Why Bezos, Musk, Page and other billionaires want to live forever

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Why Bezos, Musk, Page and other billionaires want to live forever

Almost two months after Jeff Bezos blasted off into space — debuting his rocket along with a new, plumper face — the Amazon honcho announced a new investment in Altos Labs, a startup dedicated to discovering how to reverse the aging process.

While non-Botoxed eyebrows were raised around the world, Bezos isn’t the only mega-wealthy man who wants to become Dorian Gray.

Eternal life has become the new space quest for the tech overlords.

“It’s a little bit juvenile,”Rami Kaminski, MD,Kaminski, who is the founder and director of The Institute of Integrative Psychiatry (TiiPS). “You may go to Mars, but you cannot go out into the solar system. [These wealthy men] are limited. What they’re trying to do is get away from the mortal coil. Every day when you look in the mirror you are reminded you are made of carbon. It is degrading and has to be recycled.”

Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder told Business Insider in 2012., “There are all these people who say that death is natural, it’s just part of life, and I think that nothing can be further from the truth,” noting that “death is a problem that can be solved.”

Also on the hunt for the Fountain of Youth is Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google. In 2013, Google founded Calico, a biology company with the stated goal of “solv[ing] death.” The company, according to its Web site, “Seek(s) to answer the most challenging biological questions of our time — how humans age and can we develop interventions to allow people. To live longer, healthier lives.”

The Amazon honcho announced a new investment in Altos Labs, a startup dedicated to discovering how to reverse the aging process.
The Amazon honcho announced a new investment in Altos Labs, a startup dedicated to discovering how to reverse the aging process.
The Washington Post via Getty Im

Keith Campbell, a psychology and social personality professor at the University of Georgia, told The Post: “I call this process ‘rebuilding Frankenstein’ … [The desire] comes from a radical misunderstanding of the human condition, [where] materialism and behaviorism are mashed up with AI. That coupled with ego and fear and lots of money leads to the search.”

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Serge Faguet — founder of the video platform TokBox and the Russian booking Web site Ostrovok — has spent more than $250,000 on “biohacking.” He’s also a fan of microdosing with MDMA, telling The Guardian it’s all helped him become “calmer, thinner, extroverted, healthier and happier. Oh, and it’s increased his sex drive, helping him “(pick) up girls”.

Meanwhile, let’s not leave out Tesla’s Elon Musk, who doesn’t care about his body — he simply wants his thoughts and brain to live forever via his new company, Neuralink.

The quest for the Fountain of Youth is not a new one. Ponce De León never found it. In modern times, you have men like Peter Nygard. The disgraced fashion exec built a bio science lab in the Bahamas as part of a scheme to gather stem cells from the aborted fetuses of women he’d impregnate — all to elongate his life. (He’s now in jail in Canada, facing trial for sex trafficking and racketeering, amid several sexual assault allegations.)

Why are so many powerful men eager to, seemingly, live forever?

 Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, helped the company found Calico, a biology company with the stated goal of “solv[ing] death.”
Larry Page, one of the co-founders of Google, helped the company found Calico, a biology company with the stated goal of “solv[ing] death.”
Getty Images

“Death is the great equalizer … the only thing that can bring [these men] down is death and you can not do anything about it. Unless you can,” Kaminski told the Post. “They are literally scared to die and  immortality is the ultimate defense.

“They want to defeat the only thing they cannot. They have the means and the power. When you have limitless amount of money you start pushing the boundaries. For the super billionaires, it’s not surprising they are choosing the ultimate limit.”

And because these men have done the seemingly impossible in their work lives, and are treated like demigods on social media, their ego has morphed into a Dr. Frankenstein-esque manner, where they think they can now control the one thing man has never been able to control: death.

“People with big egos think they matter more than their organizations,” Campbell said. “They think that, if they were gone, the world would fall apart because they are smarter than others and they were put here for a reason. Because they’ve been so successful in putting their will on reality they think, ‘Why can’t I beat [death]? I can beat anything.’”

This feeling of being able to master the universe and manipulate all in their realm leads to a very real God Complex.

“When an individual is exposed to excess wealth and power over an extended period of time it can alter their entire worldview; (they believe) they are special and better than others because of their ability to amass and hoard money,” Dr. Bethany Cook, a licensed psychotherapist told the Post. “If one has vast amounts of money and power, along with a God complex, it’s easy to see why they may invest in discovering the secret to eternal life; they wish to retain their power and wealth for as long as possible.”

The psychologists and psychiatrists The Post spoke to also noted that while these men think they are masters of the universe, their actions suggest immaturity and a fear of the inevitable.

“Our old elites had some life experiences, like going to war or even doing sales, and were not psychological children like this new crowd,” said Campbell. “These aren’t spiritually grounded individuals. They may have a high IQ, but they are linear and very detached from reality.”

And while some see the billionaires’ continued quest for everlasting life as interesting, Campbell finds it worrisome.

“I’m utterly terrified of people who think they know better than everyone else and who have power and aren’t afraid to use it,” he said. “That’s what a tyrant is. People who think they can control the world, who have power without humility makes me nervous.”

And once the Fountain of Youth is discovered, how do we stop it? Already scientists are predicting humans can live to 130 years and that it’s not improbable to think we could live forever — and the consequences have already been dire. This week, 23 more species, including the ivory-billed woodpecker, were declared extinct due to human activity. What will happen if we all live forever and keep reproducing?

Kaminski warns, “Maybe there will be a breakthrough [for longevity] but then what do we do with humanity? If they had a pill to stop everyone from dying, people would be crawling all over the planet — there wouldn’t be a place to sit. The problem is the defiance of nature.

“That, thus far, has never really worked out for humans.”

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