A fascinating and, frankly, disturbing story appeared in the Style section of The Washington Post a few days ago, with the provocative headline, “Aging is a disease: Inside the the drive to postpone death indefinitely.” You can read the whole thing by following this link. The article focuses on what’s called the longevity movement, and of course, the social media influencers, authors, and big business interests that salivate at the idea of piles of money to be made in persuading people to try to defy old age.
The article puts it this way:
In recent years, longevity has become many things. It’s a vast, accelerated area of research for scientists and tech moguls, the holy grail of biohacking and potential El Dorado of biotech wealth. An area of infotainment: a pole vault onto the bestseller list, a buzzword of podcasts [where] scientists and doctors with exquisite academic pedigrees … sometimes interview each other. A lodestar for diets, do-this-don’t-do-that newsletters and lifestyle coaches. A branding opportunity for emollients, olive oil, trademarked wellness programs and more supplements.
In the longevity world, time is a fungible concept. Aging is something to be battled and slain. A burgeoning apothecary of serums and humectants is marketed as “anti-aging,” whatever that is. Longevity coaches promote programs capable of “reversing aging.”
Which, when you pause to consider, is a chronological impossibility.
As we asked in the title for tonight’s topic, whatever happened to aging gracefully? As one medical expert quoted in the story puts it, “The reality is that you’re adding time at the end of your life. You’re not getting two decades of being in your 20s.” What are the implications for this race to defy aging? What do we think are the social, economic, or political consequences?
And what about yourself? If “aging is a disease”, as Longevity, Inc., claims, would you want the cure, even if it’s only temporary? And what would you do with whatever extra time was coming your way?
Join us for the conversation this evening beginning at 7pm at Casa Real in downtown Oxford and share your thoughts with us.