It is a strange world that we live in, in which we have to argue – actually debate with people who earnestly hold the opposing view – that more of us living for longer, in better health than is the case today, is a good outcome. That it is worth aiming for, a great good, a sign of progress, a cause worth devoting a life to.

That less suffering and less death in this world of ours would be a good outcome. How is this not self-evidently true in everyone's eyes? After all, you won't find many people out there arguing for the reinstatement of the shorter, less healthy lives that our ancestors lived. Few of the world's advocates are earnestly interested in rolling back the medical progress that has been achieved to date, with the aim of making more people ill, and reducing life expectancy.

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Every death is a tragedy, and aging and its consequences kill far, far more people than any other cause. More than all of the other causes lumped together, in fact. Dealing with the mechanisms of aging should at this point be the primary focus of the efforts of our species to improve our lot in the world. That it isn't demonstrates that we are not particularly rational, either individually or as a collective.

So why is it so hard to obtain support for straightforward progress in medicine, where that progress implies longer, healthier lives? The entire point of medicine is to evade death and illness, to improve health. This is also a primary rationale and outcome in numerous other sizable human industries, such as farming. Success in cancer research implies cancer patients becoming cancer survivors, living longer in good health. The same is true of any other well-supported and publicly approved field of medicine for age-related disease. And yet bring up the lengthening of human life as a direct goal, and suddenly there is opposition.

After watching this behavior in puzzlement for more than two decades, I'm still little closer to understanding it. At this point, I think it has much to do with a bias towards the status quo, rather than any of the details of the situation. It is the fear of change that leads to rejection of all change, whether or not it is beneficial.

Read more: How Long Can We Live?

Source: Fight Aging