By Ilia Stambler
This paintings explores the heritage 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 wakeful medical efforts. This paintings examines significant strains of life-extensionist concept, in chronological order, over the process the twentieth century, whereas concentrating on critical seminal works consultant of every development and interval, by way 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 fiscal styles. the subsequent nationwide contexts are thought of: France (Chapter One), Germany, Austria, Romania and Switzerland (Chapter Two), Russia (Chapter Three), the U.S. and united kingdom (Chapter Four). This paintings pursues 3 significant goals. the 1st is to try to spot and hint through the century numerous standard biomedical equipment whose improvement or functions have been linked to radical hopes for life-extension. past mere hopefulness, this paintings argues, the will to appreciably delay human existence usually constituted an impressive, notwithstanding rarely stated, motivation for biomedical learn and discovery. will probably be proven that novel fields of biomedical technological know-how usually had their foundation in far-reaching targets of radical lifestyles extension. The dynamic dichotomy among reductionist and holistic tools might be emphasised. the second one target is to enquire the ideological and socio-economic backgrounds of the proponents of radical lifestyles extension, on the way to make certain how ideology and monetary stipulations inspired the life-extensionists and the way it affected the technological know-how they pursued. For that goal, the biographies and key writings of a number of well-liked durability advocates are studied. Their particular ideological premises (attitudes towards faith and growth, pessimism or optimism concerning human perfectibility, and moral imperatives) in addition to their socioeconomic stipulations (the skill to behavior and disseminate study in a selected social or financial milieu) are tested in an try to discover what stipulations have inspired or discouraged life-extensionist suggestion. This study argues for the inherent adjustability of life-extensionism, as a selected kind of clinical company, to specific regular nation ideologies. The 3rd, extra basic, goal is to gather a wide sign in of life-extensionist works, and, according to that sign in, to set up universal features and pursuits definitive of life-extensionism, comparable to valuation of existence and fidelity, regardless of the entire variety of equipment and ideologies professed. This paintings will give a contribution to the knowledge of utmost expectancies linked to biomedical development which were scarcely investigated via biomedical heritage.
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Additional info for A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century
According to Voronoff, Death cannot be reconciled with, and the goal of human progress is to preserve life for as long as possible, by all means afforded by human ingenuity: Would it be possible to instill increased vitality into the weakened organs and exhausted tissues of a body worn out by age? 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.
Rejuvenation by Grafting – Serge Voronoff (1866-1951) Perhaps the most ardent follower of Brown-Séquard was Serge (Samuel) Abramovich Voronoff. Born in 1866 near Voronezh, Russia, a son of a wealthy Jewish manufacturer, he immigrated to Paris in 1884 at the age of 18 and became a naturalized French citizen in 1895. ”103) In Rejuvenation by Grafting (1925),104 Voronoff related the history of his method. While serving as a personal physician of the Egyptian viceroy Abbas II, in 1898 he observed the enfeeblement of eunuchs, which led him to believe in the invigorating and rejuvenating power of the sex glands.
Furthermore, the past fifty years have seen the failure of at least three highly publicized remedies for aging: at the turn of the century, there was the fermented-milk fad [Metchnikoff’s proposition]; in the ‘twenties, there were transplants of sex glands [Voronoff’s method]; and, in the ‘forties, there was the cytotoxic serum advocated by Bogomoletz. Yet, elsewhere Gruman acknowledged Metchnikoff’s crucial role in establishing gerontology as a scientific field. Bogomolets’s role in developing immunotherapy and in the institutionalization of gerontological research, and Voronoff’s role in developing hormone replacement therapy and transplantation, as well as their contribution to the philosophy of lifeextensionism, should also be acknowledged.
A History of Life-Extensionism in the Twentieth Century by Ilia Stambler