Apologism for Aging is Alive and Well

There is no shortage of people trying to convince us that degenerating into frailty, suffering, and death is a wonderful thing: "Mr Agronin is an optimist. He does not deny - how could he? - the sufferings and indignities of old age. Scanning slices of old brain, 'stained and prepped for the microscope', his eye is unsparing: 'the aged folds' like 'the withered meat of a walnut', the blood vessels like 'hardened tendrils', the 'small plaques of toxic amyloid protein surrounded by a debris field of dead neurons'. But alongside the science, he sees something else: the people themselves. Old age, he says, has become our blind spot, neglected by the medical profession, lumped together with dementia and disease, something to be endured, dreaded, mercifully pre-empted, or even - as one researcher in the field, Aubrey de Grey, argues - reversed. Mr Agronin, by contrast, embraces it. He sees it as intrinsic to life, with its own 'ways and meanings', its particular wisdom. Even at its most tenuous and hollowed out, he finds some shape, a sense of cyclic pattern. In an almost mystical passage, inspired by his professor, Erik Erikson, a psychologist, Mr Agronin likens life to a stream which eventually seeps down unseen into the bedrock, and opens 'like a flower into the aquifer below'." From where I stand, there needs to be more of a healthy dread of aging - perhaps that would motivate more people to help develop the rejuvenation biotechnologies that can do something about it. To try to pretend that aging to death, suffering terribly along the way, is just peachy keen has an air of desperate madness to it.

Link: http://www.economist.com/node/18111554

Comments

Deathists irritate me.

Posted by: kurt9 at February 11th, 2011 9:23 AM

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