Do you want to live forever? It is possible, according to new research that suggests there may not be a limit on human lifespan. The findings are debatable, but given the pace of technological and medical advancement, it seems possible that we could extend life at least as long as the brain functions. But is this something we want?
A study has been published by Kenneth Wachter, a professor at the University of California, Berkely, suggests we have not reached the natural limit of the human lifespan.
The study examined the survival rates of 3,800 Italian subjects, all over age 105. Research has found that your risk of dying increases each year until you reach 80. Then, your risk of dying increases, but more slowly until age 105 when it plateaus at age 105. After that age, you have a 50/50 chance of dying.
There were some limitations to the study, for example, the majority of the people studied were women. Other researchers have also criticized the study. The study does not make claims beyond the fact that our death rates change as we age.
However, other research into longevity suggests we could live much longer if we used new technology to extend our lifespans. For example, gene editing, the use of artificial organs and implants, and stem cell injections could all prolong human life. Nutrition, exercise, and living in a clean environment are also helpful. Finally, a balanced life which includes work, play, and spiritual development have all been shown to promote mental and physical health.
Given these advancements and all of our knowledge, it is safe to assume that many children born today could easily live a full century, assuming there are no catastrophes to alter the current pace of human progress.
The real question is, do we want to live forever?
For most people, the answer is no.
While it is natural to fear death, that fear eases as we age. Many of the elderly who die naturally appear content with the prospect of their earthly demise. The brain undergoes changes as people age, and combined with frailty, some elderly prefer to pass.
Most people have a religious belief in life-after-death or reincarnation. To obtain this life, the body must die. This understanding is virtually universal.
Finally, the fact life is limited is part of what makes it precious. Scarcity adds value, the more scarce something it, the more valuable it becomes, as long as it is useful. Nothing can be more useful than life, and as life is scarce, it becomes the most valuable thing we have.
Would we appreciate life if it lasted forever? Would we strive to accomplish anything knowing we could procrastinate indefinitely? And what happens to the world if nobody dies?
These are philosophical questions raised by the development of our technology. For the first time, it appears these questions may leave the realm of philosophy and become genuine concerns.