In the future there may be a few modest opportunities for personal benefit if you grasp them. So there might be a range of opportunities between now (2014) and 2025, and increasingly more probable somewhat beyond this time – when it comes to the field of life extension, or rejuvenation. Yes I full well acknowledge that the outlook may not be fully rosy when it comes to the statistical likelihood for desirable treatments of any kind (affordable, safe, comfortable, serviceable, accessible, politically desirable, etc.) but there might be ‘silver bullets’ and other such opportunities when it comes to the next 1-2 decades. It is with my sincerest insistence that I urge all Transhumanists who are now between 30 and 60 to pay especially close attention to what I am stating in this article – your very lives may depend on it, and at the very least your involvement may influence the survival of billions of souls from the cold dead hands of oblivion. Literally.
The problem with life extension is affordability of research and treatment. Any mass-produced product tends to be cheaper in the long run – future demand creates interest, and perceived demand inspires investment. The problem with Life Extension treatments is that most believe do not innately believe such a thing ever to be possible. And most people might be equally likely to be right, as likely to be mistaken. We don’t know yet.
But there is a small window of opportunity here, that between now and 2025 treatments might emerge that have some measure of effects. I am not asserting that before 2025 a tablet might emerge and upon taking that tablet I emerge a young lass within 48 hours – that is simply not a reasonable expectation. However some treatments might emerge that have keen yet appreciable metabolical effects of a nature as to save lives, even if in a fleeting statistical sense. Very modest effects in terms of life extension may have a significant effect on saving lives. Let’s explain that to you in terms that would make sense.
If research would come up with some kind of (pardon me my actual lack of BioGerontological background) subtle treatment that inhibits a small range of age related deterioration, then the relative availability of such a medical treatment might cause, over the span of decades a few billion people on this world to die a significant number of weeks, months, years later. This relative retardation of death might actually involve some reading this.
This is nothing new – it is simply is the normal advance of medical science. The issue here however is a lot more subtle. There is normal medical science of desirable health, but there is also a field of treatments that would increase over-all health, rather than impede the advancement of particular disease. Right now our corporatized world society does not recognize the desirability of health – One might go as far as accuse medical institutions of purposefully creating conditions of ill-health. Disease and affliction more or less implies profit, right?
That’s where you the reader of this article, come in. I desire a very subtle awareness on your part, especially if you care about fact rather than superstition, especially if you believe fundamental scientific and societal progress is possible, not some Utopian ideal, especially if you acknowledge that one day you may die, especially if you think the death of you or your loved ones is fairly undesirable and something to be postponed.
Right now we face two interlocking problems, and they are both based on governmental and corporate policy, in that the onset of death can be construed to be desirable. For you and me no amount of onset of death should be regarded as desirable, but for anonymous state institutions, corporations, “profit generating entities”, a range of emergence of death generates income. The generation of income from death creates what we as laypeople might call a moral hazard, or a perverse incentive.
It takes time to change a culture or infrastructure of predation. It takes times to change expectations and assumptions in prevailing culture. To go against the grain of expectation and desire change requires the persistent memetic push of a large number of people working in tandem, consistently repeating, repeating, repeating a simple mantra – Death is bad. Ill health is bad. Aging is bad. Suffering is bad. And not just that -become my fellow conspirator and suffuse your mind with the simple realization this must be done at all levels of your conscious and subconscious ability.
Let me explain to you why.
Public policy progresses quite slowly, and societal policy is like a very large sea-going vessel that only steers just ever so incrementally. The benefit however that a very modest adjustment of course, if planned well enough in advance, will have considerable effect on the rationality and sanity of any voyage.
In this year 2014 we have a blank guarantee that some day this century (unless we experience a major and irreversible decline as a species, of course, but we might as well not assume such a thing will happen) there will be a consistent body of treatments that reverses the phenomenon of aging affordably, comfortably, cheaply and desirably. Literally, you receive a treatment in some local hospital casually, return home very shortly after these treatments and you will in an appreciable amount of time (weeks, years, decades) be the functional biogerontological equivalent of a 20 year old. Once such treatments exist human society will be fairly unrecognizable from the one we have today, and the onset of significantly reduced aging will be extremely good for the collective spirit of the species, and the freedom to take or not take (or for society to bestow or not bestow) such treatments will be nothing less than beatific for the world.
If humanity is lucky these treatments will have emerged before 2050, but that is not certain. However even modest progress will all but guarantee the emergence of these treatments well in advance of the year 2100. If you have children under ten, the idea that your children will benefit from these treatments should spur you in to action – your children are likely to benefit from these treatments – assuming society somehow decides in time that these treatments are desirable.
The sooner society gets this simple message, the earlier these treatments will be as ‘rational policy’.
That is where you, my reader, come in. There is a slim window of opportunity between now and the emergence of early treatments, and that window for exerting a policy influence is very close. In other words, much like laying a finger on the steering wheel of a tanker, only a very modest yet persistent push to the left on a steering wheel of the biggest tankers will make the vessel gradually but irreversibly turn left.
By consistently repeating maxims “life extension is desirable” or “retarding the onset of aging makes economic sense” or “we all want a few years extra” or “society loses extreme amounts of money caring for people when they are most old”, or “youth pretty much means health” or “the wisdom of experience is desirable in youthful bodies” in all avenues of your everyday life then you are being my fellow conspirator in this endeavor. This takes very subtle, gentle, smiling influence over the span of many years. It is not about evangelizing life extension, but about the gentle persuasion that such a thing is eminently desirable, almost as an afterthought. Be constantly, pervasively aware in every waking moment of your existence on how you can discretely, almost beyond casual notice, can affirm how good it would be to be youthful again. Or how much money it costs society when people are in their 80s. Or how happy people would be to have another few healthy years with their loved ones.
Don’t bully people. It is best they don’t even consciously notice your new found subtle longevity bias.
The point is to make this corpus of ideas to be desirable for as many people in society as possible. Treatments will emerge very gradually, and only when enough people consistently express desirability towards these ideas. We want the very notions associated with this field to more quickly evolve in the Overton hierarchy of societal imperatives as desirable and “why didn’t we do this decades ago”.
Mass production makes for cheaper products. Faith in the future makes for happier people, who plan ahead longer amounts of time. People living longer, more peaceful, healthier lives makes for a better world. Hope makes for a better world.
Right now you can be this change, almost acting as an apostle of life itself. You being a fellow conspirator now is not a difficult task, but to be subtle might be a little challenging but if you do it right you will have many many years to perfect your art.
Keep your eye on the end goal – these treatments must become wanted, very cheap so they will be available for everyone, they must emerge as soon as possible, they will not emerge suddenly, but by discrete leaps and bounds, possibly over many years or decades.
Your efforts, if you take my message anywhere near seriously, may cause some minor adjustment of the current course we as society set ourselves, much as a seagoing vessel being somewhat more rationally steered.
Now go and do what I want of you. Be my fellow conspirator. ♥
Updated, phrasing, style (ty eugene)