I talk about the community a great deal, but I realize that this may be confusing to many of you. After all, it did take me a while to find my way around and come to some understanding as to how all the various groups fit together. The following chart is intended to be a rough guide to the territory, showing alignments, overlaps and groups surrounding the healthy life extension community. It's a first draft, so be kind. Click on the image to view the full size version - the text will be somewhat hard to read as it is.
Overlapping balloons indicate areas of common interest and communities that share a sizeable number of members. As an advocacy group, this blog and the Longevity Meme would be in the middle under "Anti-Aging Research Advocacy." As always, I am drawing a firm distinction between real, scientific anti-aging research and the sort of fraudulent nonsense that drives the billion dollar "anti-aging" industry. You'll see those folks off to the right there, working their nefarious influence on newcomers to the community through misinformation, bad science, outrageous claims and aggressive, adventurous marketing.
Where do new supporters and advocates of healthy life extension come from? Well, from the surrounding groups - such as health enthusiasts and dieters who discover calorie restriction; libertarians and transhumanists who are interested in cryonics and nanomedicine; advocates for established aging research or specific medical research; scientists involved in searching for cures.
It is interesting to note that, up until comparatively recently, the major subgroups within the community were very isolated from one another. The cryonics, calorie restriction, supplement advocates and anti-aging research/advocacy communities have only widely intermingled since the advent of the Internet. This opens up enormous opportunities for growth in the larger healthy life extension community, since everyone has wider access to the "feeder groups" (libertarians, transhumanists, extropians, dieters and health enthusiasts, etc) that formerly were only closely associated with one or two community subgroups.
More importantly, these new avenues of communication and community allow many more people to easily learn about all the aspects of healthy life extension.
Why is libertarianism the only political philosophy noted here? The association between libertarianism and cryonics is a strong one and I felt it was worth noting. You'll find an even spread of political orientations throughout the healthy life extension community, but there are a lot of libertarian cryonics supporters. This is in part a function of the history of the cryonics movement and industry, and in part a function of the strong personalities involved in creating the cryonics industry. There are some interesting stories there, but that can wait for another time.
"Old Anti-Aging Business Ventures" refers to groups like the Life Extension Foundation and A4M. They tend to be rooted in the supplement, hormone and older technological base, although I believe that both of the examples given fund modern research. The LEF founders are also deeply involved in the growth of the cryonics industry.
"New Anti-Aging Business Ventures" refer to the new companies working on the science of calorie restriction, the biochemistry of aging and similar high tech goals. You can find a short list of a few notables at the Longevity Meme.
This diagram is a very crude first draft, and there is plenty of room for improvement. I plan to sit down and write a worthy commentary once you lot have had a go at it and a final, better version is in place. The PowerPoint slide this was taken from is available should you desire to go one better. Please do go ahead, or feel free to tell me how I'm getting it all wrong and missing out the vital part of the community that you belong to.