You have probably noticed that people are living longer.
If you lived in classical Rome or Greece, you were expected to make it to the ripe old age of 28 years. Currently the world average is 67 years. Not exactly breaking news.
Things are changing a lot quicker than they used to. Once again, probably something you’ve realized.
While it took 2000 years to increase life expectancy 39 years, the next 39 years will probably see life expectancy increase by 2000 years.
Right now you’re probably thinking: 1) I’m insane 2) I’m full of it 3) You don’t want to live 2000 years. You’re wrong on all three.
One of the leading researchers in the field is Dr. Aubrey de Grey. Perhaps the most important thing he has to say about his work: The goal is not to prolong length of life. The goal is to prolong health, a side effect of which is living longer.
People tend to get a mental image of themselves moving into an old folks home at the age of 80 or 90 and not having a very good time, leading a dull existence, eventually getting sick, suffering a lot, and finally succumbing to a death they’ll probably welcome.
Things are different if you live for a long time while still healthy, which is exactly the goal. If you could live for the next few decades feeling as good or better than you do right now, most people would probably do it. Nobody wants to get old. The right question isn’t ‘do I want to die,’ says de Grey, it is ‘do I want to die right now?’
What this does not do is make you “immortal.” Anyone can get hit by a bus or fall off a cliff at any time.
This isn’t a ‘possibly, maybe’ scenario it is a ‘when.’ It isn’t an ‘eventually, someday’ scenario it is ‘if research continues at its current pace.’ If you look at the science, which confirms (or at least makes a strong argument for) the previous sentences, it isn’t so sci-fi anymore and people start to freak out.
When you were five years old and your goldfish died, you were probably really sad and really pissed. Your parents used it as a way of explaining life and death; everyone dies, it’s a natural part of life, end of story. What this does is tries to justify death, which causes a lot of pain and suffering in those left behind. When we grow up, we just use adult ways of saying the same thing ‘They’re in a better place…’
Well, uh, what if Frank the Goldfish was still here? What about your grandparents? Would that be so horrible? It has only been ‘end of story’ for so long because we could never conceive of it changing, but what if we could?
But won’t it be boring? Looking at it all at once, it is difficult to see how it couldn’t be. But was today boring? was yesterday boring? No matter how many todays or tomorrows we have there is always something new to do, explore, learn, experience.
I don’t think that’s what God intended is also a common response. Based on what though? Genesis 9:29 says Noah didn’t die until he was 950. Did He intend for that? Or the people living 2000 years ago, did he intend we die at their age?
These are all very interesting debate topics. Hopefully now, however, you realize that they aren’t hypothetical.
Aubrey de Grey Videos: