As the idea of scientifically extended longevity is slowly gaining popularity, countless articles on life extension and even physical immortality have become available — of all these articles, why should you read this one?
This article does not emphasize on scientific particulars of human life extension, although it relates to the scientific facts. It is different — focusing on both personal and cultural factors significant for a fast and certain achievement of non-aging longevity. Therefore, the article offers new ideas to advocates of life extension which could add to their existing knowledge, but also lets the broad public — uninformed about the very latest scientific developments and lacking motivation and personal perspectives about the topic — form a better understanding about it.
This article was written for a general audience, however, especially the following audience can benefit from new insights and perspectives presented throughout this article: sceptics and critical thinkers, scientists and students of biotech professions, long-term investors of biotech/medical projects, transhumanists, longevity advocates and “immortalists”, freethinkers and atheists.
On the other hand, an intention is also to correct misbeliefs and offer new controversial facts to the opposite audience, such as christians, people seeking answers for immortality in mysticism and new-age culture, and the so-called fatalists (a major part of todays society, which considers death as inevitable).
If you are well-read on the topic of longevity and potential immortality, if you know about the arguments against the extension of human life, and if you disagree with them, you might want to skip the first five or so chapters. Or, you might want to read the conclusions first and follow the links back. However, reading the article from top to bottom is suggested for the best understanding. The text contains mostly new and unrecognized facts and perspectives on how to personally achieve non-aging longevity with relative certainty, which ultimately requires certain insights and realizations that no technological or medical solution can deliver each individual. Supporting the hypothesis that the conditions for establishing open-ended longevity depend not only on scientific advancements, but also to a high degree on the general attitude that modern society brings toward immortality, it shows concepts and routes for necessary transformations that one can possibly apply in order to advance the goal of achieving research-based longevity.
Goals of this article are to provide new insights, and deliver arguments, for the overcoming of death, but also critical, realistic views regarding some rather optimistic predictions. It will deal with memes, emotional convictions, and the state of our society regarding questions of life and death, which are crucially important for people active in the field of longevity — scientific or otherwise. Finally, it will provide you with some new approaches and strategies on how to change perspectives and beliefs, and how to work to advance and speed up the eventual achievement of scientific longevity.
Copyright notice: this document is intended as a reference for many viewpoints and facts. See the references to see which other texts have been used in the composition of this article. The document may be spread as whole or in part, copied and freely quoted. Spreading is even appreciated. If you’ve read this text and liked the ideas in it, please consider telling others about it.
2. Defining Non-Aging Longevity
To talk about longevity, the meaning of the term must first be clearly defined. In our context, life extension and longevity mean to extend the life of a human being indefinitely and open-ended. It is based on the conviction that a de-facto immortality for human beings is not impossible; however, terms like life extension and non-aging longevity are mostly used throughout the text.
This is because the word immortality is a historically unscientific word, which had almost always a mystical definition. Non-aging longevity is, by definition, nonmystic, fully explainable and achievable through scientific means, i.e., observing cause and effect.
This text accepts that more definite forms of open-ended longevity or immortality, as possible through unpredictable future technologies, e.g. sophisticated nanotechnology and beyond, will not be available in the next few decades. Rather, it values the prospects of major possibilities existing right now, such as halting and reversing the aging process through hormones, human genetics, stem-cell research, even cloning and body transplantation (possible with more sophisticated neurological technologies). The author acknowledges that a cure or retardation of the aging process will not mean immortality, since people will still be prone to injury and disease. But the achievement of a highly extended longevity would mean a rapid decrease in death-rates worldwide, and the elimination of the inevitability of death. With a fast achievement of a solution for longevity that would allow most people to live healthy and safely, say, past their 100’s, the longer road to better knowledge and technologies for preventing human death could be walked by the generations living today.
For a word choice less controversial, the word immortality is replaced with longevity. But the meaning of rapid major advancements in science would ultimately be just that, immortality. This simply means, as most people would continue to live past their natural lifespans, new technologies could develop faster than their remaining life time runs out.
The prime responsibility of business and science, therefore, is not the development of anti-aging and health products that let people live healthier and better within or minimally beyond their natural average lifespan of approx. 75 years, but research and development to establish definite cures and solutions against human aging and death itself, the fastest route possible, and to make it commercially available to as many people as possible.
3. Popular misconceptions
This chapter introduces some of the most widely accepted beliefs about the impossibility of human immortality which are are based on emotions, or superficial, but yet so firmly accepted and unquestioned in our society that they are major factors working against longevity within our lifetime .
Reason: Being used to it. People have always died before. In the 20th century, the average lifespan has been around 70 in developed countries. Only few people have lived longer, and those who did were old and had different places in society than healthy young and middle aged people. In that sense, our society is dependent on limited human lifespans, and the majority of people expect and plan according to this situation in their lives.
Reason: It is impossible because it never happened before. People have doubts and resistance against the enhancement of human lifespan as they had with similar technologies, which had never existed before. Things that are common today, such as the ability for humans to fly (the plane), the exploration of outer space, breaking certain world records, steam power, and the use of electricity, were all once seen as ridiculous, and met the same kind of scepticism and resistance.
Reason: Fear of the unknown. Fearing the unknown, which has perhaps once been a useful factor in our evolution, has become a hurdle in today’s rapidly evolving human civilization. Many people are simply emotionally concerned about new perspectives. Unfortunately, this can cause trends that politicians, the often not-so-honest, or at best, vague news media, and other groups like to follow. This often results in major complications for the establishment of new technologies which later turn out to be quite useful. For example, in the 20th century, many people seriously worried that advanced computers, which we made more intelligent than humans, could develop their own consciousness and take over the world or enslave humanity. Many books were written about the topic, and futurologists, visionaires, and politicians engaged in serious debates over it. Similarly, most arguments against technologies such as genetics or cloning, are devoid of reason, facts and rationality, when you really take a close look. But it is still an important matter to counter them with better arguments.
