May 2, 2018: The United States Transhumanist Party makes this official statement to express its immense sadness, shock, and incomprehension over the recent death of Aaron Traywick, CEO of Ascendance Biomedical, who was discovered dead in a flotation tank at the age of 28. We are not privy to any special details regarding Mr. Traywick’s death, nor have we as an organization been in contact with him for several months prior. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.
While Mr. Traywick was not a member of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, he did have several extensive conversations with the current Chairman, Gennady Stolyarov II, during 2016 and 2017. The last such detailed conversation occurred at RAAD Fest 2017 in San Diego, California, on August 11, 2017, when Mr. Stolyarov and Mr. Traywick walked for an hour on the grounds of the Town and Country hotel as Mr. Traywick explained his goals for Ascendance Biomedical and the medical procedures it would advance. The U.S. Transhumanist Party does not itself engage in any medical research, but we do advocate for the rights of innovators in the medical sciences to develop procedures that may assist willing patients in combating debilitating diseases and potentially lengthening lifespans. Mr. Stolyarov found Mr. Traywick to be thoughtful, articulate, and sincere, and hoped at the time to see the results of Mr. Traywick’s endeavors manifest themselves over the course of many years – and to see the political and other structural barriers to those endeavors lifted over time.
While we cannot comment on any specific aspect of Mr. Traywick’s work, we consider it a deep shame that he will not have the opportunity to further develop his vision for open-access cures for diseases. The entire transhumanist and life-extensionist community is saddened and confounded by news of Aaron’s death.
The U.S. Transhumanist Party urges everyone to refrain from reckless speculations or conspiracy theories regarding Mr. Traywick’s cause of death.
As far as we know, there is absolutely no evidence that his self-administered DIY herpes treatment (which was administered in February 2018) had any connection to his death 2.5 months later.
There is also no evidence that Mr. Traywick’s death arose from any self-harm or foul play. Nothing about Mr. Traywick’s personality or prior behavior gave the impression of any suicidal leanings, and he was a committed life-extensionist, for whom suicide would have been anathema – the worst possible outcome.
Furthermore, it is absurd and irresponsible to suggest that any manner of murder took place. Such suggestions need to cease immediately. Numerous biohackers and other transhumanist activists routinely work in the open, without apparent adverse consequences. If any established power had sought to crack down on Mr. Traywick or his work, there would have been far milder and more procedurally oriented ways of doing so. There is fortunately no conspiracy anywhere to kill ambitious biohackers.
As far as we are aware, Mr. Traywick’s death was a tragic accident. U.S. Transhumanist Party Chairman Gennady Stolyarov II issued the following personal statement upon learning of Mr. Traywick’s death:
“Flotation pods are inherently dangerous. I personally would never confine myself to a deliberately isolated, sound-proof tank, surrounded by water, where it would be easy to lose consciousness and lower one’s head into the water or turn inadvertently and obstruct one’s breathing – and no one would notice or be able to help. Whatever the ostensible benefits of ‘deep meditation’ might be (I am not a subscriber to that practice; I am always an advocate of being actively engaged in the world and receiving external feedback for one’s actions), it is not worth the risks of that particular procedure. The flotation pod is far likelier than any DIY gene therapy to have killed Aaron Traywick.”
Regardless of the cause, the U.S. Transhumanist Party emphasizes that death is wrong. Mr. Traywick’s death is deeply wrong and will remain so. He will be missed by all of us. May his vision live on.