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The Case for Life Extension – Article by Arin Vahanian

The Case for Life Extension – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


“I wish I could live 10 to 20 years less,” said no one ever. In fact, I have never met anyone who didn’t want to live at least a few more years of a healthy, active life. Yet, incredibly, there appears to be some controversy about the topic of life extension. Specifically, there seems to be some pushback from critics, who have attacked life extension as “irresponsible” and “harmful,” cite overpopulation and resource constraints, and in turn paint doomsday scenarios that would occur if human beings were to live longer lives.

With this article, I hope to begin a discussion to eventually lay this controversy to rest, as well as assuage any concerns the general public may have about the growing life-extension movement. For the desire to live longer and healthier is not only natural to the human condition, but I believe it is one of the noblest goals for human beings to strive for.

There are many good reasons to support life extension, but here I shall provide a few reasons why, just to get the conversation started. Firstly, many people already support life extension. Anti-aging products as well as hormone replacement products and therapy generated about $50 billion of revenue in 2009 in the United States alone, according to the American Medical Association. If this isn’t an indication that people are very interested in life extension, I don’t know what is. While the efficacy of some such products and therapies has come into question, that in itself would be a good reason to develop this field so that more efficacious and better products could be developed. This would ensure that we adequately address the enormous demand for life-extension products and therapies.

Not only are many people already interested in life extension, but extending the human lifespan is something we have been working on for quite a while. In fact, the global average life expectancy has more than doubled since the year 1900. This necessarily raises the question,”Why should we stop now?” It seems illogical, unreasonable, and, in fact, inhumane to me to stop working on something so crucial – increasing life expectancy so that more people can have more of what is the most beautiful experience on Earth, the human experience. Therefore, why not dedicate more resources and funding to something that most people are already interested in, consider to be a huge priority in their lives, and which we have already been working on for a very long time?

Also, as I pointed out in a previous article on aging, there are practical reasons why we would want to support life extension. Making progress in life extension means each of us will have additional time with which to do things that are important to us. Imagine if you had an additional 10 to 20 young years of life. Think about all that could be accomplished during this time. The additional time you have in your life might help you come up with a cure for cancer, help eliminate poverty, or fulfill some other important accomplishment that humanity would benefit greatly from. As I mentioned in my article on aging, extending the human lifespan would result in us being able to work on other things that are important to the human race, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of improvement and progress. Imagine the number of world-changing ideas and products that never came to fruition because someone passed away. Let’s make sure that humanity is never robbed again of something it needs, just because of the untimely end of people who could have made a positive contribution.

In addition to logical and practical reasons why we should support life extension, it turns out that concerns about overpopulation and resource scarcity have been overblown. According to biologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey, life-extension therapy could postpone or eliminate menopause, thereby allowing women to space out their pregnancies over more years. What this would do is decrease the yearly population growth rate.

Further, according to Dr. Max More, CEO of Alcor, not to mention numerous other reputable sources, including The World Bank and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, the worldwide population growth rate is slowing down and is projected to eventually stabilize and begin falling. Nowhere is this more apparent than in countries such as Germany, Italy, Spain, China, Russia, and even the United States, where birth rates are below the 2.1 live births per woman required to just maintain population equilibrium. Additionally, even countries such as India, which used to have a very high birth rate, have seen huge declines in birth rates in recent years.

In terms of resource scarcity, according to the World Food Programme, while it is true that an estimated 124 million people in 51 countries are facing food insecurity, this is due to reasons such as conflict and political instability, rather than food shortages. In fact, according to a study published in Environmental Science & Technology, the problem of malnourishment is a distribution problem, rather than a production one. Indeed, India actually has a food surplus, but wastes an extraordinary amount of food, leading to a large number of undernourished people. Therefore, the problem is a supply-chain and political problem, rather than a resource problem, and we are not running out of food, as some people have claimed.

Finally, according to the World Health Organization, worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. No matter where you might live, taking a quick glance around you will likely reveal that this is indeed the case. While there are a litany of causes of obesity, lack of food is not one of them. Thus, we actually have too much food around the world, rather than not enough. Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations demonstrated, in a landmark study, that per capita food availability for the world as a whole has risen in recent decades, and the number of chronically undernourished people has been cut by more than 50 percent in just a few decades. Therefore, we have more than enough food to feed everyone.

The same exaggerated fears have been stoked about other resources, such as energy, water, and land, and all have been overcome or handled over the course of human history. It turns out that human beings have been remarkably successful at coming up with solutions to these challenges over the years, and I do not think that we will, all of a sudden, lose this resourcefulness, dedication, and ability to master our environment.

Naturally, over the last few decades, not to mention centuries, doomsday prognostications by people such as cleric and scholar Thomas Malthus, biologist Paul Ehrlich, and economist Stephen Leeb, have not come true, and in fact, in many cases, have been utterly debunked.

Finally, on a moral, ethical, and indeed, human level, it seems cruel to inhibit human beings to living a certain amount of time, and no more. To this end, I have a simple question for those who are opposed to life extension based on the idea that there is a predetermined amount of time that all humans are supposed to live.

Would you tell a parent being ravaged by stage 4 cancer or a sibling suffering from cystic fibrosis that they do not deserve to live any longer because their time is up and that this is the “natural order of things”? Everyone deserves to live a dignified, healthy, and fulfilling life, and it is cruel for us to appoint ourselves judge, jury, and executioner.

So I ask people who are vehemently against life extension, “Do you believe that we are qualified to decide how long others should live?” Further, if you support cancer treatment that would prolong the life of a loved one by a few months or few years, why would you not support treatment that would prolong their healthy life for a few more years?

Since the beginning of time, humans have always strived to improve their lot in life, to seek growth in many aspects of the human experience, and to overcome challenges and hardships. Just as it would be absurd for someone to say that they want to regress, devolve, and live a shorter life, it would be equally absurd for us to say we would not want to live longer, healthier lives. Thus, it is natural for humans to support life extension, if not for themselves, then at least for others who desire it, because to reject it would be equivalent to rejecting life, and rejecting the experience of being human.

