We need more people in the community who get out there and write as a matter of course - it broadens the conversation and helps to raise awareness of plausible near term gains in healthy life extension. It also helps to wake people up from the knee-jerk acceptance of age-related degeneration and knee-jerk condemnation of attempts to lengthen healthy life span. This is very important. So let me open with a quote from one of Anne C.'s latest posts:
At any rate, while I don't think it's "important" to get everyone all excited about cyborg implants and do-it-yourself gill slits and other potentially cool modifications that might happen at some point in the future, I do think it is a very good idea to try to break people out of the "pro-aging trance", at least those who think that since they can't fathom living indefinitely nobody else should be allowed to even attempt it.
The ones who just want to age out and die, but who are perfectly fine with the idea of other people trying to avoid that fate are probably harmless (and when they see those around them living longer, healthier lives they might start reconsidering anyway!) But in order to serve as examples of what a healthy, extended life could be, first we need the means to achieve those extended lives. And I am happy to report that I've become involved in part of a very cool project that could potentially contribute to real anti-aging science (I don't want to say too much yet, but I will say that I'm tremendously excited and looking forward to any opportunity in this realm.)
As noted, we also need more people to start in on getting the work done. Twenty or thirty years from now, people will look back and see that it was the vast funding from source X or Y that made all the difference in the development of first generation healthy life extension medicine and the research infrastructure to support further gains. That funding has not yet come to pass. It isn't going to come to pass without (a) success in raising awareness, educating the public and creating the right atmosphere of understanding and support, and (b) success in pilot projects that seek to attain meaningful early milestones in healthy life extension science.
The ideal progression sees modes (a) and (b) advancing in parallel and supporting one another. If one side moves too far ahead of the other, it loses efficiency and effectiveness: it's hard to grow support for year after year without ongoing material progress to point at; it's equally hard to raise minor funding for pilot projects without sufficient widespread support and understanding.
Thus, activist and advocacy groups forge alliances with researchers. None of this is rocket science or a new path forward. For groups like the Methuselah Foundation and its supporters, the only novelty lies in the degree of success enjoyed for the topic at hand: an effective, scientific path forward to longer, healthier lives.
It has become very clear that this is the right time for this activism and new science to make significant gains. If we want to live to see a future of far longer, healthier lives, then we need to get our shoulders behind the wheel of progress.