But What About Pushkin?

From the Russian end of the longevity advocacy community:

A man strives for justice, but the most unjust thing in life is the inevitability of death. Here's a small child, then an adult, he learns, grows up, falls in love, gets married - divorce, have children, he is happy and suffering, dreaming and disappointed, laughing and crying, running, resting, but for all that the fate is death, imminent death due to aging. Monstrous injustice! A man with his life does not deserve death. People put up with this situation, they talk about natural dying, saying that a person must make room. These excuses have the sound of death due to frustration, due to a lack of knowledge about the theoretical possibilities of science, not a desire to act rationally. A person finds it easier to accept death and aging than to begin to act.

So the struggle with death and aging: a complex internal decision, the decision to confront the established foundations, the victory of reason over faith and the desire for psychological comfort, the victory over short-term interest. In 20 years it will not matter exactly what you ate today, what color your wallpaper, and where you go to relax - only one thing will be important, how you confronted death in our day. And in a hundred years, nothing that you are or do now will be important if aging is not defeated.

"But what about Pushkin? Everyone remembers him!" - Pushkin would love to change places with you, as he is dead while you are alive and can act. The memory of a man is not the man himself. The good works of Pushkin do not help him in any way nor are a compensation for his dying. Conversely, a victory over aging grants a continuation and the opportunity to do many things. Transhumanism is the desire for freedom. Freedom is possibility. Pain, suffering and aging limit our possibilities. Death reduces them to zero. Improving people via the new nano-, bio-, info-technology of the 21st century offers opportunities only dreamed of by philosophers of the past. It is important to take action.

Link: http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://m-batin.livejournal.com/154691.html


I am strongly of the opinion that for the general population, some kind of truly successful rejuvenation treatment for some of the more "shallow" or vain aspects of aging (hairloss, wrinkles, etc...) will be pivotal to creating a mass 'Aha' that the larger goals of stopping and reversing aging are even possible.

I think most people have no idea yet what is coming. I don't think they will 'get it' until they can SEE it. We are asking the layperson to believe in something that every aspect of their cultural and personal experience says is not even possible, not dying. We are asking them to believe in a new fairy tale, in a sense.

You can tell them about SENS and tissue engineering and that may begin to penetrate the mind. Slowly. Some minds. But if you want to blow 40 million minds in one week, then reverse balding. Or wrinkling of skin. We are visual animals and we believe what we see more than what we read or abstract in our minds. (I am sure this is a deep expression of part of our species' history that is a bit above my pay grade...) But to be a bit counter-intuitive, I think if we want to stop aging, we need a huge "Wow" such as putting a head of hair on a bald guy or smoothing the skin on Jane Fonda so she looks 45 again.

Then say, "This could be your heart and arteries too."

This kind of visual demonstration I think will be pivotal. I think if such products or treatments are created they will open widely the mind and wallets of millions upon millions. There is no zeitgeist churning proof that what SENS is saying is possible.

So more briefly, to stop aging we need to appeal to human vanity and laziness. I think such a project would break the dam and money would follow. People must see it to believe it.

Posted by: Tom at January 25th, 2013 11:39 AM

I'm glad for the last paragraph: somebody actually confronts that palliative bromide. Even when I hear it in contexts other than life-extension discussions, it's such a fuzzy-headed borderline reification fallacy that for me it more inclines to despair than relieves it.

Posted by: José at January 26th, 2013 2:23 AM

Tom, you're correct. After all it was a face that launched a thousand ships. Call it the Helenic Effect. Hopefully one successfully rejuvenated face will open the wallets of a thousand billionaires.

Posted by: manorborn at January 29th, 2013 9:30 PM

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