The endless quest to live forever

The Alchymist, In Search of the Philosopher’s ...
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There was a story in the New York Times Science section this week about testing beginning on drugs that may slow aging. (Please read the article for all the science stuff — I’ll wait.)

Obviously, this is the Holy Grail of medical science — literally. Since humans first comprehended their own mortality, they have been searching for the Fountain of Youth, the Philosopher’s Stone, the secret to eternal life. I don’t think I’ll see it in my lifetime, but I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to imagine a time when the effects of aging can be slowed or reversed so as to extend human lifetimes to hundreds of years.

But is that what we really want? Science fiction writers have tackled the issue many times. Virtual immortality would certainly help the human race advance technologically, as we would have plenty of time to amass knowledge and innovate based on that knowledge. But what about human relationships — wouldn’t we feel a profound disconnect from one another over time? How would we address the pesky overpopulation problems that are bound to arise? And perhaps more funadmentally, maybe we need the ultimate stakes of mortality to make life really worth living.

Of course, I fantasize about having a prolonged life — with excellent mental and physical health, it goes without saying. But might there come a point when you just get tired of the repetition, the sameness of it all? I don’t know, but if we are seriously hoping to extend life, then shouldn’t we also allow people who want it to choose death?

4 responses to “The endless quest to live forever”

  1. […] The end­less quest to live for­ever (shannonturlington.com) […]

  2. […] too long ago, I wrote a post on one of my other blogs musing about our eternal quest to live longer, preferably forever. While the search for the secret to immortality probably goes back to when we first figured out the […]

  3. […] when I wrote a neat little piece about our obsession with obtaining immortality. You don’t? Well, let me refresh your memory. And there has been news since then! Some scientist has come out and said we will achieve […]

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