The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

How long do you want to live? Does 70 or 80 sound like you're pushing it? Consider that before long, that might be considered middle-age--or less. Studies on human aging debate the possibilities of extending life well past 100, and even to multiple centuries.

This reminded me of an interview I read years ago, with some scientist in the same field. He commented that, in his view, aging was a disease, no different from any other disease, and so theoretically there was a cure for it.

Christ, I feel old now, and I'm only 32. The thought of living five times as many years is pretty draining.

Obviously, these possibilities mean that our world will turn topsy-turvy, in several areas:

- Would the dominant youth culture continue even stronger, or would it get demoted in favor of the majority population of elderly?

- Careers wouldn't end once you hit your 60s; they'd probably continue decades longer.

- Overpopulation? Not to mention a bigger population chunk that would need lots of specialized care and needs.

- Social engineering: How would communities be designed, in terms of transportation, preferred housing, consumer outlets, etc.?

And this all is just scratching the surface.

The other side of the coin, which is pointed out in the article, is whether it would serve any useful purpose to keep a body alive when various vital organs start failing. I know I don't want to hang on in a body that can't walk/talk/function in a meaningful way.

I found this interesting, not the least because I'm also currently reading through William S. Burroughs' "Junky", and I'm at the parts where he constantly makes reference to how a junkie's cellular structure gets warped to the point where it craves drugs. Reminds me of how ultimately frail the body is, and how dependent we are on it functioning properly for us to exist. With so much potential for abuse (not necessarily drugs, just everyday life for years on end), how the hell are we supposed to last over 100 years?