Immortality Trap: curated list of confusing content

In an earlier post here I made it clear what I think is one of the biggest problem of the current, emerging discussion around open lifespan or healthy lifespan extension. It is labelling/branding open lifespan, healthy lifespan extension as ‘immortality’, or using the term ‘infinite life’, ‘forever’ or ‘eternal’. Just because we do not know the bounds of a project it does not mean it is boundless.

Please for a longer explanation go here: Yuval Noah Harari caught in the Immortality Trap: how to frame Open Lifespan poorly

Here I’m maintaining a list of such a misuse of these terms and eventual misleading of thought to have some reference material available. Besides having a handy reference available, my real intention is to make the people behind these pieces reconsider their thinking (or their headlines) about the opportunity of living much longer and healthier lives. I want everybody to stick around as long as they wish and I want everybody to be able to do so without anybody else blocking these attempts. 🙂 Life is not be messed with.

List has 3 sections: Influencers, Media and Indies.


Paul Krugman: Billionaires shouldn’t live forever

Yuval Noah Harari: Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

John Harris: Enhancing Evolution: The Ethical Case for Making Better People

Matt Haig: How to conquer our obsession with eternal life

Scientific Literature:

Motivation for Longevity Across the Life Span: An Emerging Issue by Frieder R Lang, PhD Fiona S Rupprecht, MSc, 2019, May. Using the term ‘infinite’ or ‘infinite life’ 6 times in the text. Only using ‘indefinitely’ one time.

How to live forever: lessons of history by Steven Shapinprofessor and Christopher Martynclinical scientist, . 2000 Dec 23; 321(7276): 1580–1582 authors list amongst summary points the following informative advice: ‘Do not try to live forever; you will not succeed’


2020: A New Age: Pittsburgh-Based Author Chronicles Science’s Search For Human Immortality

2019: This Famous Aging Researcher Doesn’t Want Us to Live Forever

2019: PepsiCo’s top scientist is joining the fight to help you live forever

Published in: Fast Company

2018/08/31: New Scientist Live: can you live forever and would you want to?

Published in: New Scientist

Comment: don’t need extra citation as confusion is stated in the title.

BBC: Forever Young, documentary

2018/08/18:  Life Is Short. That’s the Point.

Published in: New York Times

Explicit citation showing the confusion:

‘The irony, however, is that the same Silicon Valley culture that produces these gadgets seems to be obsessed with living forever.’

Beneath the surface of this quest for eternal life seems to be an unwillingness on the part of its proponents to imagine the world without themselves in it.

2019/04/02: How Silicon Valley Plans to Live Forever


2018/10/22:  Who Wants to Live Forever?

Comic by Andy Warner.