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Will you take a pill that adds 500 years to your life?

I have a pill that will add 500 years to your life (OK, I don’t really, please don’t email me asking for one).  But let’s say I did.  Would you take it?  Yes or no?  You have 1 minute to decide, then answer the poll above.  If you have any conditions to your vote, post them in the comments. 

Why ask this question?  The question is – to what extent should we be focusing our research dollars on therapies that extend life.  Of course, the question is not this simple – 500 years at what quality, at what cost, where will the centenarians live?  But the basics of the question rest on this primary question, not the details.  Or maybe you want to disagree. 

It’s up to you.

You still have 30 seconds.

by: Alex Smith

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Among other things, it would depend on whether I had seen the natural history of anyone else who had taken the pill . . . What was their quality of life like living 500 years? Were they functionally able to contribute in meaningful ways? Was it isolating to live so much longer than other people? How many other people are likely to have access to and take this pill? Also, I'd want to be able to reverse my decision (e.g. euthanasia) if living so long turned out to be too physically or emotionally painful.

  2. Not enough info in question. Would entirely depend on whether I have lifelong subscription to

  3. Hmmm… can I get a pill for my loved ones as well? would hate to do it alone and watch them all die when I got to live "forever". I would also want the "opt out" pill for the emotional distress I anticipate would happen after about 200 years…

  4. Depends: would our 500 year trajectory be like MacLeod's (the Immortal in Highlander–swashbuckling for centuries) or more like Daruma (didn't live to be 500, but was very wise and functionally disabled at the end of life)? Would 500 be the new 30? or would 500 simply be the 500?

  5. No thank you. That would be way too long for me. My soul will be ready for its next exciting adventure long before then. I'm a strong proponent of quality of life over quantity. I even wrote a 5 page Addendum to my Five Wishes Advance Directive to further clarify my wishes. Its title? "Morphine, Ice Cream, and Chocolate: My End Of Life Wishes."

  6. Depends on what happens to the other 6 billion people on earth. Do we have the resources for all of them or will my taking this pill even further separate the haves from the have nots. I think I'm already selfish enough – can't thinkright now about even taking more especially after watching CNN tonight.

  7. Sure, all the usual caveats – e.g., like Helen suggested, the years after 100 wouldn't be misery; this pill would slow down 'aging.' And, of course, I'd want others to get to take it, not just me… though, if it were offered to just me, I might well respond like my doctor did when I asked him if he'd take such a pill. His (instant) reply: "in a heartbeat!" If life is 'good' (in my view) today and the prospect is good for tomorrow, why would I not want to live another day, and yet another?

  8. I'd say no, because I have no idea what a 500-year life cycle would be like. 80 years makes sense to me: you're born, learn basic senses, go to school, try to figure out who you are, get married, have kids, maybe become more comfortable in who you are, work on your career, enjoy yourself, travel, retire, reflect on your life.

    What would the life cycle be if we lived for 500 years? Would we reflect for 400+ more years? I don't know how the natural evolution of a life would occur if it stretched out that long. I think I'd be confused.. or bored.

  9. If my husband could take the pill, too, and I could have 500 more years with him you bet I would.

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