New Perspectives for Unlimited Longevity

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Posted by Tom Anderson on May 30, 19101 at 07:32:59:

New Perspectives
Non-Aging Longevity

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1. Introduction
2. Defining Non-Aging Longevity
3. Popular misconceptions
4. Invalid claims about the certainty of death
5. Obsession with immortality?
6. The accepted cultural perspective toward death
7. Requirements for non-aging longevity
8. Today's society and its changes
9. Practical approaches
10. Conclusions
11. References

1. Introduction

As the idea of scientifically extended longevity is slowly gaining
popularity, countless articles on life extension and even physical
immortality have become available -- of all these articles, why should you
read this one?

This article does not emphasize on scientific particulars of human life
extension, although it relates to the scientific facts. It is different --
focusing on both personal and cultural factors significant for a fast and
certain achievement of non-aging longevity. Therefore, the article offers
new ideas to advocates of life extension which could add to their existing
knowledge, but also lets the broad public -- uninformed about the very
latest scientific developments and lacking motivation and personal
perspectives about the topic -- form a better understanding about it.

This article was written for a general audience, however, especially the
following audience can benefit from new insights and perspectives presented
throughout this article: sceptics and critical thinkers, scientists and
students of biotech professions, long-term investors of biotech/medical
projects, transhumanists, longevity advocates and "immortalists",
freethinkers and atheists.

On the other hand, an intention is also to correct misbeliefs and offer new
controversial facts to the opposite audience, such as christians, people
seeking answers for immortality in mysticism and new-age culture, and the
so-called fatalists (a major part of todays society, which considers death
as inevitable).

If you are well-read on the topic of longevity and potential immortality,
if you know about the arguments against the extension of human life, and if
you disagree with them, you might want to skip the first five or so
chapters. Or, you might want to read the conclusions first and follow the
links back. However, reading the article from top to bottom is suggested
for the best understanding. The text contains mostly new and unrecognized
facts and perspectives on how to personally achieve non-aging longevity
with relative certainty, which ultimately requires certain insights and
realizations that no technological or medical solution can deliver each
individual. Supporting the hypothesis that the conditions for establishing
open-ended longevity depend not only on scientific advancements, but also
to a high degree on the general attitude that modern society brings toward
immortality, it shows concepts and routes for necessary transformations
that one can possibly apply in order to advance the goal of achieving
research-based longevity.

Goals of this article are to provide new insights, and deliver arguments,
for the overcoming of death, but also critical, realistic views regarding
some rather optimistic predictions. It will deal with memes, emotional
convictions, and the state of our society regarding questions of life and
death, which are crucially important for people active in the field of
longevity -- scientific or otherwise. Finally, it will provide you with
some new approaches and strategies on how to change perspectives and
beliefs, and how to work to advance and speed up the eventual achievement
of scientific longevity.

Copyright notice: this document is intended as a reference for many
viewpoints and facts. See the references to see which other texts have been
used in the composition of this article. The document may be spread as
whole or in part, copied and freely quoted. Spreading is even appreciated.
If you've read this text and liked the ideas in it, please consider telling
others about it.

2. Defining Non-Aging Longevity

To talk about longevity, the meaning of the term must first be clearly
defined. In our context, life extension and longevity mean to extend the
life of a human being indefinitely and open-ended. It is based on the
conviction that a de-facto immortality for human beings is not impossible;
however, terms like life extension and non-aging longevity are mostly used
throughout the text.

This is because the word immortality is a historically unscientific word,
which had almost always a mystical definition. Non-aging longevity is, by
definition, nonmystic, fully explainable and achievable through scientific
means, i.e., observing cause and effect.

This text accepts that more definite forms of open-ended longevity or
immortality, as possible through unpredictable future technologies, e.g.
sophisticated nanotechnology and beyond, will not be available in the next
few decades. Rather, it values the prospects of major possibilities
existing right now, such as halting and reversing the aging process through
hormones, human genetics, stem-cell research, even cloning and body
transplantation (possible with more sophisticated neurological
technologies). The author acknowledges that a cure or retardation of the
aging process will not mean immortality, since people will still be prone
to injury and disease. But the achievement of a highly extended longevity
would mean a rapid decrease in death-rates worldwide, and the elimination
of the inevitability of death. With a fast achievement of a solution for
longevity that would allow most people to live healthy and safely, say,
past their 100's, the longer road to better knowledge and technologies for
preventing human death could be walked by the generations living today.