Indeed, you should listen to irrational arguments and counter them. Convictions and memes  can be spread and adopted by huge amounts of people without them ever realizing it. You could say that mortality itself is a meme (a subconsciously accepted and spreaded conviction or idea). For many cultures, mortality, as in the eventual end of our existence, is even a relatively new one, that appeared only after the bigger religious movements started being discarded and left, and with them, memes or beliefs of “spiritual immortality”, “the soul”, “afterlife”, “rebirth”, and so on. Certain individuals also have different death memes, sometimes in combination with religious ones, which say that “Death and Aging are Spiritual”, “Growing old is normal”, or “Old age is 80 years”.
Important to consider is that none of these convictions are absolute truths, but many people firmly believe in them as absolute, unchanging truths. To present rational arguments to the population against such “truths”, or irrefutable errors, as Nietzsche preferred to call them, can help to subvert these memes, simply with realism, and most of all, honesty. The people who accept honest arguments then replace their convictions; either they become total sceptics, or, more likely, they acquire new convictions, which are retained unless replaced with better perspectives.
4. Invalid claims about the certainty of death
Now, let’s consider more detailed objections against non-aging longevity and the possibility of overcoming death, such as ethical, social, religious, etc., and counter them. This can effectively demonstrate that there are no ultimate reasons against the possibility of an open-ended lifespan, simply by invalidating the existing claims with logic derived from facts.
Popular arguments of media and politics. These arguments are actually no arguments in the original sense, but a good mixture from the points below, together with subjective opinions based on the understanding and manipulation of erroneous beliefs and people’s emotions. However, the fact that humans naturally trust and rely on authority makes any “arguments” coming from politicians and the media a lot more important than other arguments.
Ethical concerns. For the field of political ethics and bioethics, now uprising and growing during the emerging of biotechnology, it is important to recognize that similar objections as raised today against biotechnology, human germline manipulation, cloning, stem-cell research, and so on, were once raised against practices like autopsies, anesthesia, artificial insemination, and the entire genetic revolution of our day. Yet, enormous benefits have accrued from each of these developments, contributing to curing diseases, saving people from death, and making possible more advanced scientific research. Ethics themselves are a quite complex topic, which is why I’ve dealt with them in a separate article. Remember that such ethical questions are often used strategically. They intentionally lead to endless debates without ever producing concrete results, even though all rational arguments have been exchanges.
Religious concerns. Widespread religious arguments, i.e. not interfering with the work of God, or the destiny of man, are perhaps the hardest arguments to refute, because they are based on a world view different from the scientific/nonmystic way of thinking emerging today. But for the more open-minded religious people, their arguments are points to think about and reconsider. The author acknowledges that he is not religious, but an unbiased and tolerant person. Even when thinking from the perspective of a religious believer, the claims of big churches and religious organizations, cannot be equal to the word and will of God. If you are a christian, for example, you accept the fact that the fate of man are self-responsible thoughts and actions (after he left paradise). And as far as I know, all traditional religions more or less value human life and its preservation. Eastern religions like Hinduism are even based on a belief of physical, bodily immortality as the highest goal. In any case, if there is a God, who can tell that s/he would not be happy to see us move toward his/her level? Else, why should humans have self-introspective consciousness and the ability to change and override the defaults of nature? And since no human being can answer these questions for sure, no religious movement can tell for sure if there is an afterlife. If this is not the case, and if we just vanish for all eternity at the end of our lives, and don’t take immediate advantages of chances to enhance our lives, it could mean we are making the ultimate mistake. Using our — nature or God — given abilities to attain control over nature and life, means to fulfill our destiny as human beings — in either way.
Social concerns. Since already so many social and general problems, war and unnecessary death exists in the world, many people think that we first need to concentrate on those problems. And this is an important point. Life extension and biotech projects, however, could benefit especially the poorest people and worst countries, in the long term. Todays problems of poverty and world hunger continue because the life and death cycles in poor countries. Even if thousands of people die daily, their society continues to exist. People in development countries also have a desire to have a big family and many children in a situation where so many people suffer and die. Today, there is no great motivation to solve such problems since the majority does not understand the full potential and value of human lives. When we will be able to increase the human life span significantly, each individual will become more important and valuable. Eventually, the starving and dying of other humans will become intolerable to everyone.
Also, side developments of a biotechnological advancement toward non-aging longevity will include better and cheaper approaches to birth control, diet and nutrition, agricultural technologies, and so on. Also consider the computer revolution, which was first thought to affect only western countries. But the availability of computers and the internet in poor countries and dictatorships has ultimately contributed to growth and personal freedom. So it is unlikely that longevity or immortality products will be available only to a small elite, but rather, they would be desired by almost everyone, propagated and marketed to a maximum amount of people, which in turn would cause the costs to fall rapidly. This means, there would be no such thing as a longevity for the rich elite, while the rest of humanity would remain in its current state of being. However, this must also be said, no individual has a natural duty of helping suffering individuals, especially not through sacrificing himself. Any ideology or government forcing individuals to give up themselves for higher causes or the public good, is obviously wrong and immoral when it is based on force (or force-backed regulation) instead of volition and sacrifice instead of good will. Apart from this point, contributing to the solution of problems is desirable. The achievement of non-aging longevity through advanced biotechnology could ultimately be a great help in solving problems of poverty and third-world countries, especially because many social problems are rooted in the lack of respect for individuals and human life.
