Love of Life? or Fear of Death?

I realize that a large part of my interest in longevity science derives from fear of death.  To the extent that chronic fear is controlling me and perturbing my life experience, the dissolution of the fear of death is a worthy goal, quite independent of longevity.


Longevity and Intention

A few years ago, I brought immortality into my meditation practice.  Toward the end of my morning meditation, I set my intention on immortality, as a kind of affirmation or mental suggestion, broadcast internally through my brain and body, and externally to Anyone Out There Who Is Listening.  This practice shed a new light on my lifelong fear of death, and changed the way I think about life extension.

(It’s rarely acknowledged in our community that psycho-social factors are as strong as influence on longevity as anything that epidemiology has looked at [ref, ref, ref].  People who are connected and engaged and purposeful enjoy a longevity dividend as large as non-smokers have over smokers.  Psychological benefits of meditation are robust, though this is soft data.  Intriguingly, meditation has been linked to telomerase activity, and it is my sense that this is the tip of the iceberg for meditation benefits.)

Even if we find a scientific cure for aging in my lifetime, even if I get the full benefit and return to the body of a 26-year-old, this is a far cry from immortality.  Compared to a 90-year-old, the body of a 26-year-old is hardy and resilient; but on the scale of geologic or evolutionary time, no human body stands a chance.  The mortality rate for young men dips to a low of 1/1000 per year, which translates to an average life span of 1,000 years if aging is completely cured*.  Improvements in safety standards, better control of violence against self and violence against others may extend our lives to a few thousand years.  I’m all for it.  I dearly want to know what’s coming down the pike in the next millenium.

The accelerated rush from the Enlightenment, through the Industrial Revolution, the population explosion and the Information Age, leading to some kind of Singularity – this has been the deep story in which we are embedded during the only lifetime we have known.  One way or another, that story has to be resolved in the next 1,000 years, which makes this a stunningly awesome** time to be alive.

But none of us get to find out whether humankind has as long a run on this planet as the dinosaurs did.  Sooner or later, we will face death.



An insight arising from my meditation practice is that my passion for longevity is driven by fear of the Abyss.  A femtosecond later comes the realization that, in this context, pursuit of longevity is a diversion from fear, not addressing the Abyss itself.  In what ways is my life constrained and diminished by subconscious fear?  Do I want to carry around a fear of the Eternal Void for the next thousand years?

Introspection tells me that fear suffuses my subconscious process, that the fabric of my experience from moment to moment is affected by fear in ways I can hardly be aware of, and that avoidance of fear contributes to every great and small choice that I make, also below the level of consciousness.


Childhood roots

As a young boy, I used to experience primal terror whenever I thought of an eternity of nothingness.  I told no one about this, but learned to avoid it any way I could because I hated the feeling.  I would solve a math problem that my Dad gave me to take to bed, to help me deal with the Dark that reminded me of the Void.  Later I learned to fantasize aout love.  There was a girl in my kindergarten class named Michelle.  This was forty years before I ever heard of Marianne Williamson (“The opposite of love is fear.”).

Anxiety.  Depression.  Cortisol. Tension.   Chronic stress. These are all names for sublimated fear of death that comes out to taint my experience of life in so many ways.

Terror is a mushroom that grows from the pit of the belly to fill the chest.  The apprehensive thoughts are often secondary to the fear.  Fear invents its own reasons.  We think that the thing we fear is the cause of the fear.  But so often the thing we fear is rationalized in the mind after the emotional fact.  My hypothesis is that a source of my chronic fear is anticipation of the Great Void, unresolved since childhood.

Fear is intensely unpleasant, and we go to great lengths, conscious and unconscious, to avoid fear.  This is not about making sound choices for safety.  Most often, what we we are avoiding is the sensation of fear, not the thing feared.  Think “distraction”.

I find that intense exercise provides temporary relief from the sensation of fear, and perhaps a glimpse into what life might feel like in the absense of fear.


Reality and the Void

For those of us who reject religious mythology in favor of Science, there is a presumption that we will experience nothing after we are dead. This “eternity of nothingness’ is what Western Brights believe, as Christians believe in Heaven and Hindus believe in reincarnation.  Consciousness is what happens when a critical mass of computation comes together, sufficient for self-reference. Thus “The mind is what the brain does.

