Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov : biography
Nikolai Fyodorovich Fyodorov ( surname also Anglicized as "Fedorov") (June 9, 1829 – December 28, 1903) was a Russian Orthodox Christian philosopher, who was part of the Russian cosmism movement and a precursor of transhumanism. Fyodorov advocated radical life extension, physical immortality and even resurrection of the dead, using scientific methods.
Fedorov's criticism of philosophers: How unnatural it is to ask, ‘Why does that which exists, exist?' and yet how completely natural it is to ask, ‘Why do the living die?‘
Fedorov's thought is extensively though indirectly referenced in the well-regarded 2010 science fiction novel The Quantum Thief; it is implied that the founders of the post-human collective of uploaded minds called the Sobornost were inspired by Fedorov and other thinkers associated with cosmism.
Fyodorov's parents were the Rurikid knyaz (noble) Pavel Ivanovich Gagarin and Elisaveta Ivanova, a woman of lower-class nobility.
He studied at the Richelieu Lyceum in Odessa. From 1854 to 1868, he served as a teacher in various small Russian towns. During 1878, he joined the Rumyantsev Museum staff as a librarian. Fyodorov opposed the idea of property of books and ideas and never published anything during his lifetime. His selected articles were printed posthumously with the title Philosophy of the Common Task (also known as Philosophy of Physical Resurrection).
Fyodorov was a futurist, who theorized about the eventual perfection of the human race and society (i.e., utopia), including radical ideas like immortality, revival of the dead, space and ocean colonization. His writings greatly influenced mystic Peter Uspensky. He also had direct contact with early rocket theorist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky who visited the library where he worked over a 3 year period. He was also known to Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Mankind’s Common Cause
Fedorov argued that evolutionary process was directed towards increased intelligence and its role in the development of life. Man is the culmination of evolution, as well as its creator and director. He must direct it where his reason and morality dictate. Fedorov noted that mortality is the most obvious indicator of the yet imperfect, contradictory nature of Man and the deep reason for most evil and nihilism of man and mankind. Fedorov argued that the struggle against death can become the most natural cause uniting all people of Earth, regardless of their nationality, race, citizenship or wealth (he called this the Common Cause).
Fedorov thought that death and afterdeath existence should become the subject of comprehensive scientific inquiry. Achieving immortality and revival is the greatest goal of science. And this knowledge must leave the laboratories and become the common property of all: "Everyone must be learning and everything be the subject of knowledge and action".
Two reasons for death
Human life, emphasized Fedorov, dies for two reasons. First is internal: due to the material organization of a human, his functionality is incapable of infinite self-renewal. To overcome this, psychophysiological regulation of human organisms is needed. The second reason is the spontaneous nature of the external environment, its destructive character that must be overcome with regulation of nature. Regulation of nature, “introducing will and reason into nature” includes, according to Fedorov, prevention of natural disasters, control of Earth's climate, fight against viruses and epidemics, mastery of solar power, space exploration and unlimited creative work there.
Immortality for all
Achieving immortality and revival of all people who ever lived are two inseparable goals, according to Fedorov. Immortality is impossible, both ethically and physically, without revival. We can’t concede that our ancestors, who gave us life and culture, are left to die, that our relatives and friends die. Achieving immortality for living individuals and future generations is only a partial victory over death, only the first stage. The complete victory will be achieved only when everyone is returned to a transformed immortal life.
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine