Life extension is dead, long live the Open Lifespan!

‘Life extension’, the concept and term, just does not cut it anymore.  For one, for many (count mainstream media here) it sounds like luxury, but more like the luxury of an extended life sentence in a jail on a private island, built for the mega-rich. A guarded, gated, closed community. Artificial and extra. Not something that is enriching your current life. Not something that gives you principles and grounds meaning and carry values in your life. Not something that invites constructive discussion about ethics and morals.

‘Longevity’ is a good concept but add the term ‘extreme’ or ‘radical’ to ‘longevity’ and suddenly people not exposed to the concept before in details (most people) turn a bit suspicious and the conversation is going to be rigged.

Meet ‘Open Lifespan’. Open lifespan is open-ended, indefinite lifespan. I will also call it, simply ‘Open Life’. It is the opposite of our current, closed lifespan. But it is also very far from being an infinite lifespan and conceptually it has not much to do with immortality.

Open lifespan is based on open healthspan a technological possibility to counteract ongoing biological aging processes in the human body, to keep age-associated functional decline and increasing mortality continuously at bay.

Open healthspan is an ever-growing repertoire of different technologies. It starts with the usual lifestyle choices, exercise, diet, whatnot and it continues with supplements or even drugs, like metformin, and is going to be followed by the real stuff that is just about to come. Call it systemic regenerative medicine or call it rejuvenation biotechnology, I don’t care about those terms here. In my main professional career I stayed mostly on the side of science as a wet lab biologist and as a bioinformatician, first as an academic scientist then as an entrepreneur. I have a startup focusing on delivering deep proteomic aging profiles to end users.  I’m working on open healthspan already. But there’s more to it.

What I care about here is the world open healthspan will realise and how we need to frame that world that is coming so we can make it our home. We will set up camp in this possible world and we will call it our home.

Since I was 14, I have spent a lot of time in this world of open lifespan, existing in my mind only. In this blog I will show you that this world is functional and this world is desirable. Maybe this world is the best of all possible, imperfect worlds that includes humanity. We will find out. You see, ‘best of all possible worlds’ is a heavy philosophical concept and the reason am using it here is to signal that throughout this blog my default – not exclusive – toolkit will be philosophy.

My philosophy thesis was about the philosophical consequences of open lifespan. The thesis tried to investigate – at a shallow level – how the Rawlsian concepts of moral person and rational life plan would change assuming open lifespans. I am now back in philosophy as there is a task suited to my skills and motivation.

Expect thought experiments and conceptual analysis using the methods of analytical philosophy. Expect necessary and sufficient conditions and some modal logic. And also expect a little math, psychology and some other sciences. In short, expect the definite philosophy of indefinite lifespan. 🙂

One thing I noticed is how current life extensionist thinking and advocacy fails to capture this coming world of Open Lifespan at a conceptually satisfying level. Showing the vision of open lifespan through philosophical enquiry is going to be my niche here. And it is also going to be a book, edited here in the wide open.

Welcome here and let’s get started.