Another One From The Pro-Death, Pro-Aging Contingent

I ran across a particularly egregious pro-death, pro-aging op-ed just a few days ago and thought I would share it.

People who live a healthy lifestyle should be rewarded with a long life. Millionaires who can afford the costs of Klotho gene therapy should not have an advantage over the common man. Each person has a certain period of time to make his or her contributions to the world and for that period of time is granted the use of Earth's resources. To fester in a realm of impoverishment is not the key to the success of the human race.

One of the purposes of science is to make life more enjoyable by reducing the pains of cancers and diseases, but prolonging life doesn't necessarily make it more enjoyable. We aren't meant to be Methuselahs. I'm with Billy Joel on this one. Only the good die young.

Where to start with something as outrightly ridiculous as that? I do think that the editorial as a whole serves as a good, albeit exaggerated, example of a certain class of knee-jerk reaction to healthy life extension, but beyond that it's the response of someone who fears change and inequality more than personal pain, suffering and death. There are far too many people like that in the world, and we must win them over as a part of broadening support for longer, healthier lives; both change and inequality exist regardless of fear, and neither is necessarily a bad thing. Malthusian fears are nothing more than fears, for example - human ingenuity has risen to best greater challenges in past decades.

It seems self-evident to me that the challenges of an ageless, disease-free world would be trivial compared to the challenges posed by this ongoing plague of suffering and death that claims tens of millions of lives every year - but, sadly, not everyone thinks that way. Mistaken Malthusian ideas on overpopulation and resource depletion, repopularized again and again despite continual proof to the contrary, cast a long shadow yet, as do the politics of envy and spite.

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If - as he sais - the good die young why does he still live i ask? ;-)

Posted by: Curious at September 6th, 2005 12:48 PM

i'm wondering what was meant exactly by the phrase, "an ageless, disease free world"
how does one become "ageless?" and why would one want such a thing?
merely curious.

Posted by: dixie at March 22nd, 2006 12:58 PM

"Ageless" - in this context - means having access to sufficiently advanced and capable medical technologies to enable repair of all the modes of damage and biochemical change that cause degenerative aging.

As to why one would want such a thing - well, an aversion to suffering, pain and death would seem to be reason enough.

Posted by: Reason at March 22nd, 2006 8:46 PM

Sure, taking care of ones body and mind and making healthy choices helps a person feel better and more apt to live life full-out. The sense of feeling ageless seems to happen when one lives in the moment - fully engaged with the life in front of them. From my point of view, suffering comes from wishing life were different than it is. You end up missing the life that is "here" because you're focused on getting "there". For that reason, I would rather be living full out in the present moment rather than spend my precious time being anti...anything!

Posted by: Maggie Crane at February 14th, 2008 9:34 AM

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