Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by caketastydelish, Jan 20, 2021.
Growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional.
Bit of a difference between physical aging and mental maturity though. When people talk about curing aging, they're not suggesting staying mentally and emotionally a child. They're just pointing out that if you could stay in the biological equivalent of your twenties indefinitely it would have huge benefits in terms of both health and quality of life, which is pretty hard to deny.
I think it can be denied easily. I look forward to seeing my children grow up, and have children of their own, while I get to be a wise old grampy. Being 20 was a lot of fun, but I had my fun, its over now and I'm getting enjoyment out of the completely new and different experience of being middle aged with a wife and kids. I look forward to growing old with my wife. I'm grateful for the opportunity. I miss my parents, but the fact that they've passed has forced me into experiencing life in a different way than if they were immortal. Seeing my parents grow old and die and seeing my own health slowly decline has given me a deep appreciation for things that I was completely oblivious to when I was an invincible 20-something.
All that is even putting aside the unpredictable implications immortality would have on the planet/ecosystem/economy etc... Just looking at it from a purely selfish standpoint, I think there is something to be said for the experience of aging, particularly when you have a family, kids etc. I do recognize however, that spending 10, 20 years bedridden is probably no fun... especially for a generation of folks who never got into videogames. Joking aside, I think that part of life might be something most people might want to do without.
I'm reminded of the Star Trek TNG episode where they meet an alien culture that mandated the euthanizing of their elderly at IIRC the age of 60, precisely to spare people and society the potential ordeal of folks becoming invalid long term as they aged, and all that goes along with it. There was also that movie where everyone got a default number of years to live... I think it was 21... and to get more years you had to trade them with others. I don't think I'd opt for either of those systems, but the prospect of spending decades infirmed, confined to a hospital/nursing home bed is certainly a quandary.
I'm talking about the fear expressed in the OP. The same fear that drives people to have hair follicles transplanted, saggy bits surgically tucked up, things injected etc etc. Obsessing about keeping your body forever young isn't that healthy. Coming to terms with the reality that your body is going to change, and that it isn't the absolute end of the world, is a healthier way to live your life. You don't need to have shiny lustrous hair and the ability to sprint in order to be happy.
Denying it does require you to regard deterioration in your health as, in itself, positive - which is certainly an offbeat interpretation. "Curing aging" isn't going to remove seeing your children grow up or stopping you from growing old chronologically with your wife etc. You would just be in better health while doing so.
Oh, if we do come up with a way to cure aging, then the planet and civilization are completely screwed. It says something that the classic dystopian scenario of immortality being expensive and only available to a few rich elite is probably the least catastrophic possibility. The only other "out" I could see is to develop practical interstellar travel first, and even that does not necessarily solve the problem. Curing aging is by its nature an extremely selfish path.
I want to point out that this year I've been asked to spend 50x as much (as I do on extending healthspan) in order to delay a fraction of the deaths. There is some powerful anchoring going on, I don't think it's mine. Is there something more noble to sliding into nursinghome dementia than dying in lung fluid? About losing the physical ability to play with kids rather than disappearing quickly?
Further, it might be bad math, but 'overpopulation' is a four alarm fire already. If you're suggesting that I (and all my loved ones) die slowly over a decade as a delaying tactic, then I'd push back saying that you should be doing more about the looming ecological crisis. Extending lifespan is only a fraction of the input into that fire.
And if it's such a problem, then surely covid-19 is a natural way of buying time? I've been asked to change everything to delay a fraction of the deaths that aging claims annually. But see how monstrous that question is?
To add to this, the second best way of reducing birth rates (after educating girls / young women) is to extend lifespan.
I don't accept this premise. However, I will say that the changes that you experience over the course of your life can help you to appreciate life more, and teach those who come after you, both directly and indirectly, to appreciate it as well. I don't need to "to regard deterioration in your health as, in itself, positive" to be able to appreciate that a multitude of experiences can increase a person's wisdom and enrich/deepen your life experience... that acute awareness of one's mortality can provide a perspective, that immortality may not... that eternal life/youth has the potential of becoming very lonely, full of regret and resentment.
A very simple illustration. Everyone here plays videogames. But everyone does not choose play on the easiest difficulty level and/or on "God mode", even when that option is available. Because for many folks, its simply no fun and/or boring. So for some, so too it is with life... Going through life on god mode may end up sucking all the value out of life. Aging is part of life's experiences and without it, you are missing something. It doesn't have to be positive or negative. I think its overly simplistic to try to define it that way. Living without aging is just different, not necessarily better... a difference that one person wants may not be as appealing to another person.
You're mixing too many variables to reach these premises. Why would I want to stop aging while my wife continues to age? Or Does your claim presume that my wife would stop aging too? Why do you assume she wants that? What if I want to stop aging but she does not? Do I get to force her to take the immortality potion? For my own satisfaction over her free will? And if she gets to refuse the potion, what if I will be miserable watching my wife age while I stay locked in a certain age?
Same for my kids. Do they eventually get "older" in terms of the aging process than me? I wouldn't want that. Why in heavens name would I want that? Or, again, am I forcing my kids to take the potion as well? If so, what age? Who gets to decide what age my kids are going to be frozen at for eternity? What if I want my son to be frozen at a younger age than me so that its not weird, but he actually wants to reach an older age than I am to freeze his aging? Or is there some arbitrary set age that everyone is forced to stop aging at, so we all end up the same "age" in terms of the aging process? What if people don't agree and want to "freeze" at an older or younger age? What if a teenage girl wants to be an Olympic gymnast forever so she "freezes" at 14? Can she still get married? Have kids?
I just reject the notion that halting aging is somehow an obvious, absolute, positive thing, in-and-of-itself. I think its just a different existence, not necessarily better or worse. It all depends on the circumstances.
If aging is significantly pushed back, you can be certain that a continent-load of people will have to not reproduce, since the planet already is congested.
That said, it is pretty obvious than any real breakthrough won't be available to the average person.
That's what gets said about every major breakthrough.
There was a time when electricity was a luxury only the rich could afford. Same for cars, telephones, refrigerators, televisions, airplane travel, computers, cellular phones, and so on.
I do not think this is a given. A few of the technologies we have come up with recently are very expensive, but most have managed to filter down. The coronavirus vaccines are a great feat of medical science, and it might be 2 years from the richest person getting it to the poorest. If we invent "medical immortality" and it only takes 2 generations to make it from the richest to the poorest that would be amazing. If it takes 20 then it could still be a good thing.
I guess as well that we will get step by step longer lives.
But there are so many balances build into our current "design".
Telomerase was mentioned.
It can grow back the lenght of your telomeres.
But there are enough circumstances in cells in your body where you do not want telemorase to be activated like in a cancer cell, because than that cell can easily duplicate more than the usual 40-60 times.
And what good would many continuously repaired metabolic pathways have when your mitochondria detoriate as usual and produce slowly but steadily less ATP (your energy unit).
(you mitochondria being your small powerplants, that organel taking up 25% of cell weight, producing roughly 40-80 kilogram ATP per day. You need that to be quite ok !).
It's a bit like a barrel with staves... there is always a bottleneck. And quite a lot of staves.
What you need is what applies everywhere, but it looks to me that there are everywhere exceptions in how your metabolism handles repairs and eliminations.
And then we have still that interaction between your symbiosis friends in your intestines, the gut bacteria, and your body.
Perhaps we really need powerfull quantum computers to be able to get it all charted and modelled. All those pathways like a UPL.
Every human will be different as well.
Even identical one egg twinns are already different when born because of mutations during their first months.
This is why most of the conversation focuses on extending healthspan. There are a lot of the objections here that make no sense if we were to suggest shortening lifespans (and especially through the denial of medical interventions). And it's statistically impossible that the current set of interventions are the 'ideal way to be'. So, the more obvious conclusion is that we're suffering from some type of anchoring bias. In the anti-aging community, we call this The Dragon Tyrant.
So, it's about healthspan, which most people want for either themselves or at least their loved ones. After that, it's just running an extrapolation of what the eventual conclusion is if we value healthspan. I guess I then backtrack, for the same reason why we express concern for current infant mortality. There's no nobility or population control or whatever in mothers watching their under-fives die, and we've realized this after we significantly boosted healthspan for that cohort.
Dutch health policy is primarily based on a healthy life span and real interventions when people have bad luck before they reach a normal old age (like birth, infant, young parents, etc).
Good childcare, preventing infections at young age, good dental care deliver more vital health throughout life.
That this also results in some longer lifespan... so be it.
And care is taken that the last phase of life is about palliative care to get a social ethical appropiate fading out of a last 2-3 years or a bit more for goodbye and prepared mourning.
Maybe so, but 30s and 40s and 50s for a few decades is a helluva lot better than languishing as a near walking corpse.
With the caveat (again) that none of this weird stuff should be paid attention to unless you're already doing all the low-hanging fruit. And, if you have loved ones, helping them do so as well. The seven years that clean air, clean diet, stretching, and exercise buys you at least another 2 years of medical advances, unless an inflection point is reached at then *shrug*.
What's recently become a hot topic is the concept of senolytics. Remember, there is a variety of ways that the body breaks down all at the same time, and so the intervention will be based on what (specifically) is going wrong.
In layman terms, some of our cells get old and start to be 'less good' at keeping their own health in order as well as the local milieu. But, they're taking up space. And a subset of these cells actually have local stem cells available that would be happy to send in young cells to replace them, except the old cells are in the way. This is obviously more about replicating tissue than non-replicating tissue. Muscle, not neurons.
Senolytics would be interventions that cause the 'old' cells to peacefully die (apoptosis, 'peaceful' being the operative word here) and then follow up with some repair/growth signal that causes new stem cell activity to fill in the space. In essence, it would rejuvenate the tissue and slow the aging process. This is what they're finding in intermittent fasting, and I remember being very excited about the original proof-of-concept experiments that removing senescent cells is beneficial. Obviously, small molecule design that mimics the effect is very hard to do, since if you're going to hard-tweak a biochemical pathway in a cell, you want to be very careful which cell you do it in. And so, there have been some spectacular failures in the actual industry. Well, maybe not 'huge failures'. Mostly 'underperform', but that's just normal in pharma. If you ever get optimistic about something moving to human trials, you're making a statistical error. But the future is created by the Greater Fool.
There are a lot of natural substances that reduce the number of these senescent cells you describe.
The well known curcumin (tumeric, yellow root) in your curry dishes, and the less known fisetin that is most abundant in strawberries, the humble apple quite good as well.
The OP was talking about his body "decaying from optimal performance" and not wanting to physically age beyond early 20s. I'm obviously not saying it's a bad idea to want to promote general health and fitness into those twilight years.
The atomic bomb still isn’t sold in every corner shop though. And we’re talking about something as impactful. Good health is the most important thing. You can put any price tag on it, people will pay up.
What?! You mean in 1985, plutonium isn't available at every corner drugstore???
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