The average human lifespan is increasing at a rate of around five hours a day. Meanwhile, "longevity startups" have become a thing. According to one aging expert, life extension is the biggest change confronting humanity in the 21st century. Are we prepared for this change? Do we even want it?
Photo Credit: Kamil Lehmann | CC0 1.0
These are the kinds of questions that are posed in Until, an award-winning short film directed, filmed, and edited by Barry J Gibb:
How much life is enough? What if society reached a point where individuals could essentially choose how long they lived? At what age would people decide to call it a day, meet their maker and embrace death? And, for those reaching towards immortality, what would they do with their infinite time?
This film is worth getting into for the Kids-Say-The-Darndest-Things moments at the beginning, but it's sprinkled throughout with provocative little gems like this one from Tim Kirkwood, former Director of Newcastle University's Institute for Ageing and Health:
[Life extension is] the biggest change confronting humanity in the 21st [Century] world; it's much bigger than climate change. Make no mistake, this is humanity's greatest success. It's not, as some people believe, an unfortunate experiment in human survival that has gone disastrously wrong – when you hear some people talk about The Burden of all these old people around you it feels like this is something we never wanted to happen. Well, of course we wanted it to happen, because people, actually, don't like dying.
Regarding Kirkwood's last point, it must be said that the most daunting thing faced by the elderly is not always death (cf. this stirring read, by an 85-year-old woman facing the onset of dementia, that will force you to confront your stance on end-of-life decisions. A word of warning, given justifiable concerns over copycat-suicide: The above link redirects to a suicide note by a woman who presents a thoroughly examine case for taking her own life before her dementia advances any further than it already has. It is appropriate, I think, given the context of this post. Those sensitive to or concerned about reading her note can still learn about her decision from this article in the Vancouver Sun.)