An Animated Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant

Nick Bostrom's Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant is a noted modern morality tale, written to highlight our acceptance of death by aging, and more importantly our grand, widespread failure to work towards building therapies to treat aging. Even though the research community now knows enough to achieve that goal, and even though biotechnology is in the midst of an unprecedented revolution in capacity and capabilities, research aimed at producing human rejuvenation is hardly funded at all in comparison to other more prosaic fields.

Further, if asked, most people gladly declare that they have no interest in living longer or treating aging as a disease to be cured - despite the fact that they would no doubt be among the masses taking advantage of rejuvenation therapies were those treatments available, just as they now take advantage of modern medicine unavailable to their ancestors. So we march towards death and suffering, doing next to nothing about this avoidable fate. It is this sort of everyday madness that inspires the writing of fables.

You might recall that a couple of years back there was some talk of animating the Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant. This was generally agreed to be a good idea. I'm pleased to note that someone actually went ahead and did it:

Nick Bostrom's philosophical parable about death recounts the tale of the most vicious dragon that ate thousands of people everyday, and of the actions of the king, the people and an assembly of Dragonologists to destroy this ancient threat. Our situation with regards to human senescence is similar to the situation of the people in the fable in regard to the dragon. Therefore, we have compelling reasons to get rid of human senescence.

If you appreciated the Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant, you might also look at Bostrom's Letter from Utopia.

Your body is a deathtrap. This vital machine and mortal vehicle, unless it jams first or crashes, is sure to rust anon. You are lucky to get seven decades of mobility; eight if you be fortune's darling. That is not sufficient to get started in a serious way, much less to complete the journey. Maturity of the soul takes longer. Why, even a tree-life takes longer. Death is not one but a multitude of assassins. Do you not see them? They are coming at you from every angle. Take aim at the causes of early death - infection, violence, malnutrition, heart attack, cancer. Turn your biggest gun on aging, and fire. You must seize the biochemical processes in your body in order to vanquish, by and by, illness and senescence.

Glad to see that someone animated this excellent fable. It is a mind-bender.

Posted by: John at April 9th, 2013 8:13 PM

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