100,000 people die of aging every day. Cambridge researcher and geriatrics expert Dr. Aubrey de Grey calls that a tragedy. Dr. de Grey believes that death is no longer inevitable, and that denying people the ability to decide when and if they die, is denying them a basic human right.

“The next person who will live to be one thousand is alive today,” said de Grey in his 2012 TED Talk. According to de Grey, there are seven types of cellular damage that cause deterioration. He’s been working since 2005 to reverse the decline associated with those damages. We don’t have to extend life all at once, he says, but incrementally, at a rate faster than we age. If we continue advancing as we are, the odds of beating death completely are high.

The real barrier to eternal life, says Dr. de Grey, is the human psyche. People have always invented reasons why dying is good, he says. They’ve had to, in order to suppress the true “horror of aging”.  People worry about getting bored, or about dictators living forever. Many of these concerns are ill-founded, says de Grey, but people hold on to them anyway. He calls this kind of thinking a “pro-aging trance.”

While there are some real issues associated with immortality, which will leave people some important decisions to make, de Grey believes future generations should be allowed to make those decisions for themselves. “I don’t want to live to a thousand, necessarily. I don’t even know if I want to live to be a hundred. But I do know I want to make that choice when I am 99, rather than having it gradually removed from me by declining health.”


Blog post courtesy of Erin Swanson