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Some people become incredibly confused about the effort to eliminate aging, which they see as a nebulous, ill-defined process. I refer to the concept of radical life extension, when aging as a process has been abolished. I am not referring to simple healthy longevity (the effort to live a healthy life until the current maximum lifespan of 110–120). Here are some common misconceptions:

1. The Fallacy of words

Eliminating aging will make us ‘immortal’ and we will live forever.

No, it won’t. If we eliminate aging as a cause of death, we may be able to live for an indefinite (not infinite) period, until something else kills us. Even in a world without aging, death can happen at any time (at age 10, 65 or 1003) and for any reason (a shot in the head, malaria, drowning). If we manage to eliminate aging as a cause of death, the only certain thing would be that we will not necessarily die when we reach the currently maximum lifespan limit of around 110–120 years. We would certainly NOT live for ever, because something else will kill us sooner or later. Our organs cannot be repaired if we perish in a nuclear explosion for example, or in a fire. Some statisticians have mentioned that, without aging, we may be able to live to 1700–2000 years on average before death happens due to some other catastrophic damage. This is a long time, but it is not ‘forever’.

2. The Fallacy of numbers

Eliminating aging will result in overpopulation.

No, it won’t. This is based on spurious, even naïve, thinking. Aging happens because we need to reproduce. Or, we need to reproduce because we age. If aging is eliminated, the need to reproduce will also be broadly eliminated. It is a cyclical, reciprocal argument.

3. The Fallacy of loneliness

“I don’t want to live dramatically longer because I will have to witness the deaths of all my family and friends”.

No, you won’t. If you live longer because aging has been eliminated, then your family and friends will too. In any case, this counteracts fallacy number 2: if everybody else dies, how come we would have overpopulation? And fallacy number 2 counteracts this one: if we do have overpopulation, then it is likely that your friends and relatives will be alive too.

4. The Fallacy of the pill

Aging will be eliminated by taking a pill (or a combination of pills, injections, something physical).

No, it won’t. It will be eliminated through a change in the direction of human evolution, when billions of humans continue to engage with technology (or via other, abstract global technologically-dependent means). As the general direction of evolution is towards a more complex state which makes us better adapted to our environment, there would come a point when our hyper-technological environment would select individual longevity instead of aging and degeneration, as a more thermodynamically efficient situation.

5. The Fallacy of money

Research into the elimination of aging is not progressing fast due to lack of appropriate funding.

No, funding is not the main bottleneck. The main problem is the widespread adoption of the wrong approach. The idea that aging can be eliminate through pharmacological intervention dates back to the time of the Alchemists. It has no place in a modern, highly technological and intellectually sophisticated society, and certainly not with respect to defying such a fundamental process as aging. It is reductionist instead of integrative.
Aging may be eliminated when the cause for its presence is removed. Aging happens because within a tendency to progress from simple to complex, evolution has selected reproduction (and thus aging) as a mechanism for maximising the use of thermodynamical resources, and so to ensure the survival of the species

6. The Fallacy of the rich elite

Only a few rich people will have access to the treatment.

This is a combination of fallacies number 4 and 5, a fallacy based on fallacies. People who adapt and fit within an upwards moving technological environment will be more likely to survive. Money is irrelevant. What is relevant is intellectual effort and aggressive engagement with our environment (hyperconnectivity is an example). If a large number of humans (in the order of hundreds of millions) actively engage with their increasingly technological environment, there would be no reason to age/reproduce at the current rates, as survival can be assured through the individual rather than the species. Therefore, there could be no secrets about the process, due to the very fact that a significant section of humanity must necessarily participate.

7. The fallacy of frailty

Living dramatically longer will mean a long life with debilitating illnesses.

No, it won’t. The two concepts are mutually exclusive. A life without aging necessarily means a life without age-related degeneration. You cannot have one without the other.

longevitize2013 med

Containing more than 160 essays from over 40 contributors, this edited volume of essays on the science, philosophy and politics of longevity considers the project of ending aging and abolishing involuntary death-by-disease from a variety of viewpoints: scientific, technological, philosophical, pragmatic, artistic. In it you will find not only information on the ways in which science and medicine are bringing about the potential to reverse aging and defeat death within many of our own lifetimes, as well as the ways that you can increase your own longevity today in order to be there for tomorrow’s promise, but also a glimpse at the art, philosophy and politics of longevity as well – areas that will become increasingly important as we realize that advocacy, lobbying and activism can play as large a part in the hastening of progress in indefinite lifespans as science and technology can.

The collection is edited by Franco Cortese. Its contributing authors include William H. Andrews, Ph.D., Rachel Armstrong, Ph.D., Jonathan Betchtel, Yaniv Chen, Clyde DeSouza, Freija van Diujne, Ph.D., John Ellis, Ph.D., Linda Gamble, Roen Horn, the International Longevity Alliance (ILA), Zoltan Istvan, David Kekich (President & C.E.O of Maximum Life Foundation), Randal A. Koene, Ph.D., Maria Konovalenko, M.Sc. (Program Coordinator for the Science for Life Extension Foundation), Marios Kyriazis, MD, M.Sc MIBiol, CBiol (Founder of the ELPIs Foundation for Indefinite Lifespans and the medical advisor for the British Longevity Society), John R. Leonard (Director of Japan Longevity Alliance), Alex Lightman, Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE), Josh Mitteldorf, Ph.D., Tom Mooney (Executive Director of the Coalition to Extend Life), Max More, Ph.D. , B.J. Murphy, Joern Pallensen, Dick Pelletier, Hank Pellissier (Founder of Brighter Brains Institute), Giulio Prisco, Marc Ransford, Jameson Rohrer, Martine Rothblatt, Ph.D., MBA, JD., Peter Rothman (editor-in-chief of H+ Magazine), Giovanni Santostasi, Ph.D (Director of Immortal Life Magazine, Eric Schulke, Jason Silva , R.U. Sirius, Ilia Stambler, Ph.D (activist at the International Longevity Alliance), G. Stolyarov II (editor-in-chief of The Rational Argumentator), Winslow Strong, Jason Sussberg, Violetta Karkucinska, David Westmorland, Peter Wicks, Ph.D, and Jason Xu (director of Longevity Party China and Longevity Party Taiwan).