This belief is an article of faith, not science but Scientism.

Scientific results suggestive that the experience of awareness is wider than the physical brain

But just as there is obvious evidence linking our consciousness to neural activity in our brains, there is also scientifically credible evidence that consciousness is not wholly within the brain.

  • Animal navigation – homing pigeons, salmon, Monarch butterflies, dog and cat stories – how do they do it?
  • Stories of near death experiences have been collected by some Western doctors, but they are apparently much more common in cultures that support beliefs about an afterlife.

  • Michael Newton collects stories from his psychotherapy practice of people who remember past lives.

  • Caterpillars’ bodies, including nerves and ganglia, are dissolved in the crysalis and regrown in the butterfly[ref].  And yet, caterpillars can be trained in a memory task, and the butterflies they become retain the memory [ref].

  • Stevenson’s book on reincarnation

  • Evidence of telepathy, psychokinesis and precognition in controlled experiments by trained and reputable scientists

Perhaps consciousness is primary.  Consciousness is sewn through matter.  Life is consciousness playng with matter, making a physical home for itself.  Some aspects of consciousness are shared, delocalized, communal.
Perhaps. But these things feel to me like a grasping for loopholes, and not a deep cure for fear.  They function as a diversion, the way I used math problems and love as a small child.

I don’t have a deep cure for fear, but I am aware of times in my life when fear seems to be in remission, and I relish them.  Sometimes they are associated with meditation, sometimes with long days spent away from civilization, sometimes while fasting I can just sit and feel perfectly content with All Just As It Is, and sometimes there is lucidity and freedom from fear comes to me as a gift, I know not whence.
The bottom line

I am adding “freedom from fear” to my mantras for morning meditation.  Also – what was that thing that they say is the opposite of fear?



* Of course, without aging, this is a different kind of “life span” – it is an average over a much wider set of probabilities.  There’s a much higher probability that I’ll die in the first 500 years; but at the other end, there’s a 1 in 4 chance I’d live to 2,000 years and a 1 in 1/1024 chance I’d live to 10,000 years.  (For comparison, in the presence of aging the probability of living to twice the life expectancy is zero, and the probability of living to ten times the life expectancy is zero.)

** Some uses of the word “awesome” are actually appropriate.


Anti-aging Anti-depressants

Some anti-depressant herbs and medications have anti-aging properties.  Is this a win-win happenstance, or time to step back and look at goals?

As a teacher, I’ve been learning
You’ll forgive me if I boast
But I’ve now become an expert
On the subject I like most
– Oscar Hammerstein

Writing this blog is an ongoing opportunity for me to clarify my thought, and to dig into the literature, to assess just how strong or weak is the empirical basis for my beliefs about health, longevity and evolution.  This week, for personal reasons, I want to take a second look at L-Deprenyl.


Personal confession

All my life I have been afraid of death, and connected to that, at least in my own scheme, has been a horror of drugs that affect the central nervous system.  I think that as a small child, I must have imagined my mind as a true and objective mirror of the world around me, and what I feared was distortions of that mirror.  I was a pre-schooler when I heard about addiction*, and the idea gave me nightmares.  The aversion began with a fear that chemicals could steal from me my identity, my will, my soul, my consciousness, my sense of self – ideas both primally child-like and deeply philosophical, that wove themselves through my young mind, before I had a vocabulary or an appropriate context in which to explore them.

And so I grew into adolescence with an aversion to caffeine and alcohol and I had no attraction to cannabis or psychedelics, even as they became emblems of the “peace and love” generation with which, in other ways, I identified quite powerfully.**

Later on, my generation switched to SSRI anti-depressants as their drug of choice, and my college classmate Peter Kramer wrote the anti-depressant manifesto.  I was deeply opposed.  Emotionally, my aversion to anti-depressants comes from this same recoiling at any tampering with “natural” personality.  More empirically, I have watched people use anti-depressants to avoid a discomfort with aspects of their lives that they would have been well-advised to address promptly.  Kramer talks extensively about this problem, with case studies and statistics.  I have blamed anti-depressants for the demise of my marriage.

