How many years?

by LFTW on June 2, 2010

in Conversation Guidelines

In Long for This World, Jonathan Weiner—winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize—investigates the scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs who are asking the question, Do we have to die?

Since 1900, the average life expectancy in developed countries has increased from 47 to 80—an increase that shows no signs of slowing. Meanwhile, some very intelligent, deeply informed (but maybe crazy) people think that before long, with advances in cellular biology, we could be capable of 500-year lives.

Weiner himself has a hard time believing that we’ll ever “cure” aging. But what if? What do we ever know for sure? Flying across oceans seemed preposterous once upon a time, too.

Which got us asking all sorts of people…

Friends, neighbors, coworkers, parents and their kids, kids and their friends, grandmothers and daughters, siblings… A documentary filmmaker named Abe Forman-Greenwald is asking strangers on the streets of LA. We’ll be posting many of the responses here in the weeks to come.

  • Will scientists find a cure for aging? Would you want them to?
  • If you could stay healthy (“biologically young, chronologically old”), how long would you want to live?
  • If you knew that you had an extra 50 years in front of you, how might you change your life?
  • How might people, or particular cultures, be different with longer life spans?
  • Would you wish a 500-year-life on your kids if you couldn’t have one, too?

What do you say?

Answer one or more questions
Responses can be as short as 10 or 20 words, but feel free to go longer.

or make stuff up
What might the world look like if we lived for hundreds of years? What even comes to mind? Write a short science-fiction, draw a picture, make a list, shoot a video, sing a song.

and then share.
Email us at . Or tweet a link (#LFTW). Selected contributions will be featured here on the site. We’ll also tweet about our favorites and post some on Long for This World’s Facebook page.

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