X-Message-Number: 19115
From: "Mark Plus" <>
Subject: How long would people choose to live without aging?
Date: Sat, 18 May 2002 14:24:07 -0700

The cryonics argument assumes that we will reach a society with the 
effective ability to "engineer negligible senescence," as Aubrey de Grey 
phrases it, as well as to resuscitate and rejuvenate cryotransport patients. 
  (This also assumes that the future society doesn't relinquish or repugn 
such technologies, of course.)

The people who grow up in such a society would accept the prospect of 
nonaging as normal.  But how long would they choose to live any way?  How 
would we feel if we survive to such a time, only to find that most of the 
people native to that society see no point in living beyond 100 years or so, 
even with perfect youth and health, and would choose to die by that age?

In other words, we seem to be assuming that people who grow up without the 
prospect of aging would share our interest in living as long as possible.  
It's conceivable that even with negligible senescence, most humans would run 
out of psychological programming well before their bodies wore out, even if 
their brains remained sufficiently plastic to learn and appreciate new 

After all, humans evolved behaviorally to live in hunter-gatherer societies, 
with the relatively unchallenging set of problems that sort of lifestyle 
implies.  Once you've secured your food, clothing, shelter and physical 
security for the day, there are only so many ways you can interact with 
people socially, so a few decades of that tedium could predispose you to 
accept death.  Most humans are really maladapted to the artificial, 
overstimulating environment created by the rapid increase in wealth and 
scientific-technological progress, unless perhaps you enjoy some 
noncrippling degree of autism like Asperger's Syndrome:


Because our immensely richer environment is practically inexhaustible 
compared with mere social interactions, people who can handle the greater 
complexity are more likely to want to stick around to see what happens next. 
  However, unless something like Asperger's behavior becomes the norm in our 
society, the majority will probably still be stuck in the exhaustible 
hunter-gatherer behavioral pattern, and thus vulnerable to self-termination 
even with negligible senescence.

I'm not saying that behavioral exhaustion might happen to successful 
cryonauts, considering that a lot of us seem, well, Asperger's-ish.  But if 
we do survive, we might not find our resuscitators' society sharing our 
values in the way we expected.

Mark Plus

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