I’ve had a lot of positive responses to my recent blog post about the SENS Foundation, but I’m slightly worried that I may have failed in my attempt to emphasise that this, isn’t about reprioritization, renunciation, or disenfranchisement. It is about recognizing the value of all our stakeholders, and of all the consequences of our activities.
There’s a very thoughtful post over at Fight Aging, by Reason, in which it is remarked that:
A second important point in Marr’s post concerns moving beyond one’s origins. It’s no great secret that the transhumanist and futurist community did more than their share in helping to make the Methuselah Foundation and SENS viable and ongoing concerns. But it is traditional in every movement’s growth to marginalize the smaller groups and subcultures that helped it to get off the ground – we should look on it as a sign of progress when it happens. Changes start at the fringe, and as they move inward their rebellious origins are buried, one by one, and everyone pretends that they never existed.
For me, and the Foundation, our growth is extremely important, but it has more to do with widening our support base, inclusively, than it has to do with shifting it from one group to another. We recognize that the transhumanist and futurist communities not only did more than their fair share, but continue to do so.
At the same time, there are other communities to which we believe rejuvenation biotechnologies have a great deal to offer, and from which we would like to engender support. The ‘approachability’ of the Foundation, for these communities, has been somewhat restricted by the narratives describing our work and its impact, in the past. Finding the right language to explain our work, and acknowledging the full breadth of its impact, is key to our growth and our ability to deliver.
In that sense we are moving beyond [our] origins, but that movement doesn’t entail our leaving anyone behind. It’s true that I wrote that SENS Foundation, as an organization, isn’t transhumanist, or futurist. However, that the organization is not those things – that it doesn’t define itself in those terms any more than other (bio)medical charities – does not mean that it doesn’t seek and enjoy the support of individuals who do identify with those terms.
For me, the word which best describes our supporters, and the individuals and groups who have done, and continue to do, so much to help our mission, is visionary. They are the people who have seen the potential of rejuvenation biotechnology, from its earliest days, and they are the people who we hope will share that vision with others, in the broader terms which are necessary. If my previous post lacked the sense of gratitude which they deserve, I hope this post corrects that.
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