Answers to common philosophical arguments and misconceptions against the prospect of radical life extension.
I do not want to live forever, I do not want immortality.
The elimination of aging is not synonymous with immortality or eternal life. It is above all a question of CHOICE: the elimination of age would confer a perpetual youth, but each one would remain free to CHOOSE to interrupt the course of his life after a certain lifespan. Not by suicide, but by the resuming of the natural aging process.
Who knows what societies of tomorrow will have in store for people tired of living? Maybe the individual will be able to opt for cryonics voluntarily with the prospect of being reanimated a thousand years later, or not at all?
If life became unlimited, we could no longer appreciate the present moment.
Imagine being told you have incurable cancer and 2 months left to live. Will these two months be the tastiest days of your life? Knowing your life so limited, will you enjoy more the present moment? It will probably be the opposite, because anxiety, depression and terror will tarnish your life. Imagine now that you have been misdiagnosed, that your cancer isn’t one, and that you will be able to continue to live normally for many more years. Your relief will be such that it will make you appreciate every moment of your life. It is the lifting of the threat that gives the most flavor to your life, that unleashes your love of living, because you are no longer obliged to condition yourself in accepting to lose what is most valuable: your life. It is actually your programmed termination that plunges you into a state of chronic depression as you age. How can one be fully happy in the death camp that is our present life?
The things of life are appreciable because there is a limit. We would not appreciate anything if our lifespan was radically increased.
Hunger, the desire to eat is a recurring need. A good meal following an intense hunger is a treat. Socializing around a good meal is a pleasure, always renewed. To make love is a biological need to satiate. The accumulated desire is released in contact with another’s body in an orgasmic explosion. Eating, socializing, making love are cyclical human biological necessities that, when satisfied, provide intense pleasures. They are not conditioned by any intellectual context. If we reach a radically longer lifespan, there would be no reason to stop experiencing the delight of filling those basic needs.
Why should it be different for secondary needs? Curiosity, the desire to learn, to create … will not vanish suddenly because we could live 1000 years! On the contrary, they could thrive to their full potential with the infinity of people and things to discover.
Without limit to life, there is no reason to exist
Couldn’t being alive, surrounded by our beloved ones all in perfect health and for as long as possible, constitute a reason for living sufficient and absolute? (This is the goal of Future Is Great). This quest for immanent happiness could become an objective in itself and is not reprehensible.
A longer lifespan would indeed reorganize the way we would approach life, but we would have at our disposal an infinitely larger palette than that available to an 85-year-long life!
Are you really ready to see your family die in the name of evolution’s higher interest? Or are you trying to justify death, because there is currently no way to escape from it?
Isn’t the objective of evolution, precisely to strengthen life at the expense of death?
If your intent is to serve evolution … start by criticizing it.
We can blame this evolution based on natural selection for its slowness and its powerlessness to solve our current problems. The artificial evolution of our technologies and achievements has taken precedence over natural selection. There isn’t today a natural scourge sufficiently discriminatory to play the role of a natural selector on the human species. If the “means” used by natural selection are the sophistication of organisms and the emergence of improvements, with the “aim” of increasing survival capacity, then technology can replace it. It can even do better, and faster.
If technologies reach a degree of evolution sufficiently advanced to allow radical life extension, the process of age healing will be perfectly mastered and predictable. It will be reproducible and applicable to any individual. An entire family could benefit from age extension. There would be no isolated survivor so no reason to feel guilty. This is not the case with current medicine. Take cancer, for example: we are only able to cure certain cases. This unjust randomness can generate the survivor’s guilt. But it is not on this uncertain ground that the medical technologies of tomorrow will treat people. They will be considerably more efficient and able to cure anyone of any disease.
We Must Make Room for Youth
Youth is shaking up codes and can generate the impulses that will transform society. In a world where the aging process would be mastered … it’s a safe bet that the majority of the population would choose to stabilize at an optimal youthful age. So it is rather the presence of old people that is at stake.
To be precise this “youth” of the future would not be quite the same as today, except for the “real” young born near the present time; this youth would have the experience of a long life.
It is a different society that is emerging on the horizon, a society where experience of life and youth of the body will be combined.
The Fear of Death Will Push People to Extreme Paranoia
Since future human life is no longer threatened by irremediable old age or vicious diseases, the death factors will be confined to events that are sufficiently traumatizing to inflict body and brain damage beyond the repairable.
Some authors imagine that to preserve their lives at all costs, people will stay locked up to avoid any risk of violent death.
Conversely, one could imagine that supported by the progress of an extremely effective medicine, people will live in an unrestrained way knowing that they do not risk much.
Hard to say which of these two extreme views will prevail. The majority of people will probably enjoy a more reasonable life, neither paranoid nor risky.
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