Tonight our Big Picture book discussion was about longevity. It was based on the book The Abolition of Aging by David W. Wood. Debbie and I only got about 111 pages into it. I lost interest because of the sloppy linkages of ideas to reality. For example on page 45 –
In summary, whilst the Hayflick limit is an important area of biology, it does not negate the possibility of extending healthy lifespans.
Q12: Aren’t there natural limits to how long humans can live?
Nature appears to have some hard limits. For example, nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. Temperatures cannot be reduced below zero Kelvin (which is minus 273.15 degrees Celsius).
However, history is full of examples of limits being overcome. Think of the limit of “the four-minute mile”: some writers may have speculated that the human body would never be able to run a mile in less than four minutes, but Roger Bannister breached this limit in the famous race in 1954 in Oxford. Another example is the limit of 120 years of human life … that limit was surpassed by Frenchwoman Jeanne Louise Calment when she turned 121 in 1996.
I give the long quote to show the absurdity of the comparisons Wood makes in this book. There is an abundance of facts and details but then he runs to logical absurdities using these facts to link to something that is located in a totally different dimension of reality. The speed of light compared to a human running a mile, like Bolt. Bolt is a fantastically fast runner but he isn’t physically related to the light in a lightning bolt.
Our discussion was interesting to the people there and I talked too much, but I did bring up one important question that went un-discussed. “What are we as individuals doing that would require two hundred years to complete?” It was said that we needed a purpose in life to want to live for a very long time when I asked that question. No one proposed an answer and most just wanted to avoid death. J did a quick google and discovered that nearly as many people were dying from interactions or overdoses of drugs they are taking to save them from heart attacks and cancer as were dying from those diseases. It seems those people were fleeing from death, not striding toward life.
I didn’t bring up my personal thoughts after asking the question, but I do have a grander purpose that could take a long time, perhaps 200 years. Although it’s an impossible goal in a permanent sense, I am trying to help humanity to achieve its self-actualization of the present moment and that requires survival of the species and the environment.
Personal life extension to assist in humanity’s self-actualization is a worthy goal.