Available on Amazon today!

coveroriginalhankImmortal Life has complied an edited volume of essays, arguments, and debates about Immortalism titled Human Destiny is to Eliminate Death from many esteemed Authors (a good number of whom are also Lifeboat Foundation Advisory Board members as well), such as Martine Rothblatt (Ph.D, MBA, J.D.), Marios Kyriazis (MD, MS.c, MI.Biol, C.Biol.), Maria Konovalenko (M.Sc.), Mike Perry (Ph.D), Dick Pelletier, Khannea Suntzu, David Kekich (Founder & CEO of MaxLife Foundation), Hank Pellissier (Founder of Immortal Life), Eric Schulke & Franco Cortese (the previous Managing Directors of Immortal Life), Gennady Stolyarov II, Jason Xu (Director of Longevity Party China and Longevity Party Taiwan), Teresa Belcher, Joern Pallensen and more. The anthology was edited by Immortal Life Founder & Senior Editor, Hank Pellissier.

This one-of-a-kind collection features ten debates that originated at, plus 36 articles, essays and diatribes by many of IL’s contributors, on topics from nutrition to mind-filing, from teleomeres to “Deathism”, from libertarian life-extending suggestions to religion’s role in RLE to immortalism as a human rights issue.

The book is illustrated with famous paintings on the subject of aging and death, by artists such as Goya, Picasso, Cezanne, Dali, and numerous others.

The book was designed by Wendy Stolyarov; edited by Hank Pellissier; published by the Center for Transhumanity. This edited volume is the first in a series of quarterly anthologies planned by Immortal Life

Find it on Amazon HERE and on Smashwords HERE

This Immortal Life Anthology includes essays, articles, rants and debates by and between some of the leading voices in Immortalism, Radical Life-Extension, Superlongevity and Anti-Aging Medicine.

A (Partial) List of the Debaters & Essay Contributors:

Martine Rothblatt Ph.D, MBA, J.D. — inventor of satellite radio, founder of Sirius XM and founder of the Terasem Movement, which promotes technological immortality. Dr. Rothblatt is the author of books on gender freedom (Apartheid of Sex, 1995), genomics (Unzipped Genes, 1997) and xenotransplantation (Your Life or Mine, 2003).

Marios Kyriazis MD, MSc, MIBiol, CBiol. founded the British Longevity Society, was the first to address the free-radical theory of aging in a formal mainstream UK medical journal, has authored dozens of books on life-extension and has discussed indefinite longevity in 700 articles, lectures and media appearances globally.

Maria Konovalenko is a molecular biophysicist and the program coordinator for the Science for Life Extension Foundation. She earned her M.Sc. degree in Molecular Biological Physics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. She is a co-founder of the International Longevity Alliance.

Jason Xu is the director of Longevity Party China and Longevity Party Taiwan, and he was an intern at SENS.

Mike Perry, PhD. has worked for Alcor since 1989 as Care Services Manager. He has authored or contributed to the automated cooldown and perfusion modeling programs. He is a regular contributor to Alcor newsletters. He has been a member of Alcor since 1984.

David A. Kekich, Founder, President & C.E.O Maximum Life Extension Foundation, works to raise funds for life-extension research. He serves as a Board Member of the American Aging Association, Life Extension Buyers’ Club and Alcor Life Extension Foundation Patient Care Trust Fund. He authored Smart, Strong and Sexy at 100?, a how-to book for extreme life extension.

Eric Schulke is the founder of the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension (MILE). He was a Director, Teams Coordinator and ran Marketing & Outreach at the Immortality Institute, now known as Longecity, for 4 years. He is the Co-Managing Director of Immortal Life.

Hank Pellissier is the Founder & Senior Editor of Previously, he was the founder/director of Before that, he was Managing Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technology ( He’s written over 120 futurist articles for IEET,,, and the World Future Society.

Franco Cortese is on the Advisory Board for Lifeboat Foundation on their Scientific Advisory Board (Life-Extension Sub-Board) and their Futurism Board. He is the Co-Managing Director alongside of Immortal Life and a Staff Editor for Transhumanity. He has written over 40 futurist articles and essays for H+ Magazine, The Institute for Ethics & Emerging Technologies, Immortal Life, Transhumanity and The Rational Argumentator.

Gennady Stolyarov II is a Staff Editor for Transhumanity, Contributor to Enter Stage Right, Le Quebecois Libre, Rebirth of Reason, Ludwig von Mises Institute, Senior Writer for The Liberal Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Argumentator.

Brandon King is Co-Director of the United States Longevity Party.

Khannea Suntzu is a transhumanist and virtual activist, and has been covered in articles in Le Monde, CGW and Forbes.

Teresa Belcher is an author, blogger, Buddhist, consultant for anti-aging, life extension, healthy life style and happiness, and owner of Anti-Aging Insights.

Dick Pelletier is a weekly columnist who writes about future science and technologies for numerous publications.

Joern Pallensen has written articles for Transhumanity and the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies.


Editor’s Introduction


1. In The Future, With Immortality, Will There Still Be Children?

2. Will Religions promising “Heaven” just Vanish, when Immortality on Earth is attained?

3. In the Future when Humans are Immortal — what will happen to Marriage?

4. Will Immortality Change Prison Sentences? Will Execution and Life-Behind-Bars be… Too Sadistic?

5. Will Government Funding End Death, or will it be Attained by Private Investment?

6. Will “Meatbag” Bodies ever be Immortal? Is “Cyborgization” the only Logical Path?

7. When Immortality is Attained, will People be More — or Less — Interested in Sex?

8. Should Foes of Immortality be Ridiculed as “Deathists” and “Suicidalists”?

9. What’s the Best Strategy to Achieve Indefinite Life Extension?


1. Maria Konovalenko:

I am an “Aging Fighter” Because Life is the Main Human Right, Demand, and Desire

2. Mike Perry:

Deconstructing Deathism — Answering Objections to Immortality

3. David A. Kekich:

How Old Are You Now?

