If You Support Radical Life Extension, Be Open About It

In the course of commenting on his appearance in Psychology Today article - ostensibly about people who tilt at windmills, but inadvertently a good commentary on how human nature tends to categorize any ambitious project as impossible - Michael Anissimov makes this observation:

The middle of the article engages in slightly tautological reasoning when it says that the immortalist movement’s image is damaged by Ray [Kurzweil] and Aubrey [de Grey] because they do things in pursuit of immortality, like taking supplements or marketing life extension research. They are doing things characteristic of immortalists. If they didn’t do them, they wouldn’t be pursuing immortality. Thus the author is essentially saying “immortalists are damaging the immortalist movement by acting like immortalists”. It’s a roundabout way of saying, “I’m pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing but don’t want to say so outright in this article”.

"Immortality" here being, I think, "physical immortality" or agelessness. The defeat of degenerative aging via future technologies of repair and rejuvenation, in other words - technologies that won't up and build themselves. We'll have to make that happen, but it's just a matter of time and resources.

There is a strong pressure, both internal and external, to conform to the median view in any human society; we're still very much rickety devices built upon a pillar of apes in that way. But you don't enact change by hiding your real views under a bushel. Equally, you can't take the average knee-jerk objection to healthy life extension seriously - give the objector 20 years or so, and they'll be conforming to the new median view you helped bring about.

If you want to change the world for the better, read around the subject of healthy life extension via scientific progress. Make your own mind up, and plant the flag exactly where you think it should be. The farther out the better, given just how far behind popular culture is these days. Then help make it happen, and convince as many people as you can along the way. That's how progress is made - not by bowing down to the unseen pressure and agreeing that the plausible is instead impossible.

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