For a word choice less controversial, the word immortality is replaced with
longevity. But the meaning of rapid major advancements in science would
ultimately be just that, immortality. This simply means, as most people
would continue to live past their natural lifespans, new technologies could
develop faster than their remaining life time runs out.

The prime responsibility of business and science, therefore, is not the
development of anti-aging and health products that let people live
healthier and better within or minimally beyond their natural average
lifespan of approx. 75 years, but research and development to establish
definite cures and solutions against human aging and death itself, the
fastest route possible, and to make it commercially available to as many
people as possible.

3. Popular misconceptions

This chapter introduces some of the most widely accepted beliefs about the
impossibility of human immortality which are are based on emotions, or
superficial, but yet so firmly accepted and unquestioned in our society
that they are major factors working against longevity within our lifetime

Reason: Being used to it. People have always died before. In the 20th
century, the average lifespan has been around 70 in developed countries.
Only few people have lived longer, and those who did were old and had
different places in society than healthy young and middle aged people. In
that sense, our society is dependent on limited human lifespans, and the
majority of people expect and plan according to this situation in their

Reason: It is impossible because it never happened before. People have
doubts and resistance against the enhancement of human lifespan as they had
with similar technologies, which had never existed before. Things that are
common today, such as the ability for humans to fly (the plane), the
exploration of outer space, breaking certain world records, steam power,
and the use of electricity, were all once seen as ridiculous, and met the
same kind of scepticism and resistance.

Reason: Fear of the unknown. Fearing the unknown, which has perhaps once
been a useful factor in our evolution, has become a hurdle in today's
rapidly evolving human civilization. Many people are simply emotionally
concerned about new perspectives. Unfortunately, this can cause trends that
politicians, the often not-so-honest, or at best, vague news media, and
other groups like to follow. This often results in major complications for
the establishment of new technologies which later turn out to be quite
useful. For example, in the 20th century, many people seriously worried
that advanced computers, which we made more intelligent than humans, could
develop their own consciousness and take over the world or enslave
humanity. Many books were written about the topic, and futurologists,
visionaires, and politicians engaged in serious debates over it. Similarly,
most arguments against technologies such as genetics or cloning, are devoid
of reason, facts and rationality, when you really take a close look. But it
is still an important matter to counter them with better arguments.

Indeed, you should listen to irrational arguments and counter them.
Convictions and memes [2] can be spread and adopted by huge amounts of
people without them ever realizing it. You could say that mortality itself
is a meme (a subconsciously accepted and spreaded conviction or idea). For
many cultures, mortality, as in the eventual end of our existence, is even
a relatively new one, that appeared only after the bigger religious
movements started being discarded and left, and with them, memes or beliefs
of "spiritual immortality", "the soul", "afterlife", "rebirth", and so on.
Certain individuals also have different death memes, sometimes in
combination with religious ones, which say that "Death and Aging are
Spiritual", "Growing old is normal", or "Old age is 80 years".

Important to consider is that none of these convictions are absolute
truths, but many people firmly believe in them as absolute, unchanging
truths. To present rational arguments to the population against such
"truths", or irrefutable errors, as Nietzsche preferred to call them, can
help to subvert these memes, simply with realism, and most of all, honesty.
The people who accept honest arguments then replace their convictions;
either they become total sceptics, or, more likely, they acquire new
convictions, which are retained unless replaced with better perspectives.

4. Invalid claims about the certainty of death

Now, let's consider more detailed objections against non-aging longevity
and the possibility of overcoming death, such as ethical, social,
religious, etc., and counter them. This can effectively demonstrate that
there are no ultimate reasons against the possibility of an open-ended
lifespan, simply by invalidating the existing claims with logic derived
from facts.

