Comments Requested on Superlongevity and Boredom

Mark Walker is requesting comments on an early draft of a paper on superlongevity and boredom. Take a look and see what you think:

As usual, comments welcome. Here is the abstract:

"Superlongevity" may be thought of as doubling (or more) the human lifespan through the use of technology. Critics have argued that superlongevity will inevitably lead to boredom, while proponents have denied this claim. Rather than attempting to resolve the debate through theoretical speculation, I argue that allowing persons to become superlongevitists can be construed as an experiment to decide this issue. Further, the moral benefits of conducting the experiment greatly outweigh the moral costs of not running the experiment.

A conclusion I wholeheartedly endorse. Run the experiment!

The idea that a far longer, healthier life somehow implies a doom comprised of boredom - and that this renders the whole exercise pointless from the outset - is one of those oddly widespread and utterly silly kneejerk objections to healthy life extension:

Even active, inventive, happy people often assume that longer healthy lives will bring boredom through repetition, however. Ask someone you know how long it would take them to run out of new things to do and become bored if they could live in good health forever. Your friend will give you an outrageously low number of years, I'll bet. If you stop to think about it - rather than just going on instinct - you'll soon realize that you are never going to be any more likely to become bored of life than you are right now. There is simply too much to do, too many different things to think, feel, do and accomplish. In fact, the advance of technology means there is always more to do with each new passing year. New possibilities, activities and enhancements to the quality and variety of life are constantly opening up.

If you enjoy healthy life, you'll most likely enjoy more healthy life - if you put in the effort to make it interesting. That's your responsibility; no-one else is going to help you make a life you like. So put in the effort! Don't let yourself be conned into accepting age-related suffering and death by those who haven't thought seriously about the issue. Or by those who couldn't care less about your welfare.

We live in a unique time: on the cusp of a biotechnology revolution that could deliver the keys to greatly extended healthy longevity and cures for age-related frailty and disease. But it won't happen in time for those of us reading this today if we all shrug our shoulders and fail to speed progress towards these worthy goals.

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Sort of the choice between hunger or obesity...

Posted by: Berend de Boer at June 19th, 2006 10:00 PM


Posted by: Reason at June 19th, 2006 10:23 PM

I have a long list of things I want to spend a lifetime mastering in my head. I figure 20-60 years on each one and I will never be bored.

Posted by: Joe at June 20th, 2006 8:13 AM

Considering that in the past 100 years or so we've already achieved "super longevity" (average human lifespan used to be ~40 years, and now it's approaching 80), I'd think that the "debate" has already been answered. How many people over 40 are so bored that they wish they were dead?

Anyway, given unlimited lifespan (and unlimited money), I could see myself happily exploring the US (let alone the world) for many years. And by the time I was done, I could start all over again, since all the places I had visited to start with will have changed (and my memory would have faded) enough so that they were new again.

Add new books (plus old books that I have always wanted to read but haven't had the time), ect. ect.

Anyone who advances the boredom argument is a fool.

Posted by: J Thomason at June 20th, 2006 9:43 AM

The usual answer applies: let people decide for themselves. Those who feel bored after a certain number of years are free to leave life.

Also, even if one eventually would get bored (which one wouldn't, but for the sake of the argument...), wouldn't it be great to live until you actually don't want to live anymore, rather than spending most of your life slowly dying while wishing to live more? It's the difference between staying at a party for as long as it is fun, and being forced to leave while it still IS fun.

The it-would-get-bored argument is more of a psychological confession than an actual argument. Maybe THEY can't see enough value in life, but I certainly can.

Posted by: ND at June 20th, 2006 12:27 PM

Maybe when I am 100 I will be FINALLY finished with my house project! No, I am not bored with it but I am SLOW!

Posted by: S Jackson at June 26th, 2006 9:52 AM
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