Too Many People Think of Aging and Age-Related Diseases as Somehow Distinct

There is a lot of confused thinking out there in the world when it comes to aging and age-related disease. You don't have to look much further than the fact that most people are entirely supportive of research to treat and cure age-related diseases, such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer's, but those very same people are not in favor of treating aging as a medical condition in order to extend healthy life spans. Yet the progression of aging and the development of age-related disease are one and the same process, meaning the accumulation of biological damage and its consequences to the operation of cells and tissues. The only way to prevent age-related disease is to control that damage, keep it down to a low level by periodically repairing it. Given sufficiently comprehensive repair therapies, undergoing treatment will also put a halt to aging, even produce rejuvenation. The goal of curing age-related diseases across the board necessarily means extension of healthy life; absent damage, people will continue in vigor and good health indefinitely. Unfortunately, most people are disinclined to support the only feasible approach that can achieve this goal.

If you've ever tried to advocate for rejuvenation, you know it is hard. Usually, people deem the idea as crazy, impossible, or dangerous well before you get to finish your first sentence. Living too long would be boring, it would cause overpopulation, 'immortal' dictators, and what have you. However, you've probably never heard anyone use the same arguments to say that we should not cure individual age-related diseases. This is largely because people have little to no idea about what ageing really is, that it cannot be untangled from the so-called age-related pathologies. These are nothing more, nothing less, than the result of the life-long accumulation of several types of damage caused by the body's normal operations. Unlike infectious diseases, the diseases of old age are not the result of a pathogen attack, but essentially the result of your own body falling apart. As I was saying, people are largely unaware of this fact, and therefore expect that the diseases of ageing could be cured one by one without having to interfere with the ageing process itself, as if the two weren't related at all. The result of this false expectation would be that you could cure Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and so on, but somehow old people would still drop dead around the age of 80 just because they're old.

That is like saying that people will die of being healthy. Back to reality, this can't be done. To cure the diseases of old age, you need to cure ageing itself. If, for whatever reason, you think that curing ageing as a whole would be a bad idea and it should not be done, the only option is to not cure at least some of the root causes of ageing. Consequently, some age-related pathologies would remain as untreatable as they are today. The typical objections raised against rejuvenation tend to sound reasonable at first. To some, the statement 'We should not cure ageing because it would lead to overpopulation' sounds self-evident. However, if we consider the implications of this statement, things start getting crazy. As said, not curing ageing implies not curing some of its root causes, which in turn implies not curing some age-related diseases. Therefore, the sentence 'We should not cure ageing, because otherwise fewer people would die and this might lead to overpopulation' implies 'We should not cure Alzheimer's disease, because otherwise fewer people would die and this might lead to overpopulation.' I don't think I need to point out why that statement is utterly ridiculous. I'm all for discussing potential problems brought about by the defeat of ageing, so that we can prevent them from ever happening; however, I'm not going to buy a pig in a poke and accept blatant nonsense as valid objections to rejuvenation.


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