For those of you who think that living forever is as out of reach as the Moon, you might want to rethink that thought. It’s not as far away as you think.
Physically, the moon is only 238,900 miles (384,400 km) from Earth. That’s not very far when we consider that we have been there and back many times within the last five decades. But how many times have we been able to reverse ageing? Or extend life beyond the average years that humans have been able to live?
The answer, of course, is a big fat ZERO.
At this time, we are unable to reverse ageing (more on that later). We can extend lifespans, but we can’t prevent ourselves from getting old. This is part of the natural cycle of life. We are born, we live, and then we die.
Some people would argue that we should not eliminate death because that would disrupt the cycle of life and cause an imbalance which could disrupt everything, from the environment, to the safety of the planet, to the integrity of the eternal soul. We might even turn into vampires, sucking the life out of others just to maintain our own worthless existences—etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
The arguments against indefinite life extension is abundant and compelling…until those who argue against death must face it, up close and personal, either for themselves or for their spouses and children.
Then, it changes.
It changes into—‘well, it’s ok for me and mine. In fact, it’s necessary because we are valued and important members of society that can contribute greatly to the advancement of humanity,’ (never mind the fact that when pressed to describe the manner with which the contributions will aid humanity, these very same people proffer responses that are often—not always, but quite often—vague and nebulous).
But indefinite life extension for the great unwashed multitude? Oh no. The horrors of that possibility is too great to bear. How will we keep them in line? How will we feed them all? (never mind the fact that the vast majority of the world’s population exists on far, far less—and has far less body mass—than the typical overweight American.) The question is actually closer to, how will we be able to maintain our FAT bodies if we can’t have all the food to ourselves? I say this with a big grin, as I am stuffing a slice of pepperoni pizza into my face.
Well, regardless of what our opinions are, the wheels of science grinds onward. Just as a moving sidewalk propels us forward, we continue to advance, even though we may not be moving our legs. For those who are adamantly opposed to scientific advancement, they can try to run backwards, but as the Red Queen says, ‘Good luck with that’. They will have to move twice as fast to go backwards at all. Simply moving at the same pace will only result in standing still. Like it or not, we will reach immortality, probably later rather than sooner, but it will happen.
But don’t take my word for it. There are folks whose day jobs are narrowly focused in this endeavour, for the sole purpose of creating an immortal humankind. “I am working on immortality,” says UC Irvine’s Michael Rose, who has achieved breakthrough results extending the lives of fruit flies.
People—don’t laugh. Today, it’s fruit flies. Tomorrow, it will be chimpanzees. And the next day, it’s our turn.
“There are many components of aging and we are chipping away at all of them,” added Robert Freitas at the Institute for Molecular Manufacturing. “In the future,” Freitas claims, “aging will be cured.”
Ha! Cured…as if ageing is a dreaded disease that must be eradicated.
But that is exactly what ageing is viewed as, by scientists in the field of health care. Author Ray Kurzweil, in Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, states that we are in the early stages of an anti-aging revolution. “By 2020,” he says, “biotech upgrades will add more than one year of life expectancy to our lives each year.”
Hello! We are at the tail end of 2013. That’s only seven years away, a mere blink of an eye in the grand scheme of things. In fact, between now and 2030, all the various technologies will have converged to the point where it is technically possible that stem cell therapies, 3-D bioprinter techniques, and genetic engineering procedures will be able to cure most of today’s diseases—or at least make them more manageable to the point where life can be extended enough to take advantage of new breakthroughs as they become available.
Just don’t do anything stupid. Stay alive long enough to take advantage of what’s about to come.