Popular arguments of media and politics. These arguments are actually no
arguments in the original sense, but a good mixture from the points below,
together with subjective opinions based on the understanding and
manipulation of erroneous beliefs and people's emotions. However, the fact
that humans naturally trust and rely on authority makes any "arguments"
coming from politicians and the media a lot more important than other

Ethical concerns. For the field of political ethics and bioethics, now
uprising and growing during the emerging of biotechnology, it is important
to recognize that similar objections as raised today against biotechnology,
human germline manipulation, cloning, stem-cell research, and so on, were
once raised against practices like autopsies, anesthesia, artificial
insemination, and the entire genetic revolution of our day. Yet, enormous
benefits have accrued from each of these developments, contributing to
curing diseases, saving people from death, and making possible more
advanced scientific research. Ethics themselves are a quite complex topic,
which is why I've dealt with them in a separate article. Remember that such
ethical questions are often used strategically. They intentionally lead to
endless debates without ever producing concrete results, even though all
rational arguments have been exchanges.

Religious concerns. Widespread religious arguments, i.e. not interfering
with the work of God, or the destiny of man, are perhaps the hardest
arguments to refute, because they are based on a world view different from
the scientific/nonmystic way of thinking emerging today. But for the more
open-minded religious people, their arguments are points to think about and
reconsider. The author acknowledges that he is not religious, but an
unbiased and tolerant person. Even when thinking from the perspective of a
religious believer, the claims of big churches and religious organizations,
cannot be equal to the word and will of God. If you are a christian, for
example, you accept the fact that the fate of man are self-responsible
thoughts and actions (after he left paradise). And as far as I know, all
traditional religions more or less value human life and its preservation.
Eastern religions like Hinduism are even based on a belief of physical,
bodily immortality as the highest goal. In any case, if there is a God, who
can tell that s/he would not be happy to see us move toward his/her level?
Else, why should humans have self-introspective consciousness and the
ability to change and override the defaults of nature? And since no human
being can answer these questions for sure, no religious movement can tell
for sure if there is an afterlife. If this is not the case, and if we just
vanish for all eternity at the end of our lives, and don't take immediate
advantages of chances to enhance our lives, it could mean we are making the
ultimate mistake. Using our -- nature or God -- given abilities to attain
control over nature and life, means to fulfill our destiny as human beings
-- in either way.

Social concerns. Since already so many social and general problems, war and
unnecessary death exists in the world, many people think that we first need
to concentrate on those problems. And this is an important point. Life
extension and biotech projects, however, could benefit especially the
poorest people and worst countries, in the long term. Todays problems of
poverty and world hunger continue because the life and death cycles in poor
countries. Even if thousands of people die daily, their society continues
to exist. People in development countries also have a desire to have a big
family and many children in a situation where so many people suffer and
die. Today, there is no great motivation to solve such problems since the
majority does not understand the full potential and value of human lives.
When we will be able to increase the human life span significantly, each
individual will become more important and valuable. Eventually, the
starving and dying of other humans will become intolerable to everyone.

Also, side developments of a biotechnological advancement toward non-aging
longevity will include better and cheaper approaches to birth control, diet
and nutrition, agricultural technologies, and so on. Also consider the
computer revolution, which was first thought to affect only western
countries. But the availability of computers and the internet in poor
countries and dictatorships has ultimately contributed to growth and
personal freedom. So it is unlikely that longevity or immortality products will
be available only to a small elite, but rather, they would be desired
by almost everyone, propagated and marketed to a maximum amount of people,
which in turn would cause the costs to fall rapidly. This means, there
would be no such thing as a longevity for the rich elite, while the rest of
humanity would remain in its current state of being. However, this must
also be said, no individual has a natural duty of helping suffering
individuals, especially not through sacrificing himself. Any ideology or
government forcing individuals to give up themselves for higher causes or
the public good, is obviously wrong and immoral when it is based on force
(or force-backed regulation) instead of volition and sacrifice instead of
good will. Apart from this point, contributing to the solution of problems
is desirable. The achievement of non-aging longevity through advanced
biotechnology could ultimately be a great help in solving problems of
poverty and third-world countries, especially because many social problems
are rooted in the lack of respect for individuals and human life.

Scientific arguments. The argument from scientific circles, and from people
who don't believe in any of the above concerns, is, that extended longevity
and de-facto immortality may be very complex or impossible to realize
scientifically, because it requires the solving of technical, biological
and medical tasks that are too complex, difficult, unsolvable for
centuries, or even unknowable to us. However, this thesis is a pure
assumption, for one, because the idea that something could be generally
unknowable to human thinking and consciousness, is speculative, and rather
improbable, and also because nobody has actually ever tried doing serious,
professional scientific research specifically focused toward a certain
prevention of death or limitless longevity. Today, especially life
extension, anti-aging, and biotechnologies deliver valuable medical
advancements. But, no major professional, commercial or scientific projects
have the explicit or intentional goal of eliminating biological aging or
human death. They are all oriented around cures for serious diseases or the
improvement of health more or less within the life cycle natural for
humans. This also proves a main point of this article: the social
preparedness, immediate demand, and attitude toward open-ended lives are
directly related to the possibility and speed with which this open-ended
lifespan will be achieved scientifically.