Anyone who truly cherishes life and how valuable it is, should at least consider the vast number of possibilities that life extension would bring. Of course, it is up to each person to decide for themselves whether they would want to live healthier and longer lives, and we are not the decision-makers for everyone else. This is a personal decision that must be explored by each individual. I am confident that the more we communicate our message that life extension is natural as well as desirable for the development of human beings and the planet, the more people will be on board with something that is frankly very obvious: life extension is a noble cause, and one that is very much worth exploring.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

The Longevity Film Competition – Announcement by SENS Research Foundation, The Healthy Life Extension Society, and International Longevity Alliance

The Longevity Film Competition – Announcement by SENS Research Foundation, The Healthy Life Extension Society, and International Longevity Alliance

SENS Research Foundation
The Healthy Life Extension Society 
International Longevity Alliance


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party encourages its members to participate in the Longevity Film Competition, whose official website can be found here. The more original attempts exist to convey to the general public the feasibility and desirability of indefinite life extension, and to dispel common misconceptions about it, the sooner we will have the critical mass of public support needed to bring about this most vital goal. 

~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party, July 15, 2018


Contest Introduction: 

We are living in very interesting times, times of constant change. The scientific community is telling us that soon we could enjoy much healthier and longer lives thanks to technological advancements happening at an accelerated rate. The future can be bright and healthy, and we want more people to know about this amazing prospect and want them to get involved in this important mission – the mission of healthy longevity.

However, describing something potentially beautiful is not always easy. We think you can help by making a (very) short movie conveying that a longer and healthier life thanks to sustainable medical interventions, will be a very positive thing for citizens and society alike.

Help us spread the word in the right way, help us make sure people understand this is about health and that for the first time in history the possibility of tackling aging is not science fiction, but science fact.

Join us in this crusade by entering our competition presented by the SENS Research Foundation, The Healthy Life Extension Society and the International Longevity Alliance and not only potentially help saving lots of lives, but also win the first prize of $10,000!

We look forward to your ideas on how to better communicate this important message to the world.

– The Longevity Film Competition team

Contest Guidelines: 

Even though putting aging under medical control is probably desirable to most humans, this concept is not always clear to everybody.

One of our goals is to use this competition as a vehicle to clarify and demystify some of the misconceptions we hear very often.

You can choose just one or all of them and explain them in any way you choose, using your own language and ideas.

Misconception #1

“Aging and disease are two separate things.”

CLARIFICATION:

— Aging causes disease, and they should be treated as one. —

As we age, we lose our health. We cannot age and become elderly without eventually getting ill as a result of it. If we live long enough, we will all get sick of one or several of the diseases of aging and eventually succumb to them. When we talk about eliminating aging, we talk about putting this process under medical control so that we don’t have to get sick as we age.

Misconception #2

“If I live to a 150, I will be living for a long time in an old, sick body.”

CLARIFICATION:

— If these new therapies help us live to a 150, it will only be because they will keep us strong and healthy. —

When we talk about extending our lifespan, we are talking about extending our health. The extension of our life will not happen unless we fix the health problems that come with aging. Once we do this, more longevity will happen as a “side benefit” of being healthier. As we said before, we get sick with aging, and that’s why most of humans die of old age.

So, if we will still be alive at 150, this will mean we will have a better control of the aging process through medical interventions – hence we should not be living in an old sick body.

Misconception #3

“Aging is natural, and we shouldn’t tamper with the natural.”

CLARIFICATION:

— Combating aging is a great challenge for Humanity, and we have a long history of getting great benefit from tampering with many natural things. —

It is proven that there are endless ‘unnatural’ things created by humans of enormous value and positive outcomes, and we can imagine only a minuscule number of people who would choose to live without them — especially when it has to do with suffering, disease and death.

A few examples of unnatural things we use all the time without questioning much are: pacemakers, antibiotics (to kill natural bacteria), painkillers, cochlear implants, dialysis, plastic surgery, airplanes (it is not natural for us to fly), hair coloring, prosthetic limbs, contact lenses, birth-control methods, and the list goes on forever.

On the other hand, here are some natural things that are definitely bad for us: earthquakes, hurricanes, mudslides, tornadoes, infectious microorganisms, poisonous plants, predators, venomous creatures, fire, gravity (when we fall), tsunamis, radiation, meteor impacts, etc.

It is time to reason and understand that “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”.

Misconception #4

“These therapies will only be for the rich.”

CLARIFICATION:

— Healthy longevity therapies are being developed for everybody to access. —

Rejuvenation therapies could be as little reserved for rich people as mobile phones, cars, electricity, or vaccination may have been in the beginning. Like for most technological progress, the research may be complicated and expensive, but once the technology becomes available, it will become available for everybody. One good example is that the first Human Genome took $2.7 billion dollars and almost 15 years to complete. In 2001 the price of sequencing a genome was 100 Million dollars; today is under 1000 dollars, and it will keep going down without a doubt. Humanity has never stopped advancing just because it was harder and less cost-effective in the beginning; if we had thought like that, we would probably not have most of the technology that is available for everybody today. That’s one more reason why it’s so important not to delay the development of these cures.