“Sisyphus Sleeping” by Michael Bergt

On the other hand…

In the same time frame as Listening to Prozac, I was learning about aging.  I deduced that aging is programmed into our genes as an evolutionary adaptation.  This implies that the usual medical paradigm of “helping the body” to fight disease was not going to work.  The body is not trying to resist aging.  The body is trying to destroy itself, and we don’t want to help it.  Therefore “natural” anti-aging is an oxymoron.  All anti-aging medicine is in opposition to the body’s natural program.

I learned about exercise, caloric restriction, and social support for longevity.  These are the first line of things we can do to maximize our chances for a long and healthy life.

And I learned about supplements and pharmaceuticals that induce longevity in lab animals.   These are the second line of anti-aging support.  Before my epiphany about the origin of aging, I had been a committed follower of the natural foods culture, and I would have been quite suspicious of any program to tamper with the body’s chemistry.  But once the argument for “natural” was knocked down, I no longer harbored a presumption against supplements, and so I became an early adopter of supplements that showed promise in animal studies.  Over several years’ time, my supplements shelf expanded.

The punch line is that some of the most promising anti-aging supplements have effects on the central nervous system, and on mood.  I’m thinking of melatonin, DHEA, SAMe, and L-Deprenyl, and possibly fish oil and ashwagandha††.  I’ve been taking the first three for some years, and just last month I started taking Deprenyl.


SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine) is a variation on the theme of methionine, one of the 8 essential amino acids that the body needs for protein synthesis, but cannot make itself.  (Eating dramatically less methionine is an anti-aging strategy in lab animals that is probably not practical in humans [see my blog from last May].)  SAMe is a naturally-occurring constituent of most cells, and it has an effect on gene transcription, which means that it acts at an “upstream” level from which it can affect many metabolic processes at once.  One of the characteristics of aging cells is the loss of methyl groups on the DNA, which causes genes to be expressed where they don’t belong.  The “Me” in SAMe is a methyl donor, helping to retain methylation of the chromosomes.

It is a prescription drug in Europe, where it is commonly used to treat depression.  In placebo-controlled trials, SAMe is as effective as any patented anti-depressant on the market.  My personal experience is that I have been taking 400 to 800 mg per day of SAMe for most of the last 10 years, and I have never noticed a difference in mood between times with and without it.

Osteo-arthritis is characterized by loss of the cushioning and lubrication of cartilage in the joints, and SAMe stimulates growth of cartilage.  I have been unable to find any rodent studies testing SAMe for effect on life span.  (Stephen Spindler, please take note.)

Sisyphus by Melanie Montenegro

DHEA, fish oil, and herbs

DHEA is a hormone-precursor that decreases with age.  Supplementation with DHEA has also been found to have an anti-depressant effect in a few small studies[ref, ref, ref], but has not to my knowledge been studied in larger trials.

Fish oil has benefits for risk of cancer and heart disease that probably derive from dialing down inflammation.  Fish oil in slightly larger doses is prescribed as an anti-depressant [ref].

Ashwaghanda is neuro-protective in vivo and a telomerase activator in vitro.  It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine of India for centuries.

In one of the most complete human clinical trials to date, researchers studied the effects of a standardized extract of ashwagandha on the negative effects of stress, including elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Many of the adverse effects of stress are thought to be related to elevated levels of cortisol. The results were impressive. The participants subjectively reported increased energy, reduced fatigue, better sleep, and an enhanced sense of well-being. The participants showed several measurable improvements, including a reduction of cortisol levels up to 26%, a decline in fasting blood sugar levels, and improved lipid profiles. It would appear from this study that ashwagandha can address many of the health and psychological issues that plague today’s society.  [from LEF magazine]

Modern-day Sisyphus


Of these, I find Deprenyl most problematic, because it is at once the only one of these chemicals which affects my disposition in a way I sense palpably, and it is also the one for which there is best evidence that it has anti-aging potential.  I wrote up the story of Deprenyl on this page last March.  Quoting myself:

Deprenyl is a neuro-protective drug discovered in Hungary more than 30 years ago. It has prolonged life span in many rodent studies, and also in dogs. In the 1990s, under the brand name Selegiline(also Eldepryl and Zelapar) it became a standard treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinson’s patients who take Selegiline live longer than matched patients who take only the other standard treatment (L-Dopa). More recently the same drug (branded as Emsam) has been prescribed for depression and ADD.

Deprenyl is a chemical cousin of methamphetamine, and it has some of the stimulant effects of amphetamines.  But the Deprenyl molecule is a mirror-image of the amphetamines (the chemical term is enantiomer).  Background:  Most large molecules have a shape that is not symmetric left-to-right.  If you make the chemical in a lab, you get an equal mixture of left-handed and right-handed molecules.  But biological molecules are always found as one version only, the right- or left-handed molecule.  So it is right-handed R-Deprenyl that would be converted in the body to the most powerful form of methamphetamine, and the form of the drug as it is distributed is exclusively L-Deprenyl, the left-handed form.

I have been taking L-Deprenyl for about a month, and for the most part, I like its effect on me.  I sleep less, concentrate more easily, and have less resistance to the intense exercise that is programmed into my day.  I’m also more emotional, more impulsive, more volatile, more enthusiastic.  I think it works for my personality, which leans toward flat affect.  But I am already a risk-taker, and I worry that my judgment might be compromised.  I am distrustful, as I said, of any chemical agent that affects the CNS.  I am asking friends to let me know if they see changes in my affect or attitudes or manner of speaking or sharing emotions.


Mood and life span are subjects on which reasonable people differ.  Most people reading this blog are interested in extending their life expectancy; but there is diversity both in our emotional responses to some anti-aging medications and in the way we regard those emotional changes.  I can only recommend that you read about others’ experience, and then experiment with what you think will work for you.


* I vaguely remember a Paul Winchell movie called Monkey on my Back, and a story my best friend told me of his father’s becoming briefly addicted to morphine after a war injury.  But a little googling reveals distortions in my memory.  The movie came out when I was 8.  Paul Winchell (whom I knew from his ventriloquism with puppet Jerry Mahoney) was not in the movie, but faced real life addiction problems.  All this has become jumbled and conflated with my pre-school memory.

** I wasn’t 100% clean. I drank coffee in the Penthouse of the Hilles Library, where I liked to study in the evenings because it seemed like a good place to meet girls.  I smoked marijuana at half a dozen parties during my 4 years in college, and consumed a comparable quantity of wine and beer, spread over that time.  But mind-altering substances never allured me, and were never a significant part of my life.  There came a time (I was 23) when I realized that my only attraction to alcohol and marijuana derived from fear of exclusion, that they were part of a contortion of myself that I felt to be necessary in order to fit in socially.  I gave myself permission not to do that any more.

† Kramer’s book is actually quite balanced and thoughtful on the pros and cons of chemical anti-depressants, and in some ways, deeply critical of the prescribing psychiatric establishment.  But the book was quoted out of context and developed an unfair reputation as a 300-page ad for anti-depressants.

†† I originally had included ginkgo biloba in this list, but I couldn’t find convincing evidence that it was either an anti-depressant or a neuroprotective agent, and slim evidence [ref, ref, ref] that it helps with age-related decline in memory.  “As a teacher I’ve been learning.”

Anti-aging and Anti-anti-aging

There is certainly discomfort with anti-aging medicine, but is there a legitimate case to be made from a public policy perspective?  A recent NYTimes Op-Ed is not very convincing.

External Threats and Self-harm

Parents of young children know how strong is the will to protect them from external threats.  Germs.  Mean kids.  Traffic.  Teachers with an agenda.

But when they became teenagers, the gravest dangers to their health and wellbeing are often self-inflicted.  Tobacco.  Drugs.  Cutting.  Reckless behaviors and even brushes with suicide.

For a parent, the dilemma is utterly bewildering.  You want to fight with them to keep them from hurting themselves, but you know that this is only an outburst of your frustration, and is likely to inflame whatever it is in their tender souls that inclines them to self-harm.

Not only is it less clear how you can be helpful with this new set of internal threats, but it may make you re-think what you had done when they were younger.  Kids who are too well protected from germs and dirt are at greater risk for auto-immune diseases like Crohn’s and asthma.  And maybe those painful experiences with bullies on the playground are just where they learn the instinct to avoid abusive relationships later in life.

Tao Porchon-Lynch, 95-year-old yoga teacher

Health threats from without and within

In the first half of the 20th Century, medical science was learning how to protect us from external threats.  Antisepsis, hygiene and antibiotics were the great innovations that brought down the mortality rate.  Not incidentally, work places were regulated for safety and toxins.  For the first time in human history, a majority of people could expect to live out their threscore and ten.

