I was listening to a TED talk last night that was titled “Fountain of Youth”. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design for those of you who do not know the meaning (I didn’t for a while).
Anyways, the talk had several questions that challenged the way we think of aging. Questions like:
What causes us to age?
What are the biological factors of aging?
Is aging a disease?
Can we do anything to extend our longevity?
Should we stop fighting against aging and learn to accept it as a transitioning period of life?
Oh, my favorite part was the in-depth explanation of the lives of those people who are living to be one hundred as an average. I thought it was insane that there are people who can expect to live that long.
What gave these people a longer life expectancy didn’t surprise me though. They set up their lives in a way that they are constantly active in their everyday life. The TED talk mentioned that they live in homes that are vertical, so their taking the stairs each day. They don’t live in places where you can buy processed, packaged, foods. If they want a cake they’d have to gather the ingredients and bake the cake themselves. Their life is radically different from what we’d call an “average American life”.
Obviously, we are still limited by biological factors, just like a car is limited to their mechanical parts.
What if I told you that these limitations are being broken though?
What if it were possible to live to be 200 and still feel as if you’re in your twenties?
That’s exactly what one of the speeches were about in the TED talk. High hopes, high hopes, I know. Scientists have been tackling this for years, but we’re just now on the edge of serious breakthroughs.
Another thing in mind, when cars begin to break down we don’t just send them to the scrapyard and consider them useless do we? No, we keep their parts and use them for other vehicles. This is similar to how we donate organs. Do you think people ever used to imagine taking the heart of one person and placing it in another?
The tools that we have today are evolving faster than most people’s imagination. I know how people look at me, with that “have you lost it” look, when I tell people of CRISPR (genome editing technology) and how we can now genetically modify genes. The possibility that we may be able to change eye color, fix visual impairments, and rid people of genetic diseases is phenomenal. The potential for genetic engineering is endless and I don’t even want to begin a rant on the immense universe of possibilities it brings because it will lead me down a rabbit hole that few people would want to fall in besides me.
Allow me to say this,
moral values will have a larger role in determining what our society, world society, is going to look like more than ever before.
Let’s set aside direct human interest for a moment though. The Fountain of Youth doesn’t just only apply to humans. Plants may find more benefit from such prospective genetic engineering in a greater, and more immediate, way than humans.
We, too, will benefit from this as well though. Keeping crops alive and healthy has been and is likely going to continue to be vital for the success of any species, including ourselves. Any potential to keep crops alive longer, and free of disease, if going to directly benefit us. We’d see a decreased price in all whole foods along with fresher, healthier, foods. The economy and our bodies would see immense beneficial change. The possibilities of The Fountain of Youth and all of the properties involved span as long and wide as the ocean of imagination.