The History of my thinking regarding aging:
The question whether Methuselah was really 969 years old or not was bugging me since I was 12 or so.
Around 2002, I found a striking sentence in a book about Gilgamesh where he said to his friend “Before the great flood people were much older than now”.
Around 2007, I learned from biologists and modern research that our body is generally able to sustain about 700 years. That Methuselah turned 969 appeared no less impossible than ever before. Only there must be something that genetically turns us off at about 70 – 80 on average.
Something may have happened during the great flood that may have genetically crippled us and our life expectancy around 4 or 3,000 B.C. collapsed to about 24 years in no time.
Then I heard about an unparalleled rise in live expectancy starting around 1800 AD. We became older and older.
Now (2009) I started to explore average life expectancy and a ton more data. I picked life expectancy data from Europe, Middle east and Asia from resources like Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia and dozens of Internet sources. The result in a nutshell is this:
You may become 180 years old – seriously
Life expectancy between 3,000 BC and 2,400 AD – rapidly growing
The economic impact of getting much older is enormous. The German government for instance is planning to lift the retirement age to 70 years! That is above average life expectancy just less than 100 years ago.
If the typical trend analysis methods of biological development is applicable to the current evolutionary development, we may get to an average age of 600 years by 2400. And that would be just what biologists know about the constitution of a human body and what historic records indicate from about 6,000 years ago.
Adding, that our technology, medical treatments, live extending techniques and life style is improving faster than we can write blog updates, we maybe able to live a thousand or more years semi-naturally and way beyond artificially enhanced.
What Does That mean to you?
The answer would much exceed the size of this post, but here are some thoughts to consider:
1) We will need to mentally prepare ourselves and others to deal with a much longer life
2) We will work longer – or better said be much longer engaged, there may be no work in the future.
3) We need to understand that career change is no longer an option but will happen anyway as demand in workplaces change
4) Very long term projects are much more feasible than in the past
5) Protecting what we created is may become less important, than being able to cut loose and restart over and over again
6) Think of a career change with 65, doing something new for the next 30 years and then allow another career change with 120
7) Build some resting phases into your life as you won’t sustain a non stop productive life (not the next 2-3 generations)
8) Considering engaging in mental fitness to be able to support a longer life
9) Getting prepared for a much more flexible age care policy
10) Recognizing that you will live considerably longer, asks for some major rethinking regarding retirement funds.
11) Governments are requested to rethink the entire social caring strategies and plans.
12) The good news – longer productivity will fill the insurance and health care pockets longer.
Obviously even my closest friends smiled at me and they told me that they love my crazy ideas.
I see you around new years eve 2100 ;)
Dr. Aubrey De Grey states “The first person living 150 years is already been alive”. Wow, what a statement. And funny it is exactly on my life expectancy curve.
Several scientists take it even further. In the future we maybe able to achieve theoretical immortality, based on the technological advances.