4. David A. Kekich:

Live Long… and the World Prospers

5. David A. Kekich:

107,000,000,000 — what does this number signify?

6. Franco Cortese:

Religion vs. Radical Longevity: Belief in Heaven is the Biggest Barrier to Eternal Life?!

7. Dick Pelletier:

Stem Cells and Bioprinters Take Aim at Heart Disease, Cancer, Aging

8. Dick Pelletier:

Nanotech to Eliminate Disease, Old Age; Even Poverty

9. Dick Pelletier:

Indefinite Lifespan Possible in 20 Years, Expert Predicts

10. Dick Pelletier:

End of Aging: Life in a World where People no longer Grow Old and Die

11. Eric Schulke:

We Owe Pursuit of Indefinite Life Extension to Our Ancestors

12. Eric Schulke:

Radical Life Extension and the Spirit at the core of a Human Rights Movement

13. Eric Schulke:

MILE: Guide to the Movement for Indefinite Life Extension

14. Gennady Stolyarov II:

The Real War and Why Inter-Human Wars Are a Distraction

15. Gennady Stolyarov II:

The Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences — turning the tide for life extension

16. Gennady Stolyarov II:

Six Libertarian Reforms to Accelerate Life Extension

17. Hank Pellissier:

Wake Up, Deathists! — You DO Want to LIVE for 10,000 Years!

18. Hank Pellissier:

Top 12 Towns for a Healthy Long Life

19. Hank Pellissier:

This list of 30 Billionaires — Which One Will End Aging and Death?

20. Hank Pellissier:

People Who Don’t Want to Live Forever are Just “Suicidal”

21. Hank Pellissier:

Eluding the Grim Reaper with

22. Hank Pellissier:

Sixty Years Old — is my future short and messy, or long and glorious?

23. Jason Xu:

The Unstoppable Longevity Virus

24. Joern Pallensen:

Vegetarians Live Longer, Happier Lives

25. Franco Cortese:

Killing Deathist Cliches: Death to “Death-Gives-Meaning-to-Life”

26. Marios Kyriazis:

Environmental Enrichment — Practical Steps Towards Indefinite Lifespans

27. Khannea Suntzu:

Living Forever — the Biggest Fear in the most Audacious Hope

28. Martine Rothblatt:

What is Techno-Immortality?

29. Teresa Belcher:

Top Ten Anti-Aging Supplements

30. Teresa Belcher:

Keep Your Brain Young! — tips on maintaining healthy cognitive function

31. Teresa Belcher:

Anti-Aging Exercise, Diet, and Lifestyle Tips

32. Teresa Belcher:

How Engineered Stem Cells May Enable Youthful Immortality

33. Teresa Belcher:

Nanomedicine — an Introductory Explanation

34. Rich Lee:

“If Eternal Life is a Medical Possibility, I Will Have It Because I Am A Tech Pirate”

35. Franco Cortese:

Morality ==> Immortality

36. Franco Cortese:

Longer Life or Limitless Life?


“I zoomed in as she approached the steps of the bridge, taking voyeuristic pleasure in seeing her pixelated cleavage fill the screen.

What was it about those electronic dots that had the power to turn people on? There was nothing real in them, but that never stopped millions of people every day, male and female, from deriving sexual gratification by interacting with those points of light.

It must all be down to our perception of reality”. –Memories with Maya

We are transitional humans; Transhumans:

Transhumanism is about using technology to improve the human condition. Perhaps a nascent stigma attached to the transhumanist movement in some circles comes from the ethical implications and usage of high technology — bio-tech and nano-tech to name a few, on people. Yet, being transhuman does not necessarily have to be associated with bio-hacking the human body, or entail the donning of cyborg-like prosthetics. Although it is hard not to plainly see and recognize the benefits such human augmentation technology has, for persons in need.

Orgasms and Longevity:

Today, how many normal people, even staunch theists, can claim not to use sexual aids and visual stimulation in the form of video or interaction via video, to achieve sexual satisfaction? It’s hard to deny the therapeutic effect an orgasm has in improving the human condition. In brief, some benefits to health and longevity associated with regular sex and orgasms:

  • When we orgasm we release hormones, including oxytocin and vasopressin. Oxytocin equals relaxation, and when released it can help us calm down and feel euphoric.
  • People having more sex add years to their lifespan. Dr. Oz touts a 200 orgasms a year guideline. [1]

Recommended reading: The Science of Orgasm [2]

While orgasms usually occur as a result of physical sexual activity, there is no conclusive study that proves beneficial orgasms are only produced when sexual activity involves two humans. Erotica in the form of literature and later, moving images, have been used to stimulate the mind into inducing an orgasm for a good many centuries in the absence of a human partner. As technology is the key enabler in stimulating the mind, what might the sexual choices (preferences?) of the human race — the Transhuman be, going forward?

Enter the Sexbot…

(Gray Scott speaking on Sexbots at 1:19 minutes into the video)

SexBots and Digital Surrogates [Dirrogates]

Sexbots, or sex robots can come in two forms. Fully digital incarnations with AI, viewed through Augmented Reality visors, or as physical robots — advanced enough to pass off as human surrogates. The porn industry has always been at the fore-front of video and interactive innovation, experimenting with means of immersing the audience into the “action”. Gonzo Porn [3] is one such technique that started off as a passive linear viewing experience, then progressed to multi-angle DVD interactivity and now to Virtual Reality first person point-of-view interactivity.

Augmented Reality and Digital Surrogates of porn stars performing with AI built in, will be the next logical step. How could this be accomplished?

