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Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 3:30amSanction this postReply
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Hurry up, would you!

Yes, indeed.  I first learned about Life Extension from The Libertarian Connection c. 1972.  It was edited by Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw under their pen names. 
(See for instance:
http://www.iherb.com/ds.html
http://www.levity.com/mavericks/p&s.htmhttp://www.iherb.com/ds.html
and
http://www.futurescience.com/recread.html)

Admittedly, this is all "crude" compared to what is "possible."  My wife (then) and I started taking mega vitamins about 1973 or 1974 and I continued with Durk and Sandy's powders.  At that time, they were big fans of BHT, for instance.  Now, 30 years later, I do not know exactly how much I have or have not "aged" but I do know that when I was about 10, most of the grown-ups I knew over 50 were pretty close to death from my point of view.

Among the libertarians, there were scoffers.  Murray Rothbard said that it was more important to fight the revolution against the state than to take vitamins.  Now, he does neither. 

A philosophical problem with life extension is reflected in the problem of the mega lottery winner.  These people seldom end up happy and apparently often come to lose most or all of their winnings.  They lack philosophy, of course.  They dream -- but not deeply.  They wish -- for actions without consequences.  With life extension, much of who we are must change whether we want it to or not. 

A friend of mine, Patrick A. Heller of Liberty Coins in Lansing (www.libertycoinservice.com) has been long involved in cryogenics. He was already a nice guy, but he once told me that he always bears in mind that he will meet everyone at least twice, so he is always nice to them the first time, at least. 

If you are going to live a long long time, then deferred consumption is far more important than present consumption. 

That points to what I regard as a potential problem with Austrian economics.  It is an axiom that we all prefer the present to the future.  What if you did not?  What if you preferred the future to the present?  How would that change your views?  One thing that we know now is that while most people are more than willing to burn a dollar today and pay back a $1.05 next year, a banker has the opposite goals.




Post 1

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 3:57amSanction this postReply
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My main rationale for wanting to study human aging and therefore extend life has been, and has always been, that I love my life.
That's a crystal clear, authentically moral statement, Marcus. Keep up the good research!

In a class of Thermodynamics of Irreversible Processes my teacher said that the human body is thermodynamically limited to a maximum duration of about 600-700 years. Does anyone know about the acceptability of this assertion? Thanks

Joel Català


P.S.: Very OT, but the sentence "Ponce de León inadvertently discovered Florida" is product of the false Spaniard mythology intentionally spread across the official universal history.

More details: Antoni Pons (the authentic name of "Ponce de León" knew very well where he went; Cristòfol Colom, Joan Cabot --yes, John Cabot, the discoverer of Eastern North America--, or Emeric Despuig --the cartographer who gave name to the New World-- also knew very well where they went: to discover and settle a New Continent.

The American historian Charles Merrill and the Catalan historian Jordi Bilbeny are unveiling the facts hidden by the Spanish Inquisition and its Royal Censorship up to our days.

Take into account that the Catalan-Aragonese Confederation, better known as the Aragonese Empire, was a maritime empire based in free trade powerful enough to launch the American Catalan enterprise. Unfortunately, the Castilians gradually invaded Catalonia and took possession of the Catalan discoveries. Catalonia lost its independence under the invading French-Castilian armies on the 11th of September of 1714.

The happy part is that Cabot's discoveries remained as a possession of the English Crown, and the North American Colonies resumed the defense of the genuine human freedom.

Maybe one day I will write an article on SOLOHQ about the relationship between freedom, America and Catalonia.

(Edited by Joel Català on 7/16, 4:56am)




Post 2

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 6:18amSanction this postReply
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Joel,

"The human body is thermodynamically limited to a maximum duration of about 600-700 years."

Did your teacher forget about regeneration, multiple backups, and other technologies that will be developed in less then 50 years? I don't know what standards your teacher was using to calculate 600-700, but I bet he wasn't including the exponential growth in technological advances.



Post 3

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 6:27amSanction this postReply
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Dean, he was strictly talking about the capability of the (bare) human body to increase enthropy, which is a requirement for life. Actually, your body temperature is about 100ºF (37.5ºC) because of that required generation of enthropy. As the body ages, it loses a great deal of its "enthropy-generation" ability. But that was about 8 years ago, so I don't remember additional info.

Besides, I am not saying that man won't be able to find a way to live forever. Quite the opposite.

Best regards,

Joel Català

(Edited by Joel Català on 7/16, 8:41am)




Post 4

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:15amSanction this postReply
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We humans are unique in the animal kingdom because we know in advance that we will die some day.
Perhaps.




Post 5

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:27amSanction this postReply
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We humans are unique in the animal kingdom because we know in advance that we will die some day.
I don't think that's the fundamental reason of our uniqueness, leave alone our intrinsic higher value over animal life.

Joel Català

(Edited by Joel Català on 7/16, 7:28am)




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Post 6

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:41amSanction this postReply
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I'd want to live forever too but there is one thing I want more, to stay myself, to stay human. Like it or not, our morality largly defines who we are and what we do. This has nothing to do with being pro-capitalist, we're social people and our relationship with others would be compleatly and totally different if we all lived forever. If we throw our morality out of the window we'll also be throwing out a large chunk of our humanity and I value that more then I value life.