In a fully open-minded and rational society, the best minds would focus on
the achievement of de-facto immortality in the most urgent, intense and
efficient manner, volitionally supported and subsidized by the whole
society. In such a society, everyone would soon realize the high value of
human life, which would cause most of the worlds thinkers and geniuses to
work on the preservation of human life.

Therefore, every effort should be made in our society not to disturb the
freedom and integrity of scientific research.

5. Obsession with immortality?

Can someone who is openly advocating an unlimited human lifespan, be
obsessed with the idea of immortality? At least, that is a claim often used
by critics against longevity advocates, philosophers, scientists and other
people open-minded toward achieving immortality through scientific means.

I've decided to consider the outcries of the critics, and I've come to the
conclusion that people can very well be "obsessed" with physical
immortality, however, this is not related to the intensity with which
someone may be working toward the goal, or how convinced one is about the

Obsessive and irrational advocating of immortality is related to the
following five points:

* Unrealistic or mystical perspective. The possibility of immortality is
seen from emotional viewpoints and opinions. Main arguments are not
backed by facts, rationality or evidence.
* Narrow, unintegrated perspective. Dedicated only to theoretical or
philosophical debates. Being unrealistic about actual imaginable
results and conditions for immortality.
* Wishful thinking. Accepting the eventual achievement of immortality as
certain or natural. Seeing no necessity to take practical actions
toward the achievement of conditions necessary for a social and
scientific process toward eventually yielding an unlimited lifespan.
* Fictional arguments. Overestimating or misunderstanding technologies
can lead to wrong predictions about the probability and speed at which
they could lead to an unlimited lifespan.
* Dependence. One's own plans for the future totally depend and count on
one's own immortality.

But after answering this question, we should also ask: can someone be
obsessed with mortality? Yes, that is the case. In similar ways, one can
also be emotionally convinced that mortality is inevitable for humans. The
criteria are very similar, but much, much more people are obsessed with
mortality (fatalism) than with immortality.

* Emotional bias. Valid arguments for longevity are ignored.
* Narrow perspective. Concentration on or being used to the negative
facts only.
* Wishful thinking. Considering the present state of society as natural,
good and necessary, while ignoring possibilities of a much better
society for the sake of comfortable "thinking".
* Arbitrary arguments. Using a mixture of emotionalisms, popular
opinions, and valid facts out of context to defend the own position.
* Dependence. One's own plans for the future depend and count on others
and oneselfs eventual death, so that one is inevitably moving toward

6. The accepted cultural perspective toward death

This chapter analyzes the implicit views and convictions about death in our
culture. It tries to show why some implicit convictions, or memes,
effectively delay or prevent the achievement of scientific milestones of
longevity. It presents the most logical and insightful answers to the
question why humanity has not yet developed conditions for limitless human
longevity, and the underlying problem and its background.

When taking a look at our society, we can observe many emotional phenomena.
For example, most of the big changes in life (such as moving to a new city,
graduating, changing jobs, not seeing friends for some time, marrying,
etc.) are a cause for inner sadness. Even at quite positive such as
marriages, people tend to be sad and even to cry. The reason could be that
such big changes make people aware of the way and direction of their own
life. In our society, this is always reminds us of our mortality.
Theoretically, in a society of people who had an open-ended lifespan and
knew it, such events would cause great happiness. Actually, most things
would be different.

Also take into account that a belief in spiritual immortality based on
faith in religions and mysticism is not comparable to the effects of an own
open-ended ended lifespan in the here and now. Unarguably, faith does have
effects on human emotions and life decisions, but the self-liberating
perspective of an open-ended lifespan is very different from faith. For
example, when religious people witnessing deaths and burials, even they
seem to be sad, in the same way anyone else is. The question is why, if
they believe in an eternal afterlife and immortal soul? Subconsciously,
every human being somehow realizes the most fundamental facts of reality.
People such as believers and mystics can only repress the fact of their own
biological nature, defaulting to mortality, to certain extends.

