Do You Want To Live Forever?

Aubrey de Grey writes in Cato Unbound about wanting to not age. That is, he wants to find the underlying causes of aging so that it can be reversed.

De Grey chooses his words carefully. He states that we are putting our resources in the wrong place, and not in the one place he thinks we should. Why not try to cure cancer or diabetes or heart disease?

Cancer is undesirable. Heart disease is undesirable. So are type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and a thousand other debilitations that predominantly afflict those over the age of 40. Is it not then bizarre that we should have any hesitation in declaring that aging in general, being the molecular and cellular root cause of all these phenomena, is just as deserving of the attention of our medical research efforts?

He offers an explanation. It’s a two pronged rational, he claims is offered by his critics.

* They refuse to consider seriously whether defeating aging is feasible, because they are sure it would not be desirable;
* They refuse to consider seriously whether defeating aging is desirable, because they are sure it is not feasible.

Well that’s interesting. And he immediately delves into the most profound of Catholic themes, perhaps without even knowing it.

When thoroughly cornered on the question of whether the defeat of aging would be a good thing, geronto-apologists generally turn as a last resort to the cry “Okay, but first things first!” The fact that efforts to postpone human aging will definitely not bear much fruit for at least a few decades is held as a reason to deprioritize such efforts in favor of combating already preventable problems.

But doesn’t that just feel like it begs the question (and I mean that in the correct sense of putting forth a question that contains it’s own answer)? He doesn’t seem to consider at all that life is still a journey with a destination. Catholics have their own perspective on that, of course. We should humbly and productively use the years God sees fit to give us, with productive being defined in terms of doing His will, not ours. More years? Well that’s nice, and not Biblically

unprecedented, either. Fewer? Sad for the rest of us perhaps, but beyond our comprehension for those who have found their reward.

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