Who Wants to Live Forever?
Statistics could save the world. At the very least they could save me. Preventative medicine may be a good idea, a daily aspirin could reduce my risk of heart attack by up to 18%, adding an ACE inhibitor should add a further 16%. That’s 34%, so if I could find a few other assorted drugs to make up the remaining 66% my heart could continue beating forever. Of course this is utter nonsense, but to live forever – a nice thought. Or is it?
Whilst the idea of living forever may be attractive, unless all of your family and friends do so too it could end up being a lonely and unsettling experience. Burying the last of your close family at a funeral attended by grand-children and great grand-children would leave you isolated with generations to which you cannot relate. And what of the future world? Although the rate of change is accelerating, how would you cope with more and more changes given your own personal history? Could you cope with more than a lifetime of memories?
As you get older the days, months and years seem to go by faster. Maybe this is because they represent smaller and smaller percentages of our life lived. So imagine how fast a month would go by at the age of 100, 150 or 300. Life expectancy is increasing so my generation could reasonably expect to live into the mid 80s, maybe longer. Compare that with our forebears who thought themselves lucky to reach 40. But once you go back far enough in time this trend is reversed. An interesting exercise is to chart the ages of people mentioned in the book of Genesis in the bible. I remember doing this as a child and coming up with a graph that showed longevity of successive generations reducing in a gentle curve from around 900 years to the three score and ten years of contemporary times.
Imagine living 900 years! If everyone did we would need a much bigger planet, but that aside you could afford to spend years pursuing a hobby, switch careers many times, visit everywhere in the world many times over. For time-poor people this sounds very attractive, but I wonder whether it actually would live up to expectations?