Longevity escape velocity!

December 10, 2009

Ok, let’s step back from the food and fitness issues for a moment and look at the big picture. How long do you expect to live? How long do you want to live? If there is a difference between those two answers, is there any way to make them coincide? Now, if you answered that you just want to live a “long, healthy life,” then I contend that you’re really selling yourself short, which I’ll explain shortly.

The maximum human lifespan, set by our genes and thus metabolic processes is around 120 years. This is the card that evolution has dealt us. If anyone claims people have lived longer than that, you might want to raise at least one eyebrow, because they’ve deviated from the realm of scientific knowledge. Unfortunately, due to many factors, hardly any human being ever reaches their maximum lifespan; as we covered in a previous podcast, centenarians are the truly fortunate ones (and the super centenarians basically won the longevity lotto).

So, tragically, most people expire before their expiration date. This is definitely a major problem! In fact, some would claim that passive (or active) acceptance of degenerative aging and death itself is a form of madness. Indeed, the factors involved in the aging process have been scientifically identified, so theoretically there is no good reason to allow them to wreak their havoc. After working so much to achieve a healthy mind and fit body, why on Earth let the Grim Reaper take it all away?! Death is a one-way ticket to nowhere, contrary to what most of us have been told to believe (I explored this topic in a philosophical book I wrote years ago).

As you might’ve seen, Kevin tweeted about a great interview that occurred recently on CNN Vital Signs, titled “How to live longer,” which I found from a post within a longevity newsletter I subscribe to. Aubrey de Grey noted the crucial importance of pursuing strategies for engineered negligible senescence , which brings us back to the title of this blog post. What if, in the next few decades, those working in this oh-so vital branch of science discover ways to slow down, then stop, and even eventually reverse, the aging process? How long would you desire to live then, considering you will still have a healthy mind and fit body? My pick, and I really hope yours too, is: indefinitely! Whether each day brings you happiness or you’re still in pursuit of it, there is no reason (given present and future technologies) to sell your number of days short. The more the merrier; quality and quantity need not be mutually exclusive.

You are, after all, an irreplaceable part of reality, one of most excellent fancy, with many flashes of merriment, as a Shakespearean character might say. Saying “Out, out, brief candle” is NOT your destiny in this extraordinary period of human flourishing.

Rather than signifying nothing, a life in which you attain longevity escape velocity will be the most significant of all human tales, and it will be told by those who realize the true meaning of tomorrow.

W

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2 comments on “Longevity escape velocity!

  1. Great work guys. Sure beats the “lose all your weight” quick sales products in the marketplace. This should really help people.

  2. Thanks, Troy. Yes, we’re in this thing called life for the long haul, so why not optimize and maximize it! I recall a funny cartoon featuring two guys sitting at a bar, and one guy says to the other, “Damn, if I had known that I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.”

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