Scientific arguments. The argument from scientific circles, and from people who don’t believe in any of the above concerns, is, that extended longevity and de-facto immortality may be very complex or impossible to realize scientifically, because it requires the solving of technical, biological and medical tasks that are too complex, difficult, unsolvable for centuries, or even unknowable to us. However, this thesis is a pure assumption, for one, because the idea that something could be generally unknowable to human thinking and consciousness, is speculative, and rather improbable, and also because nobody has actually ever tried doing serious, professional scientific research specifically focused toward a certain prevention of death or limitless longevity. Today, especially life extension, anti-aging, and biotechnologies deliver valuable medical advancements. But, no major professional, commercial or scientific projects have the explicit or intentional goal of eliminating biological aging or human death. They are all oriented around cures for serious diseases or the improvement of health more or less within the life cycle natural for humans. This also proves a main point of this article: the social preparedness, immediate demand, and attitude toward open-ended lives are directly related to the possibility and speed with which this open-ended lifespan will be achieved scientifically.
In a fully open-minded and rational society, the best minds would focus on the achievement of de-facto immortality in the most urgent, intense and efficient manner, volitionally supported and subsidized by the whole society. In such a society, everyone would soon realize the high value of human life, which would cause most of the worlds thinkers and geniuses to work on the preservation of human life.
Therefore, every effort should be made in our society not to disturb the freedom and integrity of scientific research.
5. Obsession with immortality?
Can someone who is openly advocating an unlimited human lifespan, be obsessed with the idea of immortality? At least, that is a claim often used by critics against longevity advocates, philosophers, scientists and other people open-minded toward achieving immortality through scientific means.
I’ve decided to consider the outcries of the critics, and I’ve come to the conclusion that people can very well be “obsessed” with physical immortality, however, this is not related to the intensity with which someone may be working toward the goal, or how convinced one is about the possibility.
Obsessive and irrational advocating of immortality is related to the following five points:
* Unrealistic or mystical perspective. The possibility of immortality is seen from emotional viewpoints and opinions. Main arguments are not backed by facts, rationality or evidence. * Narrow, unintegrated perspective. Dedicated only to theoretical or philosophical debates. Being unrealistic about actual imaginable results and conditions for immortality. * Wishful thinking. Accepting the eventual achievement of immortality as certain or natural. Seeing no necessity to take practical actions toward the achievement of conditions necessary for a social and scientific process toward eventually yielding an unlimited lifespan. * Fictional arguments. Overestimating or misunderstanding technologies can lead to wrong predictions about the probability and speed at which they could lead to an unlimited lifespan. * Dependence. One’s own plans for the future totally depend and count on one’s own immortality.
But after answering this question, we should also ask: can someone be obsessed with mortality? Yes, that is the case. In similar ways, one can also be emotionally convinced that mortality is inevitable for humans. The criteria are very similar, but much, much more people are obsessed with mortality (fatalism) than with immortality.
* Emotional bias. Valid arguments for longevity are ignored. * Narrow perspective. Concentration on or being used to the negative facts only. * Wishful thinking. Considering the present state of society as natural, good and necessary, while ignoring possibilities of a much better society for the sake of comfortable “thinking”. * Arbitrary arguments. Using a mixture of emotionalisms, popular opinions, and valid facts out of context to defend the own position. * Dependence. One’s own plans for the future depend and count on others and oneselfs eventual death, so that one is inevitably moving toward death.
6. The accepted cultural perspective toward death
This chapter analyzes the implicit views and convictions about death in our culture. It tries to show why some implicit convictions, or memes, effectively delay or prevent the achievement of scientific milestones of longevity. It presents the most logical and insightful answers to the question why humanity has not yet developed conditions for limitless human longevity, and the underlying problem and its background.
When taking a look at our society, we can observe many emotional phenomena. For example, most of the big changes in life (such as moving to a new city, graduating, changing jobs, not seeing friends for some time, marrying, etc.) are a cause for inner sadness. Even at quite positive such as marriages, people tend to be sad and even to cry. The reason could be that such big changes make people aware of the way and direction of their own life. In our society, this is always reminds us of our mortality. Theoretically, in a society of people who had an open-ended lifespan and knew it, such events would cause great happiness. Actually, most things would be different.
Also take into account that a belief in spiritual immortality based on faith in religions and mysticism is not comparable to the effects of an own open-ended ended lifespan in the here and now. Unarguably, faith does have effects on human emotions and life decisions, but the self-liberating perspective of an open-ended lifespan is very different from faith. For example, when religious people witnessing deaths and burials, even they seem to be sad, in the same way anyone else is. The question is why, if they believe in an eternal afterlife and immortal soul? Subconsciously, every human being somehow realizes the most fundamental facts of reality. People such as believers and mystics can only repress the fact of their own biological nature, defaulting to mortality, to certain extends.
Many people even seem careless about death, and make fun of it. This, too, is a result of the repressing of the facts about death, its finality, and the briefness of the natural human lifespan. The bad thing about the repressing of these facts is, that it can only be done with the help of dishonesty, self-deception and evading reality.
And the really bad thing is that such dishonesties have become an integral part of our culture and civilization. Therefore, most children are gradually introduced to these evasions through repression of emotions natural for conscious beings, life-after-death concepts, and other myths. By purposefully reducing the integrity of one’s picture of reality, one also reduces the efficacy of one’s own mind and actions.
The remedy against this problem is simply self-honesty. By realizing the fact of permanent death within a brief time span, and planning and acting throughout life with this awareness, people become more aware of the value of their own lives and human life in general. They would also direct much more of their time and actions toward progressive and productive actions in life, instead of wasting their precious time.
However, most people today are unaware of the real value of life, which is a major source of unnecessary problems, unnecessary suffering, incompetence and laziness, wasted time, and a slow speed both in individual and in civilizational progress. This mass self-deception yields the attitudes and structures that form today’s death oriented society which moves only very slowly toward improving the conditions of human life, without having the wish or seeing a possibility for limitless longevity.