By 1960, this revolution in public health was fully mature.  The major killers that remained were cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia – the Big Three.  Medicine went after them with the paradigm that had worked so well, addressing them as external threats.  Cancer was treated as an invasive species, and chemotherapy was like an antibiotic for tumors.  The cause of cardiovascular disease was found in cholesterol deposits that build up, blocking arteries; let’s declare war on cholesterol.  Dementia is the result of amyloiod plaques in the brain; how can we break them up?

But as medical science pursued the roots of the Big Three, it became clear that there was a deeper cause.  Errant cells within us are becoming cancerous every day, but our immune cells do an efficient job of seeking out cancers and blowing them up long before they can become symptomatic [ref].  Clinical cancer occurs mainly when the immune system is compromised.  Inflammation in the arterial wall may be more important than cholesterol levels [ref].  And dementia may result when perfectly good neurons commit suicide (apoptosis).  We were surprised to learn that anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have a powerful prophylactic effect for Alzheimer’s [ref].  These were all hints that the body itself, the global metabolism is participating in the worst disease threats of old age.

Linus Pauling laid the foundation for 20th Century chemistry
and was doing active, original research when he died at 93.

Aging as Self-destruction

Now we are at a moment in history when medical science is experiencing the same horror and the same confusion that the parent feels the day he discovers that his child is cutting.  The patient and the disease have become one.  The body’s program of self-destruction with age is a huge risk factor for all the Big Three.  (Also for arthritis, dyspepsia, constipation, macular degeneration, depression, and the high incidence of pneumonia and influenza among the elderly.)

All the diseases of old age are caused by aging, and aging is a genetic program of self-destruction.  The most efficient way to attack the Big Three all at once is to reprogram the body’s internal signals and thwart the self-destruction.

Domenico Scarlatti composed choral music all his life, but is best known
for the 555 keyboard sonatas he composed, beginning at age 61.

Should we do it?

For some, this is a no-brainer.  We’re already devoting billions (in research) and trillions (in health care costs) to the program of treating the Big Three with traditional medicine.  Anti-aging is a far more efficient way to pursue this program, with preventive medicine that gets to the root of the problem.  What’s not to love?

But, much like the parent of a self-harming child, we are apprehensive about interfering, lest we inadvertently cause some unexpected harm.  If we rejuvenate the stem cells that we need to renew blood and skin, will that increase cancer risk?  If we offer people the opportunity go live longer, will they become bored or jaded or maybe just inefficient?  We have learned the wisdom of natural orders, from bodies to ecosystems, and we are wary of interventions to “improve” them.  But if self-destruction is part of the natural order, how can we understand it? What is its purpose?

And yes – it has a purpose.  When we thought aging was the passive accumulation of damage, it made no sense to speak of “purpose”, but now that we know aging is active self-destruction, we must look to Nature (evolution) for a purpose.  What do we learn from an understanding of that purpose? and does it change our determination to conquer the diseases of old age, and to attenuate aging itself?

Last week, the Sunday Review of the New York Times printed an op-ed by Daniel Callahan with an impassioned plea to anti-aging researchers: Don’t do it!  “It will take decades for the changes in length of life to play out to allow assessment of their benefits and harms. By then it may be too late to reverse the damage.”

Fajua Singh ran a marathon at age 100.

Callahan’s primary argument:

Modern medicine is very good at keeping elderly people with chronic diseases expensively alive. At 83, I’m a good example. I’m on oxygen at night for emphysema, and three years ago I needed a seven-hour emergency heart operation to save my life. Just 10 percent of the population — mainly the elderly — consumes about 65 percent of health care expenditures, primarily on expensive chronic illnesses and end-of-life costs. Historically, the longer lives that medical advances have given us have run exactly parallel to the increase in chronic illness and the explosion in costs. Can we possibly afford to live even longer — much less radically longer?

Readers of this blog will immediately recognize the fundamental error in this argument: the anti-aging technologies we seek will not keep us alive longer once we are old and frail; rather they offer us strength and health in an extension of our vital middle years.  There will be more healthy and (presumably) productive years for each year of frailty, and hence medical care for  the elderly as a percentage of GDP can be expected to decline [ref]. Some experts project that (even better) the absolute expenditures on medical care will go down with advances in anti-aging medicine [ref].

