By Ilia Stambler
This paintings explores the historical past of life-extensionism within the twentieth century. The time period life-extensionism is intended to explain an ideological approach professing that radical existence extension (far past the current lifestyles expectancy) is fascinating on moral grounds and is feasible to accomplish via unsleeping medical efforts. This paintings examines significant traces of life-extensionist inspiration, in chronological order, over the process the twentieth century, whereas targeting imperative seminal works consultant of every development and interval, by means of such authors as Elie Metchnikoff, Bernard Shaw, Alexis Carrel, Alexander Bogomolets and others. Their works are thought of of their social and highbrow context, as components of a bigger modern social and ideological discourse, linked to significant political upheavals and social and financial styles. the subsequent nationwide contexts are thought of: France (Chapter One), Germany, Austria, Romania and Switzerland (Chapter Two), Russia (Chapter Three), the united states and united kingdom (Chapter Four). This paintings pursues 3 significant goals. the 1st is to aim to spot and hint in the course of the century numerous known biomedical equipment whose improvement or purposes have been linked to radical hopes for life-extension. past mere hopefulness, this paintings argues, the will to significantly delay human existence usually constituted a powerful, notwithstanding not often said, motivation for biomedical examine and discovery. will probably be proven that novel fields of biomedical technology frequently had their beginning in far-reaching ambitions of radical lifestyles extension. The dynamic dichotomy among reductionist and holistic equipment should be emphasised. the second one target is to enquire the ideological and socio-economic backgrounds of the proponents of radical existence extension, in an effort to be certain how ideology and fiscal stipulations inspired the life-extensionists and the way it affected the technology they pursued. For that function, the biographies and key writings of numerous trendy sturdiness advocates are studied. Their particular ideological premises (attitudes towards faith and growth, pessimism or optimism relating to human perfectibility, and moral imperatives) in addition to their socioeconomic stipulations (the skill to behavior and disseminate learn in a particular social or monetary milieu) are tested in an try to discover what stipulations have inspired or discouraged life-extensionist notion. This learn argues for the inherent adjustability of life-extensionism, as a selected kind of medical firm, to specific general country ideologies. The 3rd, extra basic, goal is to assemble a large sign up of life-extensionist works, and, in keeping with that check in, to set up universal qualities and targets definitive of life-extensionism, resembling valuation of existence and fidelity, regardless of the entire variety of equipment and ideologies professed. This paintings will give a contribution to the certainty of utmost expectancies linked to biomedical growth which were scarcely investigated through biomedical heritage.
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Extra info for A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
According to Albert Dastre (1844-1917), Claude Bernard’s pupil and Chair of the Department of General Physiology at the Sorbonne, reductionism opens the possibility to profoundly manipulate life’s components, since biology “is a particular chemistry, but chemistry none the less. ”145 And according to Metchnikoff’s pupil at Institut Pasteur, Sergey Metalnikov (1870-1946), senescence and death arise from a disharmony of differentiated body components. ) The basic unit of life, the cell, however was seen as potentially immortal.
126 The latter book was written in Zurich, where Steinach, having Jewish ancestry, had to remain until his death after Austria’s annexation in 1938. The technique emerged from Steinach’s animal experiments, first reported in 1910, that determined the role of sex gland secretions for the appearance of secondary male and female sex characteristics. 128 Yet, insofar as Steinach was also interested in the duration of the sex hormone action, his experiments expanded into attempts to prolong this action by surgery.
Up to quite recent years scientists did not believe that this question could be answered in the affirmative, and they always advised poor humanity, thirsting with a desire to live, that it should accept old age without hope and die without revolt. This is the law of Nature, we were told, and we must submit to it. … Our minds cannot accept this verdict any longer. All human progress is due to the Triumph of Man over Nature…To subdue Nature is to ensure the progress of Humanity. 109 The ideal towards which all our efforts are tending is to preserve life with the plentitude of its physical and intellectual manifestations, to abridge the duration of old age, to put off Death to the last limit.
A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century by Ilia Stambler