Somewhere on hard-drives in Hollywood studios, there are full body digital models and “performance capture” files of actors and actresses. When these perf-cap files are assigned to any suitable 3D CGI model, an animator can bring to life the Digital Surrogate [Dirrogate] of the original actor. Coupled with realistic skin rendering using Separable Subsurface Scattering (SSSS) rendering techniques [4] for instance, and with AI “behaviour” libraries, these Dirrogates can populate the real world, enter living-rooms and change or uplift the mood of person — for the better.

(The above video is for illustration purposes of 3D model data-sets and perf-capture)

With 3D printing of human body parts now possible and blue prints coming online [5] with full mechanical assembly instructions, the other kind of sexbot is possible. It won’t be long before the 3D laser-scanned blueprint of a porn star sexbot will be available for licensing and home printing, at which point, the average person will willingly transition to transhuman status once the ‘buy now’ button has been clicked.

Programmable matter — Claytronics [6] will take this technology to even more sophisticated levels.

Sexbots and Ethics:


If we look at Digital Surrogate Sexbot technology, which is a progression of interactive porn, we can see the technology to create such Dirrogate sexbots exists today, and better iterations will come about in the next couple of years. Augmented Reality hardware when married to wearable technology such as ‘fundawear’ [7] and a photo-realistic Dirrogate driven by perf-captured libraries of porn stars under software (AI) control, can bring endless sessions of sexual pleasure to males and females.

Things get complicated as technology evolves, and to borrow a term from Kurzweil, exponentially. Recently the Kinect 2 was announced. This off the shelf hardware ‘game controller’ in the hands of capable hackers has shown what is possible. It can be used as a full body performance capture solution, a 3D laser scanner that can build a replica of a room in realtime and more…

Which means, during a dirrogate sexbot session where a human wears an Augmented Reality visor such as Meta-glass [8], it would be possible to connect via the internet to your partner, wife or husband and have their live perf-capture session captured by a Kinect 2 controller and drive the photo-realistic Dirrogate of your favorite pornstar.

Would this be the makings of Transhumanist adultry? Some other ethical issues to ponder:

  • Thou shalt not covet their neighbors wife — But there is no commandant about pirating her perf-capture file.
  • Will humans, both male or female, prefer sexbots versus human partners for sexual fulfillment? — Will oxytocin release make humans “feel” for their sexbots?
  • As AI algorithms get better…bordering on artificial sentience, will sexbots start asking for “Dirrogate Rights”?

These are only some of the points worth considering… and if these seem like plausible concerns, imagine what happens in the case of humanoid like physical Sex-bots. As Gray Scott mentions in his video above.

As we evolve into Transhumans, we will find ourselves asking that all important question “What is Real?”

“It will all be down to our perception of reality”. – Memories with Maya

Table of References:

[i] Human Augmentation: Be bionic arm -


[2] The Science of Orgasm-

[3] Gonzo Pornography -

[4] Separable subsurface scattering rendering -

[5] 3D Printing of Body parts -

[6] Programmable Matter; Claytronics -

[7] Fundawear: Wearable sex underwear -

[8] Meta-view: Digital see through Augmented Reality visor -

By Avi Roy, University of Buckingham

In rich countries, more than 80% of the population today will survive past the age of 70. About 150 years ago, only 20% did. In all this while, though, only one person lived beyond the age of 120. This has led experts to believe that there may be a limit to how long humans can live.

Animals display an astounding variety of maximum lifespan ranging from mayflies and gastrotrichs, which live for 2 to 3 days, to giant tortoises and bowhead whales, which can live to 200 years. The record for the longest living animal belongs to the quahog clam, which can live for more than 400 years.

If we look beyond the animal kingdom, among plants the giant sequoia lives past 3000 years, and bristlecone pines reach 5000 years. The record for the longest living plant belongs to the Mediterranean tapeweed, which has been found in a flourishing colony estimated at 100,000 years old.

This jellyfish never dies. Michael W. May

Some animals like the hydra and a species of jellyfish may have found ways to cheat death, but further research is needed to validate this.

The natural laws of physics may dictate that most things must die. But that does not mean we cannot use nature’s templates to extend healthy human lifespan beyond 120 years.

Putting a lid on the can

Gerontologist Leonard Hayflick at the University of California thinks that humans have a definite expiry date. In 1961, he showed that human skin cells grown under laboratory conditions tend to divide approximately 50 times before becoming senescent, which means no longer able to divide. This phenomenon that any cell can multiply only a limited number of times is called the Hayflick limit.

Since then, Hayflick and others have successfully documented the Hayflick limits of cells from animals with varied life spans, including the long-lived Galapagos turtle (200 years) and the relatively short-lived laboratory mouse (3 years). The cells of a Galapagos turtle divide approximately 110 times before senescing, whereas mice cells become senescent within 15 divisions.

The Hayflick limit gained more support when Elizabeth Blackburn and colleagues discovered the ticking clock of the cell in the form of telomeres. Telomeres are repetitive DNA sequence at the end of chromosomes which protects the chromosomes from degrading. With every cell division, it seemed these telomeres get shorter. The result of each shortening was that these cells were more likely to become senescent.

Other scientists used census data and complex modelling methods to come to the same conclusion: that maximum human lifespan may be around 120 years. But no one has yet determined whether we can change the human Hayflick limit to become more like long-lived organisms such as the bowhead whales or the giant tortoise.

What gives more hope is that no one has actually proved that the Hayflick limit actually limits the lifespan of an organism. Correlation is not causation. For instance, despite having a very small Hayflick limit, mouse cells typically divide indefinitely when grown in standard laboratory conditions. They behave as if they have no Hayflick limit at all when grown in the concentration of oxygen that they experience in the living animal (3–5% versus 20%). They make enough telomerase, an enzyme that replaces degraded telomeres with new ones. So it might be that currently the Hayflick “limit” is more a the Hayflick “clock”, giving readout of the age of the cell rather than driving the cell to death.