The choice of accepting limits of one’s own existence as inevitable, or not, is probably the deepest underlying psychological factor for all personal feelings, views, and resulting actions throughout life. The result of a self-deceptive choice is that people do not act to satisfy their survival pressures. Eventually, such self-deception will lead anyone directly or indirectly toward self-destruction and death.
For conscious human beings with the abilities of self-introspection and of thinking into the future, accepting one’s own death as inevitable, is literally unnatural. It conflicts with the biological organisms’ prime directive of survival, because conscious beings know that their lifespans are limited by biological default. All conscious beings that ever lived, when realizing their biologically limited lifespan, originally held the natural conviction of their own death as being preventable, senseless, or unnatural.
Even people who refuse thinking about their mortality, through ignoring biological facts, believing in afterlife and mysticism, believing in fake nonscientific solutions, or “grasping straws” by relying on uncertain scientific trends, seem to be much better off emotionally than those who accept the inevitability of their own mortality. But, both the ignoring of such obvious facts or considering them as inevitable, has literally lethal effects in the long term.
The higher the evolutionary level of development of a living being, the higher is its ability to defend its life and biological survival. The thesis that the highest known form of life, self-aware, conscious human life, can develop the necessary requirements to prevent biological death itself, is nothing more than a logical conclusion. The reason why this has not happened before is due to self-deception that humanity has developed and carried along all the way from exiting a state of non-conscious unawareness of the own self.
Upon considering the above statements, the current public views and convictions seem to contain one crucial error: human death is considered as natural. While in fact, humans are mortal by genetic and biological defaults, they are not necessarily mortal by nature. Together, the following points posit the hypothesis that human beings could be actually immortal by nature.
1. The natural mode of living is dominated by survival: by the prevention of the organisms death. 2. Human nature includes human consciousness and self-introspection. 3. Their nature enables human beings to realize the briefness of their biological default lifespan. 4. It is proven that consciously used human tools of invention, science, technology, business, etc. can override nature’s default course. Major fields like books, transportation, electricity, nuclear power, planes, medicine, computers, biotechnology, etc. serve as definite proofs for this. 5. By being able to realize the briefness of their life, and being able to override natural defaults, humans actually have the natural prerequirements of eliminating their own biological death. 6. Consciousness is a prime requirement for overriding nature’s defaults. Therefore it can lead to unnatural, artificial conditions of thinking. 7. Mystical faith, deception and life-after-death concepts are unnatural uses of a conscious mind. Conscious beings can and do create unnatural mind states which lead to immediate emotional well-being and relaxation. But they are actually evasions of reality. In our society, they result in an unnatural culture of death. 8. With the broad acceptance of facts of reality, by thinking naturally, humanity could and would recognize their prime responsibility of eliminating death. If humanity would realize this in its entirety, the focusing of all global technological, business and other efforts toward this goal, it would be established almost instantly.
Another unrelated problem is the implicit but widespread conviction that every individual has to eventually sacrifice himself for future generations. Death is a passive form of self-sacrifice. Until now, essentially all people who have lived on this planet have been forced to bring this sacrifice. But, in reality, human beings who could and would continue their lives would continue to contribute to society in an active manner. However, this fact has nothing to do with the aim of longevity. Both morally and practically, it is crucial to see every individual as a goal in itself. Individuals continuing to live well beyond their biological lifespan could contribute enormously to society with their growing skills and knowledge. However, the primary purpose and goal of prolonged life is one’s own enjoyment and happiness of life in the future. 
For people living today, it is very hard to imagine the full impact of our lifestyles and convictions on the progress of our civilization. In prehistoric times when the productive lives of individuals averaged less than twenty years, an advanced civilization could not form. During the dark-ages, when productive human life again regressed to about twenty years, civilization stopped evolving and then regressed. In the past century, as the productive episodes of life individuals expanded to ca. forty years (20-60), creative achievements and production soared to heights never imagined before, leading to our modern age of information and technology. Finally, consider a future civilization, which had the freedom necessary to expand human life to 200 years. Humanity would then have the resources and time for rapidly accelerating their growth and personal knowledge, experience, technology and production. Civilization would proceed fast enough to create additional extensions of human life span, each within a few years or months of research. (Although we are not at this point yet, the current trends in professional, scientific anti-aging medicine, while they cannot extend the maximum genetic lifespan, can increase the productive, healthy episodes of life of anti-aging patients to 70-80 years (ca. 90-100 years total minus 20 years youth), which already could benefit society by enabling the great thinkers and doers to realize more of their ideas.)
Actually, no one can really grasp what 200 years of life and beyond would be like, just like it is impossible to imagine our civilization in 10.000 years from now, or grasping the infinite size of our universe without abstraction. But the conclusion of logical thinking is that since we can, we should take control of our biological destiny.
However, for “us”, or humanity, to do this, it will be necessary to achieve changes and paradigm shifts in the thinking of many people, for example through a better education of our children, by telling people to ignore the dishonest media, teaching them to think for themselves, by making innovations that demonstrate the value of science and technology, by achieving freedom and deregulation, and so on. Only a broader public support of freedom and technology, and a higher demand of new medical and technological solutions for the improvement of human life, will eventually enable scientists, doctors and entrepreneurs to generate a big and inexpensive supply of such products, allowing a fast progress of science to extend the length and quality of human life.
7. Requirements for non-aging longevity
This chapter sums up important prerequirements for the fast achievement of non-aging longevity — personal and general conditions — and provides new arguments especially interesting for people already actively involved with longevity movements, and for professionals working on scientific advancements in the area of biotechnology.
Evading the finality of death lets one rationalize laziness, in avoiding the effort required to live fully during the one and only opportunity anyone ever has for life. It also lowers a person’s valuation of life, self-esteem, and independence. Self-honest and self-responsible thinking and acting is a fundamental prerequirement for living a successful life with the chance of accelerating scientific developments and cultural changes.
