Why would you want to live forever?

(I didn’t have time to write on this topic the way I intended to. Rather than an article, this is basically just a list of links and notes. Will write more here in the future.)

If you are unsure whether you want to stop aging, you should watch these two videos:

Here is a list of good websites with more information on this topic:

The same fable of the Dragon-Tyrant is told in this youtube video:


There are two broad classes of arguments against rejuvenation biotechnology:

  1. People don’t want to live longer anyway.
  2. If people wouldn’t age anymore, there would be massive and unsolvable problems.

objection #1:  People don’t want to live longer anyway.


Will increased lifespans be boring?

Of all concerns about increasing healthy lifespans, this is the one that baffles me the most!

There will always be books to be written, art to be created, landscapes and stories to be discovered, knowledge to be acquired, skills to be mastered, games to be played, and friends or relatives in need of love and support. How could life ever get boring? Especially if we further assume that life in the future will also be “blissful”. And besides: Would you seriously rather be dead than bored??


Read more here and here.

Ending aging is unnatural?!

So what?

Life extension is really just another word for medicine: All that doctors are doing is trying to prolong life and minimize suffering. We are already prolonging our life beyond what is natural with our current medicine. We are just doing it very inefficiently. Trying to stop aging is not less natural than treating cancer with chemotherapy or using medicine and vaccines. Nothing humans do nowadays is purely natural anymore, and we enjoy the highest standard of living as a result of it.

