Why People Don't Want to Live Forever, Even if They Could

Despite the promise of budding medical technologies, which could extend the human life span significantly, people are generally wary of living much longer and firmly reject immortality. 

What's the Latest Development?

Despite budding medical technology that promises to overcome age-related conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and thereby greatly expand the human lifespan, most people are extremely wary of living a lot longer and nearly everyone rejects the idea of immortality. But why? That is the question science writer David Ewing Duncan has put to nearly 30,000 people from all walks of life since beginning his research into radical life extension technology. Most people, says Duncan, do not want to be "old and infirm" any longer than they have to be, even if an immortality pill were created.

What's the Big Idea?

Since 1900, the average American life span has grown to 80 from 47 years. Several procedures may soon inflate the number even more: A compound called SRT-2104, which treats inflammation and other diseases associated with aging, has successfully slowed aging in mice and other animals; researchers believe stem cells may be used to repair essential tissues such as heart cells that have been damaged by age; further development of bionic implants, which researchers currently use to control tremors in the brains of Parkinson's patients, may also augment or replace many of our biological functions.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

Related Articles
Keep reading Show less

Five foods that increase your psychological well-being

These five main food groups are important for your brain's health and likely to boost the production of feel-good chemicals.

Mind & Brain

We all know eating “healthy” food is good for our physical health and can decrease our risk of developing diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease. What is not as well known is that eating healthy food is also good for our mental health and can decrease our risk of depression and anxiety.

Keep reading Show less

For the 99%, the lines are getting blurry

Infographics show the classes and anxieties in the supposedly classless U.S. economy.

What is the middle class now, anyway? (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs

For those of us who follow politics, we’re used to commentators referring to the President’s low approval rating as a surprise given the U.S.'s “booming” economy. This seeming disconnect, however, should really prompt us to reconsider the measurements by which we assess the health of an economy. With a robust U.S. stock market and GDP and low unemployment figures, it’s easy to see why some think all is well. But looking at real U.S. wages, which have remained stagnant—and have, thus, in effect gone down given rising costs from inflation—a very different picture emerges. For the 1%, the economy is booming. For the rest of us, it’s hard to even know where we stand. A recent study by Porch (a home-improvement company) of blue-collar vs. white-collar workers shows how traditional categories are becoming less distinct—the study references "new-collar" workers, who require technical certifications but not college degrees. And a set of recent infographics from CreditLoan capturing the thoughts of America’s middle class as defined by the Pew Research Center shows how confused we are.

Keep reading Show less