Attitude plays a major role. A person cannot positively affect people as a pessimist cynic or a total sceptic who rejects new ideas. It is equally problematic to be overly naive and gullible who accept every idea without question, this reduces credibility and increases the risk of mediating the wrong ideas and making the wrong decisions. Instead, a person should employ critical and creative thinking to discover great new ideas, while filtering out indefensible ones, regardless of them being new or old. It is also important to recognize irrational dogmas wherever they exist, and to challenge them. This kind of attitude is also crucial for investors, professionals and researchers in new, modern fields. If one passively ignores protests against what he believes in and what he is doing, and is intimidated by unjustified criticism, it can directly affect the effectiveness and competence for his professional work.
Of course, living a healthy life is also a personal requirement for longevity that everyone must meet on his own. This includes not only diet and regular exercise, but also a self-responsible attitude, i.e. evading unhealthy influences, and regularly seeing a physician for routine tests. Optimum health is important both for an energetic, high-effort life, and yes, for having a chance of living much longer. Until there is a better solution, people will have to take advantage of many small, gradual advances in medicine to do the best they can. Also, doctors have already determined that many of the symptoms of so-called aging are actually results of certain kinds of self-induced behavior and thinking: as people get older, they take gradual deterioration for granted, instead of trying to do something about it. With that attitude, it is no wonder that so many persons do gradually go downhill. And this supports the thesis in the previous chapter, that human aging is not, at least not completely, natural.
It is also important to focus on the things that can and should be changed, to avoid wasting time. Forget about the negative things that cannot be changed directly, like politics. Also, don’t concentrate on already existing developments that cannot be developed further. For example, cryonics is an interesting field, but it is a closed field. The knowledge of cryonics will most probably not lead directly to the discovery of an active technology for definite open-ended longevity that builds on cryonics itself. Of course, cryonics plays a role in getting people interested in the prospect of immortality. However, unless you run a company offering cryonics services, you should focus on pushing other developments. Cryonics is also an example of a technology that is not reliable at all. Especially nobody without scientific knowledge can directly refute the possibility that it works, but nobody at all can confirm that the technology works and can preserve the human mind unless it has been proven by a successful experiment. For example, if freezing damage at microcellular levels simply cannot be repaired, by laws of physics, cryonics cannot work. I also tend to believe that the human mind and consciousness are an energetic condition of the human brain, and when electrical and synaptic activity fully ceases just once, the original condition cannot be re-established. This consideration is not pure scepticism but a logical consideration. And it is something that we cannot ultimately refute, because it requires a much better understanding of the human brain. Don’t take this as an attack specifically against cryonics. The same goes for anti-aging remedies and drugs from antioxidants to hormones. However, such considerations cannot justify the intervention by regulation of the state. Making use of things like cryonics in any way or not is always an individual decision, and must not be prohibited by governments to “protect people from themselves”.
Although the anti-aging movement helps retaining health and well-being, generating awareness and even pushing scientific research, it is very important to realize that no technology and medicine currently available can lead to a drastic extension of the human lifespan beyond the biologically determined age. Blindly relying on existing technologies when it comes to de-facto immortality, is not only wishful thinking, but a big mistake.
If the populace believes in such “quasi-immortality”, it could actually work more against the achievement of an actual, certain solution, than it might benefit it, because it could serve as a decoy, for making people feel comfortable, while deflecting attention away from the real requirements and necessary efforts needed to achieve a real and certain solution.
Reliance on existing technologies, or on “someone else to do it” is especially a bad thing, when it comes to advanced forms of longevity, something that will not be achieved with total certainty, even in our modern civilization. If you are really serious about the achievement of a radically extended lifespan, which could eventually lead to a de-facto immortality of human life, and you realize what this means, you do your best, concentrate on, and take absolutely every chance of facilitating that achievement now by establishing the necessary conditions or working actively as a professional, because you would then benefit beyond comparison, perhaps endlessly in a literal way, from this one-time achievement of open-ended longevity.
Something else to consider: A “relative mortality” of immortals. Human life is characterized by constant learning and adjustment of thinking to handle a gigantic variety of impressions. Immortal, or highly extended life would be a chain of many different episodes of life, going on forever. Conscious beings have the power to chose these episodes, to emphasize on important things and thoughts, and to forget or discard others. Life, and especially immortal life, could never remain the exact same, stagnating kind of life, which many people are, in a sense, living in today’s civilization. In any case, the different episodes of life should be lived intensively, with awareness and passion, because they are always unique and unrepeatable, with or without a limited lifespan.
Immortal or highly extended life, would be ever-changing, and the opposite of statism. Perhaps, people would even go through a lot of different personalities, keeping only they key components of their individual identity. Most negative people who try to imagine an open-ended life wrongly project their own experiences on a longer time scale, ending up with an unrealistic perspective of an endlessly boring, undesirable situation.
In reality, we cannot know or predict the future reliably. Statements such as “if you are alive in 20 years, you will probably live forever”, talk about something unpredictable, that depends on a multitude of factors, and makes people take it for granted. Neither are opposite statements, like “immortality will never happen within our lifetime” beneficial, because they too talk about something unpredictable, de-motivate, and make people lose active interest in the prospect of immortality. Any such statements are based on emotions and not facts, and should be ignored. The fact is that we cannot reliably know the future that we are creating ourselves, but what we can do is to personally give our best.
Finally, there are the scientific conditions, relevant to the speed of scientific progress. The most important point is that biotechnology and medical science needs a goal to work toward. An actual solution for the problem of death and biological aging could be harder than we imagine, but chances are that it could also be much easier. However, we can’t say anything certain about this point unless we start researching and developing every promising technology that could help us, and such technologies need to be developed specifically toward the explicit goal of overcoming our biological limitations.