So if Callahan’s argument has any validity at all, it speaks against traditional gerontological medicine, which treats diseases symptomatically, keeping the patient alive in a disabled condition.  (Think like a drug company:  Is it purely accidental that treating symptoms and keeping people alive in a dependent state is the best strategy to maximize profits?)  Anti-aging is preventive medicine.  If it works – and I think it has already begun to work – anti-aging medicine promises to substitute extended good health for medical treatment of disease.

One likelihood, even in just a few years, is that older people who stay longer in the work force, as many are now forced to do, will close out opportunities for younger workers coming in.

This is the exact contradiction of the argument in the first block quote above.  First he claimed that there will be too many frail, retired people and not enough healthy people in the workforce to support them, and now he argues that more healthy, productive older people in the work force will crowd out opportunities for young workers. This second argument is wrong as well, because there is no fixed size to the economy, and employment is not a zero-sum game.  More people producing more, spending more, can create more opportunities to make a living.  If there is a shortage of jobs in the economy today, it is not because the economy has too many workers in any absolute sense, but because the economy is being mis-managed by the central banks (some would say deliberately mismanaged, in order to drive down wages).

This rise in chronic illness should also give us pause about the idea, common to proponents of radical life extension, that we can slow aging in a way that leaves us in perfectly good health. As Dr. Olshansky has tartly observed, “The evolutionary theory of senescence can be stated as follows: while bodies are not designed to fail, neither are they designed for extended operation.” Nature itself seems to be resisting our efforts.

This in particular is the root misconception which has held back the medical research community.  For me personally, it is the central focus of my mission in the anti-aging community.  You are wrong, Dr Olshansky.  Our bodies are designed to fail.  They are failing not just via weakness, but via active self-destruction.  ‘Inflammaging’ is the body’s defense against intruders, turned against healthy tissue.  Telomere shortening  is a time bomb which turns our stem cells into cancer factories [ref] .  Thymic involution is the programmed and purposeful destruction of an organ at the heart of our immune system’s ability to distinguish “self” from “other” [ref, ref].  Apoptosis is programmed cell death, and it is the mechanism by which we lose muscle mass (sacrcopenia [ref, ref, ref ]) and brain cells (leading to Parkinson’s disease  and dementia).

All of these ways in which the body declines are driven by hormones and internal signals.  By manipulating those signals, we can tell the body to stop destroying itself.  This is the program of anti-aging medicine.

BertrandRussellMathematician, philosopher, popular intellectual and cultural critic
Bertrand Russell was arrested at non-violent Vietnam protest, age 96.

To Dr Callahan I would say: Sure there are older people who are depressed because they are exhausted by chronic pain, and have lost the energy and intellect that they once enjoyed.  It may even be true that (as Freud maintained in his later years) we are psychologically drawn to death as our bodies decline with age.  But there are also plenty of middle-aged people who see this state in their future, and don’t want to go there.  They are looking to anti-aging medicine for a way out.

Across all human history, in all cultures and all moral systems, the common root of our values is that Life is good and Death is bad.  It is perverse to argue otherwise.

One thing for sure is that we can’t go back to the old and inefficient program of treating the diseases of old age symptomatically, one-by-one, seeking more specific chemotherapy agents and statins that have fewer side effects.  This is the real thrust of Callahan’s argument:  that more years in the nursing home and more weeks in the ICU are unplanned consequence of business-as-usual, and no one wants that.



The only legitimate objection to anti-aging medicine is one that is not mentioned or even hinted in Callahan’s broadside.  It is the multi-faced problem of overpopulation: human threats to biodiversity, depletion of resources, pollution, global climate change.  Life is Good, and not just human life.  Life extension in the 20th Century has been the driver of overpopulation, and life extension in the 21st Century will intensify it.

Personally, I still am groping with this question.  Human civilization has become the self-destructive adolescent, and I have no fully satisfying answers.  But here is the part that I do understand:

Population control is the evolutionary origin of aging.  A programmed life span is the tax paid by individuals toward the collective requirement of ecological stability and population homeostasis.  If out of our individual hunger for life we humans take life span into our own hands, then we must also act collectively to fully remediate the consequences.  Anti-aging medicine must be pursued hand-in-hand with (1) an aggressive culture of birth control, and (2) a drastic reduction of our ecological footprints; an end to waste and inefficiency in the use of resources.