RE: Medical news --> life extension advocacy plans

From: Reason (
Date: Wed Jul 04 2001 - 16:11:53 MDT

---> L B, quoting Russell Blackford (and others, I think)

> > The fact that so many journos and other writers find
> > any view other than the
> > above almost inconceivable suggests that it is
> > probably common in the wider
> > community.
> Could it be that, because these authors and writers
> speak in this manner (which seems to coincide with
> most religious, nationalistic, and some pop-sci
> views),
> and that public opinion is so easily swayed by this
> sort of backhanded advertising, that the source is in
> the publishing industry? If the newspaper is very
> right-wing, like the Denver Post used to be (and
> probably still is, I don't read the paper anymore),
> whatever controlling entities would likely not allow
> antiaging articles unless they were againt it.

Absolutely -- it's a feedback loop. Which is why positive media coverage of
any pro-life extension, pro-technology group is so important. We have to
insert outselves into that loop, employ a little media judo and use the
existing flows of information around out culture to our benefit.

> > I think a lot of work needs to be done, getting out
> > the viewpoint that
> > radical life extension would be a good thing - the
> > same sort of work as many
> > of us are putting into defending stem cell research,
> > therapeutic cloning etc.
> And several people have pointed out what we have to
> fight--entrenched religions (domineering, patriarchal
> and violent), entrenched pop-sci stuff that says we
> are wasting money and should put it toward researching
> new ways to keep our suburban grass from growing so
> fast so we don't have to cut it as often, and mass
> media that has enough power to determine our next
> President.
> I would fight it all if I knew how. If we can figure
> it out, you've got my pledge to help.

None of the methodologies are rocket science, nothing new. It's all been
done before, being done now. AIDS research advocacy, antibiotech, pro- and
anti-nuclear power groups, LEF, etc, etc.

Form a non-profit to act as coordinating center for spawning grassroots
groups that are on-topic, acquire directors and supporters with media
knowledge, nonprofit experience and name recognition, and set off on the
years-long route of making yourself heard. It goes faster than it used to
now that we have an Internet.

A lot of work does need to be done. That the PAC is forming for technology
advocacy is good. That I'm creating the Longevity Meme for a certain type of
life-extension advocacy is good. But this is all at the stage of defining
goals and setting the foundation stones.

So, for the sake of argument, here's my plan:

1) get the non-profit paperwork going (with the subnote that I really hate
the way California organizes this) to the point where the organization can
purchase, accept money and put its name on things.

2) hack together a website with the basics: methods to donate money,
statements of purpose, section for linking to interesting news and articles,
robust bulletin boards, announcement. Not very hard if you know what you're
doing and are willing to thrown $500 in setup costs, a month of your time,
3% of all donations, and $100/yr at the problem.

3) build an online community centered around the bulletin boards. I won't
bore the list with all I've learned over the past couple of years about
building online communities -- it's 50% common sense, 20% technical stuff
and 30% things you pick up.
        a) the community has to have a clearly defined purpose from the get-go
        b) you need two to three charismatic and dedicated moderators/leaders
        c) a continual influx of new topics for discussion
        d) sources of new recruits and places to advertise the community
        e) technical reliability

4) the purpose of the online communities is initially steered towards
consciousness-raising activities with a bias towards those that have worked
for AIDS activism groups; things that:
        a) leave useful records and HOW-TOs behind so that they can be repeated
elsewhere with minimal setup
        b) that anyone can contribute to with time rather than money
        c) that give the contributers the feeling of accomplishment
        d) that are aimed at the general public rather than the choir

Examples include things such as pamphlet distributions, the ever-popular
petitioners on subways (a Berkeley thing -- there seems to be an entire
subculture of little old lady advocates-for-hire who dwell in BART
stations), online petitions of support, etc, etc.

5) later, the online community should serve as a resource and spawning
ground for local grassroots activism chapters.

6) the metric of success is the number and type of articles your activities
generate in the mainstream media.

7) once underway and I have something to show for my efforts, I approach the
"names" in the life extension circuit for directorship positions in the
non-profit. People like the existing Directors of LEF or the Extropy
Institute, scientists who work hard in the field, experienced non-profit
directors, etc.

8) With directors in place, then we start on a more serious fundraising
effort that will lead to enough money to be tacking low-tier paid
advertising. Stuff like bus posters, local radio, etc, etc.

9) At this point -- or perhaps earlier -- constructive relationships can be
set up with other non-profits and perhaps some for-profit concerns. But this
is all out a year at least.

I guess I should note that I don't want to anything political until I have
an established community; and political and legislative activism would get
it's own umbrella organization. It's a whole different ballgame, and
requires more lawyers.

So -- what can people do to help?

1) donate content: permission to post properly accredited essays/articles on
the necessity of life extension on the web site (as opposed to linking to
them). This is an implicit endorsement thing.

2) find me a friendly, helpful life-extensionist California lawyer who knows
non-profit law and is willing to put the time in for free; or at least
listen to my plans to see if (s)he thinks I'm on the ball. Given that I
don't know one, and no-one I know knows one, this would be a step up from
talking to the non-profit associations for legal advice.

3) assist on the technical side -- site building, etc.

4) participate in the community! A strong, vocal, dedicated initial nucleus
is essential.

5) be cheerleaders; advocate, get your friends to visit the site, tell
everyone you know.

After all -- your lives get extended too!

> > I don't know whether this list can really coordinate
> > such work. I doubt it.
> But "the list" is not all there is--there are others
> who have not gotten into a good search engine and
> looked for "antiaging research" or "Procaine
> Hydrochloride" or whatever. It's how I found you all.
> There are others who want to live, I know it, and want
> to step beyond the supposed everlasting life of a god
> that appears to love gold and money more than he loves
> us. Maybe these peole have given up, I don't know.

Mailing lists are, in general, a bad way to coordinate more than one
dedicated topic at a time. Mailing lists have ADD -- topics vanish from the
collective memory about three posts after they happen. Bulletin boards are a
better community center for multiple simulataneous discussions.

>From my point of view, this list -- and other online watering holes like
it -- are a resource. You find people, propagate general ideas; it's all
about ideas and people.


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