In 1972, about ten years after he'd written The Prospect of Immortality, Bob Ettinger was having some new thoughts about improving the lot of humanity. Obviously there was more that could be done for people than simply making them immortal; indeed, that was only a first step on the way to even greater heights. His new thoughts were directed toward extricating mankind from the tragic problem that commonly went under the heading "the human condition."
Supposedly, according to the Higher Philosophical Critics, "the human condition" constituted both the glory and the shame of the species. The glory was symbolized by all that was good and worthy about people: they possessed reason, creativity, feelings of empathy toward others, systems of ethics and religion, and so on. Mozart, Rembrandt, Shakespeare, all these were to the good. The shameful part was the way human beings had always botched things up, virtually since the dawn of time. Basically, mankind had an innate tendency toward war and violence, and more generally for letting civilization go to pot. The Inquisition, Hitler and the Holocaust, the plight of the homeless, decaying infrastructure, The Bomb -- all these stood on the other side of the balance sheet. There was no end to the listing of human foibles, atrocities, and tragic flaws, so "the human condition" was commonly understood to be more