But the good thing about technology is that it frequently allows us to have our cake and eat it too. Being downloaded (put into a computer) you'd officially be dead so life would go around you. It would be a whole new existance and you would be able to live exactly as you want.

(i.e. you'd be dead because you'd also be a copy, at best you can copy neurons, not download them.)



Post 7

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 7:59amSanction this postReply
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Ever read "The Silicon Man" ?



Post 8

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 8:04amSanction this postReply
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Clarence when you write "morality" I assume you mean "mortality".

And if so, that is something you need to argue for, not just take as an assumption. I see no reason to believe that throwing out mortality means throwing out humanity. What would follow is that someone who lives to a very old age is somehow less human than someone who dies as an infant.

Why would you say our humanity is contingent on our mortality? What does that mean?




Post 9

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 9:06amSanction this postReply
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Thanks for the comments.

Michael
Hurry up, would you!

Yes, yes. That was why I away from the computer today :-)

Joel,
That's a crystal clear, authentically moral statement, Marcus. Keep up the good research!
Thank you. I will. I am getting some very interesting results at the moment :-)

A problem of thermodynamic entropy I have never considered, but I would be quite pleased if I had 600-700 years to come up with a solution :-)

As far as Spanish history is concerned, I will wait for your article.

Robert + Joel,
I didn't mean that it was the only thing that made humans unique.

Clarence + Steve + Robert,
Morality or mortality? Makes a huge difference.

The sort of argument against immortality Clarence makes here is the "it is not natural" one.
Thanks Steve for pointing out the flaws in his reasoning.

Why on earth Clarence would want to be downloaded is beyond me? Maybe he spends all his life online anyway :-)

Another good thing about achieving a longer life-span, is that I will get to see when Objectivism becomes a universally accepted philosophy :-)






Post 10

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 11:08amSanction this postReply
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Bah, mortality. Damn spell checkers.

Look at it this way, what is human? Is it just our DNA? If some hypothetical aliens adopted a human child would it be just as human as the rest of us? No; culture, beliefs, behaviors, norms, etc. that also defines our humanity. It’s not just our ability to reason that defines our humanity either, just our sentience.

Second, how would immortality affect our humanity? My argument is that it would destroy it. I had this argument on a transhumanist forum (don't ask) before so sorry I had just made a few assumptions before. This argument does differ slightly depending on the type of immortality we're talking about but I think the one with the least impact is downloading (why I mentioned it before) where your brain is essentially copied into a computer. Personally I don’t see the point cause even if it’s a perfect copy, its still a copy and ‘you’ still die. But the advantage there is you can live in any kind of virtual environment you want that is just as ‘real’ as you are, paradise. Another example that more commonly thought of and what ya’ll probably first think of is like Stephen Baxter’s ‘anti-senescence’ theory which stops the telomeres on you DNA from running out (or something like that, he does some really hard scifi). Basically you live forever or until the therapy fails. In his book the practical limit there is like 1,000 years although we’re talking about forever.

To answer the question though, its simple really. The average human lifespan is a little over 80 years, we have only that amount of time to do what we want and then its over. Our entire society is built around that, the fact that the people ahead of us eventually die is what allows us to go forward. How the hell do you compete against a person who has a 500 year head start on you? Free market my ass, you’re going to be stuck on the bottom. You might make the argument that in a perfect market it doesn’t matter how long someone has been working, if someone below them is better then they’re out. And we all know that’s bullshit, if Joe has been my vice-president of sales for the past 2 centuries and has done a good job, I don’t care how good that 70 year old youngster is, he ain’t getting the job. And that’s just socially, immortality would destroy the individual. Sure some would be fine, the super rich perhaps. But if we don’t have a decent idea when we’re going to die, how can plan our future? I like good honest labor but I don’t want to work for the next 1,000 years. You’ll be destroying families. I have 3 great-grandparents and I love them but if I had a great-great-great-grandparent, odds are I wouldn’t give a shit about them. You will never the ‘the’ head of a family and no matter what you do or how old you get; you’ll still be someone’s grandchild. So how do you escape that, by getting away. We each have our own lives to live and our own families to make but unless you get away from your ‘ancestors’ you’ll always be hamstringed. Even your parents, the simple concept of a son inheriting his fathers business will be thrown out the window. In the end, we truly won’t be human, at least not in any way that matters now. We’ll leave our parents ASAP, parents who probably won’t care about us as much as they can have massive families. You’d grow up without an education as the rational is you can get one later. Everything will be ‘later’; you’d be stuck in a dead end job for centuries waiting for your boss to die in an accident. Unless there is room for humanity to expand, every market niche would have been taken long ago. And even if we could expand to other worlds, others would have far better resources to exploit them. You couldn’t get very far up the latter, its dominated by the first immortals and the top 99% in intelligence, the other 98% of us would just have to settle for 2nd place, at best.

