Someone who didn't take note of the eagerness with which people throw money at the shams, fakes, and security blankets of the "anti-aging" marketplace might be forced to conclude that the world's inhabitants are on balance indifferent as to whether they live long or die young, whether they suffer for decades or live healthily some years down the line. There are many common sense health practices that people can undertake to maximize their remaining life expectancy and reduce the risk of age-related disease - and that's even before we start in on supporting research and development of rejuvenation biotechnology - but the majority don't do anywhere near as much as they might, and in consequence they come to suffer for it.
Are we a species whose dominant trait is actually nihilism? One wonders at times.
But the personal future of aging isn't the only thing that most people, judging by their actions, are indifferent to. We might also consider the preventable nature of well known conditions like cancer, to pick one example. Most people know that they should be exercising, they should not let themselves get fat, and they also know how to halve the risk of suffering cancer - but do they adopt the necessary changes in lifestyle? Largely no:
More than half of all cancer is preventable, and society has the knowledge to act on this information today ... What we know [is] that lifestyle choices people make and that society can influence in a number of ways - from tobacco use to diet and exercise - play a significant role in causing cancer. Specifically, the researchers cite data demonstrating that smoking alone is responsible for a third of all cancer cases in the United States. Excess body weight and obesity account for another 20 percent.
This all might be viewed as another facet of the difficulty faced by groups trying to do something about aging and age-related disease - which is to say trying to help people avoid a future that many to most seem to be largely indifferent to, judging by their actions. If a person doesn't care enough about their future trajectory to take basic, simple care of their health today, why would they care enough to donate money to medical research and development? Fortunately, it isn't necessary to persuade everyone - even a few tens of millions of casual supporters, a tiny fraction of the population of the world, could between them generate enough resources to carry the SENS research program to completion, for example. Cancer research is itself an example of what it looks like some decades after that initial group of casual supporter is amassed - once the ball starts rolling and achieves a critical mass, the research programs become accepted as a part of what is.
But we are still left wonder on the rationality of humans, and the degree to which the average person is prepared to let their future self suffer.