When smart people talk about death
There’s an article in last Saturday’s Globe and Mail about Oliver Sacks, and although the piece is mainly about the neurologist’s last book, The Mind’s Eye, the paper picked this quote as a title: “I now think of old age as a sort of disease.”
That’s quite a thing to say, and quite a thing to put as the title of an article, especially since Sacks doesn’t elaborate on this statement.
Maybe people at the paper aren’t aware that this statement is taken very seriously by an increasing number of people. Take Aubrey de Grey, for example, and his famous TED talk in which he describes aging as a disease, and explains that by nature a disease needs a cure.
When very smart people like Oliver Sacks and Aubrey de Grey say things like “aging is a disease and we need to cure it,” we can choose to see them as very smart people saying yet another smart, albeit controversial thing, or as smart people who are just being human and don’t want to die.
The real issue here, in my opinion, is not whether science will one day successfully fight aging, but rather to analyze how our society is coping with the idea of death. I’d rather hear about that in a TED talk or a Globe and Mail article.