G. Stolyarov II
April 3, 2013
We are still several decades away from a time when medical technology will be able keep senescence and death at bay. What can we do until then to hasten the arrival of radical extension and to improve our own chances of benefiting from it? I recently offered my thoughts on this matter on an Immortal Life debate/discussion thread. My proposed approach is versatile and can be distilled into five essential points.
1. Personal Good Health. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should try to personally remain in good health as long as possible. This mostly involves common-sense practices (exercise, moderation in food, as well as avoidance of harmful substances, dangerous habits, and risky pleasures).
2. Utilization of Comparative Advantage. Each advocate of indefinite life extension should work to advance it in the areas where he/she has a comparative advantage. I am sympathetic to Peter Wicks’s statements in this regard – with the caveat that finding what one is best at is an iterative process that requires trying out many approaches and pursuits to discover one’s strengths and the best ways of actualizing them. Moreover, an individual may have multiple areas of strength, and in that case should discover how best to synthesize those areas and use them complementarily. But, crucially, one should not feel constrained to personally follow specific career paths, such as biogerontological research. Rather, one could make a more substantial contribution by maximally utilizing one’s areas of strength, knowledge, and expertise – and contributing some of the proceeds to research on and advocacy of indefinite life extension.
3. Advocacy. As Aubrey de Grey has put it, insufficient funding is a major obstacle to the progress of life-extension research at present. The scientists who are capable of carrying out the research are already here, and they are motivated. They need more support in the form of donations, which can be achieved with enough advocacy and persuasion of the general public (as well as wealthy philanthropists). In this respect, I agree with Franco Cortese that an additional promoter today may make more of a difference than an additional researcher, because the work of the promoters may ensure steady employment for the researchers in the field of anti-aging interventions. My Resources on Indefinite Life Extension (RILE) page catalogues a sampling of the major advances in fighting disease and developing new promising technologies that have occurred in the past several years. If only more people knew… The Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE) attempts to raise this awareness and has been gaining support and recognition at an encouraging pace. You can add to this progress by exploring and liking the MILE Facebook page.
4. Forthrightness. It is important for all advocates of indefinite life extension to be open about their views and to be ready to justify them – even casually and in passing. The idea needs to be made sufficiently commonplace that most people will not only take it seriously but will consider it to be a respectable position within public discourse. At that point, increased funding for research will come.
5. Innovative Education. As my previous points imply, education is key. But education on indefinite life extension needs to be made appealing not just in terms of content, but in terms of the learning process. This is where creativity should be utilized to create an engaging, entertaining, and addictive open curriculum of reading materials and digital certifications, compatible with an Open Badge infrastructure. I have begun to do this with several multiple-choice quizzes pertaining to some of my articles, and I welcome and encourage any similar efforts by others.