The trouble with limits

Happy last few days? It doesn’t have to end this way. ptimat

The Hayflick limit may represent an organism’s maximal lifespan, but what is it that actually kills us in the end? To test the Hayflick limit’s ability to predict our mortality we can take cell samples from young and old people and grow them in the lab. If the Hayflick limit is the culprit, a 60-year-old person’s cells should divide far fewer times than a 20-year-old’s cells.

But this experiment fails time after time. The 60-year-old’s skin cells still divide approximately 50 times – just as many as the young person’s cells. But what about the telomeres: aren’t they the inbuilt biological clock? Well, it’s complicated.

When cells are grown in a lab their telomeres do indeed shorten with every cell division and can be used to find the cell’s “expiry date”. Unfortunately, this does not seem to relate to actual health of the cells.

It is true that as we get older our telomeres shorten, but only for certain cells and only during certain time. Most importantly, trusty lab mice have telomeres that are five times longer than ours but their lives are 40 times shorter. That is why the relationship between telomere length and lifespan is unclear.

Apparently using the Hayflick limit and telomere length to judge maximum human lifespan is akin to understanding the demise of the Roman empire by studying the material properties of the Colosseum. Rome did not fall because the Colosseum degraded; quite the opposite in fact, the Colosseum degraded because the Roman Empire fell.

Within the human body, most cells do not simply senesce. They are repaired, cleaned or replaced by stem cells. Your skin degrades as you age because your body cannot carry out its normal functions of repair and regeneration.

To infinity and beyond

If we could maintain our body’s ability to repair and regenerate itself, could we substantially increase our lifespans? This question is, unfortunately, vastly under-researched for us to be able to answer confidently. Most institutes on ageing promote research that delays onset of the diseases of ageing and not research that targets human life extension.

Those that look at extension study how diets like calorie restriction affect human health or the health impacts of molecules like resveratrol derived from red wine. Other research tries to understand the mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of certain diets and foods with hopes of synthesising drugs that do the same. The tacit understanding in the field of gerontology seems to be that, if we can keep a person healthy longer, we may be able to modestly improve lifespan.

Living long and having good health are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, you cannot have a long life without good health. Currently most ageing research is concentrated on improving “health”, not lifespan. If we are going to live substantially longer, we need to engineer our way out of the current 120-year-barrier.

Avi Roy does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Read the original article.

Le Petit Trépas

One common argument against Radical Life Extension is that a definitive limit to one’s life – that is, death – provides some essential baseline reference, and that it is only in contrast to this limiting factor that life has any meaning at all. In this article I refute the argument’s underlying premises, and then argue that even if such premises were taken as true, its conclusion – that eradicating death would negate the “limiting factor” that legitimizes life — is also invalid.

Death gives meaning to life? No! Death makes life meaningless!

One version of the argument, which I’ve come across in a variety of places, is given in Brian Cooney’s Posthuman, an introductory philosophical text that uses various futurist scenarios and concepts to illustrate the broad currents of Western Philosophy. Towards the end he makes his argument against immortality, claiming that if we had all the time in the universe to do what we wanted, then we wouldn’t do anything at all. Essentially, his argument boils down to ‘if there is no possibility of not being able to do something in the future, then why would we ever do it?”.

This assumes that we make actions on the basis of not being able to do them again. But people don’t make decisions this way. We didn’t go out to dinner because the restaurant was closing down… we went out for dinner because we wanted to go out for dinner… I think that Cooney’s version of the argument is naïve. We don’t make the majority of our decisions by contrasting an action to the possibility of not being able to do it in future.

His argument seems to be that if there were infinite time then we would have no way of prioritizing our actions. If we had a list of all possible actions set before us, and time were limitless, we might (according to his logic) accomplish all the small, negligible things first, because they’re easier and all the hard things can wait. If we had all the time in the world, we would have no reference point with which to judge how important a given action or objective is, which ones it is most important to get done, and which ones should get done in the place of other possibilities. If we really can do every single thing on that listless list, then why bother, if each is as important as every other? In his line-of-reasoning, importance requires scarcity. If we can do everything it were possible to do, then there is nothing that determines one thing as being more important than another. A useful analogy might be that current economic definitions of value require scarcity. If everything were as abundant as everything else, if nothing were scarce, then we would have no way of ascribing economic value to a given thing, such that one thing has more economic value than another. What we sometimes forget is that ecologies aren’t always like economies.

Seethe of Sooth and Teethe of Truth

Where could this strange notion have come from? That death would give meaning to life… Is it our intuitions, having picked up on the fact that we usually draw conclusions and make final and definitive interpretations when a given thing is finished (e.g. we wait until the book is done before we decide whether it was good or bad)? Is it because we feel that lives, much like stories, need a definitive end to be true, and that something must be true to matter?

Could this (at least partly) come from the long philo-socio-historical tradition of associating truth and meaning with staticity and non-change? It makes seeming sense that we would rather truth not be squirming around on our hand while we’re looming for a better view. If truth is stillborn and stable, then we can make pronouncements we feel won’t dissipate as soon as they’ve left the tongue. If truth is motionless, then we might just be able to get a handle on it. If it’s running about like a wild animal, then any attempt to make or to discover truth might be murdered remorselessly by truth’s newest transformation. Corpses are easier to keep canned in ken than runny kids, after all.

If something can go on towards infinity then there is no time that it will stop moving, no time it will come definitively to rest and say ‘I am this.’ If we don’t have an end to curtail the reverse-comet-tail of our foreward rail, no last-exit exhale, never to come to rest so as to rest in one definitive piece, then we won’t ever be static enough to fit this vile definition of truth-as-staticity. This rank association of truth with being-at-rest has infected our very language: thus to go in a straight line without wavering is to keep true.

So this memetic foray has yielded a possible line-of-conceptual-association. We must have an end to be still, we must be still to have truth, and we must have truth to matter at all. Perhaps. There is no telling without a look at the till, and unfortunately it’s been taken by the wind.

