The relentless carnage
Imagine that this disease is rather like AIDS. Given enough time, it kills every single person who suffers from it. It kills them all very slowly and rather horribly, by a gradual process of wasting and degeneration -- weakening the body, dulling the senses, enfeebling every organ, enervating the sex drive, sometimes even deadening the memory and the capacity for reason, so much so that identity itself begins to fade as death approaches.
Now imagine that every person on Earth has this disease.
Imagine that there is no cure. As with AIDS, science has found ways to alleviate some of the symptoms and to slow down the degeneration a little, but that is all. Only a small but growing number of visionary scientists even dare declare that a cure is possible.
Imagine that among the religious and the tradition-minded, there are many who believe that this disease is good -- who actually oppose all efforts to find a cure. The relentless toll of misery and death means nothing to them. The disease must be preserved, must be allowed to continue to torment and kill, for ever and ever.
This is the situation we are actually in right now.
The disease is called aging.
When the clock strikes midnight tonight, it will mark the end of yet another day during which approximately a hundred thousand human beings worldwide died of old age. The same thing happened yesterday -- another hundred thousand people died of old age yesterday, too. The same thing will happen tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and so on. A hundred thousand a day. That's equivalent to a small city being wiped out every day. It's a greater toll than September 11 every hour.
We have come to accept this terrible situation as normal because for the whole history of our species there was nothing we could do about it, any more than we could do anything about smallpox or the Black Death. The aging process was beyond our understanding -- indeed, it was far beyond the range of things we were mentally equipped to question. It was simply a given, an immutable fact of existence.
We are on the verge of being able to change that.
There is no greater moral imperative for modern science and technology, or for the governments which to a great extent fund and guide scientific research.
Every objection, every obstruction and delay, every vile law discouraging stem-cell research written by ignorant legislators brainwashed by Bronze Age religious taboos -- all of it prolongs the reign of this merciless horror that scythes down a hundred thousand of us every day.
A hundred thousand a day. Tens of millions every year. All of them cast into oblivion, never again to experience anything, to learn anything, to think anything.
I am infuriated with those "bio-ethicists" who actually want this relentless carnage to continue forever because they believe that a slow, ghastly, meaningless death is somehow an integral part of being human. I am frustrated with the millions who actually take a kind of pride in their bovine passivity in the face of the doom that slowly but surely creeps toward them, even when their eyes are opened to the possibility that a massive onslaught of money and brainpower could liberate our species forever from this horror in as little as twenty years.
I don't want to die. I don't see any reason why I should die. I don't see any reason why you should die either.
We can do it! But we as a species need to wake up both to the reality of our situation and to the fact of our power, now, to do something about it.
Like billions of others you are in a trance. And if you stay that way, eventually it will kill you.