People Who Justify Aging are Profoundly Wrong – Aging is Abhorrent


I have read this recent opinion in the New York Times “Age and Its Discontents” by author Louis Begley and it resonated so much with my personal feelings about the topic. The author vividly describes the last years of his mother’s life, who had been a widow for the previous 40 years before her death. Begley lets us feel the pain in her joints and in her heart. He obviously sees aging as nothing but misery and loneliness. But I think he misses the point – he believes his mother’s solitude is the reason of her woes, but it actually is aging, her declined health, pain and suffering – these are the real reasons of her tragedy. If she had been young she would have had no diseases, but only good looks and the opportunity to start over, but alas! she rot alive. Louis Begley caught the very overwhelming in its inevitability, horrifying feeling that it’s all over, no need to buy new costumes. They will not be worn for a long time and they’re not worth spending time and money.

Mr. Begley was widely criticized – and by whom? Who do you think justified aging?  Executive director and chief scientific officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation wrote:

Mr. Begley’s bitter portrayal of aging is neither universal nor inevitable.

This is unbelievable. So wrong. In reality it’s exactly the opposite – aging is universally debilitating and inevitable. While this type of words are coming out of the mouths of people who are the advocates for aging research, nothing good will happen. There will be no money for research to live longer in a younger body. And the reason is the faulty idea that aging can be healthy, productive, or enjoyable. It can’t by definition. Aging is the worst thing and it’s happening to everyone of us every second of our lives, sucking up our strength, youth and beauty. I want to fight this widely spread idea of how old age is full of pleasure, when your grandchildren sit on your lap. Sure, that’s nice, but it’s not even remotely enough. For example, it would be much better to have the possibility to go to a night club after your grandchildren’s visit and be able dance all night long. But this can never happen while we have leaders of Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundations saying that aging is ok. Opinion leaders have to understand how harmful justifying aging is – this position is killing us.

And I want to live. I want all the people on Earth to live. In order to achieve this everybody who is involved in the field of aging has to be more courageous. They have to speak up for themselves and for their work. They have to say that they want to fight aging, that they want life extension. Cancer researchers say that cancer is their greatest enemy, that cancer has to be illuminated and viola – the amount of money that went to cancer research from the National Cancer Institute in 2010 was almost 5.1 billion dollars – that’s like 5 times more than on aging. And cancer is just an individual case of an aging-related pathology. We have to learn from oncologists, cancer researchers and advocates. We are fighting aging and we have to speak about it freely and explicitly. Make no mistake – our goal is to defeat aging completely.

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “People Who Justify Aging are Profoundly Wrong – Aging is Abhorrent

  1. He says “An adaptive rather than a maladaptive response to old age and even frailty is possible”. Of course it is possible, but the suffering caused by aging obliterates any romantic view about how someone can hypothetically become *romantically satisfied* with aging. It is so obvious that I don’t see how can someone, specially a researcher, talk about defending it. It is not worth defending any aspect of aging because it is a kick in the face of the majority who really suffer from aging. Leave it to psychologists and people who have to endure it personally find a way to cope with aging. Researchers should be publicly eager and proactive to fight and end aging now.

  2. Giovanni

    Fantastic article. I completely agree. Why people justify aging? What is wrong with them? Do you have any thought on that? I noticed this tendency even among people that call themselves humanist and secular thinkers, that is so odd.

    • mitchellporter

      Because aging is a ubiquitous part of life, and so calling it evil and unbearable implies that life is evil and unbearable.

      • I tend to think it’s a kind of a mechanism to fight the dreadful thought of aging and death being inevitable. It’s like building a barrier that prevents the majority from actually thinking, processing and reasoning any information about aging and death. Do you notice that people avoid these topics, they never talk about their dying relatives, etc. That’s probably because they don’t want to become crazy thinking about death all the time. Also, there’s a great deal of social stereotypes, behavior patterns. Which ones do you think are the most harmful?

        • When the World Health Organization went around the world vaccinating against smallpox, there was great resistance because many people felt the disease was a natural part of life. Thank God they persevered and smallpox was exterminated in humans (it is a nasty disease, but not worse than senescence).