Official Rules

  1. Concept of film: The submitted piece should show that medical progress for a healthier and longer life is generally a good thing for citizens and society alike. You will achieve this by using the list of common misconceptions provided in the Guidelines section above. You must choose at least one and may also choose all of them.
  2. Length: The length of the film should be a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 20 minutes.
  3. Visual art style: All kinds of visuals are allowed:
    Films, computer animations, whiteboard drawings, live action, infographics, stop and motion, cartoons, typography, screencast, etc.
  4. Genre: All genres are allowed. Science, fiction or science-fiction, a story, sad or funny, a docufiction, a documentary, etc.
  5. Copyright: All material used in the video should be original, or you should own the copyright for it. You may not use copyrighted material for which you don’t have the rights. If you fail to follow this rule, your film will be automatically disqualified.
  6. Submission: The submission deadline is 23:59 GMT September 15, 2018. The final work should be uploaded to the Internet, and a link to watch it should be provided to us via email at contact@longevityfilmcompetition.com, together with your last name, first name, and the proposed title of the work. The winners will be announced October 1st (International Longevity Day).
  7. Language: The official language is English. Videos can also be submitted in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian and Dutch but would need to have English subtitles.
  8. Work Originality and Permissions: a) Films must be the original work of the applicants, and they must be unpublished before July 1st, 2018. b) If a film is based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. c) By entering the competition, you represent that you have secured all necessary rights. d) Applicants are solely responsible for obtaining all necessary rights and permissions for third-party materials included in their films, including but not limited to music, trademarks, logos, copyrights, and other intellectual property rights. e) Longevity Film Competition (LFC) expressly disclaims all liability or responsibility for any violations of the foregoing. f) If your submission is selected for a prize, you agree that SENS Research Foundation (SRF), The Healthy Life Extension Society (Heales), and the International Longevity Alliance (ILA) use your movie without restriction to promote the mission of curing the diseases of aging. SRF, Heales and the ILA can show your work on the internet or by all other means. g) SRF, Heales and the ILA are non-profit organizations and may use the films to drive donations from the public, which will be used to advance the mission of healthy longevity. Any funds raised though the films will support scientific research, outreach, and/or education programs.
  9. Selected Films and Winners: a) LFC has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of screeners or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted project; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process. b) LFC explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by LFC or by its volunteers.  c) Winners will be announced on October 1st, 2018. The judges’ decision is final. Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.
  10. Legal action: In the event of litigation the competent courts will be those of the Brussels jurisdiction in Belgium.
  11. Additional information: For all issues not mentioned above, the members of the jury will decide. They must decide in equity and with the same rules for all competitors.

COMPETITION LEGAL TERMS

BY SUBMITTING THE MATERIAL PARTICIPANTS  AGREE:

To having read all of the rules, understood, and have complied with these rules.

To warrant that their work is original and that there are no disputes regarding the ownership of their submission.

To warrant that the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead.

That failure to adhere to the competition rules and regulations will result in disqualification.

That no revisions of materials will be accepted once entry has been submitted.

That to the best of their knowledge, all the statements herein are true and correct.

TO INDEMNIFY, HOLD HARMLESS, AND DEFEND THE COMPETITION, ITS EMPLOYEES, VOLUNTEERS, DIRECTORS, JURORS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND AFFILIATES FROM ALL LIABILITY, CLAIMS, AND DAMAGES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SUBMISSION AND FROM ANY FEES AND EXPENSES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO REASONABLE ATTORNEYS’ FEES, THAT ANY OF THEM MAY INCUR IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.
Fourth Enlightenment Salon – Health Segment: Discussions on GMOs, Calorie Restriction, Genetics, Artificial Sweeteners, CBD

Fourth Enlightenment Salon – Health Segment: Discussions on GMOs, Calorie Restriction, Genetics, Artificial Sweeteners, CBD

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Bill Andrews
Bobby Ridge
John Murrieta


This is the second video segment from Mr. Stolyarov’s Fourth Enlightenment Salon. Watch the first segment here.

On July 8, 2018, during his Fourth Enlightenment Salon, Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, invited John Murrieta, Bobby Ridge, and Dr. Bill Andrews for an extensive discussion about transhumanist advocacy, science, health, politics, and related subjects.

Topics discussed during this installment include the following:

• Why genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are mostly good for you, and most negative perceptions of GMOs should really just be directed at the corporate practices of one company but not genetic modification as a whole.

• What technologies are already aiding the disabled and dramatically extending their capabilities in daily life.

• The role of genetics in longevity and the future of somatic genome editing.

• What the scientific evidence suggests regarding the impact of caloric restriction in humans and other primates.

• CBD and cannabinoids: separating the evidence from the marketing.

• Sierra Sciences’ history of testing over a million compounds for effects on telomerase induction.

• Why artificial sweeteners also should not be maligned, and there is no scientific evidence of their harms.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside by filling out an application form that takes less than a minute. Members will also receive a link to a free compilation of Tips for Advancing a Brighter Future, providing insights from the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Advisors and Officers on some of what you can do as an individual do to improve the world and bring it closer to the kind of future we wish to see.

Fourth Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and John Murrieta Discuss Transhumanist Outreach and Curing Disabilities

Fourth Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and John Murrieta Discuss Transhumanist Outreach and Curing Disabilities

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Bill Andrews
Bobby Ridge
John Murrieta


On July 8, 2018, during his Fourth Enlightenment Salon, Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman of the U.S. Transhumanist Party, invited John Murrieta, Bobby Ridge, and Dr. Bill Andrews for an extensive discussion about transhumanist advocacy, science, health, politics, and related subjects. In this first of several installments from the Fourth Enlightenment Salon, the subjects of conversation include the following:

• The U.S. Transhumanist Party’s recent milestone of 1,000 members and what this portends for outreach toward the general public regarding the meaning of transhumanism and the many ways in which emerging technologies help make life better.

• The new channel – Science-Based Species – launched by Bobby Ridge and John Murrieta to spread basic knowledge about transhumanism, key thinkers in the movement, and advances on the horizon.

• How today’s technologies to assist the disabled are already transhumanist in their effects, and how technologies already in development can liberate humans from disability altogether. John Murrieta’s story is one of transhumanism literally saving a life – and one of the most inspiring examples of how transhumanism translates into human well-being now and in the future.

Join the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free, no matter where you reside by filling out an application form that takes less than a minute. Members will also receive a link to a free compilation of Tips for Advancing a Brighter Future, providing insights from the U.S. Transhumanist Party’s Advisors and Officers on some of what you can do as an individual do to improve the world and bring it closer to the kind of future we wish to see.

The Case for Reversing Aging – Article by Arin Vahanian

The Case for Reversing Aging – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


As incredulous as it may seem, I have had numerous people ask me why I support research and funding for reversing the aging process.

