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Is there a way we can become immortals? Is there a way we can become immortals?
by Joseph Gatt
2007-12-19 08:56:18
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I remember a case when an old man put his dead wife in a freezer instead of burying her. He thought science would one day be able to resuscitate her. That sparked a debate concerning whether or not we could one day become immortals.

On a French television show, a scientist claimed that within 30 years men would live forever. Though it made me want to live for at least 30 more years until the ultimate discovery would be made, I was a little disappointed that there was no follow-up story.

Several scientists and doctors are working on the miracle solution that would kill ageing. The current longevity record is 122 years for human beings, though many are trying hard to make human beings live until around 150 or more.

Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge University geneticist claimed: “Whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.” Intriguing. But how do scientists work concretely to achieve that?

De Grey’s statement might sound crazy and irrational. Research to cure diseases that have ravaged the planet since last century have slow results, and we would need a new scientific revolution to find cures to most diseases. On a personal note, I would like to remind that the cure to diseases could be found in tropical forests that are being continuously destroyed by human beings to create habitat land or to sell wood.

At the University of Washington, an experiment proved successful as mice’s lives were extended by 20% when boosting natural antioxidants. This finding could help fight ageing and cure diseases. The rest is classical tips for longevity.

Classical tips include not smoking, exercising and eating healthy food. Economic conditions also help, since most countries where life expectancy is the highest are also the economically most advanced countries. Japan holds the record with 82 years, followed by Sweden, Canada, France and the United Arab Emirates. Surprisingly, Cuba, which has an unstable economy due to the longstanding embargo, is also among the countries with the highest life expectancy rates, with 78.6 years, more than the US, with 77.9 years.

Many countries are expected to pass the 80 years of life expectancy line, but are far from reaching record breaking ages or immortality. De Grey further predicted that immortality would be reached step by step, first by making 90 year olds look like they’re 60, then by reaching life expectancies of 150, then immortality.

Though I love the sound of it, and I’d love death to be an option, science still has a long way to go before offering human beings immortality. Curing diseases is one way to start, but peace is also important. Indeed, for countless individuals, the value of life is close to nothing.

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Emanuel Paparella2007-12-19 09:08:15
Here is a joke on immortality that is making the rounds and with an obvious point:

I recently picked a new primary care physician. After two visits and
exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age. A
little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do
you think I'll live to be 80?"
He asked, "Well, do you smoke tobacco or drink beer/wine?"
"Oh no," I replied. "I've never done either."
Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"
I said "No, I've heard that all red meat is very unhealthy!"
"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing,
ballooning, or rock climbing ?"
"No, I don't," I said.
He said, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or sexually fool around?"
"No," I said. "I've never done any of those things."
He looked at me and said, "Then why do you give a shit if you live to be

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-19 09:23:44
And here is another concept of what immortality is, from Dante's Divine Comedy, Inferno, canto XV where Dante meets one of his teachers, the poet Brunetto Latini. Here is an excerpt of the exchange between the two:

55 And he said to me, "Follow your own star
And you cannot miss your harbor of glory
If I judged you rightly in that lovely life.

85 "You taught me how man makes himself immortal,
And I am so grateful that, while I live,
I will fittingly express it in my speech.

Alexandra Pereira2007-12-20 01:23:40
Indeed, the problem that life is not enough appreciated nor respected by some is, in fact, a problem. The problem that it is not enjoyed is another one. And the ways to immortality are multiple. I would say men need death, but they don't need criminals.

Jack2007-12-20 02:34:31
Excellent article. Unfortunately living is still 100% fatal. It almost seems that it lies in what, snatching individuals at times they both least and most expect it. We do hold life of less value or taken for granted. Eternal, physical life would doom the planet, so regretably humans do later generations a great service. We die.

The closest thing to eternity in humans for now are through our children, family and friends. Our effects can be latter generation's affects. Like a ripple in the pond, cause effects...is not for nothing.

Sand2007-12-20 06:03:48
Admittedly the possibility of eternal life presents real challenges, one of them, philosophically, would be competition with the promised afterlife of some religions. And many religious adherents would quiver in their boots at the thought that someone attempting to live forever would offend one of their imagined gods. Nevertheless, the prospect is tempting. If a sound mind and body went along with the endless life I would find the opportunity worthwhile since all the religious promises seem an obvious scam to me.

