Sunday, December 22, 2013

Science and The End - What our internal feelings have to do with aging

Hanging out in the periphery of my conscious life is the feeling that I am one of those lucky folks who will live a very long time. Some folks just know...my younger brother, just for example, would actually say he was going to live a short life or that he thought he would die young. Indeed, he did. He died at the age of 22. We, some of us, just know. Another friend said she thought she'd die in her 40's and that there would be foul play involved. She is not yet 40. Why would she say anything so ghastly? Why would she even consider this thought? We know a lot of things about ourselves, our life, internally. I don't know how, but we do. We have this internal compass, this knowing. And quite a lot we lose our way. We forget what we are here for, we veer off and ignore our internal feelings. Shrug them off and try to carry on...and yet if you think about it, you've no doubt had these thoughts yourself.

Back to the long life span. I'm naturally attracted to research on aging and life extension. I read the Methuselah Factor as a young teen, subscribed to a newsletter and magazine back in the 90's devoted to life extension. My ears perked when Google announced the Calico project (the idea is to basically end death) and am quite taken by this skinny, long-haired, British hippie scientist, Aubrey de Grey:



...and his "longevity escape velocity" theory.

Now, according to 23andMe I possess a genetic code that is supposed to make me look 3 years older than most of my peers. However, if you've ever seen me (or my parents for that matter) you will notice I have very good skin (and so do quite a lot of my family members), despite the science. Part of this is likely my obsession with sunscreen, part of it I'm not sure...good nutrition? Perhaps the genetic test was wrong? What I know for sure is I am not delusional in saying I don't look my age (maybe you do think I'm delusional, or maybe age is a fluid thing and everyone can look younger or older, depending on how you perceive them?).

Let's back up to explain aging here for those unfamiliar with the process. The way you age has to do with something called telomeres. These telomeres protect your chromosomes from deteriorating. Every time your cells regenerate a part of the telomere is "cut". Some people have longer telomeres than others and those with the longer telomeres tend to age more slowly than everyone else.

That's me! Age 35


These are human chromosomes, capped at the end by telomeres (white dots):

We may just be on the brink of ending aging, death, disease for those of us lucky enough to be near the science behind it. But what does this mean for us as a human species and our purpose here on Earth? I believe there is a life beyond this one and that we are on this planet to fulfill certain things to help ourselves grow and develop as spiritual beings. I'm not sure I do believe in reincarnation, but I do believe we get several chances to go back and listen to that internal knowing and get back on our path. We may possibly be permitted to be the first generation able to live 1000 years or more. What does this mean for the planet and for our purposes while we are on it? I absolutely feel it in my blood and in my bones that I was made to live a long time. I feel around 100 years...but is that part of a genetic imprint that I could possibly go well beyond in my own lifetime? Will we, as human beings ever unlock the key of death and free ourselves from the rotting grave via science? Or must we wait for the Christian resurrection to escape the grave and be turned anew (that is, if you believe that is more than just a fairy tale made up to help children cope with death that was then somehow passed on as a reality throughout the generations).

I'm betting on science, but that internal knowing of things we cannot possibly know nags at me, pulls me aside and tells me there is more. That we know things beyond the bounds of science and logic and that each of us is built-in with a purpose here to fulfill if we can only sit still and not worry about our time or the tolling of the bell for us.

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