Jul 20, 2018

The Freedom of Life Extension

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, life extension

Life extension would allow everyone to enjoy a higher degree of freedom.

Freedom is a rather big deal in this age. We want freedom of speech, political freedom, press freedom, religious freedom, and freedom of choice over anything that may concern us directly. Different kinds of freedom are available in different amounts in different areas of the world, and while many people tend to see the glass half empty and complain that freedom is not equally distributed everywhere, it’s undeniable that we enjoy far greater liberty than previous generations. It’s not always easy to act upon your choices, and sometimes you’re free to choose in theory but not in practice, but overall, we enjoy options that who came before us couldn’t even dream of.

Take health, for example. Two hundred years back, if you didn’t want to get the flu, or any other infectious disease, you didn’t have the option not to do so. The mechanism through which infectious diseases manifest and spread wasn’t even remotely understood, so you didn’t have any idea what you should or shouldn’t do to minimize your risk of falling ill; basic hygiene wasn’t exactly a standard, and drugs and vaccines were nowhere in sight. If you actively wanted to do something to prevent getting the flu—which, at the time, might have killed you—you simply didn’t have this option.

Today, however, if you want to avoid infectious diseases, you have plenty of options to do so. Hygiene is common in most of the world, and there are vaccines available. You may well choose to not care, live in filth, and never get even a flu shot, but you do have the option. It’s a choice that, two hundred years back, could simply not be made. Depending on where you live and your access to medical care, acting upon your choice can be difficult, but this is a different matter. The option of preventing disease exists, and in principle, you may avail yourself of it, unlike in the past, when the option wasn’t there to begin with.

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