On Overstaying Your Welcome

According to Cambridge University biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey, the first person to live to 1,000 years of age has already been born. True or not, this idea is frightening to me mainly because the average person today starts to get pretty frail right around sixty, so unless we manage to improve the quality of life for the elderly along with their lifespan, we youngsters are doomed to some 900 years of infeebled misery. While I’m sure that at some point the necessity for some kind of physical rejuvenation process would breed the requisite ingenuity to devise one, I’m still not convinced that several decades, if not centuries, of torture would be worth it.

7 thoughts on “On Overstaying Your Welcome”

  1. The idea is, I think, that you don’t repeat Eros’ mistake regarding Tithonus (immortality without youth – d’oh) but the anti-aging therapy restores a measure of vigor and vim.

    I’ve always wanted a time machine. Not to go backward (but that would be cool) but to go forward and see how it all turns out. If de Grey and his madmen are right, I’ll get that, one year at a time.

    Count me in.

  2. Jeez…I’m only 57 and I’ve already run out of things to do…what the hell would I do with another 943 years of life…..


  3. If we were to be frail at 60, there’s no way that we’d live another 940 years.

    While we might not stop aging at 21, it seems likely that a 500 year old, under this potential life-extending paradigm, wouldn’t feel any worse than a 60 year old does now.

    As Mr. Richardson alludes, the primary cause of death might well turn out to be suicide due to boredom.

    However, I number among those who could find interesting ways to fill 1,000 years, so I say bring it on !

  4. I know what I’d do with an extra 900+ years of life.

    Hang out with my wife. Enjoy a glass of beer on a hot summer day. Take long walks in the twilight. Become really really good at my chosen profession. Start a long-range project for breeding intelligent housecats (the trick is to breed for vigor and large brain cases).

    Live is what I do. I’m 38, so I’ve a few years to reach Mr. Richardson’s 57 but I can’t imagine being in a state where I’m ready to just lay it down.

  5. Or, as has been suggested many times in science fiction, not so much suicide as an escalating series of dangerous hobbies in search of new experience, and ultimately running out of luck. High orbit paragliding, do-not-resuscitate contract arena fights, white magma rafting, private deep space colonisation projects, that sort of thing. People thrive on a certain level of risk to reward. Make life safer, and we’ll just do ever-crazier stuff.

    Sounds like Mr. Richardson might have died already. Bad day?

  6. Mr. Pierce obviously did not read / understand Aubrey’s argument. You only live to 1000 through rejevenation therapies, so you’re biologically 35~40 for as long as you want to be.

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