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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Has 'life extension' arrived?

The SMI2LE formula endorsed by Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson calls for space migration, intelligence increase and life extension.

You could argue that space migration is on the way, given that space exploration is becoming cheaper with the SpaceX reusable rockets and all of the new advances in AI would seem to argue for increased intelligence (even if following politics convinces you people actually are getting dumber.) But where is life extension?

That's arriving, too, according to Lifespan: Why We Age—And Why We Don’t Have To by Harvard Medical School professor David Sinclair. 

Here is a summary from Richard Hanania: "Sinclair, a professor at Harvard Medical School, all but guarantees the reader immortality. Again and again, he tells you the end of aging is coming. And not only that, it’s coming soon. And not only will we stop aging, but we’re probably going to reverse aging any second now, if we can’t already."

Hanania's piece is mostly about how he plans to apply Sinclair's advice, but Scott Alexander has written a long book review. 


Ronald Pottol said...

I disagree. I think we can do a lot to increase our health span, but I don't think we are living past 120 any time soon. Dr Peter Attia's new book, Outlive, is more plausible. Cute example, caloric restriction helps short lived creatures put off reproduction until times are better, but don't seem to help long lived creatures much.

Brian Dean said...

Very interesting. I've just purchased Sinclair's book on the strength of the article you linked to. The description of Sinclair's dad being transformed from 70+ yr-old at death's door to a mountain-hopping superman after taking metformin and NMN made me want to try those supplements, but also made me amused and sceptical. Double the size of your muscles without the need for weights - get Charles Atlas's dynamic tension system now! (Is that what Jeff Bezos has been using?).

Intermittent fasting seems to come up a lot in this literature - as it does here. Hannania says fasting makes him angry and less productive, which appears to be a common problem. I've found that so-called "Bulletproof" intermittent fasting bypasses those particular problems and their causes while retaining the immediate benefits and increasing my cognitive "clarity".

Another problem with the wonder-drug recommendations, which Hannania mentions in passing - you don't know if the investment pays off until it does (or doesn't) in the fairly distant future, by which time you've spent a ton of money (not all of us are as flush as Bezos). Maybe that's why the authors write the Netflix-like fantasy descriptions of immediate and amazing physical transformations. Seriously, though, I hope real breakthroughs exist among the various recommendations, and I imagine they do.

Hugh said...

I realize every body is different, but for me, a highly-regimented daily routine consisting of a vegan diet, working out extremely hard, meditation, pranayama, 100 oz of water consumption, 7-8 hours of sleep, cold water immersion, and intermittent fasting (11 - 6:30) have me in the best shape of my life. And I've always been in good physical shape, so that's saying something. I get sick very infrequently, and bounce back immediately when I do. I also feel more mentally grounded than ever. I say all that not to boast, but as one man's example of what has worked without a lot of forethought. I'm opposed to supplements at all. I take some. I just worry a bit about a person who has the desire to get healthy, but thinks a pill is going to get them on the right track. I'm a firm believer that dogged exercise, followed by diet, come first and second. Everything else seems like extra credit.

Some other ingredients that certainly don't hurt: an autonomous, low-stress job, lots of leisure time, good genes (I think?), regular cannabis & occasional psychedelics, and a good bit of outdoor time.

I'll be bummed if I don't live to 100, but even if I don't, the deepening of life all of this has provided has been worth it. I can't wait to see what other "weird" elements get added in in the years to come.

Again, it just works for me. Who knows what another man's cup of tea will be. Regardless, I'm really psyched by the relatively recent upsurge in people's focus on wellness.