North Texas Daily

If we could live forever, would we even want to?

If we could live forever, would we even want to?

April 21
00:43 2016

Morgan Sullivan | Staff Writer


The illusive hands of time continue to tick on, whether we humans are ready or not. However, some scientists believe that in the next few years, we will have either the technology or medicine to extend human life to 120 years – and quite possibly, forever.

The question is, is that something we really want?

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey believes medicine will be able to undo years of molecular and cellular damage done to our bodies. Since infectious diseases have vastly reduced over the last century, Grey believes scientists can now base their focus on the molecular damage that ultimately kills us.

Whether done through controversial stem cell therapy, gene therapy, drugs or vaccines — with medical breakthroughs happening every day, it’s only a matter of time before the medical side of things figures it all out.

Neuroscientist Dr. Hannah Critchlow believes human brains function like a very complex circuit board. Critchlow said if a computer could be designed to recreate the 100 trillion connections in the brain, human life could exist within a program. This may seem a bit like a crazy science-fiction movie for some, but with companies like Google hoping to develop a drug to extend human life, this “trend” gains credibility.

However, the bigger thing to ponder is whether humans are capable of living for decades or centuries longer. We may want to live forever, but if we do, we’ve got to be more accepting of change. We excuse problematic behavior now because a lot has changed in the past 50 years, claiming that people just “grew up in a different time,” but that excuse would lose its credibility if humans didn’t die. Think about it: would we still want someone born in 1805 alive today

This is all without taking into account the physical aspects of indefinite existence, and how horrendously overpopulated our world would be. As “The Lion King” explains so brilliantly, it’s the circle of life. The most beautiful part about our human lives is that we don’t live forever. We’d never feel pressured to be better, to create, to live fearlessly and make the most of our days.

We are motivated by the fact that we are in a race with time that we will, ultimately, lose. With no incentive to be better, we might plateau as a society. Perhaps F. Scott Fitzgerald said it best: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

Featured Image: Samuel Wiggins | Senior Staff Illustrator

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