When you picture reading a children's book, what comes to mind? Perhaps some nice puppies, flowers or a simple life lesson about eating more fruits and veggies?
This author decided to go a little darker.
Gennady Stolyarov II wants "Death is Wrong" -- his children's book about fending off the end of life -- to be on every kid's bedside table.
"This is the book that every child ideally ought to read as soon as he or she is introduced to the prospect of death," the self-proclaimed "life extension activist" said. "The next logical step should not be to try to accept it or be comforted about it in any way, but to recognize the horror and injustice of death, and to become motivated to fight against it."
The author said it's important for children to learn they don't have to accept death; instead, they can spend that energy fighting it.
"You can discover in less than an hour what it took me years to learn in bits and pieces," Stolyarov said, "You can instead spend those years fighting the greatest enemy of us all -- death."
In a YouTube pitch video for the book, Stolyarov explains he first pondered the "unfairness" of death while growing up in Russia and studying numbers.
"I was also curious about what the passage of time would do to people," he said, recounting a early conversation with his mother, that sounds more like the exasperated words of a tired mom to her child asking too many rounds of "why?" Check this out, starting around the 3:20 mark:
Wendy Stolyarov, Gennady's wife, illustrated the book. Her take on the effort matches his.
"Even if I were to die tomorrow, I would still believe that fighting for indefinite life extension is a deeply valuable goal – for the ones I love, and the countless born and unborn innocents around the world who certainly don’t deserve to be consigned to a mandatory death," she said. "Ideally, I’d like to see death become optional for everyone."
The author and illustrator team recently held an online campaign to raise at least $5,000 to send his book to about 1,000 kids, free of charge. According to their online fundraising site, Stoylarov's effort was named the winner of the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension contest in January, voted on by active members in the "transhumanist and life-extensionist communities."
And now we know: at least 90 people agree that kids should learn to fight death. The author raked in more than $5,100 in contributions.
Which means Stolyarov's book could be coming to a library near you.
Many argue "life extension" isn't as scary as it sounds. Heart surgeries, lung transplants — these advanced medical techniques could all be considered small steps toward that goal. But why specifically design a book for young children saying death is the enemy?
"Everyone learns about death as a child, and many children’s first reaction is an immediate outrage at the injustice of innocent lives coming to an end. Yet, for many children, there is no source to turn to for reinforcement and affirmation of that justified initial aversion," Stolyarov said in an email to TheBlaze.
"Attempts to live indefinitely are no more “playing God” than harnessing fire, agriculture, industry, and modern medicine have been to date. I have observed that most people’s aversion to emerging technologies and radical life extension stems not from the necessary conclusions of an abstract belief system, but rather from the sheer unfamiliarity of the emerging technologies."
The author admitted some people have said the books seems "creepy," but that his goal is to share "the possibility of indefinite life extension within our lifetimes to as many children as possible," and to motivate them to become the next generation of researchers, philosophers and activists who will "perhaps enable us all to avoid the great peril of death."
Do you think it's wise to teach children that death is the enemy? Check out Stolyarov's reasoning for yourself, here, then take the quiz and let us know!
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