Wealth is your capacity for choice, your freedom to choose. We are wealthier than our ancestors because we can choose to fly, choose not to die from common infectious disease. Choose to communicate with the other side of the world, choose not to starve. Who would want to trade positions with the elite of past centuries, near as likely as their subjects to suffer parasitism, infection, early death? Building rejuvenation therapies, as is true for the rest of modern medical science, is a matter of building new choices and new freedoms. To choose to live, to choose to be healthy in circumstances in which those options are presently not on the table.
Freedom is a rather big deal in this age. Different kinds of freedom are available in different amounts in different areas of the world, and while many people tend to see the glass half empty and complain that freedom is not equally distributed everywhere, it's undeniable that we enjoy far greater liberty than previous generations. It's not always easy to act upon your choices, and sometimes you're free to choose in theory but not in practice, but overall, we enjoy options that who came before us couldn't even dream of.
Take health, for example. Two hundred years back, if you didn't want to get the flu, or any other infectious disease, you didn't have the option not to do so. The mechanism through which infectious diseases manifest and spread wasn't even remotely understood, so you didn't have any idea what you should or shouldn't do to minimize your risk of falling ill; basic hygiene wasn't exactly a standard, and drugs and vaccines were nowhere in sight. Today, however, if you want to avoid infectious diseases, you have plenty of options to do so.
The vast majority of diseases and ailments that we still cannot really cure or prevent are the diseases of old age, and they range from being a hindrance to being debilitating and lethal. Giving people the option to be free from the diseases of aging is literally all that life extension is about. Right now, we're all sitting on a fast train heading towards disability, disease, loss of independence and dignity, suffering for ourselves and our loved ones, and, ultimately, death.
Indirectly, life extension also means having more control over how long you'd like to live, because a longer life is only the logical consequence of being healthier for longer. To me, the idea of wanting to live for only a finite amount of time sounds absolutely absurd, but that's my problem; there may well be people who have their own reasons to want to live only so long. If life extension were possible, at the very least, you would have the option to live longer, and in a best-case scenario, you'd have an option to live in perfect health for as long as you see fit. Right now, you don't have that option. In this regard, your freedom is severely limited. This is all that life extension means: the freedom to be healthy and control how long you want to exist.