Fountain of Youth: What If?
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18-01-2013, 11:06 PM
Fountain of Youth: What If?
Science has been making leaps-and-bounds progress on the aging processes for some time now. And not just on things like alzheimer's, but on the actual decay of our cellular structures over time. So much so that some theorize (like Aubrey De Grey) that we will be achieving the abilities to radically prolong youth, health, and life within a few decades.

Now, I'm only a layman, but I'm a thinker. I had a boring shift today and spent the better part of 8 hrs at the prison thinking about the possibilities of what may come to be if we can live to 150, 200, or even thousands of years.

I've come up with my own theories about how such a "Fountain of Youth" might impact the human race and the planet and I've listened to some educated speculation online since I got home, but I'd like to know-- what do YOU think?

What moral issues might this raise? How about the problem of overpopulation? How about the environmental effect? How would this impact religion? What could this mean for us economically? If such breakthroughs can be achieved, who will have access to them-- the many or the few-- and what implications? Whatever questions arise or theories you may have, I am interested.

Thank you! Smile

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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18-01-2013, 11:25 PM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
Who is Aubrey De Grey, and why should I care what he thinks about this?


Biological Immortality is already at least theoretically possible.

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18-01-2013, 11:36 PM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
Not sure if I'd want to live... FOREVER. But extend my life by many years? YES!

But yes the issue of overpopulation would be of concern. Unless we can move the population elsewhere, which doesn't appear to be extremely feasible in the near future.
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18-01-2013, 11:58 PM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
(18-01-2013 11:25 PM)Near Wrote:  Who is Aubrey De Grey, and why should I care what he thinks about this?


Biological Immortality is already at least theoretically possible.
You don't have to. Smile

And I'm not disputing the possibilities, I'm just asking what YOU think it might mean for the human race: be it social/economic/moral/environmental/political/religious impacts?

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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19-01-2013, 12:21 AM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
At this point, I would be all in if I could go back about two decades...going back to something closer to youth not adding years. Of course, I would want the knowledge I have now to go back with me.

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19-01-2013, 01:09 AM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
While it certainly is an interesting concept, I doubt it's implementation in reality.


Morally & Socially: I doubt our culture would change much, maybe people would change the definition of 'Old".

Scientifically: such an advance would only stifle medical advancement, however, it would allow longer time for scientists to perfect theories, research more and learn more. If given long enough, it might be possible to create a simple cell organism, after all, we just need time.

Politically: candidates would have increasingly difficult time running consecutively, and nations such as those in the first would, which would gain the effects of a slower cell degradation first, would have a literally massive, near innumerable advantage over those not fortunate enough to be able to gain such enhancement; due to the slowed age process, people would remain fitter longer, their effective fighting force doubles.

Economically: it would be the biggest boon to industry and economy since the assembly line, for a short time; workers live longer and are stronger for longer, so they produce more. After a significant amount of time however, with the workforce not aging and retiring at a steady rate, unless people cycled jobs at an increased rate, unemployment would likely rise.

Environmentally: that would cause a shit-storm. People would probably end up doubling or tripling their greenhouse emissions, depending on by how many times the average lifespan was increased. Resources would be burned through faster than ever, and over population would be impossibly severe.

Religiously: I'm not sure. People would have longer to sort out the facts, but at the same time they have just as long a time to be truly cemented in indoctrination. I doubt that anything would massively change on this front, maybe some outcry by the more powerful churches, but the church has never been able to halt the relentless march of scientific progress for long.

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21-01-2013, 07:06 AM (This post was last modified: 21-01-2013 07:17 AM by Misanthropik.)
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
Political: The government would sanction its use; most likely forking it over to the rich guys first, because they have more money to offer. There would likely be a tax on those who receive it. Some may even be denied its use; like convicted murderers or rapists.

Religious: It would have little or no adverse effects on religion. Believers would just say it's a blessing from God.

Economic: It would be in high demand, and thus, be a great money-maker. Being that the government has sanctioned it, and considering the price it would likely demand, there would be "immortality" sold on the black market. This youthful serum would not be approved by any official government and/or health association, so the wrong "strain" could be more damaging than helpful.

Environmental: People want to live forever because life can be fun. One reason life is fun is sex. The next time you're at the mall or the grocery store, look around you. Every single person you see is the result of a sexual encounter which resulted in pregnancy. Statistically, few sexual encounters result in pregnancy. Thus, a packed mall tells us that there is A LOT of sex going on in this world. If each person extended their lifetime (particularly their hormonal, free-spirited youth), they would be having a lot more sex than they already are, which would mean more pregnancies. This makes the likelihood of overpopulation a serious issue. Our environment cannot handle much more of the disease of Humanity which is already sucking its resources dry.