If truth is that which does in fact exist, if truth is existence, then they’ve committed a dire irony by grounding truth in ground instead of sky, in the ironed smock instead of wrinkled frock, and by locating truth-as-existence in stillbirth and death so ill as to be still as still can be. If truth is life and life is motion, then how can truth be motionless death? They forget that their hard iron ore once flowed molten-bright and ductile enough to be pushed by oar.

It also makes slick and seemly sense, on the sheen of the surface at least, that we’ve associated change with death and the negation of truth. What once was is no more — and change is the culprit. Disintegration, destruction, death and the rank rot of fetid flesh all use change as their conduit. What they’ve failed to see is that so too with life, which acts solely through change. They’ve mistaken upheaval for removal, forgetting that to be we heave by the second as we breathe unbeckoned. Death only seems to require change because it’s still life until the very end. Life is change, life is motion, and death, when finally finished, is just the opposite.

In any case, they are wrong. Life doesn’t need limitation to get its hard-sought legitimation. Life is its own baseline and reference point. Death is a negation of life, taking all and leaving but the forsaken debris strewn by your wakeup quake.

High-Digger’s Being is Time Timing Itself

Another version of the “limiting factor” argument comes from Martin Heidegger, in his massive philosophical work Being and Time.

In the section being-toward-death he claims, on one level, that Being must be a totality, and in order to be a totality (in the sense of absolute or not containing anything outside of itself) it must also be that which it is not. Being can only become what it is not through death and so in order for Being to become a totality (which he argues it must in order to achieve authenticity – which is the goal all along, after all) it must become what it is not — that is, death — for completion. This reinforces some interpretations made above in linking truth with completion and completion with staticity.

Another line of reasoning taken by Heidegger seems to reinforce the interpretation made by Cooney, which was probably influenced heavily by Heidegger’s concept of being-toward-death. The “fact” that we will one day die causes Being to reevaluate itself, realize that it is time and time is finite, and that its finitude requires it to take charge of its own life — to find authenticity. Finitude for Heidegger legitimizes our freedom. If we had all the time in the world to become authentic, then what’s the point? It can always be deferred. But if our time is finite then the choice of whether to achieve authenticity or not falls in our own hands. Since we must make choices on how to spend our time, failing and to become authentic by spending one’s time on actions that don’t help achieve authenticity becomes our fault.

To be philosophically scrupulous would involve dissecting Heidegger’s mammoth Being and Time, and that is beyond the scope of this essay. Anyone who thinks I’ve misinterpreted Heidegger, or who thinks that Heidegger’s concept of Being-Towards-Death warrants a fuller explication that what it’s been given here, is encouraged to comment.

Can Limitless Life still have a “Filling Stillness” and “Legitimizing Li’mit”?

Perhaps more importantly, even if their premises were correct (i.e. that the “change” of death adds some baseline limiting factor, causing you to do what you would have not if you had all the time in the world, and thereby constituting our main motivator for motion and metric for meaning) they are still wrong in the conclusion that indefinitely-extended life would destroy or jeopardize this “essential limitation”.

The crux of the “death-gives-meaning-to-life” argument is that life needs scarcity, finitude or some other factor restricting the possible choices that could be made, in order to find meaning. But final death need not be the sole candidate for such a restricting factor.

Self: Le Petite Mort

All changed, changed utterly… A terrible beauty is born. The self sways by the second. We are creatures of change, and in order to live we die by the moment. I am not the same as I once was, and may never be the same again. The choices we prefer and the decisions we are most likely to make go through massive upheaval.

The changing self could constitute this “scarcitizing” or limiting factor just as well as death could. We can be compelled to prioritize certain choices and actions over others because we might be compelled to choose differently in another year, month or day. We never know what we will become, and this is a blessing. Life itself can act as the limiting factor that, for some, legitimizes life.

Society: Le Petite Fin Du Monde

Society is ever on an s-curve swerve of consistent change as well. Culture is in constant upheaval, with new opportunity’s opening upward all the time. Thus the changing state of culture and humanity’s upheaved hump through time could act as this “limiting factor” just as well as death or the changing self could. What is available today may be gone tomorrow. We’ve missed our chance to see the Roman Empire at its highest point, to witness the first Moon landing, to pioneer a new idea now old. Opportunities appear and vanish all the time.

Indeed, these last two points – that the changing state of self and society, together or singly, could constitute such a limiting factor just as effectively as death could – serve to undermine another common argument against the desirability of limitless life (boredom) – thereby killing two inverted phoenixes with one stoning. Too often is this rather baseless claim bandied about as a reason to forestall RLE – that longer life will lead to increased boredom. That self and society are in a constant state of change means that boredom should become increasingly harder to maintain. We are on the verge of our umpteenth rebirth, and the modalities of being that are set to become available to us, as selves and as societies, will ensure that the only way to entertain the notion of increased boredom will be to personally hard-wire it into ourselves.

Life gives meaning to life, dummy!

Death is nothing but misplaced waste, and I think it’s time to take out the trash, with haste. We don’t need death to make certain opportunities more pressing than others, or to allow us to assign higher priorities to one action than we do to another. The change underlying life’s self-overcoming will do just fine, thank you.

This article was originally published by Transhumanity

heaven4 This essay was one of Transhumanity’s biggest hits last month, getting about 1200 hits in its first week, as well as 87 up-votes and 93 comments on Reddit within 2 days. A shortened version is currently the 3rd most-viewed article on ImmortalLife

“Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope.” — Robert Green Ingersoll

Recent polls indicate that 80% of Americans and over 50% of global citizens believe in an afterlife. I argue that conceptions of death which include or allow for the possibility of an afterlife are not only sufficiently different from conceptions of death devoid of an afterlife as to necessitate that they be given their own term and separate designation, but that such afterlife-inclusive notions of death constitute the very antithesis of afterlife-devoid conceptions of death! Not only are they sufficiently different as to warrant their own separate designations, but afterlife-inclusive conceptions of death miss the very point of death – its sole defining attribute or categorical-qualifier as such. The defining characteristic is not its specific details (e.g. whether physical death counts as death if the mind isn’t physical, as in substance dualism); its defining characteristic is the absence of life and subjectivity. Belief in an afterlife is not only categorically dissimilar but actually antithetical to conceptions of death precluding an afterlife. Thus to believe in heaven is to deny the existence of death!