Finally, to make this argument complete, you have to ask yourself is humanity worth saving. There can’t be any half measures here, it’s either done or it isn’t. Naturally I wouldn’t live for humanity, but I would die for it but of course I already will. If anyone can come up with how our humanity can be preserved and we’d stay immortal, I’ve love to hear it but I don’t think there is one.




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Post 11

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 12:08pmSanction this postReply
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Nothing is forever, but I sure would appreciate 86 more years to see how things turn out. As a Yankee fan, I wouldn't want to ask for the 87th and risk witnessing another Red Sox World Series victory.



Post 12

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 11:59amSanction this postReply
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"Indeed, for a long time I have been in love with the dream of infinity and it is immensely satisfying to see so clearly stated above how it complements my passion for capitalism."

It sounds as if you acknowledge that capitalism requires that you make a profoundly irrational risk assessment about your personal future, when in fact you will certainly face death and probably debility as well.



Post 13

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 1:10pmSanction this postReply
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Robert Heinlein's book Time Enough For Love is an amazing read in general, but is mainly about this subject, in the form of its main character, Lazarus Long.
And, of course, it generally expresses values in line with Libertarianism, and Objectivism. In some ways, it's one of the best pieces of fiction I've ever read.




Post 14

Saturday, July 16, 2005 - 9:14pmSanction this postReply
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Someday, people will be having sex well into their 520's.



Post 15

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 4:52amSanction this postReply
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Clarence,

You are falling into the classical "static world view" fallacy endorsed by Thomas Malthus and Karl Marx and the present Green movement. Basically they make the case that there is a fixed amount of wealth and resources in this world available for a fixed number of people.

The fatal flaw in this reasoning is the rejection of the simple truth that - human wealth does not exist finite and fixed in nature, but is infinitely created.

Capital accumulation goes on forever, in love with a dream of infinity.
 
What you are saying is that there exists a fixed working place. Suddenly, an influx of immortals overcrowds that space and the "younger" workers suffer. What you forget is that the immortals also expand that the marketplace as both consumers and producers.

Another point to make is this one. Isn't it obvious that in the last 100 years or so mankind has through the advent of medicine and technology already extended his own lifespan?

What has been the result? Well, many claim that society has become top heavy - too many retired citizens that do not "contribute" to wealth in society. However, in fact they do contribute stored wealth as consumers - they have only become a burden (in a sense) through the introduction of the welfare state.

However, if in fact the type of immortality were possible that I am suggesting - the preservation of health and vitality - immortals could continue to be both producers and consumers and would in fact fuel the economy and wealth creation even further.

Mark,
It sounds as if you acknowledge that capitalism requires that you make a profoundly irrational risk assessment about your personal future, when in fact you will certainly face death and probably debility as well.

What irrational risk assessment?

Rich,
Robert Heinlein's book Time Enough For Love is an amazing read in general.

Thanks for the tip.

Erik,
Someday, people will be having sex well into their 520's.

And hopefully beyond... ;-)





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Post 16

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 6:13amSanction this postReply
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Marcus, I specficially said, "And even if we could expand to other worlds, others would have far better resources to exploit them."

My whole point with old people is that they WILL be produceful, not that they won't. And I have no clue where I even hinted at any kind of statism, and screw you for comparing me to some goddamn communists.



Post 17

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 9:48amSanction this postReply
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Clarence: Please take the time to think over your previous post, particularly the "screw you" portion. I'd prefer you didn't post that type of comment. If you are just "messing around" then please put a smiley place at the end of your destructive sentence.
(Edited by Dean Michael Gores
on 7/17, 9:52am)




Post 18

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 9:59amSanction this postReply
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Clarence,

You wrote:

How the hell do you compete against a person who has a 500 year head start on you? Free market my ass, you’re going to be stuck on the bottom. You might make the argument that in a perfect market it doesn’t matter how long someone has been working, if someone below them is better then they’re out. And we all know that’s bullshit, if Joe has been my vice-president of sales for the past 2 centuries and has done a good job, I don’t care how good that 70 year old youngster is, he ain’t getting the job. And that’s just socially, immortality would destroy the individual.

You are making the assumption that there are only a fixed number of jobs at the "top" to be had. If this is not an illustration of a "static world view" then I don't know what is.

I have pointed to the fact that this is the "type" of reasoning statists use to justify regulating markets. And the argument is flawed.



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Post 19

Sunday, July 17, 2005 - 10:20amSanction this postReply
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Actually I think changing the life span to thousands of years would make a good basis for a novel, to explore how human socirty would be changed (not destroyed).

I changed careers 10 years ago to become a programmer. If my lifespan was thousands of years, I think I would be changing careers every 50 years or so. Programming isnt old for me yet, but the sense of "been there, done that" is starting to slowly creep in. I certainly couldn't do this type of work for the next 500 years and not be bored out of my mind, and ready to take up, say scuba instructing in Hawaii or something like that.

100 years is just what you are used to thinking in terms of. If humans routinely lived to be 10,000 years old, and then some incurable disease came by and people started dying in their 80's instead, I bet the common view would be "this disease is destroying our humanity!"




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