Today’s question is do you want to live forever? This could be a really short blog because the answer for me as I sit down to write this is no, but I suppose what I really should do is go on and explain why…
In my lifetime I have avoided the second world war, born too late, and enjoyed many of the benefits of 20th century technology. I can remember the first man landing on the moon and while this was undoubtedly a quite incredible achievement what followed because of the technology developed for space exploration far exceeded the wildest dreams of any engineer. We have to thank NASA and their scientists for such diverse things as the transistor, this as you will know facilitated the creation of not just the humble portable radio but went on to revolutionise television sets, audio equipment, led to the development of electronic products – computers, laser printers and many many more things not forgetting the now indispensable non-stick frying pan. We have come an enormous distance in the last fifty years.
I live in hope that within the next ten years cancer will become a curable disease, heart disease and dementia will be preventable and that people will be able to live long and happy disease free lives. Perhaps dentists will discover a way to protect teeth from decay, removing the necessity to endure the ultrasonic cleaning I detest so much. But we cannot live forever, our bodies like any complex machine suffer from wear and tear. I do not believe it is or will become possible to continually extend the life of an organism constructed primarily from H2O and this is probably a good thing. We live in an over populated world and we are reducing our ability to replenish natural resources as at an alarming rate. What would happen if suddenly people stopped dying? As a planet we struggle to support all the inhabitants now, we fail miserably to feed the starving poor of Africa despite repeated promises to help them. As natural disasters destroy large areas of fertile land we face a growing inability to produce crops to transform in to food. Countries like India and China have increasing populations and life expectancy in all developed nations continues to push further into the 80+ territory.
I look at my children and my first grandchild and I wonder what the future will be like for them after I have gone. Will we destroy our planet through greed and selfishness, our inability to agree to think ahead, to do something collectively positive to make change for the better happen? Today unrest is spreading across Egypt. I fear we are incapable of working together, there are too many self interested parties involved. If things don’t change I believe mankind is doomed and I really don’t want to be here to witness our own self destruction.