Fearing Death and Curing Aging

You are going to die. It may take some time, but not too long since most people do not live to be 100 and very few live more than 110 years. You, like everyone else, suffer from aging and most likely it will kill you. Death and eternal darkness are inevitable. Think about it for a second...

Keywords: anti-aging, biogerontology, dying, immortalist, life-extension, mortality, rejuvenation

Death is the ultimate prison

"The meaningless absurdity of life is the only incontestable knowledge accessible to man."

Leo Tolstoy

To say I am afraid to die is an understatement; I am absolutely terrified of death, and I'm not embarrassed at all to admit it. The way I am unable to conceive the nothingness that happens after death is dreadful. Death is eternal oblivion, an everlasting prison. I am an atheist, which means I don't have religion to give me hope--and doesn't hope derive from a fear to face reality? Isn't religion a delusion to avoid the harsh realities of our chaotic existence and of death in particular? As far as I can tell, my death is the end of the world.

Back in elementary school, I realized we all have a genetic, lethal disease called aging. I remember being frightened that my mother would die and terrified that my existence was ephemeral and meaningless. At the time, it felt like I was being told I had terminal cancer or some other horrible disease. Death was inevitable. No matter how rich or successful I could be in life, it would all be lost in the end. So, still a child, I found an objective, a purpose for my life: to cure human aging.

I want to conquer aging because aging is, and will be, the major cause of suffering and death among the ones I love. I want to end aging to safeguard the future because I want to choose my future instead of being ruled by this debilitating disease. I want to cure aging because otherwise I will die. Eradicating death must be our purpose. I don't know if I will succeed, but I know I will not quit since to quit is to die.

"Death is an imposition on the human race, and no longer acceptable."

Alan Harrington

Assuming you are lucky enough to live a long life and suffer from aging, chances are your future will entail significant pain, frailty and diseases. Chief among concerns of elderly adults are cognitive aging and neurodegenerative diseases: forgetting your children's names and ultimately losing oneself. However, if we make an effort to cure aging our future becomes one of unknown paths. Who knows? Our future might involve a holiday on Mars in the year 3000. I want to be a part of the future and not merely a road to it.

I aim for immortality, literally, not metaphorically speaking. Yes, really: physical immortality. I don't claim it will be easy or even possible. All I claim is that I will try. The first, most prominent obstacle to achieve immortality is aging, and so I chose an academic career as a gerontologist. I hope my work and ideas can be useful for the understanding and control of human aging. As discussed elsewhere, curing aging is a daunting but not impossible task.

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."

Henry Ford

Back in 1997 I started as a way of showing my commitment and dedication to life, to eternal life. With time, ironically the driving force of the enemy I want to conquer, has become a portal for aging research with tutorials mixed with deeper sociological and scientific essays. So please read on and do not be more afraid of life than of death.

I hope can also make people aware of the problem that is aging. Aging will likely kill you and those you love. It is the main reason why great artists, scientists, sportsmen, and thinkers die. Our society and religion make it easier to accept aging and the inevitability of death. I believe that if people thought more about death and how horrible it is, a greater effort would be made to avoid death and invest more in biomedical research and in understanding aging in particular.

Aging is also becoming a worldwide social and economic problem (UN Programme on Ageing). Even so, few resources are aimed at studying and tinkering with the aging process and most people are not even aware that research is done on the biology of aging. Much more money is spent to fight specific age-related diseases than to fight the aging process. Less than 20% of the US National Institute on Aging's budget goes to research the basic causes of aging, which pales in comparison with the resources available to other medical problems like neurodegenerative diseases and cancer (Adelman, 1998; Warner, 2001; Miller, 2005). (This is not to say funding for specific diseases is not important, but merely to point out that research on aging is severely underfunded and unappreciated.) Sadly, the funds spent on developing ways to kill people (i.e. the military) are vastly superior to the funds spent on making people live longer. Hopefully, can contribute to make the public aware of the work done on aging and its importance.

I've been asked before: Why prolong life? I can give a million reasons but I think my highest objective is to discover the secrets of this infinite universe. Perhaps it's a dream, but the future is made of dreams, and I believe in the beauty of my dreams.

"There are three requisites for growth without bound, and only three: the will to remake oneself; the genius to survive; and the strength to suffer."

David Zindell

May dreams become the future

May dreams become the future

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