Unbridled ambitions, unfettered thinking and a belief in the boundless potential of technology produce a steady crop of outlandish expectations. Yet even by Silicon Valley standards the prediction that there are people alive today who will live for 1,000 years is extreme.
Most approaches aimed at combating ageing focus on arresting the harmful byproducts of metabolism. These cause cellular damage and decay, which, in turn, accumulate to trigger the age-related disorders, such as cancer or dementia, that tend to finish us off.
Instead of stopping the damage, the engineering approach is designed to keep the process of degradation below the threshold at which it turns into life-threatening disease.
Accepting the inevitability of death was the rational choice and a necessary requirement. Technology has advanced enough to put us “within striking distance” of extending human life by a multiple of existing lifespans, this acceptance has become a huge obstacle to achieving that goal. The traditional emotional need to accept our own mortality has generated a pro-ageing trance.