Today several biotech companies, fueled by Silicon Valley fortunes, are devoted to “life extension” — or as some put it, to solving “the problem of death.”
.. As the longevity entrepreneur Arram Sabeti told The New Yorker: “The proposition that we can live forever is obvious. It doesn’t violate the laws of physics, so we can achieve it.”
Of all the slightly creepy aspects to this trend, the strangest is the least noticed: The people publicly championing life extension are mainly men.
.. these women are focused on curbing age-related pathology, a concept about as controversial as cancer research. They do not appear thirsty for the Fountain of Youth.
.. But now, as powerful men have begun falling like dominoes under accusations of sexual assault, that video with its young women clustered around an elderly multimillionaire has haunted me anew.
.. What has remained unsaid, because it is so obvious, is what would make someone so shameless in the first place: These people believed they were invincible.
They saw their own bodies as entirely theirs and other people’s bodies as at their disposal
.. Historically, this is a mistake that few women would make, because until very recently, the physical experience of being a woman entailed exactly the opposite
.. it’s even more recently that men have been welcome, or even expected, to provide physical care for vulnerable people.
.. Only for a nanosecond of human history have men even slightly shared what was once exclusively a woman’s burden: the relentless daily labor of caring for another person’s body, the life-preserving work of cleaning feces and vomit, the constant cycle of cooking and feeding and blanketing and bathing, whether for the young, the ill or the old.
.. has enormous potential to change a person. It forces one to constantly imagine the world from someone else’s point of view
.. But if we really hope to create an equal society, we will also need more men to care for the powerless — more women in the boardroom, but also more men at the nurses’ station and the changing table immersed in daily physical empathy
.. Death is the ultimate vulnerability.