37 Essays on Infinite Lifespans   Aubrey de Grey AVOIDING INVOLUNTARY DEATH FROM ALL CAUSES When I entered biogerontology I saw nothing very wrong, nothing undignified, about death; what I hated was aging. I wanted to let people live the lives they choose; if someone wished to live fast and thereby knowingly risk dying young, I saw nothing wrong in a world in which that person prob- ably would indeed die young. In recent years, however, I have come to believe otherwise. The  principal  basis  for  my  change  of  heart  is  the  stark incompatibility of my previous position with the way people with a respectable remaining life expectancy and an apprecia- tion of it actually behave. Those most inclined to engage in life-threatening activities are the young, who have not fully grasped their own mortality and the underprivileged, whose remaining life expectancy is always modest on account of the lesser availability of medical care (especially preventative care), the higher incidence of violent crime, and so on. The same is, I believe, true at a global scale. Perhaps it is sheer luck that we are approaching the 60th anniversary of the last time that any western European nations were at war with each other or internally, an interval not previously seen since Roman times. But I strongly suspect that this arises from a sea change in the readiness of both policy-makers and their electorate to sacrifice large numbers of their own lives in the interests of national pride. The elimination of the death penalty through- out  Europe  and  the  increasingly  stringent  restrictions  on firearms ownership seen in the UK are examples of the same phenomenon as is the increasing public hostility to the habit of driving under the influence of alcohol. The same process is occurring throughout the industrialized world, albeit lagging somewhat behind Europe in several respects. It is for this sort of reason – simple extrapolation from the past century – that I predict that society will act to ensure that death from ‘extrinsic’