Thomas Nagel and the familiar inner experience of Open Lifespan

The important principle of life’s default positivity was introduced via Thomas Nagel’s Death essay in an earlier post. This essay is a masterful essay of analytical philosophy: dense, full with deep thoughts, yet it is clearly written and most arguments and positions can be recovered with relative ease. On the other hand, it keeps you engaged as it opens up new questions and make you think further. Today my job is to type here almost the complete last section of the essay as it provides a great description of why the assumption of open-ended, indefinite lifespan is a familiar, default and ‘natural’ inner experience of people. As such it can be used as an argument for wanting to actually live an Open Life and push for developing the technology (what I call Open Healthspan) eventually yielding an external experience matching this inner experience. Continue reading “Thomas Nagel and the familiar inner experience of Open Lifespan”

Is life in a box is better than no life at all? Help and hope, so.

Last time I’ve introduced the principle of life’s default positivity, and the first formula provided was the one used by Thomas Nagel in his Death essay:

It is good simply to be alive.

Another way to phrase this is comparatively

It’s better to be alive than dead.

Let me introduce now a potential counterargument, extracted from the words of one of my favourite fictional characters, Rosencrantz, played by Garry Oldman in Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Mind you, this is Stoppard’s but not Shakespeare’s Rosencrantz, speaking. How about watching it first:

Here’s the corresponding section from the script: Continue reading “Is life in a box is better than no life at all? Help and hope, so.”

Daily Effort: Thomas Nagel and the principle of life’s default positivity, first take

The thesis or principle I’d like to introduce today is a (possibly) central thesis behind Open Lifespan philosophy and I’ll keep coming back to it throughout this blog and book in the making. I’m going to extract it first from Thomas Nagel’s masterful and dense essay, Death, originally published in Noûs, in 1970 but am actually going to use the edited version published in Mortal Questions, in 1979.
Then I simply try to provide different formulations. So no arguments today, just a start to understand this principle by stating it and have a glimpses at the heavy philosophical concepts behind it.
Nagel’s main problem in the essay is to investigate why and how and when death can be a misfortune (evil, bad) to the persons who died. And it has to do something with bringing ‘to an end all the goods that life contains’.
And in this context the principle is first stated as an ‘allegiation’ that

It is good simply to be alive, even if one is undergoing terrible experiences.

So first formula

1. It is good simply to be alive.

Let’s continue here cause this leads to another formulation of the principle:

Continue reading “Daily Effort: Thomas Nagel and the principle of life’s default positivity, first take”

Wanted: a Global Healthy Longevity report a la IPCC study on Global Warming of 1.5ºC

This week brought unprecedented worldwide (media) attention to the dramatic IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC  giving humanity a deadline of 2030 to avoid a climate disaster. To cite from the official press release:

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5°C, compared with at least once per decade with 2°C. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5°C, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2ºC.

I could not help but think of the potential human health, healthspan and healthy longevity analogues of the different metrics, measures, numbers mentioned in the report. Continue reading “Wanted: a Global Healthy Longevity report a la IPCC study on Global Warming of 1.5ºC”

Open Lifespan & ecological awareness: scaling up to become global humans

I’ve rethought my older post in the light of the dramatic IPCC report on climate change giving humanity a deadline of 2030 to avoid a climate disaster. I think it is important to connect and discuss Open Lifespan in the context of ecological awareness. I saved my earlier hyperobject analysis for another time.

The argument: Humans with Open Lives can act on ecological scales

Imagine the following: you are living potentially not up to 100 years but up to 1000 or 10000 years as a biological being without the accumulated effects of aging related negative processes as Open Healthspan technology lets you to counteract those major declines time to time, resets your physiological age and keeps increasing mortality continuously at bay. In short, you have Open Lifespan and you are living an Open Life.
If your potential lifespan gets so close to the time-scale of many big environmental processes then human ecological awareness might reach a new level as full ecological responsibility can be taken for the things you do. From this point of view Open Healthspan technology can be considered and desired as a mighty enabler of ecological thought as by achieving this aim you get to act on previously unprecedented timescales, you get to act like a fully, environmentally responsible human being. At 1000 year old with a pretty good chance you are going to be amongst the Guardians of the Galaxy. And at 1001 even more so.

Continue reading “Open Lifespan & ecological awareness: scaling up to become global humans”

Daily Effort: Can we build a better self without building a better world?

Our daily today is posing a heavy philosophical question: can we build a better self without building a better world? For understanding the level of this question one needs to take a moral/ethical concept of the self granted. But we don’t need to dig into the depth of the malleability of personal identity, but mostly focus on our narrative, social construct of our selves that is a prime bearer of moral values and changes and agent of moral decisions. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Can we build a better self without building a better world?”