    • Thanks a lot, Giovanni! I think I will write a separate article on the topic and we could all discuss the reasons why people justify such a horrible thing as aging.

  3. With you 100%. One often reads about surveys showing that the elderly are “happier”, and perhaps that is the case; but I’ll bet almost every aged person would trade that “happiness” in a second to have their youth back. And moreover, if younger people are, in fact, less happy, then surely that is also a perverse failure of society that should be addressed in its own right.

  4. I’d like to share a pertinent story. My parents are in their 90’s, and are wealthy. I recommended this terepy to increase the telomere length: http://www.tasciences.com/ Unfortunately, I got back the answer I expected, that they were looking forward to dying because they were sick and tired. Generally, of the dozens of people I’ve approached about longevity technologies, NONE have been interested. My analysis is that us transhumanists will be outliving virtually everyone we know, because they are stuck in an obsolete paradigm. Too bad this failure to adapt adversely affects the rate of longevity technology. Let me add that being a (self-professed) expert at the philosophy/psychology of paradigm change, I predict the paradigm of aging as a disease will take a long time to cure (pun intended). Most people are living life “wrong” and it hurts (sort of like using a tool incorrectly) – why would they want to prolong their painful existence?

    • Thanks for sharing, Brad.

      The rejection of the possibility of life extension in the elderly is arises mainly in their pain from diseases that they have already gained by the time of asking. If the health of your parents were perfect, do you think they would still be opposed to the idea?

      I don’t think transhumanists will be the only ones to stay alive for a long time – when people see the first examples of life extension and when they realize that it’s not extension of the frailty they would queue to get the “remedy”.

      • It is the chicken and the egg dilemma, where we need many more people to want life extension so they’ll use their resources to promote it, but first we have to present the “real” (i.e. manifest, or actual) thing before they will learn to support it. Ugg, same situation with LENR. It is maddening, and raises an interesting adverse consequence of life extension: all the old fossils will be sticking around much longer imposing their ossified views on the rest of the population.

  5. Great passionate peice. Aging is the enemy. Therefore, let us muster all available forces and launch an all-out assault on this scourge! We fight to win! And then, to celebrate victory, I am happy to dance with you all night long 😀

  6. Braekmans Herman

    If you show someone pictures of an old person followed by pictures showing that very same person in his adolescence and the observer keeps on refraining to admit there’s anything wrong with that, she or he either needs an oculist or a psychiatrist

    • Or they need to turn on logical thinking. When it comes to the topic of aging people tend not to think, but use the stereotypes that they mysteriously gained over time.

    • Yeah, the old morph trick like Michael Jackson used in his music video for race – I’ve often thought that that might be an effective way to break false paradigms and make progress (obviously a strong racial consciousness is bad for society, especially one as non-homogenious as ours).

  7. The key to Immortality is Virus & Bacterial Engineering, Because our Genes and Evolutions are depends on them. I am 74 year old but my my physical Body are young like 22 year old man. https://www.facebook.com/scientifichumanist

  8. I’m sorry Ronnie Bulawin , but I’ve got to ask this question: are you legitimate or mentally ill? I am not asking to insult you, but your claim is unbelievable (i.e. on a scale of 1 to 10 it is a ten).

    For instance, I knew a guy with AIDS that thought through exercise and vitamins he would avoid the pre-AZT rapid decline charactoristic of full blown AIDS. He was wrong (he just thought he was correct because he was in denial). Now, if you are 74, then you can expect senescience (even me, who is on the CRdiet) to show soon unless there is something more at work here.

    My name is Brad Arnold and my email is dobermanmacleod@gmail.com, and I can be a benefit to you if you are legitimate (your facebook page isn’t useful for my purposes, sorry – although it did force me to re-activate my account thank you). P.S. I love the Philippines. Furthermore, I have friends in the Philippines that can check your story if it comes to that.

  9. Pingback: » Blog Archive TransAlchemy Today January 10, 2013 » TransAlchemy

  10. Pingback: TransAlchemy Today November 13, 2013 | TransAlchemy

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