The usual arguments against stopping or slowing aging are that there is some sort of natural process or natural order of things, and that human beings shouldn’t be “playing God.”

In this short article, I would like to present my personal views on aging and why I believe it is perfectly natural, and in fact, desirable, for human beings to want to overcome this limitation, or at least, slow it down.

We humans have a very peculiar relationship with aging and death. On the one hand, people spend rather large sums of money on products or services that help them look and feel younger and healthier. In essence, what these people are communicating through their spending habits is that they have a desire to slow down the aging process. Yet any talk of actually reversing the aging process is met with puzzled looks or even dismissal by the very same people. On the other hand, most people dread the condition of death but have resigned themselves to the idea that there is nothing we can do about it. So while we tend to believe that death is unavoidable, we somehow also think that it won’t happen to us for a while longer, and so we put these very important topics on the back burner and refuse to think further about them or consider how to overcome them.

My personal viewpoint is that nothing gets solved without there being some sort of action toward solving it. Problems do not normally resolve themselves.

To those who ask why we should spend money, time, and effort on reversing aging, I shall present three reasons why I believe it is beneficial for us to do so.

Firstly, human beings have always wanted to improve, to grow, and to overcome hardships and challenges. Saying that there is some natural order of things is not a valid argument against reversing the aging process.

Imagine if we had, in the past, accepted a shortened lifespan as the natural order of things. It’s good that we didn’t, because global average life expectancy has more than doubled since the year 1900.

Imagine if we had, in the past, accepted a chaotic, uncomfortable, and dangerous life as the natural order of things. It’s good that we didn’t, because we came up with inventions such as electricity, the Internet, the X-ray, indoor plumbing, heating, and so forth.

Imagine if we had, in the past, accepted our young sons and daughters having their precious lives cut short by illness as the natural order of things. It’s good that we didn’t, because we now have cures for dysentery, malaria, and tuberculosis.

The fact is that the human condition involves us progressing, overcoming limitations, and being better human beings. Hence, it is natural for human beings to want to overcome undesirable situations, and I would imagine that most people would state that poverty, disease, and aging are undesirable.  

Next, reversing the process of aging will give each one of us additional time that we need in order to accomplish other lofty goals. Imagine if you had an additional 10 or 20 young years of life. How much more could you accomplish during that time? We could spend more time on goals such as eliminating poverty, coming up with a cure for cancer, working toward world peace, and so forth. I find it hard to imagine that someone could argue against having more time in life to work on their personal purpose, vision, and mission. Therefore, reversing the process of aging would result in us being able to work on other things that are important to the human race, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of improvement and progress.

Finally, perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the human condition is having a human experience. The human experience includes things such as building relationships with other people, enjoying the splendors of a warm summer afternoon with friends or family, and partaking in any number of stimulating and rewarding activities, such as reading, exercising, and doing charity work.

To those of you who are in a romantic relationship, I ask, wouldn’t you want more time and more opportunities to be with your spouse or partner? Imagine never hearing your partner whisper sweetly in your ear again, or forever losing the overwhelming pleasure of making love to them, or no longer experiencing the rewarding growth you’ve experienced with them since you became a couple.

To those of you who are parents, I ask, wouldn’t you want to ensure that your children live long, happy, and productive lives? Imagine if your son or daughter could have more time and more opportunities to become the person who will finally find a cure for depression, or start a movement that helps brings us closer to world peace, or become a source of inspiration for many people around the world through starting an organization, but they won’t, because we have accepted a “natural order of things.”

To those of you who are actively involved in an ambitious project or important cause that means a lot to you, I ask, wouldn’t you want more time and more energy to work on these things that are meaningful to you? Imagine never being able to work on fulfilling your purpose or vision in life.

There are many more reasons why I believe we should focus on reversing aging, but the three reasons above are a good starting point for us to more seriously consider this most important of issues.

Let’s even assume for a moment that implausible scenarios such as reincarnation and life after death are real. Why wouldn’t we want to live this current life better? I do not believe it is mutually exclusive to believe in life after death and also want to live our current lives better. Throwing up our hands in defeat and accepting things as they currently are does not lead to progress and growth; it leads to atrophy.  

So before we give up the good fight and resign ourselves to an old and decrepit future, we must ask ourselves what we are living for.

If I had to give just one reason for wanting to reverse aging, it would be pretty simple: I love life too damn much.

What’s your reason?

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

Why I Believe in Transhumanism – Article by Arin Vahanian

Why I Believe in Transhumanism – Article by Arin Vahanian

Arin Vahanian


Someone asked me why I decided to join the Transhumanist Party, and indeed, why I support a movement, which, at first glance, appears to be a fringe movement with members who are out of touch with the needs of the general public.

The truth, however, is far different from what is reported in the media, in books, or even in scholarly articles. Because Transhumanism is the only movement that cares enough about improving the human condition and about building a better future to dedicate itself completely to these monumental tasks. Being human, the human condition is all that we have, and as such, we should cherish and treasure it. Further, the future will be built, but unless we build it in such a way that reflects our values and ethics, we may not be happy with the outcome. This is far too important an outcome to leave to chance, and that is why Transhumanists are so passionate about building a better future.

Going back to the topic of this article, the reason I joined the Transhumanist movement is simple: I love life, and I am dedicated to helping increase the quality of life for every human being on Earth. This is the single most important purpose for me to be working on right now.

Despite what you may have heard, Transhumanism isn’t about becoming a machine; it’s about becoming a better human being.

Since joining this movement, I have been struck by how optimistic, open-minded, and welcoming everyone has been to me. I’ve been accepted with open arms, and people have gone out of their way to help me. It’s a tight-knit community full of passionate, intelligent, and dedicated people who want to work on resolving problems that plague humanity. What could be a more noble purpose?

Despite the negative coverage our movement has received in the media and books, one characteristic that is so consistent across our movement is that our members absolutely adore the sanctity of life. When someone asks me why I am so obsessed with goals such as reversing aging, increasing the human lifespan, dramatically increasing investment in medicine and science, and expanding the human consciousness and intellect, I reply that I am completely and utterly in love with the human experience.