Often, people talk about scientific research as if it was natural — “let’s hope this happens some time soon”, “we expect that in fifty years the following will be accomplished”, etc. Science, by definition, is not natural; the effort it makes is under our control and requires our control. There are accepted amounts of funding for public and private scientific research, with certain results expected to materialize from such funding, and since this often happens, science has taken on a kind of pattern and place, a sort of nature. But, since science is human-made, we could, at any time, change the course of science, as has been done many times in the past (the stopping of yellow fever, The Manhattan Project, a cure for polio, the space program, improved and modernized sanitation, and so on) just by deciding what we want to do, that we want to do it, and then investing efforts — in the public government-funded field of science, but more important, also in private fields of science, which could be developed and under control of just a few small businesses.
Therefore, as many people as possible must aim for a maximal speed of science, and the development of technologies with the explicit goal of prolonging and preserving human life.
8. Today’s society and its changes
To do effective professional work in fields that are relevant to the achievement of major longevity solutions, to set and understand a realistic goal, and also, when trying to affect and correct public viewpoints, it is important to understand many details about how society “works”, to evaluate the current stage of society, and to understand the ways people usually think.
A major problem of society is and has always been the fact the seeking for and reliance on authority, which is natural to human thinking . The term “authority” in this context, excludes the valid, natural authorities, which are scientific evidences, facts of reality, and the authority of one’s own rational thinking. Rather, the problem is that most people follow arbitrary, or particularly impressive “authorities”, such as people and speakers on TV, opinions in the media, opinions of people they look up to, political and religious leaders, teachers, “the people”, “generally accepted and public facts”, often even one’s own wishful thinking and feelings.
The intention of focusing on the authority problem is not to dictate people how to think, but rather the opposite. Sometimes, accepting opinions and ideas of others can be good; even criticism is not necessary, when it comes to unimportant things or matters of personal taste. But, regarding important long-term decisions, and fundamental convictions, it is crucially important to rely only on provable facts. Especially when an accepted and unquestioned general opinion exists on the topic, regardless of how rational it sounds! In order to make real, certain progress, many people in our society yet have to learn not to automatically trust and believe in the varieties of religious, authoritative, positive-thinking, mystical guru, and all other approaches that tell people exactly what to do, how to succeed, or what to believe.
When looking back at history, negative influences that lead to cultural stagnation, such as rulership, dishonesty, violence, laziness, etc. have been prevalent for a long time. To solve the problems of today it is important to understand them in detail. Probably, most problems of our modern world have derived from historical influences.
It has also been speculated that the fact of realizing one’s own aging and dying creates an inherent anger in most people, which could be one reason why there is so much negativity and destruction. If this is the case, those with destructive or self-destructive intent, when understanding their own situation and being introduced to the prospects of an open-ended lifespan, would ultimately become more constructive because they would start realizing what’s at stake.
A historical hypothesis
Quite possibly, the speed of progress, and achievement of an open-ended lifespan itself, at any period or time, depends on a combination, or critical mass, of conditions or amounts of factors in our civilization like freedom, self-responsibility, science and technology; on rational thinking and rational opinions, political liberty, and a lack of religion and life-after-death beliefs. According to this hypothesis, great civilizational advancements could have been established much earlier, and the following, perhaps preventable, negative historical factors would have played a major role in artificially suppressing due advancements of our civilization, which would have led to an exponential growth of technology and science as seen in the 20th century, and which could have occurred much earlier in history:
* 0 AD Trust in philosophical dogmas; Heroification and glorification of wars; Imperialism; Monarchies enslaving other cultures — Possibly suppressed: discovery of america, global trade * 300/400 AD Middle ages/Dark ages starting; Suppression of human civilization through the catholic church; Authoritarian monarchy and rulership system, intertwined with catholicism — Possibly suppressed: discovery of modern science, book printing, steam engine, transit system, modern medicine * 1750-1850 AD Political and regulatory forces rising to exploit emerging technology, science and industry; As they take partial control of industry, corruption and exploitation starts growing; Otherwise rapidly growing human well-being and civilization suppressed; British commonwealth administration leads to regulation and politization of asian and african countries — Possibly suppressed: discovery of electricity, modern physics and chemistry, moon landing, fossil power, cars * 1850-1930 AD Political systems rush to replace and substitute downfalling monarchies in the western civilization; Increasing trend in the US toward “big government” with ever more government programs; Unstable monarchism in russia being replaced with communism movement, destroying millions of lives in the 20th century; Similar political and comparable religious trends uprising in the rest of asia — Possibly suppressed: semiconductors, computers, internet, molecular biology, controlled nuclear fusion power * 1930-1950 AD Political forces in europe learned enough to manipulate populace to a high extend; Outbreak of fascism and totalitarianism through Hitler in Germany and other parts of europe; Biggest suppression of human civilization since the worst period of the dark ages; Suppression through intensive government leadership spreading to all parts of the world because of resource problems and other effects of WWII; US government enlarged by at least 5000% during and after WWII under F.D. Roosevelt and others — Possibly suppressed: modern biotechnology, longevity movements, solutions for malnutrition, cancer, heart-disease and HIV * 1980 AD Since 1960/1970, historically the best and most advanced period of human civilization; From 1980, slow backwards progress in some aspects through growing reactivism, expanding TV- and news media empire, telling people what to think; Religion spreading slightly faster in western countries than before; New-age mysticism, and so on, is newly created; Authorities and governments become more accepted and grow bigger in many countries, leading to a stronger grip on society — Possibly suppressed: super-rapid communication technologies and -infrastructure, individual jobs and business revolutionized, need for government and administration diminishing, cures against aging and death established, world peace established to 90% * 1990 AD Growing influence of TV and news media lead to decreased thinking and self-responsibility; Government programs and taxation exploding; Growing bureaucracy and surveillance; Phones, internet and computers accelerate development of civilization but are also used by lobbies, religious and authoritarian groups to broaden their influence; First attempts to regulate internet — Possibly suppressed: not realistically imaginable at this time
The death meme : a negative chain reaction. In traditional society, aging and death are accepted as natural. The realizing of one’s own limited life has certain negative psychological influences on people, who, in turn, tend to be less creative and more destructive. The acceptance of inevitable death and self-deception about the finality of one’s own death itself lead to thoughts and actions that prevent the conditions necessary for scientifically overcoming death:
1. The possibility of a cure for aging and death within our lifetime is not publicly accepted. 2. Everyone knows about this conviction, therefore believing even less in the possibility of a big joined effort for a solution against biological aging and death. 3. The opinion of the public, and various authorities in this matter leads to a domino effect of scepticism and lacking motivation. 4. Sometimes, every person who seriously considers the topic of longevity (including the author), comes to the conclusion that it is impossible — but that conclusion is based on feelings rather than facts. 5. This chain can be broken only by consciously discarding such feelings and accepting the possibility of a de-facto immortality. 6. After that, working and collaborating with other proponents of this possibility, leads to increasing acceptance and investment in work toward establishing necessary conditions and technologies, since it moves one away from the susceptibility to traditional and popular “authorities” believing in the opposite. 7. Finally, one should try to get this opinion out by talking to other people, possibly like-minded and open-minded people, because it is important that as many people as possible have the right perspectives on the topic of longevity, death, and limitless life, because every one of them will propagate such views him/herself, and direct his/her own actions toward a fast progress.
