Reversing The Aging Process, Should We?


In the length of time measured as human lifetime one can expect to see a full
range of differing events. It is assumed that during a lifetime a person will
experience every possible different emotion. If one is particularly lucky, he
will bear witness to, or affect some momentous change in humanity. However is it
reasonable to ask what would be experienced by someone who lived two lifetimes?
Up until recently the previous question would and could only be rhetorical.
There is no answer, because no one has ever lived that long. Of course that was
up until now.

At McGill University, nematodes (tiny organisms) have experienced five lifetimes
(Kluger). Through complex scientific experiments nematodes and fruit flies have
had their lifespans increased not by fractions of life times, but by multiples
of lifetimes (Kruger). Mankind is using the discovery of DNA as an opportunity
to play G-d by changing the aging process. Man has a natural tendency to play
the role of G-d. Man has a an inherent need to affect others, be it through the
vises of war, power, manipulation or politics. However man’s natural tendency to
play G-d has reached it’s final manifestation. By attempting to slow down the
aging process man is using himself as the ultimate canvas, to play the role of
the omnipotent.

Research into the process of aging began in 1961(Rose, Technology Review:64).
Since then a great deal of time, money and effort have been appropriated into
discovering the causes of aging, it can therefore be inferred that humanity has
an almost "personal" interest in aging. Of course the culmination of discovering
how we age, is discovering how to stop it. An intrinsic characteristic of Man is
His obsession with superficiality. Superficiality is equated with appearance.
The appearance of beauty can be equated with youth. Therein lies man’s obsession
with age, ceasing to age means being eternally beautiful. As usual man’s actions
are dominated by ego and self-preservation. Within the confines of youth there
lies a certain fountain of power. Power which cannot be accessed once one ages.
Things like physical and sexual prowess. The time of youth is often refereed to
as the "prime of your life". It is therefore not difficult to understand and
conceive of man’s motivation to stay young and to wish that the immediate people
surrounding him stay young.

If a mathematician wished to create a formula to describe the life of one man he
would say that life is equal to a series of interchangeably quantized,
experiences and emotions. With the advent of a retarded aging process, that
which we know as life changes. While life is composed if those quantized
properties there are a finite amount of them, therefore decelerating the aging
process has major implications. First and foremost among them is what to do with
all that extra time? In 1900 the average life expectancy of a baby born in the
United States was 47 years. Conservative estimates place life expectancy of
children born today in the united sates at 76, while less conservative estimates
place the life expectancy at 100 years. Presently man is unable to cope with
this extra time. Many septuagenarians spend days sitting around doing next to
nothing. The term "waiting to die" has been applied in reference to such
activities, or rather lack thereof. Even while the average life-span has
increased, whose to say that the time added is quality time? Another general
comment overheard in the population at large was "what’s the point of growing
old and having to suffer through ulcers, cataracts, hemorrhoids, and cancer. Isn’
t it better to die young and healthy then to die old, infirm and brittle?" The
essential question being proposed is one of quality versus quantity. Is it
better to live for a long time with much of that time spent in dialysis, or is
it preferable to enjoy a short but "fun" life. Even if the scientists can cure
humanity of the ailments of the elders, there still remains the question of how
to manage one’s time. "We’re bored" has often been used as the battle cry of
youth, people who haven’t even lived two decades. What are people who have lived
twelve decades supposed to do? These questions are stuck in the realm of
rhetoric. There are no answers to these questions. It is altogether possible
that there never will be.

Scientists involved in the dissection of the aging process have made what they
believe to be an important discovery (Gebhart,174). Scientists discovered a
small area at the tip of the chromosomes that served