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Longevity in Literature, Science and Society

The Longevity in Literature, Science and Society discussion group meets the last Thursday of each month from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. 

Longevity—it's a demographic trend, a timeless human obsession, and one of the hottest areas for venture investment by Silicon Valley billionaires. Longevity experts predict that one third of babies born this year will celebrate their 100th birthday, and some will live to be 150. Scientists are pushing for even more dramatic gains in lifespan, racing to develop treatments that will slow or even reverse the aging process. But what impact would a quantum leap in longevity have on our society? It’s far from certain that a longer life span would make individuals happier, or increase the collective well-being. Developed countries are already struggling to support their aging populations. Is it wise to devote more resources to the quest to prolong life at the expense of addressing other social issues?

The Longevity in Literature, Science, and Society Discussion Group will explore multiple perspectives on longevity at each meeting. We will read classic and contemporary literature on aging and immortality together with articles on the science and social impact of longevity to consider the social, personal, and ethical implications of living well into our second century.

Suggestions for the Longevity group reading list are most welcome; future readings and discussion topics will be based on recommendations by the group.

Interested members should contact the group’s moderator Mary Cronin at 4Qcatalyst@gmail.com.

2017–2018 Schedule

  • Sept. 28: Jorge Luis Borges, “The Immortal” (short story in his Collected Fictions); Tad Friend, “The God Pill: Silicon Valley's Quest To Live Forever” (from The New Yorker, April 3, 2007); and Juan Enriquez, “What Will Humans Look Like in 100 Years?” (from TED Talks, November 2016)
  • Oct. 26: Don DeLillo, Zero K
  • Nov. 30
  • Recessing for December and January
  • Feb. 22
  • Mar. 29
  • Apr. 26
  • May 31
  • Jun. 28
  • Happy summer!