Will increased longevity will improve human nature?

Ed Park, MD #MondayMusings, dr ed park Leave a Comment

For our #Mondaymusings, I want to draw attention to a wonderful video by Harvard professor, David Sinclair. The video quotes George Bernard Shaw who references a theme in his work, “Back to Methuselah”

“…the very vulgar proposition is that you cannot change human nature is valid only on the assumption that you cannot change the duration of human life. If you can change that, then you can change political conduct.”


Dr. David Sinclair


Leon Kass, chairman of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, once rebutted Sinclair’s perspective with this common belief:

“The finitude of life is a blessing for every human individual. If our children are truly to flower, we must wither and give ground.”

So I would ask you, which perspective resonates with you? I believe that the argument that we should die for our kids is a teleological one that is founded in superstition.  But then again, if we all lived 900 years, I think that man would hoard wealth and just have a midlife crisis at 850 years. Just like a compression of mortality, the compression of existential angst would just be moved to the right. 

Maximum lifespan chart from "Telomere Timebombs"

Illustration of shifting maximum lifespans from my book, “Telomere Timebombs”

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