Do we really want to live forever?
The New York Times had a great article recently on the “life extension” industry, and on the longevity entrepreneurs who are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into anti-aging research.
The author of the article argues that an appreciation of our own lives is based a great deal on our ever-increasing (as we age) awareness of how short life is. And that it’s this awareness and acceptance of our mortality that makes us human and allows us to live life to the fullest. To her, eliminating death would eliminate who we are.
Even without considering the practical problems of eternal life (such as a need for endless pensions and issues of overcrowding), the author makes a convincing argument that immortality may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. You can read the article “Life is Short. That’s the Point” here.
The counter argument
Of course, the longevity entrepreneurs disagree that death – and our awareness and acceptance of it – is what makes us human. Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal and an investor in life extension research, believes just the opposite. In Thiel’s opinion, it’s against human nature NOT to fight death.
While acknowledging that death is natural, he points out that dental cavities and pain during childbirth are natural too, but we have dental treatments and pain medication to deal with these natural events. He believes that death should be transcended in much the same way. You can read more on Thiel’s views in this interview with the Washington Post.
Just a little something to think about over your coffee today … Thanks for reading!