But why do we Transhumanists persevere with such goals?

Because it is cruel and dishonest to say to a person with Stage 4 cancer that soon they will no longer be able to hold their son or daughter in their arms, nor hear their sweet laughter, ever again.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a quadriplegic that they will never walk.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell someone suffering from severe depression that they should accept a dark, brooding cloud of misery hanging over their head for the rest of their life.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a child born with a birth defect that they will never live a normal life.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell a student with a learning disability that they should make do with what they have and call them a “special needs” student.

It is cruel and dishonest to tell someone they will never make love to their spouse again, nor hear their voice, nor feel their touch, due to a rare illness that will claim their life far too soon.

In short, I believe it is wrong to be so utterly pessimistic about life and about improving the human condition.

We believe in values such as pacifism, expanding the intellect through increased investment in education, improving the quality of life through science and technology, and improving health services and increasing the human lifespan. How on Earth is any of this fringe?

We must have the courage to proclaim our convictions in front of the rest of the world, because these goals are far too important to leave to chance, and because people all over the world genuinely do want to see progress in these areas.  

The fact is that Transhumanism is the movement that is most in touch with the needs of the general public, because most people, unless they are completely insane, would want to live healthier, be disease-free, increase their intelligence, and build a better future for their children. No, we are not a fringe movement. We are the human movement. After all, Transhumanism has the word “human” in it. And that to me means being a better human.

It is wrong to be defeatist and throw our hands up in resignation, because nothing of significance was ever accomplished by being pessimistic, capitulating, or quitting prematurely. Amazing inventions, advances in medicine, and improvements in quality of life came about precisely because we, as humans, did not give up, but rather, fought for what was right. And increasing the quality of life for all humans is right.

I am a Transhumanist because I am a human being, and because I love the human experience. And this is something I will never apologize for. In fact, this is something I will continue to fight for as long as I am alive. Which, hopefully, will be for a very long time.

Why am I a Transhumanist? Because simply put, I love life too damn much.

Arin Vahanian is Director of Marketing for the U.S. Transhumanist Party.

“Squeak” – Art by Laura Katrin Weston, a.k.a. Katrin Brunier

“Squeak” – Art by Laura Katrin Weston, a.k.a. Katrin Brunier

Laura Katrin Weston




Commentary by Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, United States Transhumanist Party: “Squeak” is a print by Dr. Laura Katrin Weston, a.k.a. Katrin Brunier, the original exemplar of which I received in November 2017 due to my donation to the successful MouseAge crowdfunding campaign by Lifespan.io.

It is fitting for a project on mouse longevity to involve at least one image of mice – creatures whom life has unfortunately dealt a bad hand, due to their short lifespans (only 3 years for even long-lived mice in the absence of medical intervention), difficulty in getting along with humans, and unnecessary attrition due to disposal practices after lab experiments. “Squeak” invites the viewer to appreciate mice a bit more; if we can extend their lives significantly, we stand a decent chance of achieving dramatic extension of our own lifespans.  Perhaps we can also give some of the mice a break by using photographic markers of aging in experiments, as the MouseAge project seeks to do.

Here, the mice are depicted scurrying along a narrow circular path. The golden circle, with rays emanating outward represents perhaps the great hope that these creatures unknowingly provide to us. One may wonder, as I have done over many months of reflecting on this work, whether these are mutant, two-tailed mice, or whether they each just have their ordinary curly tails, and the track along which they move might simply be painted in the same colors and textures as their tails. (Well, in actuality it is indeed painted that way!) Mutant or not, these mice are rather extraordinary in having become emblems of a species that has added much to our understanding. Unlike most of their brethren to date, these mice have earned their extreme longevity through Laura Katrin Weston’s brush.

You can find more work by Dr. Laura Katrin Weston at the Katrin Brunier Gallery, an Ethical Investment-Grade Art Gallery for the Neo-Renaissance Era (see its Instagram page). Proceeds from art sales at the Katrin Brunier Gallery will go to support causes such as medical research and conservation.

An Interview with Dr. Laura Weston by Nicola Bagalà

An Interview with Dr. Laura Weston by Nicola Bagalà

Laura Katrin Weston
Nicola Bagalà


Editor’s Note: The U.S. Transhumanist Party is pleased to feature this interview with Dr. Laura Katrin Weston, one of our strongest supporters, by Nicola Bagalà of the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation.  We are particularly thrilled that Dr. Weston cited the U.S. Transhumanist Party Discussion Panel on Art and Transhumanism as one of her major inspirations for taking her artistic endeavors to the next level: “I have always wanted to create a place where others could also allow their logical and creative worlds to collide; this is often reflected in a lot of transhumanist philosophy. The idea was solidified after I took part in a discussion on art and transhumanism as part of the US Transhumanist Party panel. I was greatly inspired by the amazing individuals around me and wanted to potentiate those ideals.”  This article was originally published by the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation (LEAF).

                   ~ Gennady Stolyarov II, Chairman, U.S. Transhumanist Party, June 15, 2018

The belief that science and art run on parallel tracks is largely unsubstantiated, and Dr. Laura Weston—a scientist, an artist, and a LEAF volunteer—is a great example of this. Dr. Weston is both a molecular pathologist and a painter, and she has recently launched her own art gallery. Being a passionate life extensionist and, more generally, a transhumanist, Laura undertook this project because of her belief that art can and should take part in shaping a better future for everyone; art hosted in her gallery will certainly do this in the traditional way of conveying a message but also more directly, since part of the proceeds from sales will be destined for conservation charities, medical research, and even LEAF—which we are all most grateful for.

Artists and art enthusiasts who want to make a difference for important causes, including life extension, now have their chance to do so by contributing their own art or buying their favorite works. Pieces hosted at Katrin Brunier—Laura’s nom de plume—are examples of abstract works inspired by transhumanist themes; you can admire a sample below or visit the gallery’s Instagram page.