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good or necessary! Moskitos with Malaria are natural. But we have decided that they are not good and there is research being done to genetically engineer them not to carry Malaria.
Yes, death is a part of life. But so was cholera, until we found ways to deal with it. Shortsightedness was a part of life, until we got glasses or contact lenses.  Would you want those back?
Read more here and here.
You actually want to die after a certain age?!
Most people assume they will want to die once they reach a certain age. And this might still be true even if there was a cure for aging. The end of biological aging would not mean the end of death in any way. It’s more like a summer evening when you were a kid on a playground and your mom called you inside. You just wanted to keep playing and have a little bit more fun before you went inside to sleep. It’s not about playing outside forever – just about playing as long as you want, until you feel tired.
Almost nobody wants to die right now. Most people only want to die in the future. They imagine once they are old and have a live fully lived, when they might even be slightly bored, then they will be ready to die.  Now you might think that, but when the appointment with the reaper comes, it will be right now! Not in the future anymore, because we don’t live in the future. Even old people who say they are not afraid of dying would appreciate if you didn’t kill them right at the moment they said that. And if someone really does want to die right in the current moment, it is usually because they are in miserable pain because of aging with no relief other then death in sight. It’s not because they feel like “they have lived long enough and are bored of it”. I have never heard of a healthy person to end his life because he “has already experienced enough and doesn’t know what to do anymore..”.
Romanticizing of getting old
We romanticize the idea of getting old – calling our last years “our golden years”. But really, everybody wants to become old, but nobody wants to be old.
Read here about the allegedly good sides of aging.
Read here about the role of coping mechanism in thinking about death.
Another good article on this topic.
Summary of key points:
  • It is sometimes argued that aging also has it’s upsides, e.g. wisdom and a long life experience. It is often subtly implied that you cannot have those upsides without the downsides (frailty, diseases, …) of aging.
  • However, this reasoning confuses biological aging with chronological aging. Chronological aging is simply the passing of time while biological aging is the process of damage accumulation of the body over time, which eventually leads to pathologies.
  • Biological Aging implies chronological aging, but chronological aging does not imply biological aging. There are, for example, some species who do not seem to biologically age at all. They chronologically age, but never “get older”.
  • All the upsides of aging (wisdom, long life experience..) are due to chronological aging. Biological aging, which is responsible for all the downsides of aging, is not necessary for the upsides. In fact, biological aging is detrimental to wisdom or a long life experience, since it usually entails damage to the brain.
  • In short: When aging is cured, one gets the advantages of chronological aging without the disadvantages of biological aging.
Since death is inevitable, we have come to have a weird relationship with it.
Like a hostage who grows to love its kidnapper, humans tell themselves the handful of decades they have to live is just about the right length. Since we cannot change it anyway, we like to tell us that a truly long life would get boring, that death is necessary to give life meaning.  We are quick to point out all the problems we had if we wouldn’t die anymore. And hence we conclude that death is necessary, that it is a good thing, that death is even our friend!
Death is not necessary to give live meaning. The Misery of death does not give happiness meaning. Happiness is meaning itself! There is the saying that “there cannot be light without shadows”, but I don’t think this saying applies here. If you tortured people to make them appreciate the pleasures of life more, you would be a monster! No parents would ever wish for their child to be affected by a disease that gradually wrinkles their skin, weakens their bones, dims their vision and their minds, cripples them in a thousand ways over the decades to ultimately kill them – just to give their live meaning!
Your brain believes the sweet lie that the horrors it can’t avoid are good for you! We need to clear our heads from the millennia of death acceptance. Death should not be the solution to future problems imagined, like overpopulation or not being able to have children (since that might cause overpopulation). We will not miss death, just like we don’t miss polio or famines. Humans need to discard the learned helplessness the Reaper and their own brains have imposed on them to see the rot and decay of aging not as natural and inevitable but as a degenerative disease to be attacked just like all others.
Why Rejuvenation Biotechnology Could Benefit You
Read here.
Key points:
  • Too often, discussions about rejuvenation biotechnology are dominated by possible problems and the possible benefits are coming to short. That’s why here are some obvious-tangible, immediate benefits for the people undergoing rejuvenation.
  • benefit #1: Health! You don’t get the ill health associated with aging anymore.
  • benefit #2:  Independence!  Frailty, failing senses, weakness, and diseases aren’t good friends of independence, but they are good friends of old age.
  • benefit #3: Longevity! More time and energy to devote to what you love. More time to learn and grow. No worry about the right time to marry, get a job, finish your education. Being able to see what the future has in store for humanity.
  • benefit #4: Choice! If there was a cure for aging, you can still choose to not take it. Even after taking it, you can always change your mind and still chose to die. But you will have the choice!
Why increased lifespan will probably not mean a loss of motivation
Read here.
key points from the link above:
  • Some argue that the perceived inevitability puts a certain pressure on you causing you do do things “today rather than tomorrow”. Without that pressure people would loose motivation. Similar arguments are along the lines of “Death gives life meaning! – No death, no reason to live” or “Without the biological clock ticking, people become lazy”.
  • But aren’t interest, passion, the will to help others, curiosity or the will to explore and learn ever new things enough reasons to get people out of bed?
  • The idea that you you need something bad to appreciate the good has some merits, but one needs to be careful not to overgeneralize or extend it too much without leading to nonsense. You don’t need death in order to appreciate to be alive!
  • Ask yourself: Do you appreciate your friends more because you know they won’t be around forever? Don’t you simply appreciate them because they are good people?
Why a Longer Life Does Not Mean Longer Decreptitude
Read here.
Key points from the link above:
  • There is an ancient Greek myth about Tithonus, a mortal who was in love with Eos, an immortal titan. In order to stay together with Eos forever, Tithonus asked for immortality and his wish was granted. However, he forgot to specifically ask for eternal youth and kept aging and aging without dying. Eventually he became so decrepit, disease-ridden and demented that his life became unbearable, but he still couldn’t die.
  • People fearing a similar fate like Tithonus completely misunderstand rejuvenation biotechnology. The goal is not immortality but eternal youth. In fact, immortality seems pretty much impossible, since everything in the universe is finite.
The death is inevitable, why bother with rejuvenation? argument
Why clean your house if it’s going to dust one day?
Read more here.

objection #2: If people wouldn’t age anymore, there would be massive and unsolvable problems.

Will increased lifespans cause overpopulation?
Not necessarily…
Read here and here.
Rejuvenation biotechnologies may bring challenges to society. But are they worse than age-related diseases?
Read here.
key points:
  • This article offers two more general answers to the general objection “Rejuvenation technologies would cause [insert problem X here], so it’s best not to go there”, where problem X is a specific objection allegedly caused by curing aging.
  • answer #1: It makes no sense to oppose a technology on the grounds that, in the far future, it might cause problems which we couldn’t solve today. Any problems caused by curing aging (e.g. overpopulation) will happen in the far future, when, thanks to ongoing technological and scientific progress, solutions to those problems might be available.
  • answer #2: The question is not: “Are the problems causes by curing aging bad”. The question is: “Are those problems so bad compared to aging?”. Aging kills ~100 000 people a day and is the sole cause for a tremendous amount of horrific suffering. Not to forget the tremendous amount of grief due to the death of loved ones. Any objection against rejuvenation technologies has to be weighted against this.
  • Conclusion: Let’s face it—suffering and death are hardly a solution to anything. Will the rise of rejuvenation biotechnology cause unexpected side effects and challenges? Quite possibly, because it is a disruptive technology, and as such, it has the power to revolutionize our lives. But just like other times before, we’ll figure things out as we go.