From Popular Science:
Bill Andrews has spent two decades unlocking the molecular mechanisms of aging. His mission: to extend the human life span to 150 years–or die trying…
…“I want to cure my aging,” Andrews tells me, “my friends’ and family’s aging, my investors’ aging, their friends’ and families’ aging, and make a ton of money. And I want to cure everybody else’s aging too—I put that probably equal to making a ton of money.”…
Andrews is clearly a smart man, and driven by a vision…and, who knows?, maybe he can eventually manage it and get human life spans up to 150. I hope to be long dead by the time he figures that out. Andrews is a bit extreme about it, but what he is doing is an apt symbol of our age: a fear of dying so large that we both never really talk about death, and go about doing everything we can to avoid risk and extend our lives.
In this, I admire my late Uncle Mike – my godfather and a good man. He was told he could have a surgery which would have extended his life. His attitude was, “what for?”. His beloved wife was long deceased, he had no children of his own and he was pushing 80. He refused the surgery, came ’round to see my father (they got gloriously drunk and sang old songs together in a pub – and that is how you say goodby to those you love, if you get a chance), and then went off to die. There is a time to live, and there is a time to die…and anyone who hangs too tightly to this world will find that he loses everything, including the next world, for his efforts.
Just the mere thought of living to 150 fills me with dread. Figuring that I’ll live to my father’s age (general luck and genetics being about the same), I’ll make it until early 2047. Am I supposed to want to live another 60 0r 7o years after that? Do I want to live until 2107? Work, pay taxes, deal with traffic for that long? For another 96 years be faced with endless temptations to reject God and ruin myself for good? No, thanks very much…I’ll take my 80 or so and be done with it. Find me medicines which allow me to keep my eyesight and wits until the end, but don’t try to make me in to someone celebrating his 150th birthday.
And then there’s this – supposed you did find the elixir to make us live to 150 years, what sort of people would we be? The saints among us wouldn’t avail themselves of it…the people most likely to claw desperately to such expedients are the greedy and the base…cowards and criminals. Imagine if Stalin had such a medicine…he’d be 133 years old…and still have 17 more left to go under that plan. Stalinism would still be ruling in Russia…and imagine just how bad that cruel, lunatic man would have become had he been able to live these past 58 years!
We can’t stop people from trying, but we can stand aside and leave them to their own horrors…and hope that wisdom comes to them, including the wisdom which says that, eventually, its time to go. Don’t stand there forever in the way of those who come after…move on and leave the future to those who will live in it.