Thursday, March 14, 2013

Would You Want 150 Years to Live?

Would you really want to live for 150 years? I don't right now. Forget societal decline at large, which is why I wouldn't want to live through the hard fall. How many of those years are at the capabilities of a healthy 40 year old? Can we bring back people from accidental deaths, therefore guaranteeing 150? Have we cured cancer and other organ dysfunctions? I don't want to have 150 years cut short by cancer at 55. Reversing or slowing aging is one thing, warding off cancer and disease is another. We going to have a thin pill, because who wants to be fat for 150 years? If this is just 60 years of decline like the fake life extension we've given the elderly of today, then count me out. Everyone wants that sunny, golden retirement dream, but in reality that is maybe 10% of the elderly. Modern medicine has been one hell of a wealth transfer mechanism away from that wealthy GI Generation so that the money went to Eli Lilly, Merck, insurance companies and nursing homes rather than their kids and grandchildren. This sounds like more research so people can delay their biggest fear: that they'll die having lived a completely unfulfilled and meaningless life.
One thing that could change is if we had people alive 150 years, we'd maybe preserve history better. We'd also have living witnesses to refute claims by modern progressives of how bad the old world was. It would be a mixed bag, but I could see it being net positive if people had to live 150 years with their macro strategies with regards to everything. Who am I kidding? The lazy folks of society would never get around to anything serious because they'd feel there would always be more time and the impulsive would remain impulsive. If we ever did get this technology, it would be a huge battle because the rich and people who would value time on earth would spend the money for it, while the poor wouldn't get it. Disparate Impact would rear its ugly head from progressives. This will not happen as long as our current system is in place.

*I realize I titled it like life is a prison sentence.


westunderground said...

I'm torn. Most of the recent advancements in health have been to expand the diaper years in seniors. As you said, this has mostly benefited the uber wealthy drug companies and industries dependent on supplying overpriced care. I remember watching my overmedicated grandma slowly forget my and my father's existence over the course of 5 years. Those were 5 years that my grandma didn't really know who she was or who she was talking to. While it's grim to think, I bet it would have been more humane to fuck the medicine, let her die in peace 5 years prior.

That being said, before modern medicine, most people died at the age of 40. I don't know about you, but I really think people don't start hitting the age wall until their mid 50s. There is something to be said about modern medicine.

There are lots of people (what are they called now? singularity-ists?), who are attempting to eliminate aging. I know aubrey de gray is one of them. Some of them propose things like calorie restriction and other sacrificial methods to marginally extend our lifespans. Count me out. Some things just aren't worth sacrificing. However, if they can come up with ways to extend human life without the typical handicaps of the elderly, I'm all for it.

I think, (I'm not a microbiologist), that the fundamental issue is that our cells reproduce in a way, that over time becomes more corrupt. This allows for the eventual degradation of our bodies through time and attrition. If we can reverse that, and extend our healthy years, I would say that is favorable to anyone.

Son of Brock Landers said...

A healthy 130 of the 150 would be great. I'd be fine with feeling 15-45 for 80 years. You are right about the research into it. I just find it not worth it if we dont have the other pieces in place. I'd love 'soul' or 'brain' backup.

If modern medicine as we know it started with complex surgeries and medicines, it'd be when 1965? 1975? Look at the life expectancy table since 1900. We've only gained 7 years since 1950, when antibiotics became widespread and 5 years since 1970. Antibiotics, lowerign infant mortality and helping women survive childbirth is what extended our numbers.

westunderground said...

You're right, those are pretty depressing figures given all the hype over life extension. I bet those numbers would be higher if people continued to live and eat healthy.

I think people are exposed to considerably higher levels of hormones than before, like estrogen and estrogen-like substances in our water, plastics, shampoos; BGH and rBGH in our milk and dairy. Growth hormones and antibiotics in our meats. I think the vitamin content of fruits and veggies has also dropped due to extensive agricultural practices and petroleum based fertilizers. People are also eating large amounts of hydrogenated oils and trans fats in their vegetable and canola oils. Add to that the stress of the Anglo work work work culture. Also add the fatherless homes and failed relationships, and the levels of stress and unhappiness have got to have an effect on people's general health. If most people managed to avoid those, I'm sure some of those numbers would go up. I guess at this point it's a battle between medical advances, and health issues related to maximizing profit margins in other industries.

PRCD said...

your retirement years WILL be functional and enjoyable IF you take care of yourself now. Work on mobility, strength, and cardiovascular fitness and manage stress. If you do that you'll have more years and more functional years.

Everything else you've said I agree with. The culture in our country is becoming a culture of lingering old age that strip mines the resources of youth and those in their main producing years who are trying to raise families. Happily, I don't see this civilization remaining much longer.

BTW, just came back from China and the future belongs to them as long as they don't adopt too many of our ideas.