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What is it like to be 572 year old?


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An informal talk I've given to 2 friends of mine in Cambridge on 2017/12/20. The psychological part is now turned into an actual study and under peer review and the philosophical part I will publish on the Open Lifespan blog.

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What is it like to be 572 year old?

  1. 1. What is it like to be 572 year old? Imagination of robustly healthspan extended selves Attila Csordas 2017/12/20
  2. 2. 0. Thought experiment #1 Let’s assume the following: - you live in a human body and continuous bodily with your current body - you’re going through continuous regenerative interventions to counteract different aging processes so    - instead of increased mortality with age, mortality rates are kept at a constant level   - no functional decline with age (no hearing loss, no vision loss, no muscle weakness, no cognitive decline …)    - no susceptibility increase to current age-associated diseases, the deadly quintet (CVD, respiratory, diabetes, neurodegenrative …), cancer might be an exception - can be specified but not necessary: others are going through same interventions and your social network stays intact (social recognition as PI condition) - looks roughly the same for everbody >25 as they are now or rejuvenated back to 40 for older
  3. 3. 0. Thought experiment #1 Please try to imagine yourself to be 572 year old and engaged in some free-chosen activity one Sunday afternoon. Please try to imagine yourself to be 572 year old and starting work the Monday after the Sunday. 3 minutes 
  4. 4. 0. Thought experiment #2 Jeanne Calment
  5. 5. 1. Evaluation A. Can you describe it? B. Inside or outside view? C. When?
  6. 6. 1. What kind of imagining? Desire included? I imagine myself at 572 having finally enough time undisturbed, unhurried to complete reading of all the works of Shakespeare.
  7. 7. 2. Problems: What is harder to imagine? 1. me at 572 environment at me being 572 (rest of the world)
  8. 8. 110yo 572yo 2. How about imagining with other big numbers? 456yo 312yo 207yo 172yo 140yo 572 456 312 207 170 140 110 Stephen
  9. 9. 2. Psychology psychometric task to measure future self-similarity
  10. 10. 2. Psychology: intertemporal choice saving behavior anf temporal discounting (caring less about future outcomes) conflicts between temporally distinc selves more similarity of current self with future self, more vivid imagining and when seen in a positive light -> more responsible toward future self
  11. 11. 2. Psychology: Turning I into me n=160, mean age=27, SD=9.49, imagine walking along a beach in near (1 week from now) or distant future (10 years), vantage point switches from I (first-person) to me (third person), not when imagining (simulating) their best friends, it stayed first-person, it’s not known where is the switch ~20 years
  12. 12. 2. Psychology: pro and contra of I & me- view I (first-person) me (third-person) concrete abstract affective forecasting leads to more error handling unpleasant events, like dying better identity split no future self is a stranger no corporeal feeling
  13. 13. 3. Comfort zone for self imagination: Principle of collective knowledge imagination usually restricted to being somebody actually existed and we have an account on /Easier to imagine being Jeanne Calment, even easier to imagine being Napoleon or Churchill at some important historical turning point/ shared/collective cultural experience or knowledge it’s easier to be me,
  14. 14. 3. 5 more imaginings staying within collective knowledge
  15. 15. #1 space jumps: landing/walking on Moon #2 space jumps: deep space
  16. 16. #3 Highlander
  17. 17. #4 Groundhog day no problems with being in the skin of ficitional characters comes out as very different person at the end
  18. 18. #5. Interstellar: Miller’s planet after traversing the wormhole, time dilation: each hour is seven years
  19. 19. 4. Personal identity issues settings of the scenario are such that most conditions of personal identities are assumed to be hold: - bodiliy continuity - psychological continuity - social recognition
  20. 20. 3. At 572 could I be still me? If de se imagination (from the inside) is not about imaging anything about the actual self, then imagine myself at 572 might not involve imagining my actual, current self at 572, instead it can be some other self perhaps?
  21. 21. 3. Four-dimensionalism (or perdurantism) persons are 4D objects with temporal parts too beside spatial parts on this account when I imagine myself at 572 I imagine myself being another temporal part of mine, or another person stage of mine
  22. 22. 3. Three-dimensionalism (or endurantism) persons are 3D objects with no temporal parts an object that exists at t is wholly present at t, with no parts existing at other times buddhist, presentism, actual world
  23. 23. 4. Can this imagining be used pro- or contra healthy lifespan extension?
  24. 24. 4. 2 types of scepticism
  25. 25. 4. Epistemological scepticism #1: it’s too problematic if study result is inconsistent, messy I don’t know, I cannot assess and access my future 572 -> this cannot be used for pro- or contra cognitive dissonance
  26. 26. 4. Epistemological scepticism #2: training is needed Most people don’t bother with thinking about it, so most people lack planning for a scenario like this: what if I were struck with an opportunity like this? -> the opinion of the majority is ambiguous and cannot be trusted elitism seems unacceptable though
  27. 27. 4 arguments if you practice imagining yourself to be 572 one day then you consider yourself potentially with extreme longevity and that modulates your current life with normal life expectancy it’s opposite imagining yourself on your last day 5. What’s the point of imagine yourself being 572 yo in the same body?
  28. 28. to turn yourself into a good person in this life: more moral responsibility scaling up your existence mentally might involve more understanding and patience towards other people more empathy, less ageism re-define old age now 5. #1 Moral Goody
  29. 29. Mark Baum: “What bothers me isn't that fraud is not nice or that fraud is mean. It's that, for 15,000 years, fraud and short-sighted thinking have never, ever worked. Not once. Eventually, people get caught, things go south.When the hell did we forget all that?” 5. #1 Moral Goody
  30. 30. existing on the same timescale as environmental issues like climate change might make us more responsible, chance to become the guardians of the galaxy 5. #2 Ecological Goody 100yo 572yo
  31. 31. example 5. #3 Self-actualisation, meaning
  32. 32. It might actually happen so better be prepped! 5. #4 Practical