(A bit more commentary on some stuff that's been running through my head as of late...)
Consider the following:
- I feel out of place in groups where people seem literally convinced that they personally are likely to find some way to "live forever" based on the fact that some cool stem-cell experiments seem to be panning out.
- I feel equally out of place where people are expounding on the benefits and virtues of actually "going gentle into that good night" (i.e., not engaging in "heroic" lifesaving measures for elderly patients). (Or when people are claiming that merely wanting to partake of rejuvenation medicine is a sign of hapless and hubristic vanity.)
- I'm against pathologizing old people for being old, but I'm very much for finding better ways to stop old people from dying of cancer or heart disease or basically anything identifiable that kills them already.
- I'm terribly weirded out by people who seem to think non-infinite lives are somehow meaningless (and yes, there are a few, both religious and non).
- I'm also annoyed when people express the idea that taking measures to (even if only by a tiny margin) potentially maximize one's long-term survival odds is a sign of undeniable pathological narcissism.
- I don't think wanting to live another 100 or even 200 years is any more morally wrong than wanting to live one more day, no matter how old you are -- and yet, I do worry about the character of people who seem overly fixated on their own survival above all else.
- I think it's kind of goofy and crackpottish to believe that you are personally going to live forever in a nearly-indestructible "uploaded" form, but I'm totally okay with the idea of cryonics, and am considering signing up myself at some point (I figure even if it doesn't work, it's a cool science experiment!).
Now, of course I don't feel like there's anything wrong with the position(s) I hold here, otherwise I'd hold different positions. But still...I keep feeling myself running up against weird pressures to either jump on the Live Forever In A Robot Body! bandwagon, or on the Just Lay Down And Die Gracefully! bandwagon. And I don't have any desire to jump on either. Hopefully I can keep going along the way I've been going, picking and choosing my projects accordingly, because the only thing I've really ever found that "works" for me in areas like this is the "salad bar" approach!
I still volunteer with the Methuselah Foundation, and plan to keep doing so, as they're doing a lot of practical work that I see as having the potential to benefit many people. It's pretty clear to me after having been acquainted with them for several years even before becoming a volunteer that they're legitimate (the fact that they've got actual research programs going on at major universities is a big positive sign as far as I'm concerned).
But I'm finding in general, I have to be very careful in evaluating any group or person that claims to want to address actual age-related problems scientifically and ethically. There's so much crackpottery, opportunism, and sheer overly-wishful thinking out there that it's practically impossible to be too careful.