Only I doubt that because I don't see how you can de-experience them psychologically to undo the damage from having all those sterile sexual encounters the first time around.

be careful: there's a decent amount of variance in how people respond to things. Maybe some people are "damaged" by having a lot of non-procreative sexual encounters. Maybe this applies particularly to women. But I highly doubt that it's a uniform effect.

So, yes, I do find it plausible that most women probably lack the inner resources to handle radical life extension, given the limited nature of their lives under current circumstances.

Do you seriously think there'll be a big gender difference? BTW I am definitely not particularly politically correct with respect to gender politics and I've read the blogs you mention, but as a rationalist I am not sure you're on sound footing here. Yes, men and women are different (on average!) psychologically.

But if women didn't physically age and men didn't physically age why would the average woman deal with immortality by committing suicide more quickly than the average man? Is there any contemporary analogue of a woman having a family and suddenly being biologically 18 again that we can generalize from? I suspect you could look at women from affluent backgrounds who got pregnant at a young age and see what they did in, e.g. their late 30s. Sill, that's considered "old" by society, and there is a decent amount of sexism and sexist taboo which kind of shoehorns such people in some ways, though this is decreasing.

On the other side men in their 40s and 50s definitely seem to want to be 20 again. We call it a mid-life crisis!

Basically I think you are extrapolating into fairly unknown territory, and what I do think we can extrapolate seems to point to just a lot of variability based on personality, life-philosophy, etc.

Though I suppose the fact that "mid life crisis/buying a sports car and a leather jacket" is associated with men does count as evidence in favour of your hypothesis.

Why people want to die

by PhilGoetz 1 min read24th Aug 2015175 comments


Over and over again, someones says that living for a very long time would be a bad thing, and then some futurist tries to persuade them that their reasoning is faulty.  They tell them that they think that way now, but they'll change their minds when they're older.

The thing is, I don't see that happening.  I live in a small town full of retirees, and those few I've asked about it are waiting for death peacefully.  When I ask them about their ambitions, or things they still want to accomplish, they have none.

Suppose that people mean what they say.  Why do they want to die?

The reason is obvious if you just watch them for a few years.  They have nothing to live for.  They have a great deal of free time, but nothing they really want to do with it.  They like visiting friends and relatives, but only so often.  The women knit.  The men do yardwork.  They both work in their gardens and watch a lot of TV.  This observational sample is much larger than the few people I've asked.

You folks on LessWrong have lots of interests.  You want to understand math, write stories, create start-ups, optimize your lives.

But face it.  You're weird.  And I mean that in a bad way, evolutionarily speaking.  How many of you have kids?

Damn few.  The LessWrong mindset is maladaptive.  It leads to leaving behind fewer offspring.  A well-adapted human cares above all about sex, love, family, and friends, and isn't distracted from those things by an ADD-ish fascination with type theory.  That's why they probably have more sex, love, and friends than you do.

Most people do not have open-ended interests the way LWers do.  If they have a hobby, it's something repetitive like fly-fishing or needlepoint that doesn't provide an endless frontier for discovery.  They marry, they have kids, the kids grow up, they have grandkids, and they're done.  If you ask them what the best thing in their life was, they'll say it was having kids.  If you ask if they'd do it again, they'll laugh and say absolutely not.

We could get into a long argument over the evolution of aging, and whether people would remain eager to have kids if they remained physically young.  Maybe some would.  Some would not, though.  Many young parents are looking forward to the day their kids leave.

A lot of interests in life are passing.  You fall in love with a hobby, you learn it, you do it for a few years, then you get tired of it.  The things that were fascinating when you were six hold no magic for you now.  Pick up a toy soldier and try to play with it.  You can't.  Skateboarding seems awesome for about five years, and then everyone except Tony Hawk gets tired of it.

Having kids might be like that for some people.  Thing is, it's literally the only thing humans have evolved to be interested in.  Once you're tired of that, you're done.  If some of you want to keep going, that's an accidental by-product of evolution.  And there was no evolutionary pressure to exempt it from the common waning of interest with long exposure.

The way to convert deathists isn't to argue with them, but to get them interested in something.  Twist them the way you're twisted.