Saturday, 25 August 2012

Live long and fester

In a vague but proximate future we are told we may be able to switch off our ageing genes so that we no longer go wrinkly and on average live to the ripe old age of 150. Or whatever age some journalist or batty scientist is prepared to guess at.

But what if it is actually possible?

What if our descendants have to come to terms with working until their 120th birthday? What if some of them end up working for the same boss for 50 years or more? Working with the same colleagues, attending the same meetings and training courses, trying for 100 years to make the biscuit fund fairer. 

Imagine teachers teaching the same lessons for well over 100 years.

Imagine political life with the same lying shysters growing fatter and fatter on the proceeds of political power, decade after decade after decade...

Well - maybe that's not such an enormous change.

But what about having the same awkward neighbour for 50 years? Mowing the lawn for over 100 years. Deciding what to have for breakfast as a nice change because a bowl of Cornflakes doesn't quite hit the spot as it used to 80 odd years ago. 

Or having to think up new blog posts for a century?

I don’t want to go before my time, but neither do I relish the thought of lingering and lingering then lingering some more. It isn’t the health issue with me - I simply don’t believe we are well-adapted for very long lives.

Maybe we need renewal and that means replacement and that in turn means there is such a thing as a death rate that is too low. Maybe we shouldn't interfere with these things before we know what we are doing. Maybe we should leave well alone.

As we usually don't.


Angus Dei said...

I would be quite happy with the regulation three score and ten with maybe half a score added on:)

Sam Vega said...

This is probably one of those "mind/body dualism" issues. I imagine that evolution means that our sensitivity to and tolerance of pain and tedium has kept roughly in step with how long our bodies last. Suddenly altering the scale would muck everything up. It would be the reverse of "going before your time" is now, but disturbing in a different way. Your examples certainly do little to make me want to encourage such research. I'll happily leave future generations to enjoy Blair's continuing premiership.

Demetrius said...

Here is my draft blog post for 1st August 2112. "It is still snowing but the reindeer are on the move so we shall be out hunting for a while. The wise woman says that soon the earth shall warm and we shall eat other meat. We think she has has had too much of the firewater."

A K Haart said...

Angus - me too - until I get there no doubt.

Sam - "I'll happily leave future generations to enjoy Blair's continuing premiership."

I certainly won't miss that. Such a pity though - I'd like to see some real reform but don't really expect it.

Demetrius - surely the windmills and solar panels will keep us warm.