The fact that their belief involves metaphysical, rather than physical, continuation isn’t a valid counter-argument. To argue via mind-body dualism that the mind is metaphysical, and thus will continue on in a metaphysical realm (i.e. heaven), in this specific case makes no difference. Despite not being physical in such an argument, its relation to the metaphysical realm is the same as the relation of physical objects to the physical realm. It operates according to the “rules” and “causal laws” of the metaphysical realm, and so for all effective purposes can be considered physical in relation thereto, in the same sense that physical objects can be considered physical in relation to physical reality.

heaven5The impact of this categorical confusion extends beyond desire for semantic precision. If we hope to convince the larger public of radical-life-extension’s desirability, we need to first convince them that death exists. If one believes that their mind will continue on after physical death, then the potential attraction of physical immortality becomes negligible if not null. Why bother expending effort to attain immortality if it is inherent in the laws of the universe? It becomes a matter of not life or death but of convenience. This is a major problem: if the statistics mentioned can be trusted, then over half of the world population, and over 4/5ths of the U.S.A, lack even the potential to see the attraction and advantage of life-extension!

Widespread public awareness of and desire for radical longevity is important because it is our best tool for achieving it. One promoter is more effective — that is, has more of an impact on how soon indefinite longevity is realized- than one researcher working on life-extension. One promoter can get their message to scores of people per day. Conversely many researchers have little say on what they want to work on, or the scope and uses for what they work on. One must be conservative to get research grants, and the research directions taken in any science discipline is more influenced by public opinion than the opinion of individual researchers. We can get more traction by influencing public opinion, per unit of time or effort (damn these unquantifiable metrics!) than with pragmatic research. If we get widespread support then funding for research will come.

heaven7The preponderance of atheists in the Transhumanist community is not a coincidence. Only through godlessness can each become their own god – in which case god-as-superior-being becomes meaningless, and god-as-control-of-self-fate, god-as-self-empowerment and god –as-self-legitimation, self-signification-and-self-dignification are the only valid definitions for such that remains. Autotheism encompasses atheism because it requires it (with the possible exception of co-creator theologies). Atheism is still to be valorized and commended in my opinion, for it exemplifies the resolute acceptance of freedom and ultimate responsibility for what we are and are to become. To be an atheist un-paralyzed by fear is to take for granted the desirability of one’s own freedom and lawless godfullness. On the other hand, successful intersections of religious thinking and Transhumanism do exist, as exemplified by the Mormon Transhumanist Association — whose success lies I think in its emphasis on co-creator theology (Mormons believe that it is Man’s responsibility to “grow up” into God – and if man and god are on equal footing, then where lie the dog, titan and grandFather?). Thus while belief in heaven and by consequence all religions that include or allow for conceptions of an afterlife constitute a massive deterrent to the widespread popularity if immortalism, it also constitutes, in utmost irony, one of its greatest potential legitimators due to its potential to evidence immortality as a deep-rooted human desire that transcends cultural distance and historical time.

2 this heavenThus we should neither be precisely denouncing nor promoting religion, yet neither should we ignore it and simply let it be. Rather we should be a.) heralding them for their keen insight into the true values and desires of humanity, while b.) taking care to show them that life-extension is nothing less than the modern embodiment of the very immortalist gestalt that they exemplified via conceptualizing an afterlife in the first place, and that belief in heaven held or maintained today goes against the very motivation and underlying utility that such a belief was trying to maintain and instill all along! By believing in heaven they are going against all it was ever meant achieve (the temporary satisfaction of our insatiable urge for life and escape from petty death) and all it was ever meant to constitute. This is not only the truest state of affairs, but the most advantageous as well. It allows us to at once ameliorate the problems caused by widespread belief in heaven, utilize the widespread and long-running belief in afterlife for the purpose of legitimizing immortalism to the wider and more conservative public, and showing the long historical tradition of a belief in or longing for immortality to constitute perhaps the most deep-rooted human value, desire and ideal (in both terms of historical time and in terms of importance, or a measure of how much it shapes our values, desires and ideals) while at the same time avoid irremediably insulting people who believe in an afterlife – which is detrimental only insofar as it risks having them ignore our cause not from reasoned conclusion but rather from seasoned spite.

heaven6We should consider two options. The first is to convince them that contemporary belief in heaven must be lain down, because it’s contemporary utility actually works against the original utility of a belief in heaven, as described above. A second option, which I think is less favorable but may be met with less ideological opposition, is that physical immortality constitutes the new embodiment of heaven on earth. Religious institutions like the like the Roman Catholic Church have ‚through the Vatican in this case, reformed their doctrine on evolution. Might the eschatological occurrences in the Book of Relevation be interpreted as the culminating intersection of the realm of Heaven with the realm of Earth? Might we try and incite them to change their doctrine on the afterlife, removing all metaphysical connotations due to society’s increasing secularization and the growing popularity of scientific materialism (also called metaphysical or methodological naturalism)? The change-in-doctrine over evolution, which they did presumably due to the large popularity of belief in evolution and their desire not to alienate so large a demographic,may be a precedent. Thus we should consider suggesting that they reinterpret their vision of heaven as a continuing physical realization of the perfect society on earth.

heaven2We should be portraying every religious crusade and mission to spread the word of god as a pilgrimage to bring immortality to the world! If one thinks that a specific moral, metaphysical or cosmological (i.e. religious) system is required to attain life after death, what else is their pilgrimage to spread god’s word but a quest to bring methodological means of immortality to humanity? Let us at once show believers in an afterlife why they are wrong, commend them for their insight into deep rooted and historically-extensive human values, beliefs and eternal longings, and win them over to our side!

