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Everyday Transhumanism

This morning I was watching the Wednesday, November 11, 2009 episode of The Daily Show on Hulu.  While the show's sponsor was The Home Depot, the second of three commercial breaks featured an advertisement for the Methuselah Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to extending the human lifespan and curing age-related diseases.  The commercial went like this:


Spoken: "Let's be honest. Getting old and decrepit sucks—but it might not have to happen to you. Ending the diseases of aging is closer than you think. Let's get there faster at MFoundation.org."

Visual: A clock ticks with a circular arrow pointing counterclockwise. / "Getting old SUCKS" / "It might not have to happen to YOU" / The clock begins ticking backwards, following the circular arrow. / "Ending the diseases of aging is CLOSER THAN YOU THINK" / "Let's get there faster." / "MFoundation.org" / "extending healthy human life"

This is the first time I've seen a commercial for a clearly transhumanist organization, let alone while watching a popular television show.  You can find it and other Methuselah Foundation commercials by searching YouTube.  I think it's interesting to watch the transhuman movement really pick up pace as we approach a period some would call the technological singularity, though I agree with my friend the Doctor: "I don't think there will be a singularity."

While I've generally been comfortable with death since it became a real consideration in life, after my family left the biblical cult which taught that we righteous few would live forever in an earthly paradise, I've increasingly become upset by senescence as my body's become ravaged by Lyme disease and goodness knows what else.  I feel as though death is inevitable but aging is still a crime, at least when it comes to the extreme ailments one can experience in elder years.

If organizations like the Methuselah Foundation can support research and practice that can reverse the damage my body's undergone and increase the standards of living for elders, then I'm all for it and don't think philosophical questions about mortality should necessarily factor into consideration for their cause.  There's no such thing as curing death—even in a world where people can live for millennia, something in the universe will eventually cause every individual's death—so the only thing transhumanists can really do is help work to cure or better treat various age-related ailments, and if done in a humane manner, that's always a good thing.  There will, or at least should, always be the option to forgo any treatments one decides one does not want.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
heron61
Nov. 19th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
That's absolutely fabulous. To get serious funding, we need to get the ideo of improved longevity into the public consciousness, and it's finally happening. Much coolness!
aekiy
Nov. 20th, 2009 04:27 am (UTC)
Yes, I thought so. I appreciate the notion of increased longevity that much more given the years that have been and are still being stolen from my life. I don't just want to get better; I want my lost time back so I can finally make a life for myself before I'm freeping middle-aged.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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