Surrounded by Infinity, the Awe of the Now

Surrounded by infinity

What is the maximum duration of human life? Will we extend it radically? When, as often happens, I am asked this question, I always look at the billions of years that have gone before me and that will follow me.

Those who ask that question are often thinking at a more comfortable time interval, an addition of a few decades maybe. How will it be to live to 120 years? Instead, I think of a different question. What if you lived a billion years?

There were about 13 billion years in which the atoms of the universe did not compose you. There are going to be perhaps hundreds of billions that will not involve you. Between these two time intervals immeasurably larger than the length of your life, living 50 (if tomorrow I go under the bus), 100, 1000 or one million years, in the end, makes no difference.

The stunning wonder of living in a world where, at some point, matter wakes up and opens its eyes to the world, to be its witness and protagonist … This basic human condition already transcends any possible further metaphysical consideration.

That is why the time is now – to think, to do, to be.

1 thought on “Surrounded by Infinity, the Awe of the Now”

  1. Hi David,

    Since 1974 I have had the possibility of living for the rest of eternity.
    As I completed my undergrad biochem studies it became clear to me in logic that we are programmed to die, and that the default mode for cellular life is indefinite. Our germ line is part of an unbroken chain of cellular life. Our somatic lines die.

    That being the case it became clear that a 5 stage process was required.
    1 decode the genome (done over a decade ago).
    2 develop a system that allows us to model 3d protein structure based on RNA sequence.
    3 develop sufficient understanding on molecular interactions to be able to make useful models of intracellular activity.
    4 model all key factors leading to cellular senescence with age.
    5 develop effective counter strategies to first block then reverse age related loss of function.

    We are at stage 3 in that process and the rate of progress is accelerating, so I might just make it.

    Once we get past the medical issues, and get substantial technology personalised, those who wish to ought to be able to implement risk profiles that give a reasonable probability of living a very long time.

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