A New Perspective on Immortality
I was reading a special issue, Cheating Death, on the NewScientist on the issue October 13, 2007. It began with a Greek mythology of Tithonus and Eos, goddess of the dawn. Eos begged Zeus to grant her lover eternal life. Zeus made Tithonus immortal but did not grant him eternal youth. As Tithomus aged, he became increasingly debilitated and demented, eventually driving Eos to distracting with his constant babbling. With advanced medication, we live much longer than our ancestors. Yet, we have never lived younger.
According to the article, it was surprised me that until about 200 years ago, the average human lifespan was about 30 years. In 20th century, the average lifespan doubled. Today, people in developed countries tend to die old and slowly from degenerative diseases brought on by ageing. This means, in a few last decades of their life, people tend to suffer more from chronic diseases, disabilities and dementia. There are also the psychological consequences of expecting to develop dementia, as well as the economical consequences of providing one-to-one 24/7 care for decades on end for millions of demented or disabled people. Yet, this is nowhere in political issue.
The article ended with "we need a new attitude to death. Death is not the enemy; it is an integral part of life. It is ageing and its diseases that we should be fighting."