Daily Effort: Life extension belongs to the ICU, Open Lifespan belongs to everybody

In the opening post of this blog I started by saying ‘Life extension’ as a term referring to healthy longevity technologies and attempts just does not cut it anymore and I cited luxury as one reason. There’s another important reason, coming from the already existing medical use of this term to ditch this concept to be used for our Open Lifespan purposes. The terms ‘life extension’, ‘extending life’ are used in the medical context to provide extra days, weeks, months to late stage, terminally diseased people, think of a final stage lung cancer patient. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Life extension belongs to the ICU, Open Lifespan belongs to everybody”

Daily Effort: Pharmacodiligence plus, potential, positive lifespan side effects on drug labels?

Attempting a new post series called Daily Effort: a dense expression of an Open Lifespan/Open Healthspan related idea (question, argument, proposal …) in a couple of sentences. Without context or tight, detailed argumentation. Consider these as drafts, some of them will be elaborated upon, some of them will be revoked if don’t stand up to scrutiny. In any case, these are my drafts here am working on, reaching a stage where it might be interesting for others too. Let’s go.

Today’s idea is simple and I phrase it as a question (and a  bundle of follow-up questions), rather than a proposal as originally intended: if a drug has reported and potential lifespan and/or healthspan lengthening benefits, should this information be printed on the label too amongst potential side effects? Think of metformin here as a prime example where observational evidence suggests longer survival time for metformin user diabetics compared to non-diabetic, non-users. Continue reading “Daily Effort: Pharmacodiligence plus, potential, positive lifespan side effects on drug labels?”

Open Future: Open Life(span) as a foundation to reinvent liberalism

The political challenge

In this post I navigate the boat of Open Lifespan to the dangerous waters of politics and looking for land to anchor it nearby. This is going to be a longer exploration but what makes our adventure much easier is that we have a great compass in our hand and only one direction to look for: life-bound. Open Lifespan measures all politics with one measure: how can it support, maintain and amplify human lives. Let’s dive in.
The Economist’s 175th anniversary issue edition makes the case for reinventing liberalism by publishing an essay that is called a manifesto for a liberal revival. They say liberalism as a political philosophy cannot live by its glorious past, it needs to ‘promise a better future’. They think it’s time ‘to rekindle the spirit of radicalism’ and they claim that the ‘true spirit of liberalism is not self-preserving, but radical and disruptive’. In short, some new big ideas are needed, some intellectual fresh plasma transfusion to rejuvenate the liberal creed. However, when reading through their offering carefully, recommendations for new-ish liberal alternatives through different domains, like free markets, tariff systems, immigration, open societies, welfare states, new social contract, a ‘liberal world order’ the curious mind has a problem finding those big, radical, disruptive new ideas that would reinforce and amplify the liberal values, like individual freedom, self-dignity, diversity, continuous, gradual progress and constant search for the common interest.

The new foundation

Let me offer here one such idea that could form the foundation of liberal reinvention.
The idea is Open Lifespan, an open-ended, indefinite lifespan. I will also call it, simply ‘Open Life’. It is the opposite of our current, closed lifespan. Open Life is a way, we can frame our mortality, and also avoiding the trap of 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.
I’d like to show how Open Lifespan can be the main foundational and structural principle of a reinvented, renewed liberalism, the cohesive centre glueing together different aspects of the creed, from which different policies can be extracted. But am remaining mostly on the theoretical (philosophical) level here.[1]

Continue reading “Open Future: Open Life(span) as a foundation to reinvent liberalism”

Fighting aging and fighting ageism: two sides of the same coin?

Here I’m republishing an edited version of my earlier post from this year on my earlier blog. This post expresses an important political position/consequence of the Open Lifespan philosophy.

A quick answer to the post title question

Sure, but only if we know what types of aging we are talking about. My original, more boring but less sensational post title elaborates on this: Counteracting biological aging and neutralising chronological ageism should go hand in hand.  (For the record, am not a big fan of using military/aggressive terms such as fighting). We desperately need to use the proper terms and choose the right type of aging we talk about depending on the context we talk about it.

Personal Intro

I’m into Open Lifespan/Healthspan since I was 14 and am several decades older now, in early middle age. Since my teenage commitment got me into aging research and science, I became sensitive and appreciative towards the issues that arise with aging so I was sensitised towards the issues of older people early on. I’ve always looked at them as forming the forefront, the avant-garde of experiencing and understanding accelerated biological aging and trying to counteract the biological, physiological decline and metabolic damage that accompanies it. So that meant respect, by default. Continue reading “Fighting aging and fighting ageism: two sides of the same coin?”