We have been hurling our rank rage at death and staunch demand for life at the unyielding heavens since before the recognized inception of culture! From the first dawn in Sumer and on, extending across the Abrahamic tradition, to touch upon Hinduism and the Chinese Faith, from Egyptian religion (with its particularly strong emphasis on the afterlife) to Norse mythology and beyond. Even Buddhism, which is often considered more philosophy than religion for its lack of a dogmatic stance on cosmology and an afterlife, has its versions of eternal life. Reincarnation is just as much a validating force for our desire for immortality as belief in an afterlife is. Reincarnation holds that non-metaphysical, physically-embodied immortality, through cyclic rebirth, is possible (and while metaphysics is involved, the belief nonetheless reifies the concept or corporeal rebirth). And indeed, even though they precede Nirvana and are still located within the “illusory” realm of Samsara, this only goes to further emphasize the predominance of physical forms of radical longevity, the desire for and belief in which both reincarnation and the Buddhist versions of “heaven” exemplify. According to the Anguttara Nikaya (a Buddhist text), there are several types of heaven in existence, all part of the physical realm, the inhabitants or “denizens” of which have varying degrees of longevity. The denizens of Cātummaharajan live 9,216,000,000 years; denizens of Nimmānarati live 2,284,000,000 years; denizens of Tāvatimsa live 36,000,000 years; denizens of Tusita live 576,000,000 years; and the denizens of Yāma live 1,444,000,000 years.

heaven1Our history overflows with humanity’s upheaved herald of heaven, our exaltation of the existential extra, our fiery strife towards continued life. The mythic and religious historical traditions constitute at once indefinite longevity’s greatest contemporary obstacle and its greatest historical legitimator.

“There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.” Robert Green Ingersoll


Belief of Americans in God, heaven and hell, 2011 (2011). Retrieved March 22, 2013 from
Poll; nearly 8 in 10 Americans believe in angels (2011). CBS News. Retrieved March 22, 2013 from
Conan, N. (2010). Do You Believe In Miracles? Most Americans Do. In NPR News. Retrieved March 22, 2013 from
Americans Describe Their Views About Life After Death (2003). The Barna Group. Retrieved March 22, 2013 from
43,941 adherent statistic citations: membership and geography data for 4,300+ religions, churches, tribes, etc. (2007). Retrieved March 22, 2013 from


lifebFreedom fironically found in flesh, not knowing whe’er I’m foul or fowl… tickly bound neath trickly form twisting and more unfresh as dawn upon dawn dies in menstrual skyfire like blood made light — a mocking microcosm of my own transubstantiation from rotting viscera to lightstorm infinity?

Just what sick joke is this? To wake and ache and dream and be and become! – and then to die..? To culminate the very universe itself!.. and then to simply die?! For what I ask you! What! Death… what audacious greed! What reckless squander and heedless extravagance!

Guttural red fringed black a bulbous muck death bastphelgmy! We cannot comprehend the sheer stature of death and so hurriedly cover the unknown with a word to hold it in hand and at a distance, to doubt no doubt.

O pallid heavens! O incessant sun undaunted by my barrenaked finitude! O fetid sanctity wet and redragged as the sickly bloom of jagged flesh! O putrid night sky serene despite my spat fury; as I ebb and ember a’roil withinside my sadness unbelieving and hysteric animal heat that vile sun and auster night jaunt their jeer and mock the rude squall of my panicstrewn death nonetheless.

We must not believe them when they tell us with sad care that we will one day die.

We must not believe them when they tell us that we will escape death by any means but our own daring.

We must bleed our eschaton passion upforth and afroth upon that void hated with awefull grandeur for its monster honesty. We must take self in hand and be/hold the possible futures still fetal inside. We must rage our righteous revolt with pride bright as that unsickened sun, not afraid to boast that we fear death but instead eager to thrust our fervent urgency upon the others still bound to opiate incredulity.

We are Man, and we shall NOT go quietly into that dog night!

This soliloquy was originally published on

Humans have questioned death, and have searched for immortality since they first became conscious of the finiteness of life. Many modern humans are now confident (or at least hopeful) that it may be possible to achieve immortality, perhaps by using technological advances. This is a myth. It is against the laws of physics (think of entropy) for anyone to become immortal, so it will not happen.

Let me clarify what I mean. The term ‘immortal’ literally means someone who never dies, i.e. lives forever. But ‘forever’ means really forever, more than 50 trillion years, until the end of time. In the foreseeable future (the future which is relevant to us alive today) this is just plain nonsense. If the term is nonsense, then it should not be used. Better terms may be ‘longevity’, or ‘extreme lifespan’ which means to live for many years, without stipulating a number. Extreme longevity, or extreme life extension is not immortality. One may be able to live for 1000 years, and then still die. Another suitable term could be ‘indefinite lifespan’ which is the absence of a sustained increase of mortality as a function of age (i.e. it is the absence of death due to aging). These terms denote something feasible, something that can be achieved with the use of near-term future technology.

Another legitimate term to use is ‘Human Biological Immortality’. This is a strict term used in biology to refer to the decrease of the rate of cellular mortality as a function of age. It is, in other words, similar to the term ‘indefinite lifespan’. Here the emphasis is on indefinite, and not on infinite.

I believe that certain humans will be able to live indefinitely (50 years, 500 years, no a priori limit) and that this will happen after a combination of natural evolutionary events ( enhanced and accelerated by science and technology ( Death by aging will be abolished, and people will only die from accidents, illnesses etc. We will still be mortal.

Is it really necessary to stick to the exact meaning of the words? Yes, it is if we are to be taken seriously. To use terms like ‘eternal life’, ‘immortality, or ‘living forever’ decreases the scientific credibility of the anti-aging movement, has undertones of religious beliefs that have no basis in science, and disconnects both the general public and the funding bodies from the subject.

The point here is that any emerging technologies will only emerge if the public supports them, and if the researchers get funding. If supporters of these technologies appear too irrational, illogical or unreasonable, then they will damage the cause, and make it more difficult for others who, still visionary, have more achievable aims.