Jupatian Storms

For the occasion, we decided to ask Laura a few questions about herself, her work, and, of course, her views on aging and life extension.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am Dr. Laura Weston, M.D. with a specialty in pathology: molecular and biochemical diagnostics to be more specific. I’m also a professional singer, a professional artist for over 15 years, a medical researcher, and a transhumanist. I also go by the name Katrin Brunier for my artistic endeavors.

Originally, you trained as a painter and singer; later on, you pursued a career as a molecular pathologist, albeit without abandoning your art. Was this something you had planned, or did something happen that led you to science?

I was always torn between the creative and logical worlds; I have dual-sided brain dominance, which is quite unusual. I was described as a child as a polymath with no solid direction. I was also born with synesthesia, so I process all information from music to mathematical concepts in shape and color. I went to art school while my mother was terminally ill as a form of respite; however, the more I learned about her illness, the more I became enamored with the human body and molecular mechanisms at the smallest level. I guess you could say that I fell into it as a career path. I also wanted to try to help others to never have to experience the kind of loss my family did by being able to have the power to change things. I also suffer from a very rare genetic disease myself, that I continually seek to learn more about in order to help others.

Your art is inspired by transhumanist themes. What are the ones you care about the most?

Fundamentally, I believe in unifying humanity as a race by eliminating chronic illnesses that now affect, I believe, the majority of the population. Nearly all chronic disease stems from the same molecular mechanism, and by fully understanding this, we could eliminate cancers, age-related degeneration, Alzheimer’s, and thousands of other conditions that destroy our quality of life and take our loved ones away too soon.

As stated on your art gallery’s website, you host works of art focused on “themes of human advancements in pioneering knowledge, trans-humanism, unconditionality, our place in the universe, sensory perception and the neo-renaissance.” How was this idea born, and how well has it been received thus far?

This idea is essentially an outward expression of the creative and logical duality that I always carried around. Often, people are pressured to pick one; however, the biggest discoveries and advancements have often come from a fusion of both of those systems working synergistically. I have always wanted to create a place where others could also allow their logical and creative worlds to collide; this is often reflected in a lot of transhumanist philosophy. Thea idea was solidified after I took part in a discussion on art and transhumanism as part of the US Transhumanist Party panel. I was greatly inspired by the amazing individuals around me and wanted to potentiate those ideals. So far, I have had enquiries from major art bodies to host works, contact from other talented transhumanists who want to donate their work to raise money for medical research, and, best of all, a few commissions already that will allow me to donate to the wonderful people who do the hard work and research that will benefit us all.

Transhumanists range from those who wish to upload their minds to machines to far more moderate ones who support the use of technology to improve human health, society, the ecosystem and other scientific endeavors. Where do you fall on this spectrum, and what is transhumanism to you?

I don’t think we should run before we can walk. While the more extravagant ideas of transhumanism appeal to me in terms of furthering human knowledge – the most powerful force in the world – I believe that we need to tackle the huge chronic illness crisis that is pushing our health systems to the breaking point and ruining people’s lives. The gift of being able to eliminate the decay of our bodies should be used to stabilize our situation, our well being, and the population and to stop overusing the resources we have on this planet, first and foremost. Applied transhumanism could achieve the elimination of human suffering and may even be the next step in our evolution and development as a species.

A recurring theme in the transhumanist and futurist community is that, within the next thirty or forty years, the world will go through radically transformative changes because of AI, biotechnology, etc. Is this something you too expect?

It’s already happening around us – in the field of molecular and quantum biology/pathology, we are already implementing AI to work out problems that it would take months to solve manually. I can find errors in your genome and diagnose diseases before they have even begun to manifest. This also has applications for every industry and even the conservation of our beautiful planet. Given time, I hope that it will seep into other parts of society, and I am so excited to see the positive changes it could bring to the world. Look how far we have come in the last twenty years; imagine what it will be like in just ten years from now.

American biologist Edward Wilson said, “The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.” However, he also said, “This planet can be a paradise in the 22nd century.” Do you think that we can actually achieve this, despite the issues mentioned in his first quote?

Let’s go down a little rabbit hole here: there is a metaphorical concept in Hermetic philosophy that humans will master the world around them; however, the payoff will be that they will not master themselves. Unless this is balanced, we are still at the whim of everything around us. Indeed, this planet, our society, our race could indeed create a utopian environment IF we accept how we actually function as creatures. Knowledge of the self, in terms of the human body and brain, allows our consciousness to control it. If we all had better self-awareness, open access to knowledge and consequent self-control, then the medieval paradigms would fall away, because with this knowledge, they would become archaic and useless. Only when that shift has taken place, and humanity views itself as a race and a whole, can that vision be realized. The technology exists; we just need to catch up.

When did you realize that aging is a problem in which we should intervene?

The molecular and biological process of aging holds the secrets and blueprints to the cause of nearly all non-pathogen-related disease in human beings. I developed these ideas as I gained more knowledge on the subject. When you have the blueprint, you can find a way to manipulate it. On a more personal level, my work as a doctor has exposed me to the worst forms of human suffering. If there is a way to prevent it from happening, count me in.

What was your attitude towards aging before then?

I naturally tend to think very abstractly; it was never a concept that seemed to be an automatic given. Rather, it always seemed to be a result of a very primitive blueprint being affected by degenerative forces around it. It was always a process that fascinated me and something that I felt could be deconstructed and explored. Of course it is part of the current natural balance, epigenetic factors and current standards of human living; however, I never understood why, given how much it degrades our quality of existence, it wasn’t given more focus. Surely, it makes more sense to find the root of a problem rather than temporarily suppressing the symptoms?

You’re a medical doctor. As such, do you agree with the view of aging as a disease or, more specifically, a co-morbid syndrome, and why is this?

If one takes the current model of medical nomenclature, technically, you could classify aging as a co-morbid syndrome. I’m not saying that this is absolute; we do not have enough evidence, nor may we ever. However, if we choose to look at it this way, it could be an excellent model for scientific exploration and maybe even total intervention. It would be foolish to draw a line just yet, but we would be just as foolish to not explore that possibility.

Where do you think we are in terms of bringing newly developed therapies and ways of thinking into clinical practice, and why?

We are on the verge of a huge change in medical systems. Research and clinical trials are translating into treatments and protocols faster than ever before. However, in my opinion, this is not happening fast enough because our priorities are all in the wrong place. This is actually an issue that I will be tackling in a book that I am currently working on and will hopefully publish next year; it explains the benefits of applying transhumanism to current clinical practice and systems for the management of chronic illness.

What can be done to bridge the gap between the people developing these new technologies and the people on the front line using them?

Fundamentally, it unfortunately all comes down to money. Raising money to get this research initiated in the first place is our biggest issue. Our systems of implementation within the evidence-based medicine world are very good; however, there is a disconnect when it comes to clinical practice. This is down to severe underfunding in areas that actually allow the data to be processed into a protocol to apply these new technologies and compounds in the safest way possible for patients.

Some people think that it’s premature to give estimates, however rough, as to when we will have defeated aging; others say that it’s gerontologists’ duty to give the public their best guesstimates in order to catalyze progress. What do you think?

Guesstimates can be good and bad. Once again, however, they can be used to create models for scientific exploration to actually give us a more reliable forecast. I think that the best way to summarize this is that when in unknown territory, join the dots as best you can, but do not heed it as gospel.

Do you think that two to three decades might be enough to have proof of working rejuvenation therapies, or do you expect that more time will be necessary?

It is an absolute possibility, given our current exponential trajectory and the developments that are linking the quantum and molecular world to the biological. Ten years ago, we couldn’t get our genomes screened from the comfort of our own homes; now, we can. The data that we are able to collect, store and analyze is exponentially growing every year. Even if we don’t have a reliable therapy, we will have a far better understanding of the root cause and be able to make a start at stabilizing those processes.

What is the biggest bottleneck to progress in research to end age-related diseases?

Lack of funding and lack of accessibility to education. We need open science and to educate people to allow them to come to their own conclusions as to what aging actually is, not the societal view we currently have. As a race, we need to re-prioritize our resources and enable everyone to have the right to knowledge.

Do you have a take-home message for our readers?

First, thank you for allowing me this opportunity, and an even bigger thanks to those who have taken the time to engage with me on these topics.

If anything I have spoken about resonates with you, I encourage you to support charities like LEAF that allow these changes to happen in the world. Even a tiny contribution makes a big impact. This is something that we can only achieve by working together and supporting each other.

***

We’re grateful to Laura for her time and for her generosity in supporting LEAF’s work, both through her volunteer efforts and her gallery’s donations. We wish her the best of luck with her endeavors.

About Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà has been an enthusiastic supporter and advocate of rejuvenation science since 2011. Although his preferred approach to treating age related diseases is Aubrey de Grey’s suggested SENS platform, he is very interested in any other potential approach as well. In 2015, he launched the blog Rejuvenaction to advocate for rejuvenation and to answer common concerns that generally come with the prospect of vastly extended healthy lifespans. Originally a mathematician graduated from Helsinki University, his scientific interests range from cosmology to AI, from drawing and writing to music, and he always complains he doesn’t have enough time to dedicate to all of them which is one of the reasons he’s into life extension. He’s also a computer programmer and web developer. All the years spent learning about the science of rejuvenation have sparked his interest in biology, in which he’s planning to get a university degree.

About LIFE EXTENSION ADVOCACY FOUNDATION (LEAF)

In 2014, the Life Extension Advocacy Foundation was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting increased healthy human lifespan through fiscally sponsoring longevity research projects and raising awareness regarding the societal benefits of life extension. In 2015 they launched Lifespan.io, the first nonprofit crowdfunding platform focused on the biomedical research of aging.

They believe that this will enable the general public to influence the pace of research directly. To date they have successfully supported four research projects aimed at investigating different processes of aging and developing therapies to treat age-related diseases.

The LEAF team organizes educational events, takes part in different public and scientific conferences, and actively engages with the public on social media in order to help disseminate this crucial information. They initiate public dialogue aimed at regulatory improvement in the fields related to rejuvenation biotechnology.

What It Will Be Like to Be an 85-Year-Old in the 2070s – Article by Scott Emptage

What It Will Be Like to Be an 85-Year-Old in the 2070s – Article by Scott Emptage

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Scott Emptage


I will be 85 sometime in the early 2070s. It seems like a mirage, an impossible thing, but the future eventually arrives regardless of whatever you or I might think about it. We all have a vision of what it is to be 85 today, informed by our interactions with elder family members, if nothing else. People at that age are greatly impacted by aging. They falter, their minds are often slowed. They are physically weak, in need of aid. Perhaps that is why we find it hard to put ourselves into that position; it isn’t a pleasant topic to think about. Four decades out into the future may as well be a science-fiction novel, a faraway land, a tale told to children, for all the influence it has on our present considerations. There is no weight to it.

When I am 85, there will have been next to no senescent cells in my body for going on thirty years. I bear only a small fraction of the inflammatory burden of older people of past generations. I paid for the products of companies descended from Oisin Biotechnologies and Unity Biotechnology, every few years wiping away the accumulation of senescent cells, each new approach more effective than the last. Eventually, I took one of the permanent gene therapy options, made possible by biochemical discrimination between short-term beneficial senescence and long-term harmful senescence, and then there was little need for ongoing treatments. Artificial DNA machinery floats in every cell, a backup for the normal mechanisms of apoptosis, triggered by lingering senescence.

When I am 85, the senolytic DNA machinery will be far from the only addition to my cells. I underwent a half dozen gene therapies over the years. I picked the most useful of the many more that were available, starting once the price fell into the affordable-but-painful range, after the initial frenzy of high-cost treatments subsided into business as usual. My cholesterol transport system is enhanced to attack atherosclerotic lesions, my muscle maintenance and neurogenesis operate at levels far above what was once a normal range for my age, and my mitochondria are both enhanced in operation and well-protected against damage by additional copies of mitochondrial genes backed up elsewhere in the cell. Some of these additions were rendered moot by later advances in medicine, but they get the job done.