Moral: Given the issue of overpopulation, I imagine abortion would become something of a requirement. If not abortion, then there would eventually be a mandatory pregnancy prevention act. This wouldn't sit well with certain religious groups, and it would call for better, more effective birth control methods, which means more testing and more research - an uphill battle given the hell being constantly raised by said religious groups. As for the extension of life itself, people would debate whether it's ethical to allow people (or certain groups of people, as I mentioned earlier) to live longer than 80 or so years. Questions would be raised about mentally retarded individuals. Should we allow them to live longer as well, or would that only prolong their suffering? What about those with certain issues like depression or those who have suicidal tendencies? Should we give them the opportunity to live longer, or would that be a waste of resources better left to those who can actually benefit from it? Is there a way to reverse its life-extending effects? If not, what are people to do when they age past their youth and find themselves in extended senility? Being 20 years old for a hundred or so years is nice, but eventually, you've gotta face the prospect of being 80 for a hundred or so years. If its effects cannot be reversed, should we implement some sort of euthanasia program? What if some people don't want to partake in this program? Do we allow them to suck our resources like time and energy for another hundred years because they can't take care of themselves? Will there be a deadline when death will become mandatory for the sake of the greater population?

Don't know. In a world of eternal youth, anything could happen. But personally, I'd take the opportunity. I don't want to live forever - even when I was a christian I was terrified by the idea of eternal life. But if it can be opted out of, I'd be a fool to pass up the opportunity to live forever, even if I don't carry it to term. I'd fuck like I do now for decades, and I'd have a shit-load more time to chase my dreams. Then when I'm finally sick of this place I'll put a revolver in my mouth and swallow a bullet. From thence forth, these issues will no longer be of any relevance to me. Sleepy

/brainstorm

Edit: Now I'VE got questions. How does this "fountain of youth" work? I called it a serum, but what is it? What does it do to the body to prolong life? How does it effect development? Will a teenager develop for 10 or so years into adulthood, then be a grown 23-year-old man/woman for the next few decades? Or will puberty take place over a longer period of time? If so, what does THAT mean for us? How will this effect the next generation? Will infants be imprinted with this longevity as well, or will we have to administer it to them? If so, when? When they're born or when they're old enough to consent (thus defeating the purpose of eternal youth)? How will it effect pregnancy time?

I'm super tired and now my mind is racing on this. I'm never gonna get any sleep. Dodgy

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21-01-2013, 08:16 AM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
You forgot the huge market for homeopathic youth serum. Drinking Beverage

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22-01-2013, 02:27 AM (This post was last modified: 22-01-2013 02:31 AM by SingingBear.)
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
Quote: Religious: It would have little or no adverse effects on religion. Believers would just say it's a blessing from God.
I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but don't most religions teach that dying (if you're good) is only a pathway to heaven? For a deeply religious person, is it possible that extending your life in such a manner is tantamount to turning your back on God? Going to heaven is a good thing, so isn't death is a good thing? They're "in a better place", after all, aren't they? Might it give rise to new religions? (I wouldn't consider that a good thing.)

And I tend to agree with you on the political/control side of it. Something so powerful (and it would be powerful) would most definitely lend to the rich and influential. And those with power and influence are loathe to give anyone else an equal opportunity. I see a closely guarded "fountain" bringing forth tyrants, at worst. But then again-- secrets are hard to keep in the age of information.

If the "fountain" were widely available, some kind of universal population control would be a necessity. So what next? Mandated abortions? Required birth control? Limit the amount of males born? Let's face it-- ghastly as the latter may be, it would cut down on wars and crimes. (Please, don't mistake that for advocacy.) And, after all, men can create children for as long as they can get off.

And these sort of regulations would require vast power to enforce. Would a single world rule result? Would there be war between the nations that support these reproductive restrictions against those who refuse?

And the economic situation. Were such a "fountain" widely available, would a world where a retirement age is non-existent mean better or worse economic results? After all, there should be less turnover. Less older folks handing over the reigns to the younger. Would that mean higher unemployment rates? Companies paying higher wages to senior staff instead of bringing in entry-level employees?

Science. Would it mean that our brilliant minds living for extended period of time would bring about a great boon to our technology? Will it mean that science will slow because a lack of fresh perspective?

If such a "fountain" were available to the few (those rich and powerful enough), would it not expand the dominion of the privileged and incite global civil unrest?

If it is available to everyone, our population is in danger of growing completely out of control and will become unsupportable in a relatively small amount of time. The catastrophic results of this can easily be imagined.

Are humans ready for such a breakthrough?

"The problem with faith is that it really is a conversation stopper. Faith is a declaration of immunity to the powers of conversation. It is a reason why you do not have to give reasons for what you believe." - Sam Harris
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01-02-2013, 03:21 AM
RE: Fountain of Youth: What If?
It is possible if we find a way to regenerate the micro human cells then we can live forever without aging. If you had watched the "Heroes" series, you can get the idea what I'm saying.

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