Now, if you imagine that this “chain” of death acceptance could be broken in a way like mentioned above, the resulting changes for our civilization would be countless and would go beyond the fast availability of technologies for perfect health and an unlimited lifespan. Our economy, for example, is characterized by supply and demand. Currently, the practical demand for advanced technologies for the limitless preservation of human life in our civilization is near zero, since almost nobody wants to live forever or believes in a realistic chance for living beyond his biological lifespan. If a demand could be generated, by making people aware of the factual perspectives and possibilities, and by dispelling myths and emotionally-based opinions, many scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs would start working together to rapidly produce the necessary technologies.
As a product, non-aging longevity would have the widest market and maximum value of any commercial product or service possible. Also, with a widely supported, growing longevity industry, developing not only anti-aging medicine and nutrition, but scientifically and technologically sophisticated methods for a certain prevention of human aging and death, the public would be increasingly more convinced and interested, leading to exponentially increasing demand, and then supply, which would mean a very fast price drop of products, treatments and technology for preventing human aging and death. Eventually, such solutions would be as affordable as any other product desired by almost everyone, like cars, or even like vitamins or food. 
However, in our current society, the enormous commercial, and moral, incentives to achieve human immortality, remain unrecognized, because of the prevailing, anti-life beliefs and government systems, supported and lead by authorities, who prevent both the freedom and motivation for this achievement to be established. In a way, the current political system of taxation and regulation counts and depends on the eventual death of everyone. Therefore, a free and unregulated economy, science, and society, is necessary for such an enormous effort.
Not all endeavors succeed, obviously, but so many do, especially when imprinted with immediacy and importance. Nutrition- and diet-based life extension research is already succeeding beyond most people’s expectations without major funding. Imagine what could be achieved with the right motivation.
9. Practical approaches
If your intention is to actively work yourself on establishing the necessary conditions, or pushing forward the scientific research necessary for non-aging longevity, you will need to plan your activities and consider various approaches. Realism and self-critical thinking is important. So is the concentration on high-leverage strategies. The most important thing is to think for yourself. No other person, and no literature can be an ultimate authority giving you a totally certain or reliable approach. Thinking for oneself is often a major effort, because most people tend to accept the opinions or approaches of others for guidance. The development and achievement of non-aging longevity and the necessary prerequirements are a totally new situation, however, and require a form of independent, new thinking.
When talking to other people, consider the following:
* Honesty and realism about death causes people to value life to a much higher extend. People who exercise this realism, more often exert the self-responsible long-range effort to gain the maximum out of their brief lives. * Repressing facts about life and death or replacing them with emotionalisms, on the other hand, lets people evade the value of their own lives, and they, in turn become lazy, incompetent, and eventually destructive. * The realistic perspective is that only scientific and commercial achievements will ultimately enable people to gain de-facto immortality. People certainly have a right to socialist/communist and other opinions that say only government can solve societies’ problems. But fact is, that governments would never take on such a project as the achievement of longevity, but work against it through FDA-like practices. Only free, unregulated science can make that achievement, and government force, especially in conjunction with religious and other lobbies, is a major factor working against that achievement. * Being fully conscious  includes being fully conscious of one’s own life, which also leads to a valuation of individual human life as the highest value, and rejecting self-destructive acts of reality-evading mysticism, self-sacrifice and force, while establishing necessary psychological and motivational conditions needed to achieve non-aging longevity. * Politically correct, religious or otherwise narrow-minded people, such as news media people, should be communicated with at their own levels of thinking. Trying to revert one’s world view is a very hard task in most cases. Therefore, try to integrate your ideas with other people’s ways of thinking and opinions (e.g. when talking with a journalist, emphasize on scientific facts, and prevent talking about your opinions, controversial world views or character, and when talking with a religious person as an atheist, argue that God might have wanted us to take control of our biological nature, rather than trying to contradict their religious beliefs).