Many people even seem careless about death, and make fun of it. This, too,
is a result of the repressing of the facts about death, its finality, and
the briefness of the natural human lifespan. The bad thing about the
repressing of these facts is, that it can only be done with the help of
dishonesty, self-deception and evading reality.

And the really bad thing is that such dishonesties have become an integral
part of our culture and civilization. Therefore, most children are
gradually introduced to these evasions through repression of emotions
natural for conscious beings, life-after-death concepts, and other myths.
By purposefully reducing the integrity of one's picture of reality, one
also reduces the efficacy of one's own mind and actions.

The remedy against this problem is simply self-honesty. By realizing the
fact of permanent death within a brief time span, and planning and acting
throughout life with this awareness, people become more aware of the value
of their own lives and human life in general. They would also direct much
more of their time and actions toward progressive and productive actions in
life, instead of wasting their precious time.

However, most people today are unaware of the real value of life, which is
a major source of unnecessary problems, unnecessary suffering, incompetence
and laziness, wasted time, and a slow speed both in individual and in
civilizational progress. This mass self-deception yields the attitudes and
structures that form today's death oriented society which moves only very
slowly toward improving the conditions of human life, without having the
wish or seeing a possibility for limitless longevity.

The choice of accepting limits of one's own existence as inevitable, or
not, is probably the deepest underlying psychological factor for all
personal feelings, views, and resulting actions throughout life. The result
of a self-deceptive choice is that people do not act to satisfy their
survival pressures. Eventually, such self-deception will lead anyone
directly or indirectly toward self-destruction and death.

For conscious human beings with the abilities of self-introspection and of
thinking into the future, accepting one's own death as inevitable, is
literally unnatural. It conflicts with the biological organisms' prime
directive of survival, because conscious beings know that their lifespans
are limited by biological default. All conscious beings that ever lived,
when realizing their biologically limited lifespan, originally held the
natural conviction of their own death as being preventable, senseless, or

Even people who refuse thinking about their mortality, through ignoring
biological facts, believing in afterlife and mysticism, believing in fake
nonscientific solutions, or "grasping straws" by relying on uncertain
scientific trends, seem to be much better off emotionally than those who
accept the inevitability of their own mortality. But, both the ignoring of
such obvious facts or considering them as inevitable, has literally lethal
effects in the long term.

The higher the evolutionary level of development of a living being, the
higher is its ability to defend its life and biological survival. The
thesis that the highest known form of life, self-aware, conscious human
life, can develop the necessary requirements to prevent biological death
itself, is nothing more than a logical conclusion. The reason why this has
not happened before is due to self-deception that humanity has developed
and carried along all the way from exiting a state of non-conscious
unawareness of the own self.

Upon considering the above statements, the current public views and
convictions seem to contain one crucial error: human death is considered as
natural. While in fact, humans are mortal by genetic and biological
defaults, they are not necessarily mortal by nature. Together, the
following points posit the hypothesis that human beings could be actually
immortal by nature.

1. The natural mode of living is dominated by survival: by the prevention
of the organisms death.
2. Human nature includes human consciousness and self-introspection.
3. Their nature enables human beings to realize the briefness of their
biological default lifespan.
4. It is proven that consciously used human tools of invention, science,
technology, business, etc. can override nature's default course. Major
fields like books, transportation, electricity, nuclear power, planes,
medicine, computers, biotechnology, etc. serve as definite proofs for
5. By being able to realize the briefness of their life, and being able
to override natural defaults, humans actually have the natural
prerequirements of eliminating their own biological death.
6. Consciousness is a prime requirement for overriding nature's defaults.
Therefore it can lead to unnatural, artificial conditions of thinking.
7. Mystical faith, deception and life-after-death concepts are unnatural
uses of a conscious mind. Conscious beings can and do create unnatural
mind states which lead to immediate emotional well-being and
relaxation. But they are actually evasions of reality. In our society,
they result in an unnatural culture of death.
8. With the broad acceptance of facts of reality, by thinking naturally,
humanity could and would recognize their prime responsibility of
eliminating death. If humanity would realize this in its entirety, the
focusing of all global technological, business and other efforts
toward this goal, it would be established almost instantly.

[continued on]

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