People are good at building a belief that whatever cannot be changed in life is in fact a good situation. It is a lie, but it helps keep us sane in the face of miserable situations that we can do nothing about. So while matters are improving with the advance of technology, the world remains packed wall to wall with pain and suffering, and with people who tell us that it is all good. The pain and suffering of aging is the focus here at Fight Aging!, as it is the greatest cause of death and disease. Even here where the cost is so clear and so high positive change driven by progress in medical science is resisted by those who tell us that aging, a terrible degenerative condition that ends in death, is in fact a good thing:
Buddha believed the way to end human suffering was the regular practice of meditation and introspection. But Buddha didn't have biotech. As far as we know, humans are the only species conscious of their own mortality. The theme has dominated human thought for ages untold. Philosophy and religion, built brick by brick over millennia, aim to ease our anxiety over death and impermanence.
Much of our musing has focused on how best to deal with or justify death and suffering because, of all our problems, they look the most unassailable, the least likely to yield to technology. Our mortality motivates us to do great works, we say. Suffering informs deep insights about ourselves. Pleasure is only pleasurable relative to pain.
Above all, it's often said that because death and suffering are a natural part of life, we should resign ourselves to them. In Meditations, Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, "Despise not death, but welcome it, for nature wills it like all else." But biotechnology wasn't even the hint of a mote in the eye of Marcus Aurelius. And it's fascinating that the modern mind simultaneously rebels against its own mortality and at the thought of abolishing death and suffering.