Scientists have successfully altered the life span of fruit flies, worms, and mice, and some believe we are not far off being able to do the same with humans. Pardon?!
In a recent episode of The Nature of Things with David Suzuki called, “Living Forever: The Longevity Revolution,” scientists from around the world explore whether we can repair the human body and perhaps increase the human life span another 100 years, 500 years, even more. The documentary is not about wanting to look and feel younger. It’s about stopping, slowing down, and even reversing the aging process. It’s about the modern quest to create a longer, healthier old age, even eliminating old age altogether.
It’s a controversial subject, and one that’s fascinating to ponder. Even if the science enables greater life span for humans, and I believe it will at some point, there are so many ethical, societal, and moral issues to consider. My mind jumped immediately to health and finances. I certainly wouldn’t want to significantly extend my life if I had failing health or did not have the financial means to live comfortably. Then I started to consider the status of loved ones, the impact on work life, healthcare, and society’s acceptance of seniors. And what age, then, would be considered elderly? After a few minutes, I realized this is just the tip of the iceberg.
I love David Suzuki for so many reasons. At the end of the documentary, after we hear from all of the scientists and, dare I say eccentric, “believers,” he asks some poignant questions …
- Rather than focus so much effort on eliminating old age, shouldn’t we instead work on improving quality of life in our last years?
- What’s more useful … five people living to 150, or 500 people living more fully?
“After all,” he says. “We’re all going to die.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I was unable to find online the version of the documentary that aired on TV, but a slightly altered version (and minus David Suzuki’s closing remarks) is available below.