TED Conversations

Emma Heikkinen

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Is is ethical to try to lengthen the human lifespan?

My concerns about the ethics of trying to lengthen the human lifespan are partly related to overpopulation, poverty and famine and also the demographic changes it would cause. We've just hit 7 billion people on this planet and continue to reproduce.

My other aspect on the ethical side of this is that isn't is a bit selfish to try to live longer and longer? Are the medical and genetic engineering projects to lengthen the human lifespan the modern search for Philosopher's stone and the ultimate sign of our fear of death?

Please share your thoughts and knowledge and ask more questions!


Closing Statement from Emma Heikkinen

Thanks for everyone for contributing to this conversation! I could not be happier that my first TED conversation got replies and actually gave me some very fruitful thoughts also. Happy holidays everyone!

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    Dec 19 2011: Don't be offended by what I said in my previous comment Krisztian, what I was merely trying to convey to you was how human beings have begun to perceive death as being a significant issue with their lives. In the end, we must all try and understand what the world is, right? I hope you agree with that. Some of our purposes here may be different, we seek many different things in this world, but in the end, be it immoral or moral actions, we seek to understand who we are through those very actions. I'm not talking from a global perspective, I'm talking from the point of view that some people are ignorant to many things in this life and they need to change. And when you said that it was irrelevant fearing death in this conversation, please Krisztian enlighten me as to why people would even try to lengthen their lifespan if they didn't fear death at all? What I was trying to convey to you was this mass hysteria that people have concerning death. It is a natural part of life, as Emma has stated. It is part of a natural process of nature. We die and we let go. I won't question other people's beliefs in this regard, but I would like to question them, ask them why they are so afraid. Is it the social atmosphere, the constant religious upbringing that speaks of Hell and Heaven or is it some other inherent psychological issue concerning materialism. All I'm trying to say is that, people should learn to let go than accumulating anxiety, money, thought, discussion and unnecessary health issues into lengthening one's lifespan.
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      Dec 19 2011: i was not offended, but now i am. you intentionally ignore what i'm saying? this conversation is NOT about death and its perception. this topic is about consequences of lengthening it. motivations simply does not matter. we have quite a lot religious topics around, so it won't hurt if you open your own, and discuss why death is a good thing. you can link the aubrey de grey talk as related. i won't participate in that conversation, because i don't have a hard opinion on the matter. but others might be interested. here, it is simply irrelevant. you have the right to put your opinion here of course, but please don't pretend that it is connected to my views in any meaningful way. it is not.

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