Death is an ever-evolving concept that’s viewed differently by various cultures and religions. For example: Some people in modern society want to eliminate death all together.
Recently, The Atlantic published a story and video report on Zoltan Istvan, the death-optional activist and former presidential candidate. And yes, you read that right—Istvan thinks death should–and could–be optional.
Istvan is deeply entrenched in life-extension research; research he hopes will one day allow humans to beat aging because he thinks aging is a disease.
Istvan calls his anti-aging platform transhumanism—“the idea that technology will allow humans to break free of their physical and mental limitations,” The Atlantic reports.
Istvan isn’t the only person who is interested in living a never-ending life.
Istvan’s transhumanist platform has caught the eye of Silicon Valley futurists. Many of these futurists, as well as Istvan, are investing in life-extending research.
For example, Peter Thiel, investor, sees death as “the great enemy” of man and is helping fund life-extending research. Some of that research is being done by Cynthia Kenyon, a scientist who has “doubled the life-spans of worms through gene-hacking,” The Atlantic reports.
Larry Ellison, Oracle founder, helped fund anti-aging research, Inc. magazine reports, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched the Google subsidiary Calico to help cure death, The Atlantic adds.
So, who will, ultimately, benefit from this type of life-extension research?
Well, initially, it will most likely only be the very, very rich. But futurists hope this type of technology will soon become widely available to help people from all walks of life. According to The Atlantic, there are already plenty of companies that offer cryogenic freezing.
And on a less expense scale, there are people who strive to live longer so they can benefit from these technologies. For example, Eric Matzner, entrepreneur and transhumanist, featured in the video below, hopes that supplements, exercise, and brain training will allow him to prep his body for immorality.
How is this a Good Idea
Futurists, transhumanists, and some social psychologists think immortal life would benefit humanity. This hopeful theory is called terror management.
“Terror management theory posits that whenever you remind someone of dying, they try to manage their fear by regaining a sense of control,” The Atlantic explains.
So, if people could live forever, would they be more generous? Happier?
Well, although Istvan and his fellow investors think this could be the result, more than half Americans (51 percent) don’t.
And Istvan knows that immortality isn’t without its faults. After all, how could the planet handle immortality? Would immortality become a luxury that only the rich could access? And the biggest question: Does avoiding death make life worth living?
All valid questions we’d have to become immortal to answer effectively, so, for now, we’re happy life has a limit
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