Live long so we do not prosper  

revelinthedance 35M
44 posts
4/11/2006 10:38 am

Last Read:
10/17/2006 7:12 pm

Live long so we do not prosper

I was watching the Today Show this morning and I saw them do a segment on the future potential for people to live longer. Granted, this was based on theorhetical research, but was being purported as a real possibility. It is based primarily on people being more health conscious, having better medical care, and some possible genetic alteration that would not only lenthen life, but improve its quality in old age. All through this segment, I don't think they addressed the most pressing of the issues associated with such a possibility.

So, we've put off death and calmed people's fear of it, for a little while anyway. So, elderly will now mean 120 years old, instead of 80, theoretically. So, it's possible that people can see their great, great grandchildren grow up. Now we can all live longer and happier lives, watching the products of our genes propogate, while we greedily use up all of the resources that might otherwise be used more necessarily on those with life ahead of them. Why must we work so hard to burden ourselves?

How then are we assigning value to a life? Is it the existence of children that might someday create grandchildren that might someday spawn great grandchildren that might someday....? You get the picture. Is that what necessitates living a long life, so we can give more generations of youth extremely wrinkly relatives that they dread being forced to go visit and act like their conversation is stimulating? How puritanical! How rediculous!

Still, that may be simply a personal aversion to the concept, besides the fact that I have no desire to live past and maybe not even to 70. Let's look at a larger problem with this whole thing. Let's look at population control.

The world, and yes, the United States is part of the problem, is already overpopulated and we as a country and the most consumptive nation in the world are not only taxing our resources, but the resources of the entire world as we hoard them and stockpile like a bunch of fucking rats so that we may be able use it later, which we almost invariably don't, but at least other countries haven't used them either, right. If we even stopped making the high fructose corn syrup, which we put in most of our processed foods and which the vast majority of the cork crops in the world go towards making, we could just about end world hunger. We'll have a conversation about nutrition a little later, if you wish, but for now lets recognize the philosophy behind this. So, why would we even want to increase the population in the world, much less the United States where the fastest growing portion of the population is people over 100 years of age and we are making health care less and less affordable on a continual basis. Although I can surely see the logic in wanting to increase the population when there already aren't enough resources for the population we have worldwide. Sure, let's try to keep people in fighting condition for a longer period of time so we can finally fight a land war in Asia. Are you fucking nuts!

So, as we make such wonderful technological advances, rather than simply being the most consumptive nation on the planet, lets descend on every other nation like a field of locusts and devour everything until there is nothing left. Then, we can return to our own wasted speck of land and realize that we've just fucked ourselves over. Perhaps we are attempting to starve the world out before global warming takes out the coast lines, limits productive land even more as the population expands even further on now smaller plots of land, then ushers in another ice age so hopefully everyone can die and we'll start all over again. Then, of course, we must wonder if greed is a simple human truth, or if it will be extinguished with the last of the locusts. YES. MORE PEOPLE! OLDER PEOPLE! COVER THE WORLD WITH RETIREMENT HOMES! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I get that people are affraid of dying because it's an unknown. Even the religious people that swear they are going to a better place don't seem in too much of a hurry to leave. So, why don't we just make this one so unbearable that everyone wants to leave it. What a plan. Still, I think I'd make a great tribal leader if we are reduced to warring bands of hunter-gatherer communities that must battle for resources, but I won't live that long. Neither will I have any children to live that long, but rampant stupidity is something that always seems to set my teeth on edge.

7inchlinguest 62M
35 posts
4/15/2006 8:34 pm

I am a proponent of longer health span, to be contrasted with just life span. The problem isn't longer life span, it is our breeding habits.

Ironically, there is a real cultural debate going on in the bio-ethics circles about what it means to be human. Now, get this! Some right wing religious conservatives are anti-life extension for reasons that have nothing with population growth. Some of these people, like Leon Kass and others posit questions like this: "If people are immortal, will they put off having children later, or not at all." What? If we live indefinitely, lets hope we either put off having children or not have them at all.

Another interesting fact is that the nations that now have the longest life expectancy, also have the lowest birth rates and are actually starting to shrink in population.

I, personally, ever since I was about 11 or 12 years old thought about the human life cycle of birth, school, work, reproduction, sickness ( or if lucky, just quick death), and than death as being a rather cruel joke of nature on beings who have developed consciousness. Or, maybe, mortal organisms developing consciousness so they are aware of what awaits them is the cruel joke, and fodder for all the most malevolent, narrow, fear based religious philosophies imaginable by mankind ( to be fair, many other religious philosophies that are based on positives such as love are good).

One of the reasons I chose never to reproduce (not the only) is that anyone born will inherit the selfish gene that exist only to be passed on. After that, the individual "vehicle" for the DNA, i.e. you ,me, and everyone, is expendable and just begins the dying process.

Of course, ironically, if one did live "forever" than there would be no need to reproduce, and also, just maybe, if individuals are going to be around for a long time, they may take more of an interest in what is going on over the long term.

An interesting book for people to read on this and other related subjects is "The Singularity Is Near : When Humans Transcend Biology" by Ray Kurzweil. Increasing life span will not happen in a vacuum, if other technologies can help create a "closed loop" economy in which we recycle everything and can use molecular manufacturing to develop cheap solar energy converters, than even if we have 13 billion people, we can all live well and prosper until the heat death of the universe ensues 100 billion years from now.

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