A Perspective on Coming to Support Longevity Science

The most important aspect of our era by far is the prospect for greatly extending healthy life through new medical technology. Long after everything else is forgotten, these years will be remembered as the end of degenerative aging. The new biotechnologies of rejuvenation will only happen rapidly enough to benefit those of use in mid-life if greater funding and attention is given to the best lines of research, however. This is the most important age of mankind, but we ourselves will not greatly benefit from it unless we help move things along more rapidly.

When you are deeply involved in advocacy for longevity science, it is easy to lose your memory of not caring and not knowing. Once upon a time we were all either ignorant or opposed to living longer, as most of the world remains at this time:

On the first Berlin Singularity event when a new friend propositioned the topic of life extension, I was horrified. But then I was even more troubled by the fact that I was horrified. I asked myself to set out the argument for offence. Then one by one, I realised that none of my propositions for concluding that life extension was "insane, gross, disgusting, egotistical" were actually valid. They were all marred by an extreme social and cultural bias.

Just because a thing had always been in such a way, did not mean that it was valid. Just because we had accepted aging in the past as a result of not really having any other choice, did not mean it was valid. Accepting aging was totally illogical - in the same vein that we do not accept cancers, or accidents, or any other cause of mortality. I couldn't find any differences between these diseases and the notion of aging. This wasn't about being 'immortal' (a word I think we all need to shun), but if I loved life (and the lives of those around me), why would I not want to enjoy it, healthier, for as long as I possibly could?

All the money in the world can't stop time from destroying everything. And although we may never absolve ourselves from being under it's grasp in some way or another, we're able now to confront biological time in a way never considered before. We're all racing against internal clockwork. And just like the nobleman taking apart the clock to try and gain control of the one thing that eluded him, so too are longevity research groups taking apart our internal clockwork and examining the mechanism. It's the stuff that humanity has always dreamed of. It's also one of the areas least discussed outside our relatively small circle.

Link: http://hplusmagazine.com/2013/11/22/time-and-the-transhuman-condition/

Comments

There seems to be this mentality that life itself is somehow a zero-sum game. If I choose to live forever young, that I am somehow reducing someone else's right to live. It is this mentality that underlies the acquisition that the pursuit of radical life extension is "egotistical". We need to counter this mentality that life is a zero-sum game.

Posted by: Abelard Lindsey at November 25th, 2013 12:30 PM

I still feel personally that it is because there is no ageless mouse or pig created by science as proof that this is possible that leads to general public apathy and disinterest, not misinformed moral or economic views.

If something has always been impossible, then it takes a demonstration to change most people's minds who have only a causal knowlegde of the subject. Sure, when you dig into it there is some hope that it is possible. But 99% of the public will never read through fightaging or the SENS proposals.

The first steam trains and later aeroplanes probably didn't come as a shock to those developing them, or engineers, but they came as a massive shock to the general public.

Of course without public support there is little political funding, restricting progress towards an ageless mouse. But hopefully SENS researchers can hit a few home runs in a row (unlikely unfortunately without sustained funding) and get to the public awareness winning demonstration.

I have to admit that when I first came across the fightaging blog even the name made me snigger a bit. I imagined it was just another silly website where cranks advocate acia berries, or high dosses of vitamin A to stay young.

The "that's just impossible" factor is the biggest reason for public disinterst in my opinion.

Posted by: jim at November 25th, 2013 5:49 PM

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