But there would have to be major changes in society. Today it is increasingly impossible to find possible participation in the work force as one ages. One must earn one's way and anybody over retirement age is now pretty much prevented from doing so. The world stupidly bumbles on and can be a bore but if life remains without pain and suffering and offers new frontiers for exploration death holds no temptation for me.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-20 16:51:42
It would appear that Sand too longs for some sort of eternal life that he has been poo poohing all along extolling the virtues of corpses made into chemicals and the slogan "it's all over when it is over; or deactivation, as duly rationally dubbed. Ah, the contradictions of pure rationalism! But there is merit to the idea: the competition will give people a democratic choice. Which is the more intelligent and rational choice, that's another story. Surely the rationalist knows.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-20 16:57:39
PS To conceive of death as a temptation is a travesty and a caricature of what most religions of the world hold: that death is a scandal and ought not to be disired for its own sake.

Sand2007-12-20 17:33:19
Paparella, your most weird attempt at logic is symptomatic of why you disdain rationality. I never said I did not want to live as long as possible and how you arrive at that peculiar idea is a total mystery. I merely indicated that the idea that there was life after death had no evidence whatsoever and any organization that claimed that was scamming for ulterior motives.
But since its inception Christianity has envisioned a final judgment after death and the sheep shall be separated from the goats (goats, like pigs, do not do well in religions) and the obedient adherents shall be condemned to wear wings and spend the rest of eternity strumming harps and looking google eyed at God whereas the rejected shall be fried in God's cookery and poked with sharp tools. Since this tableau cannot occur without dying therefore dying is a Christian necessity. If someone discovers some way to frustrate dying it screws up the whole Christian agenda. Poor St, Peter will sit waiting for souls to arrive and none will appear so he will have to entertain himself in some saintly manner and all those white mother hubbards and wings will remain hanging in the warehouse forever after.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-20 21:32:13
No doubt those weird voices have suggested such a childish caricature. One wonders who is most immature, people who allegedly believe those caricature or people who device them. Those voices also seem to have told you that I disdain rationality. Don't listen to them, intelligent people are perfectly capable of entertaining and comparing two different views on an issue and not just one's own pet one. I have written and explained abundantly (for more than six months now) in the Ovi pages that rationality is certainly part of reason and not to be despised but it is not the whole of reason. You, on the other hand never miss an opportunity to denigrade and trash, together with religion, humanistic modes of thought, those modes which complement and in fact are necessary parts of reason. And so the pure rationalist remains clever by half with his silly caricatures. Pity.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-20 21:38:23
P.S. Take a good look at Aquinas Summa and a gothic cathedral sometime and it may begin to dawn on you how rational both are. But they also give space to the symbolical and the transcendent which the rationalist is incapable of doing as long as he conceives of reason as nothing but rationality. And that paradigm of reason usuaally ends up with the disdaining of humanistic culture and even the burning of books that do not conform to one's ideology. Pity.

Sand2007-12-20 22:08:49
I didn't invent that silly stuff, the church did.
It's nice you approve of reason. It's about time you put it into practice.
Transcendence in my dictionary refers to something beyond belief. I agree that whatever it might be, it's beyond belief therefore I do not believe in it and feel no deprivation subsequently.

Sand2007-12-20 22:11:06
Here you go with book burning again. I never mentioned anything about book burning. Your fascination with that is close to Nazi practices.

Emanuel Paparella2007-12-20 23:43:39
Here we go again, the Church invented your caricatures. No, the voices in your head did that. You pompous prononuncements based on sheer ignorance or at the very least on half of the whole story are full of allusions and innuendos, the work horses of bashers and trashers, but alas, they are so pathetic that even a fifth grader could see through them.

Sand2007-12-21 04:26:17
If I'm going to be insulted instead of being informed it would be more amusing if they were more pointed and imaginative. But a second rate mind can only manufacture second rate insults. What you would call ad hominem.

Sand2007-12-21 05:00:30
I find it interesting that I am now credited with inventing St. Peter at the gates of Heaven, I invented Hell and the demons (and thereby inspired Dante, I invented dead people with wings strumming harps. Did I also invent God? At my age sometimes I forget a word or two but I am reasonably sure that if I dreamed up God I surely would have remembered it as one of those odd imperfect thoughts one would rather not have had.

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