Learned Helplessness About Immortality (fwd)

David Johnson davidj at famed.u-net.com
Sat Feb 24 17:20:02 EST 1996

dashley at TENET.EDU (Don Ashley) wrote:

>If it's simple and people want more life, why don't more people support 
>anti-aging research?

Two main reasons I can think of:

1. People don't really believe it's possible. They think its science
fiction and ignore it as being unworthy of consideration. They think
"its just for cranks and I don't want to be one of them".

2. Personal death is too far in the future to think seriously about.
If it isn't too far in the future, then it's too late anyway.

Although, personally, I don't fully subscribe to these views, there
are elements of them in my own thinking. A)I'm not sure the science is
good yet, and B) even though I'm in my 40's, there's still time for
the science to get better before I do anything.

If the science was convincing and I could get the medications freely
(not quite so easy in the UK), then I might be actively doing
something for myself and family now. But I think I'll wait a while.

>My contention is that most of us have learned helplessness about our 
>sentence to the gallows before age 100. (80-yr life expectncy).  We think we 
>have no choice.

Yes. Another way of saying point 1.
>We feel so helpless about our life expectancies that no one dare mention 
>any other possibility.

Not quite. I don't think its the helplessness. Its the fear of
ridicule by others - suggesting the possibility is about as acceptable
as believing in UFOs.

Also, for anyone thinking beyond extending their own lives, the
consequences of everyone living much longer are not attractive.
Overcrowding. Many more "old" people in retirement being supported by
young wage earners. Arguments of this type could be preventing a
larger scale funding of research.

However, I don't think anything I've said is inconsistent with a
personal desire to live well beyond a traditional lifespan. I just
hope science comes up with the goods in time.

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