Politics and Historical Aspirations to Engineered Longevity

Possibly an example of overthinking the issue at the JET, but the section on Finot illustrates that our era does not enjoy a monopoly on rational thinking about extending the healthy human life span: "The beginning of the modern period in the pursuit of radical human enhancement and longevity can be traced to fin-de-siecle/early twentieth-century scientific and technological optimism and therapeutic activism. The works of several authors of the period - Fedorov, Stephens, Bogdanov, Nietzsche and Finot - reveal conflicting ideological and social pathways toward the goals of human enhancement and life extension. Each author represents a particular existing social order, and his vision of human advancement may be seen as a continuation and extension of that order. Therefore, the pursuit of life extension may be considered a fundamentally conservative (or conservationist) enterprise. ... First, these adaptations may question the claims of a particular ideology for supremacy in the promotion of life-extension and life-enhancement. The claims that atheism, capitalism or hedonism are more conducive to the pursuit of longevity, can be countered by historical examples where religion, socialism or asceticism were the foundations. No ideological system seems to have a monopoly, however strongly it asserts that it constitutes the rock-solid ground for this pursuit. It may be that, rather than providing such a foundation, political ideologies enlist the hope for life extension to increase their appeal."

Link: http://jetpress.org/v21/stambler.htm


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