Longevity – Major Factors Determining Life-Span

Longevity is the concept of living a vital life for a longer than normal period.

Why Longevity? That's another story... How, then?

Key overall factors are Knowledge, Money, Motivation. These give us the power to extend our vital life-spans, and delay (prevent?) death.

Specifically, we want both to reduce the chances of 'untimely' death, and also to extend 'the time'. Note, that on some factors there may be a trade-off between quality and (expected) quantity of life.

Untimely death can be accidental, or deliberate. Preventing irrational Suicide is really a question of mental well-being (see below).

Types of Accidental Death – Reducing the risks:

  • Road - Motor, Cycling, Running, Walking: Seatbelt, driving skills, protective gear, dangers of Walkman
  • Crime: Where you live/ work/ shop/ play. Self-defense.
  • Natural Disasters & Fire: Where you live, risk assessment, preparedness.
  • Home/ Hobby/ Work Accidents: Risk assessment, good training, good equipment
  • Medical - Medication & Surgery: Good research, being able to afford the best.
  • Choices of Behavior - Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll, Travel, Hobbies: Carefully evaluate risk/ reward ratio.

Making our bodies (& minds) last longer is a question of Health/ Well-Being – Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, Moral, Financial:

  • Assessing Status: Check-ups & tests (incl. genetic). Medical, psychological, moral, and financial advice.
  • Diet - General: Lifestyle changes instead of Diets (eg. steady weight). Quality of foods (nutrients). Quantity of food.
  • Diet - CRON: Calorie Restriction with Optimal Nutrition – by far, the most effective method of extending life-span.
  • Exercise: Moderate. Include cardio-vascular & strength (bone-density).
  • Sleep: Health & stress factors, as well as accident prevention. Quality of life.
  • Stress: Good vs. bad. Relaxation, music, pets?
  • Relationships: Emotional & utilitarian (trade, knowledge/ advice, assistance) value.
  • Purpose & Activity: Meaningful goals & stimulating, engaging activity. Passions!
  • Moral Habits - Virtues that facilitate useful Knowledge, help us identify & achieve Goals: Rationality (overcoming rationalization), (Self-)Honesty, Independence, Purposefulness, Integrity, Productiveness, Pride, Independence, Discipline, Principled Living
  • Psychological: Self-Esteem (feeling competent to live life & worthy of happiness), little depression, ability to experience joy.
  • IQ & EQ: Improved Cognitive & Emotional Intelligence

Plan B – Ultimately, what if we fail to prevent (clinical) death?

Cryonics - A safety-net of unknown fabric. What do we have to lose? Yes, it is highly experimental – but, would we rather be in the experimental group, or the control group? We know what happens to the control group. As, Cryonicists we at least have a chance, however remote, to be around 50, 100, or 1000 years from now. Some of us relish this prospect.

For the most comprehensive, yet enjoyable, exploration of cryonics issues – social, technical, psychological, political, financial, etc. - I can highly recommend James Halperin's novel The First Immortal.

Peter Voss, 15 Jul 00