LongeCity . Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans
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8 Reasons to reach out to 'the public'
While the idea that drastic life extension may be an option for humankind in the future has been encountered by many through the media and fiction, the vast majority of the public do not grasp whether and how this could realistically apply to them or their loved ones.
Some argue that since life is an universally desirable good and age-related suffering and death universally feared and avoided, ‘public perception’ is something that will take care of itself. If anything, the inherent attractiveness of the concept will always guarantee media interest perhaps even to the point of generating unwarranted hype and the empty promises that have been the bane of the scientific life extension movement for centuries.
Others argue, with great conviction, that public perception and ‘marketing a life extension movement’ should be a prime objective. Here is a list of eight reasons why:
1. Broaden the pool of ideas. Generally, the more minds are altered to and focused towards a common objective, the greater the chance than innovative or groundbreaking ideas will be generated. If Life Extension is a more broadly known, accepted and prestigious topic of interest, more bright minds will be attracted to it.
2. Increase public sector funding and donations. As businesses tend to fund research only when profitability is close it often falls to the public sector and philanthropists to fund the "starter end" of research that will eventually lead to usable products which business will then want to take up.
3. Reduce opposition. There is an element of ‘shock’ associated with the concept that aging and death may not be inevitable which can lead to denial or impatient dismissal. Visceral or ideological opposition to life extension translates into less government funding, less scientific interest, less favorable laws and less industry support especially if there is no widely established counter-position.
4. Improve regulation. Whether we are thinking about laws allowing or prohibiting life extension treatments in general, or the speed and efficiency at which the FDA similar entities conduct their reviews, the support of government agencies is important at every stage of the process of getting treatments to the public. Responsive regulation can be generated through public pressure and media attention.
5. Focus corporate interests towards effective treatments. Only if there is a clear and well-informed demand for proven and validated treatments will effective products become more profitable to the industry than ineffective ‘snake oil’.
6. Build economies of scale. Given the urgent need for life extension treatments for many people there is an interest in helping to bring costs down as soon as possible. If pent-up public demand becomes more clearly visible, consideration of scale-up will become a part of more business plans and healthcare reforms.
7. Improve public health. A focus on life extension often comes with increased health consciousness. Prevention is better and cheaper than cures and if more people participate in a wider programme of health-conscious living, this is likely to bring overall healthcare costs down.
8. Reduce social unrest and disruption. Even once society accepts the concept of life extension and associated treatments there will still be people who are unwilling or unable to participate. Moreover, extended lifespans will affect society profoundly. Careful public engagement ensures that social unrest and discrimination can be minimised.
If at least one of these reasons makes sense to you, then you may want to think about how you could help ‘connect’ the LongeCity’s mission with others. Generally, the ‘self-multiplying’ effect of outreach should not be underestimated. People act as role models and influencers of their peers. Beyond all media spin, if a person acts and speaks with conviction, others will take note; and if people realize that their friends and family members could live longer they will be more willing to engage in the idea themselves.
This article is based on an original drafted by Sanhar in response to a LongeCity tender.