Death is the most frightening thing for humans. However, we are not the only ones feeling such intense dread towards it. All mammals, insects, reptiles, fish, amphibians, plants and even unicellular organisms react in the same way. It is within the genetic configuration of all living creatures to see death as the most undesirable thing.
It is evident that if animals and plants would have the capacity to increase their life, they would not hesitate to do it. Fortunately for us, we have the power to alter the course of nature and that power comes exclusively from science and technology.
Somebody could say that it is our manifest destiny to one day live hundreds of years. In reality, such a desire is engrained in our genetic code and there is no reason why we should feel ashamed of it.
There are many who claim that such a desire is not natural or that it is immoral. Such a claim is as inconsistent as asserting that the moon is made of cheese. There is nothing more natural as the desire to avoid death and there is nothing natural in the present state of things. At present, people can expect to live to eighty but during 99% of human history, life expectancy was not even twenty.
A few years ago a biomedical gerontologist at Stanford University (biomedical gerontologists are scientists who work to control, prevent, and reverse aging in humans and/or animals) made an astonishing discovery. She had been experimenting on earthworms for some time and after significantly tweaking the genes that dealt with aging, a miracle took place. The redheaded scientist succeeded in making the annelids live longer. With a clever manipulation of their molecular structure, she managed to increase fourfold the life of the worms.
The scientist and everybody else immediately thought in doing the same with people. Unfortunately, the human metabolism is considerably more complex and such a feat could not be reproduced. Nevertheless, her finding was a breakthrough and it showed once again that science can do anything. It also showed that although not possible now, it could become a reality in the future.
There is no doubt that such a technology will eventually come to maturity and people will enjoy its multiple benefits. The question is when will it happen? The time it will take however, is not something that depends on luck but on us.
Science needs tons of capital to operate because the machines, the equipment, the supercomputers, and everything else are awfully expensive. Unfortunately, very little money flows every year into laboratories. History unequivocally demonstrates that money is essential for invention. It shows that the larger the share of the economy that goes into research and development, the larger the amount of discoveries. It is a very straightforward correlation.
Therefore, the larger the amount of cash that goes into biomedical gerontology, the sooner will humanity possess a technology that will allow people to live to two hundred years.
There are those who will argue that there is no point in living that long when a person is senile and decrepit. Those people are probably not aware that science is also developing technologies that would allow individuals with 120 years to feel and look as dynamic and healthy as a forty year old today. It would be a technology that would exponentially extend the physical charms and vibrancy of the youthful years.
What could possibly be more important than that? What could be more relevant than that? There is obviously nothing worthier than life.
Most people believe there is such a thing as the right time to die. There is no such thing. For millennia, living to eighty, as is the norm today, was totally unimaginable and unnatural. Therefore, if what we have today is good, then living to two hundred will also be good.
It is unsubstantiated to assert that those over seventy have had their life and that they should make way for the new generations. Those senior citizens deserve to live to two hundred and they deserve to do it with a vibrant body and mind.
People must set their priorities and the priority is staying alive. If people would be rational, they would spend much of their time tenaciously lobbing their governments to increase spending on medical research. They would demand a massive increase in the share of the budget that gets allocated to research and development in the medical field.
If they would be rational, they would also allocate a very large share of their personal income to science. People should donate regularly large amounts of money to scientific foundations that tackle the medical matter that is of most interest to them. If what is most important for a person is some particular disease, then target that malady. If it is just longevity, then go for that too.
Charles Sabillon did High School in Texas and has undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, Economics and Law as well as a masters and a doctorate in International Relations. After the PhD, he undertook post-doctoral research in the fields of History, Economics, and Ecology. He has taught Economic History at a university in Switzerland and speaks fluently English, Spanish, French and German.
For more information go to: http://www.authorsden.com/charlesasabillon , http://www.geoci/sabilloncarlos/