When planning your own activities and approaches, consider these points:
* Government projects and funding should not be relied on, since the goal is too important, and because of the speed and scientific freedom required for reaching this goal. On the other hand, all government money used for other projects than defense and basic administration, actually belongs to the taxpaying citizens of the country, which governments and most people don’t recognize. * We could very well advance beyond the level of technology that is necessary for achieving certain immortality, without developing immortality itself. Perhaps we have already done so? The real problem is that we live in a scientifically advanced civilization, in which simply no research is made in the direction of immortality, because of public attitude and opinions. * Except for the long-term effort of the Human Genome Project, there is no exceptional funding. In fact, many of the most important discoveries are being made by small, private high-effort biotech companies, who have to struggle against factors such as regulation and doing unwanted and unpopular research, and who themselves reject the possibility of biological immortality. * A key to pushing scientific research and development is to unleash the brain-power, knowledge and untapped resources available at great research companies. Stagnating or misoriented biotech companies are in need of new goals and philosophical perspectives, while we are in need of the resources and directed work of such companies. This is a key factor to consider for serious biotech investors. * The general way of leaping into the future, is to take care of present problems. The answer to the question of how the future will be depends on nothing but our actions, decisions, and intensity of independent, hard thinking. * Sciences of biology, physics, chemistry, and most fields of modern medicine, are complex and must not be simplified if one is realistic about achieving his goals! However, gaining basic knowledge, and understanding advancements in science are not impossibly hard to understand or ungraspable for anyone. With the right effort and methodology, anyone can teach himself professional knowledge in any scientific field, starting with basic information available on the Internet  and graduating with a professional remote learning course, easier than many people would expect. * The primary method of science is the establishing of proofs and new knowledge through repeatable experiments. Such knowledge is created by understanding previously proven scientific knowledge and integrating it with one’s own creative thoughts and knowledge to yield new theories and bases for experiments. In the medical sciences, clinical and other studies can be important for supporting a new discovery. But the primary route to discovering and understanding new technologies and advancements, is one’s own creative and independent thinking integrated with a professional base of scientific knowledge. * For both research and planning one’s actions, it can be helpful and supportive to learn how to think, studying thinking methods such as practical thinking, heuristics, shortcuts, mathematics, system thinking, NLP, linguistics, cybernetics, conditioning, behavioral techniques, even neurology and neuropharmacology. * It is important to build a complete, integrated vew of the world, which includes enhancing your business and money skills. * Search for the most useful information and opportunities. The internet is an ideal place to start out and find the right knowledge, and partners for business or research. * Minimize your involvement in excessively time-wasting activities, such as university studies. Prefer distant learning courses. * Minimize your involvement and personal investment in any social area that does not benefit you as an individual., such as big, slow, or government-supported corporations, government work, most academical work and involvement, religion or mysticism, and politics. * You might want to try and coordinate your actions and plans with other like-minded individuals on news or mailing lists, for instance, like-minded biotech professionals and students, transhumanist and atheist groups. However, don’t get into wasting your time with fruitless discussions or people who are not serious about their goals. People with active ideas and plans are welcome on the mailing list of the “secretcodes” site.
The goal of longevity and life extension is ultimately a goal of establishing real immortality. Popular, wrongfully unquestioned opinions make the public discard the possibility of immortality. This, in turn prevents the achievement of developing immortality technology. Claims that say immortality should be or is impossible, including scientific ones, can ultimately be contradicted; in reality, even the total opposite of these claims is often true. Although people can be obsessed with immortality, most immortalists are not; they are clear thinking, responsible persons. However, people can be obsessed with mortality and a majority of today’s society is. The real problem is that mortality and the acceptance of death is deeply rooted in our social and psychological beliefs. Human death is unnatural . 80 years of human life are not the natural lifespan, but the genetic lifespan. Scientific victory over death is a natural conclusion in our evolution. The death conviction is a chain of highly negative self-spreading ideas, which must and can be broken. There are certain key conditions and requirements that must be met, many individual ones and some general ones, before non-aging longevity can ultimately be researched and established. Problems of today’s society are a result of historical periods of destruction and the wrongful obedience to authority. Literally everyone can work to speed up the achievement of non-aging longevity. Practical approaches for success include attitudes and perspectives that should be mediated to others, and certain strategies for maximum efficiency.
 Subjective but widespread opinions and objections against longevity and immortality, are a major factor against the establishment of longevity solutions and technologies, if not the major factor. If there is no public demand for longevity, there can hardly be a broad supply of longevity technologies. Also, the furious opposition by lobbies, political and religious groups against longevity makes it much harder for researchers in the longevity field, since even to mention the intention or goal of combating aging and death itself leads to a loss of credibility. Also see Chapter 8.
 Memes are ideas and subconscious thoughts and convictions, which are propagated throughout our society. The meme theory by Prof. Dawkins is meant to complete the theory of genetic evolution by Darwin. See http://www.memecentral.com/vmintro.htm. Also interesting is the meme-based “Immortality virus”.
 Much of these insights were taken from the following texts, and reformulated. Parts of this text are copyright by the original authors of the following texts, which have provided many crucial concepts for this article.
http://longevityforus.org http://www.neo-tech.com/advantages/advantage114.html http://www.neo-tech.com/discovery/nt5.html http://www.neo-tech.com/discovery/appendixf.html http://www.americanatheist.org/win98-99/T2/zindler.html
 Consciousness, as in self-introspective and volitional thinking, is a relatively new mechanism of the human mind. According to the theory of Julian Jaynes, consciousness was self-invented by humans during periods of stress caused by civilizational breakdowns 3000 years ago. Before that, so Jaynes, the human mind worked fully by reacting to the perceived environment, and own thoughts, which exist primarily in the right chamber of the brain, were perceived by prehistoric men as the “voice of god”, automatically directing every action. This discovery is relevant because according to Jaynes’ theory, much of this automatic, authority-seeking thinking still exists in todays society and controls most people, who use their conscious self-decisive thinking only to a very small percentage on few occasions. Ref.: Prof. J. Jaynes: The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind