Life-Extension Science & Technology


Philosophy vis a vis the Science. I became involved in Life-Extension Science in 1972 and published the first position papers soon thereafter. [1] Our current approach is essentially the same today as it was envisioned then, with the exception of the research strategy for the Control of Ageing, which now focuses on advancing regeneration biology rather than assuming that the answers are in gerontology. Having been in this field for some time, I can claim to speak with some authority not only about Life-Extension Science but also about the broader aspects and implications in psychology, sociology, ecology, and general philosophy. I have come to the conclusion that the major barrier to advancing Life-Extension Science is philosophical, much more than it is the science and the technology. In other words, the main problem is with our values, aspirations, psychological denial, and the level of consciousness and "spirit". Therefore, let us first cover some philosophical framing.

[1] Everone CA, 1977; A Systematic Approach To Life-Extension And Control Of Ageing; Journal of Applied Nutrition, 29(3&4) p.32-47, 1977. Everone CA, 1978; A Uniform System For The Delivery Of Life-Extension Applications And The Advancement Of Ageing Research; Presented at XIth International Congress of Gerontology, Tokyo, Japan, August 1978.

For the moment, try to disassociate yourself from the crowd and your usual identity - suspend your attachment to your nationality, your gender, religion, social values and position, and current historical setting. Ask yourself: "what is this thing called life and living - this arduous and apparently meaningless and ever-changing scene of fluctuations and illusions - the Maya?" And keep in mind that how you understand and define the purpose of Life will determine, in large measure, the processes which you take in living your particular life - the maxim, "purpose dictates process", applies. First, consider these indisputable, generic facts.

Our Period in Evolution. Obviously, you are, most fundamentally, your body; and your body was created by the bodies of your parents, whose bodies were created by their parents, and so on - in a ancient chain of biological entities going back to the murky, evolutionary past. Anthropologists calculate that we (Cro-Magnons or Homo Sapiens) were derived from a small cluster of about 12 inbred hominid mutants in East Africa (a cluster of 12 would be the minimum number who could sustain a mutation sufficiently to amplify their population and create a new specie). These Stone Age creatures (living by "nature, red in tooth and claw", as Hobbes characterized the primitive human condition) migrated throughout that African continent and over the Sinai land-bridge, to inhabit all of the other continents (over a period of some 200,000 years), during most of which, they were barefoot and either naked or clothed in animal skins with their babies strapped to their backs. Burial mounds show that, until more recent history, none of those earlier people lived longer than about 35 years with half of their population dying in childbirth and early infancy. As they radiated out of Africa, they diverged into different geographies, developing different languages and customs and becoming our present multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multi-national groupings. For most of that history, we were dirt poor, surviving by scavenging, gathering, and hunting; and virtually everyone of us has mostly grunt peasants and slaves in our lineal heritage. Fire was captured, metallurgy invented, plants and animals domesticated, and farmers replaced the hunters and gathers. Then about 200 years ago, industrialism, the use of carbon-based fuels and other energy systems, and advanced technologies ensued, leading to our current situation. If 20 years is the period for a generation, then we are, now, some 10,000 generations from our earliest animal ancestors. The main struggle during that arduous process has been for survival and a struggle over resources, against both other human beings (our "relatives") and with Nature to control and amplify those resources. It is amazing to reflect on the fact that of all the species on Earth, we are the only one who knows that we are going to die, who has a sense of history and the future, who knows how we are made and can have magnificent conceptions like the "big-bang" as the origin of the Universe and that we come from star-dusk, and who is capable of intelligent self-design. The single most fundamental pursuit over the eons of our history has been Survival - survival of self and, by extension, survival of progeny. Survival is the single most fundamental purpose of life; it is the condition upon which all other conditions depend. The basic instinct is to survive in the present, near and more distant future, and, ultimately, indefinitely over time; and this is the central principle which forms the philosophy or Ideology of the Goal of Infinite Survival and which is promulgated in tandem with our effort in life-extension. Through most of our evolution, the sole enemy has been external circumstances. Now, in our epoch, the next struggle (the real struggle) is with the limits and detrimental aspects of our own nature. It is said that if we really wish to improve the human condition, then we must improve human nature, itself - videlicit, human, physical nature. And Life-Extension Science is the cutting edge of that transformation.

Salvation Doctrine. Virtually everyone adheres to some kind of a Salvation Doctrine. The religious, belief systems dominate; and even for those people who reject religion, they almost always hold some kind of a spiritualistic belief. Because life (as it is presently constructed) inevitably entails suffering and death, these beliefs all posit some kind of a dualistic paradigm of existence - a material realm which is NOT permanent and a non-material realm which IS permanent with a person's existence migrating from the former to the latter or oscillating between the two. Life-Extension and Control of Ageing will not yield immortality. However, it does offer the prospect of a greatly extended span of life, in optimal condition with an open potential and a transition out of our limited constraints of time and circumstances with their inevitable suffering. Death would result by accident or be voluntary rather than imposed by our Nature. Such an increase in freedom will also entail greatly expanded responsibilities. It has been said that "the sins of the Fathers will be inherited by the generations which follow"; but that was when the life-span was very short. With life-extension, we will inherit and have to correct our own sins - only simple justice!

The Four Enemies. An anthropologist and author by the name of Castenada (1968) presented the notion of there being Four Enemies to the individual who would be 'at cause' in the world rather than remaining a victim of circumstances and other people.

As Shapespeare put it:

"To be, or not to be, that is the question. Whether it is Nobler ... to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them:" (Hamlet by William Shakespeare,1623.)

And later, Thomas Jefferson paraphrased Shakespeare, noting:

"... all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." (Declaration of Independence, 1776; written by Thomas Jefferson and adopted by unanimous consent of the thirteen United States of America.)

The first Enemy, as Castenada saw it, was "Fear". Fear afflicts and tends to paralyze everyone and keeps most people in their place, which results in a person remaining a victim of circumstances and social oppression. However, if a person learns how to over-come one's Fear by persistence, trial-and-error, and challenging the restraints imposed by circumstances, then a person obtains "Knowledge" - i.e., knowledge about how the world works. But then, Knowledge, itself, becomes the next Enemy because either one gets depressed and despondent by realizing the truth about reality or becomes arrogant in their knowledge, both of which lead to a down-fall. If a person can conquer the Enemy of Knowledge, then one gains "Power" or how to make the world work according to one's will and desire. But then, again, Power becomes the Enemy, because it easily leads to greed and tyranny and, consequently, defeat. Power needs to be controlled and is more of a trust than it is just getting what one wants. Finally, the last Enemy is the inevitability of "Ageing" because when the body becomes frail, the person regresses backward, loosing one's Power and Knowledge, and eventually relapsing down to Fear, desperately trying to protect oneself by holding on to what one has. So, you see, under present constraints, the Four Enemies rule the human condition - both individual and social. But, if the Enemy of Ageing were to be conquered (as it seems inevitable in the foreseeable future), then one would have the time and strength to conquer the other 3 Enemies and become at cause in the world rather than remain at effect, so that you do not get stuck in your current circumstances.

Save yourself. You are routinely being asked to save someone else or something else - e.g., whales and endangered species, starving children with malaria, historic buildings, donate to a political candidate to "save" the county, etc. Here, you are being asked to save yourself and kindred. Indeed, unless you are also working on saving yourself, it does not make much sense to devote your resources to saving others. Unless ageing is cured, we are all committed by our nature to a relatively short life-span and the tragic prospect of progressive senescence - something which is already becoming a major burden on the social fabric. These are blunt and impolite statements; but they are accurate and true; and like any problem, if we are to solve it, then we must confront it directly and not take transient comfort in denial and politically correct euphemisms. See it as it is, say it as we see it, and move forward to solve it!



If you, we will forward a link to personal Life-Expectancy Calculation - it takes about 5-10 minutes and will give you a sense of yourself over time within the unfolding progress in Life-Extension Science. And the following Introduction provides the general principles and definition of key terms with respect mostly to the science of Life-Extension.