The quest for immortality takes different forms in every age, but the common element is that it’s said to be always “just around the corner.”
Recently, biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey opened up this topic in a headline grabbing statement, “Who wants to live forever? Scientist sees aging cured?” As chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research, De Grey reckons that within his own lifetime doctors could have all the tools they need to “cure” aging – as if it is a disease in itself, banishing the diseases that come with it and extending life indefinitely. He feels that all we will need to do to keep in good shape is to visit a doctor for a tune up – rather like our cars, I thought – that would include gene therapies, stem cell therapies, immune stimulation and a range of other advanced medical techniques.
However, these theories are contested. In an article in the UK Daily Mail titled “The Myth of Eternal Youth,” internationally respected scientist David Concar disagrees with such claims. He set out to examine the data behind the numerous claims to immortality and life extension, including theories about the usefulness of diets, pills and potions. He sees these ideas as half-truths, leading us to believe that age is an enemy that can be defeated.
And the public too is not necessarily on board with the idea of eternal life. PEW research, which recently polled Americans as to whether they want to live longer, discovered that many respondents do not view increased longevity as a benefit, either personally or for the country as a whole.
This does not mean, though, that we have to sit helplessly by while age creeps up on us like a rising tide.
In the 19th century an American Christian healer and health researcher, Mary Baker Eddy, was thinking about these questions of longevity when she wrote, “Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness.” (link to quote)
Her perceptive statement set my thoughts to considering individuals who focus on the quality and purpose of their life rather than on the number of years lived. One such individual was renowned sculptress, Josefina de Vasconcellos.
“The world needs beauty. People hunger for it, and I intend to give it to them,” she once told me. Though little known outside of England, this prolific artist and dear friend, continued throughout her life to learn new techniques and to increase her skills with this purpose of bringing beauty to the world. She inspired me to consider “age” differently. …..you can read more of this post in the Vancouver Sun HERE