When I am 85, my thymus will be as active as that of a 10-year-old child. Gene and cell therapies were applied over the past few decades, and as a result my immune system is well-gardened, in good shape. A combination of replacement hematopoietic stem cells, applied once a decade, the enhanced thymus, and periodic targeted destruction of problem immune cells keeps at bay most of the age-related decline in immune function, most of the growth in inflammation. The downside is that age-related autoimmunity has now become a whole lot more complex when it does occur, but even that can be dealt with by destroying and recreating the immune system. By the 2030s this was a day-long procedure with little accompanying risk, and the price fell thereafter.

When I am 85, atherosclerosis will be curable, preventable, and reversible, and that will have been the case for a few decades. There are five or six different viable approaches in the marketplace, all of which basically work. I used several of their predecessors back in the day, as well. Most people in the wealthier parts of the world have arteries nearly free from the buildup of fat and calcification. Cardiovascular disease with age now has a very different character, focused more failure of tissue maintenance and muscle strength and the remaining small portions of hypertension that are still problematic for some individuals. But that too can be effectively postponed through a variety of regenerative therapies.

When I am 85, there will be an insignificant level of cross-linking in most of my tissues, as was the case since my early 60s. My skin has the old-young look of someone who went a fair way down the path before being rescued. Not that I care much about that – I’m much more interested in the state of my blood vessels, the degree to which they are stiff and dysfunctional. That is why removal of cross-links is valuable. That is the reason to keep on taking the yearly treatments of cross-link breakers, or undergo one of the permanent gene therapies to have your cells produce protective enzymes as needed.

When I am 85, I will have a three-decade patchwork history of treatments to partially clear this form of amyloid or that component of lipofuscin. I will not suffer Alzheimer’s disease. I will not suffer any of the common forms of amyloidosis. They are controlled. There is such a breadth of molecular waste, however: while the important ones are addressed, plenty more remain. This is one of the continuing serious impacts to the health of older individuals, and a highly active area of research and development.

When I am 85, I will be the experienced veteran of several potentially serious incidences of cancer, all of which were identified early and eradicated by a targeted therapy that produced minimal side-effects. The therapies evolve rapidly over the years: a bewildering range of hyper-efficient immunotherapies, as well as treatments that sabotage telomere lengthening or other commonalities shared by all cancer cells. They were outpatient procedures, simple and quick, with a few follow-up visits, so routine that they obscured the point that I would be dead several times over without them. The individual rejuvenation technologies I availed myself of over the years were narrowly focused, not perfect, and not available as early as I would have liked. Cancer is an inevitable side-effect of decades of a mix of greater tissue maintenance and unrepaired damage.

Do we know today what the state of health of a well-kept 85-year-old will be in the 2050s? No. It is next to impossible to say how the differences noted above will perform in the real world. They are all on the near horizon, however. The major causes of age-related death today will be largely controlled and cured in the 2050s, at least for those in wealthier regions. If you are in your 40s today, and fortunate enough to live in one of those wealthier region, then it is a given that you will not die from Alzheimer’s disease. You will not suffer from other common age-related amyloidosis conditions. Atherosclerosis will be reliably controlled before it might kill you. Inflammatory conditions of aging will be a shadow of what they once were, because of senolytic therapies presently under development. Your immune system will be restored and bolstered. The stem cells in at least your bone marrow and muscles will be periodically augmented. The cross-links that cause stiffening of tissues will be removed. Scores of other issues in aging process, both large and small, will have useful solutions available in the broader medical marketplace. We will all live longer and in better health as a result, but no-one will be able to say for just how long until this all is tried.

Scott Emptage is an anti-aging activist in the United Kingdom. 

Third Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and Mihoko Sekido Discuss Science-Based Advocacy of Transhumanism and Healthy Living

Third Enlightenment Salon – Gennady Stolyarov II, Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge, and Mihoko Sekido Discuss Science-Based Advocacy of Transhumanism and Healthy Living

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Gennady Stolyarov II
Bill Andrews
Bobby Ridge
Mihoko Sekido


The Third Enlightenment Salon, hosted by Gennady Stolyarov II on May 27, 2018, featured excellent conversations on the rise in public awareness of transhumanism and life extension and what can be done to further increase support for life-extending medical research. Dr. Bill Andrews, Bobby Ridge (a.k.a. Robert Ridge), and Mihoko Sekido shared insights on medical science, promotion of health, and methods of communicating the forthcoming convergence of advances in a wide array of technological fields. Importantly, we addressed how anyone can get involved in the transhumanist movement and improve public acceptance of the emerging technological future.

The following were some interesting areas of discussion:

– The new Telomere Coin, which will help fund Dr. Andrews’s research efforts – http://defytime.group/
– Bobby Ridge’s forthcoming new video channel – Science-Based Species
– Aspects of online videos that help increase their reach
– Factors that contribute to longer lifespans among Okinawans
– Motivators for leading a healthier lifestyle and its relation to the recognition of the possibility of indefinite life extension in our lifetimes
– Some potential health effects of metformin and the importance of the ongoing TAME clinical trials
– What anyone can do to promote life extension and other emerging technological fields – including joining the U.S. Transhumanist Party for free on this page.

This video also contains some excerpts from the remaining conversations at the Third Enlightenment Salon, including discussions of science-based medicine, promotion of transhumanism, autonomous vehicles, and responses to the prospect of longevity escape velocity.

Along with the recorded segment, there was much discussion about future directions of transhumanist initiatives, reasonably healthy food in a refined atmosphere, and previews of excellent video compilations that will become publicly available later this year. Mr. Stolyarov looks forward to hosting more Enlightenment Salons to bring together individuals in various fields of expertise and enable them to synthesize their insights into ways of comprehensively improving the human condition.