Reporting from Last Month's Idea City Conference

A number of folk from the longevity science and radical life extension advocacy communities were at last month's Idea City conference in Canada. A typically "balanced" but otherwise helpful article from the press showed up recently at the National Post:

The idea of youth restoration and life extension has long captivated the human imagination, from Dorian Gray's cursed portrait and Ponce de Leon's fountain of youth to cryogenic freezing and Botox.

Nowadays, the solutions range from the practical, such as Mr. Rae's extreme caloric tightrope, to the theoretical, which include scientific advances in tissue regeneration, biological tinkering to delay reproduction, and advancing the use of nanotechnology to repair the inner workings of the body with tiny cell-sized robots.

These kinds of futuristic solutions were a major focus of a recent conference in Toronto organized by Moses Znaimer, the 66-year-old media mogul who built his career on youth-driven television channels such as CityTV and MuchMusic and is now bent on rebranding 50-plus as the new watershed age for hip and active lifestyles.

"If you are having a good time and you are not in discomfort or disarray, we all want to live forever. Who wouldn't want to extend a happy and productive life?" he said.

But such a mission - life without end - is not without its detractors.

I can only imagine: "I'm writing an article on how good it is to breathe steadily and repeatedly - quick, find me someone to speak for the contrary viewpoint." Along those lines, here is an argument offered later in the article in favor of standing aside and letting billions of people suffer and die, who might otherwise have been saved:

"It's part of the natural cycle of things that life passes through these rhythms, one generation gives way to the next," he said. "We should be very careful about throwing that out.

"The world goes through change ... but we don't necessarily want to be the agents of some of that change."

Which is the same argument then marshalled by those who want to employ government force to make people suffer and die on a centrally-determined schedule - by blocking medical research and deployment of new technologies. Sometimes it's a challenge to live in peace with the asylum of would-be mass-murderers next door.


those who desire to have youthful life without end must have a useful life for all eternity -- a life with eternal purpose.
those who don't wish to prolong their lives obviously have nothing to live for. A dullife without a purpose lasting for ever would be intolerable for them, they would be dying of boredom. Nature determined an expiry day for most individuals, but Nature didn't determine the purpose of life -- it's up to each individual to discover it.


Posted by: nikki at July 12th, 2008 1:48 PM

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.