I’m not sure if I want to, but at the same time, I’m not one of those people who think humans are better off dying at the average age of 70. There are too many books in my home that I need to read and too many places to go! What if I told you that science may have found a way to extend human life expectancy?
Aubrey de Grey, Cambridge University geneticist, believes that anyone under the age of 40 has the potential to live for a thousand years – that is, of course, if they don’t commit suicide or have an accident. This theory only applies to those who would otherwise die of natural causes. Aging is seen as a disease!
De Grey says,
“I think we’re in striking distance of keeping people so healthy, that at 90 they’ll carry on waking up in the same physical state as they were at the age of 30.”
And, of course, de Grey would encounter opposition in his ambitious claims. Sherwin Nuland, former Yale School of Medicine, surgeon, doesn’t think it’s possible for humans to live this long.
Nuland says in reference to de Grey,
“His plan will not succeed. Were it to do so, it would undermine what it means to be human.”
Despite doubts, de Grey is not alone in his beliefs.
There are many people who desire for immortality, including numerous geneticists, nanotech experts, doctors and scientists. It is theoretically possible to slow down or even stop the aging process, according to scientists, and a goal we can hope to attain in order to benefit those who are alive today.
Immortality, it seems, is important to many people. Even the U.S. Government donates millions to the National Institute of Aging, part of the National Institute of Health. Funds go toward “the biology of aging”, not including cancer treatments or cardiac research.
Robert Freitas of the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing said,
“There are many different components of aging and we are chipping away at all of them.”
And Freitas believes we are close to the answer, the definite strategy for immortality. In fact, in two to four decades, the disease called “aging”, may be cured! Isn’t that wonderful?
In a way, yes. But there’s something you may be forgetting… overpopulation.
Nuland made a realization when dispelling immortality. I think even he knows it’s possible, just not feasible. While scientists are racing for the definite answer, I hope they are considering the obvious issue of overpopulation. After all, in some cities, there is no more room left, literally.
On the other hand, those who advocate for immortality and the science baking it, think a solution for overpopulation will come easy – say colonization of the moon, for instance.
And the government, as it always does, flips and flops on the issues, in that, while funding the research, some politicians fight to eliminate this same research. During Bush’s presidency, stem cell research was a sensitive topic, and funding was restricted in this area. Most believe this is another move to stop the search for the fountain of youth.
So, why do we want to live forever?
There are so many reasons why we might want to live forever, or even just another thousand years. As I said, there are so many things to explore and lessons to learn, not to mention the overall horror of death. Each and every one of us, if left alone with our thoughts, thinks about our end. No one truly wants to die, in the basic sense of the word. No one want to feel pain and finality. I just don’t believe there is ultimate peace in that.