Challenges of discussing radical life extension and physical immortality, based on the Terror Management Theory. Thanks to Aubrey De Grey for sharing this fascinating study proposal with us, which would help explain why people often tend to be resistant to exploring radical life extension and physical immortality –they are too scared of dying to even contemplate it. Unfortunately, this fear also blocks people from making choices that could radically increase the quality and quantity of their lives.
The authors of the proposal are:
Terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) posits that awareness of death in an animal that wants desperately to live creates the potential for overwhelming terror, which would seriously undermine adaptive behavior and make life unlivable unless effectively managed. Given this profound desire for life and deeply rooted fear of death, it is paradoxical that “a large portion of the general public reject the idea that it may be a good thing to combat aging by medical means” (de Grey, cited in Moody et al., 2010). The proposed research will address the psychological processes that lead people to oppose efforts to radically extend the human lifespan by remediating the aging process.