EidoScope

The observable examined

aging and longevity

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Yesterday was my birthday. When I opened the newspaper, as if on cue, the review section headlines proclaimed, Living to 100 and beyond.  There is a vibrant scientific community engaged in significantly extending the “healthy” human lifespan. If they are successful in their endeavors, taxes may be the only certain entity in our lives.

The opening paragraph reminds us of the immortal struldbrugs, from Swift’s Gulliver’s travels, and their predicament(while blessed with long lives, they were still subject to aging and disease). (After reading this paragraph, I have added Gulliver’s travels to my reading list). There is a nice survey of some of the scientific advances, such as extending the lives of worms, using gene therapy and printing organs (that’s right, PRINTING!).

What does this mean? For family dynamics, be it between husband and wife, siblings, remarriage (at the young age of 150), socioeconomics, public policy etc., The remainder of the article concerns itself with tackling these questions.

There are a couple of claims that caught my eye.

“…The world’s advanced societies are finally in a position to launch a true offensive against the seemingly irresistible terms imposed on our lives by disease and death. That’s good news for us as individuals and for humanity as a whole. A longer span of healthy years will lead to greater wealth and prospects for happiness…

Well. I am not so sure.

“...But what is noble, beautiful and exciting about deterioration and decline? What is morally suspect about ameliorating human suffering?

The answer is nothing. Everything that we have, socially and as individuals, is based on the richness of life. There can be no more basic obligation than to help ourselves and future generations to enjoy longer, healthier spans on the Earth that we share….”

Healthier spans, I can understand. But where is the need to extend life to hundreds of years? Would we make these technologies and therapies available to terrorists, and evildoers so they can also live to be 100s of years. It would interesting to delve more into the author’s thesis (this article is excerpted from her book) to find out if she has answers.

On the whole, a thought provoking article. Worth a read.

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Written by asterix98

August 28, 2011 at 6:19 pm

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