too, want to transcend – but not through biology or technology. I know that this life will end, and I will perish. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But at least there is hope for my eternal soul. At least there is hope for something more important than this. Yes, dear readers – I have transformed into a Christian preacher. But you don’t really need to worry – I’m not here to make people believers. Even if I could, it wouldn’t be worth anything. We are, in the end, always alone with ourselves and God (or for some of you, that Spaghetti-monster you keep bringing up)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.