Over at Existence is Wonderful, Anne C. is embarking upon a four part essay, starting with the results of her recent poll on attitudes towards death and aging:
What sorts of attitudes are developing as emerging technologies make it possible for more and more people to live longer, healthier lives? Are people holding unyieldingly to old, possibly outmoded attitudes, or adopting new ones? What sorts of news items and/or scientific breakthroughs help to shape people's attitudes regarding how long they might live, and what they imagine the shape of their future will be?
While this was not a scientific poll, its results still proved very interesting, and will be taken into account in considering future philosophical writings and advocacy efforts. In any advocacy movement, it is important for the movement to self-examine continuously in order to avoid ideological "tunnel vision" and alienation of newcomers or persons unfamiliar with the idea of healthy life extension. Hence, as well as considering a primary respondent demographic of pro-longevity individuals, the poll also included several items deliberately intended to prompt responses from those not necessarily in favor of life extension. It was thought that in this way, a maximally representative sample pool could be obtained -- one consisting of people likely to read about longevity research and advocacy, or who are at least willing to follow links to sites that discuss these topics.
Head on over and take a look at how it turned out.
From where I sit, I see the world to be broadly divided into two groups: those who think that aging and death are terrible things, and those who realize too late that aging and and death are terrible things. You can only do something about your stately drive towards toward the cliff if you care to look ahead to see the impending drop. Trite, but true.