When fatalism enters the equation, we are slow to act, says Aubrey de Grey.
Question: Why is it taking us so long to respond to climate change?
Aubrey de Grey: I have, perhaps, a somewhat more charitable view of that failure than many people do. So let’s take climate change. It’s obviously . . . the obvious example. We’re not very good at going out together to do something about climate change. Why not? Well, a couple of reasons. I think one of the reasons is we trust technology to save us at the last moment. And, you know, that’s a dangerous trust; but it’s not surprising because technology quite often does actually provide solutions to problems. So, you know, I wish we didn’t rely on technology; but it’s understandable. The second one, perhaps … a lot more profound, is fatalism. I think that a large part of why people are not going about trying to do something about climate change is because they don’t think they can. And I don’t just mean individuals here. I mean whole societies. Why don’t they think they can? Well actually, I have a feeling that aging is part of that problem. It may be the … of that problem. Aging, after all, is a constant, daily reminder of our inability to manipulate our world as we might like. There are so many things that we can do with our world; but ultimately, when it comes to the really critical things – saving our own lives – we can’t do it. We’re helpless. And this grinds us down.
Recorded on: 6/22/07