Suppose there exists a magic medical pill, that increases life expectancy by a tenfold.
So ages of 800 and more are easily attainable.
Would you like the idea?
Say you where born in the year 1000.
The English language as we now know it did not even exist. The dark ages ruled.
And now you are an old man of 1013 years.
I guess I would not like the idea.

On the surface it seems enticing, but the concept of immortality (or extreme longevity in this case) is usually more about fear of death than anything. If you really think about it, living so long would be more of a curse than a blessing. I suspect most people who took such a pill would end up suiciding long before reaching the age limit.

commented: I couldn't agree more. +0

It would depend how many other people were taking it. If it was widely taken then yes I would take it too, but I suspect most people would effectively just restart their lives every 100 years or so -> go back to school, divorce, re-marry and start a new career. Course the planet might get totally F-ed up by that since it would cause a 10-fold increase in the population of the planet...

If only a handful of people were taking it no way.

since it would cause a 10-fold increase in the population of the planet...

Yes, but I guess such pill would cause you to grow ten times as slow. So after 100 years, you would still be 10 years as if you took no pill.

I wouldn't want such a pill -- think about it, I wouldn't get Social Security for another 900 or so years!

Yes, for the simple reason that I'm always curious about "tomorrow" or "the future"

I want to know how the species is doing 1000 years from now, I want to see the new technologies and sciences. What discoveries have we made, have we finally conquered the oceans, the stars etc.

I want to know, I'm driven by curiosity. There is an infinite universe within which to spend an infinite long life span.

I want to know how the species is doing 1000 years from now

Humans might be extinct by then and you might get eaten by a big bird of some sort.

I agree with Deceptikon, it sounds great at first. Another consideration is most people consider the time of their lives to be between mid-teens to early thirties.

So effectively, 90 something % of the rest of you life will be in old age. Assuming the aging process is the same as it is now.

Not a great deal of fun.

you might get eaten by a big bird of some sort.

Romney was right in threatening to get rid of Big Bird. I always though BB had a secret agenda.

most people consider the time of their lives to be between mid-teens to early thirties.

That is indeed true, but getting older, you will notice that in fact every time period of your life has his specific "charms"

True, but are we assuming the aging process is the same or severely slowed down?

Yeah, the aging is a major component here. If that pill means that you stay at a middle age like 30-40 or something like that, then we can have a conversation. But I think that if the pill implies that you keep aging, then it would mean that after the first 80-100 years of your life, you will live for another 900 years in an an extremely old and weak state, like a typical 100-year-old person, then I don't find that prospect very interesting at all.

I think that if that magic pill is somehow a pill that makes it so that once you are fully grown adult, you effectively stay at that age until the end of time (or until you die of an accident or of a disease, meaning that on average you would live on for hundreds of years). Then, I think this does have some appeal. After all, if you get really bored, you can just kill yourself.

I might go for that.

I think there are some interesting problems if all would take that pill. Children would have to become very rare, given that we would need far less of them to balance out the deaths. That would be a bit sad, I think. And also, let's say your 785 years old, and you have a son/daughter who is 654 years old, that's a bit weird too, i.e., you could basically have the same age / life-experience as your kids. And what about education, would it become the norm to have something like 20 PhDs each? What about memory, after 800 years of life, will you still remember your childhood? Or is there a limit to how much memories you can hold on to?

This is weird to think about...

Oh, and this might actually be possible in a not so distant future, i.e., a "forever young" treatment / "cure for aging", some people are working on that already, and it is not "insane" to think it might be realized eventually (probably not in our life-times, but maybe not too far from it either). Of course, you would eventually die of something like an accident or an uncurable disease (e.g., cancer), but you could theoretically live forever.

On the outer lining area it seems attractive, but the idea of growing old (or excessive durability in this case) is usually more about worry of loss of life than anything.

Coincidentally, my older son is doing his post-doc at Stony Brook University (Long Island) and his area of research is aging. He's plugged in to all the latest research (and experts) in the field. He recently attended a conference in Italy and there is nothing major on the horizon yet. Telomerase looked promising but that seems to be a dead end for now.

One way to speculate what such a pill might do is to read about the life of Dr Who (BBC TV series). The first Doctor said he was just a kid when he left grade school at the age of 50. At another time, when asked what he was a Doctor of, he said he had a Ph.D. in everything.

he said he had a Ph.D. in everything.

Of course, it will take him the rest of his 1000 years to pay off his student debt.

Oh, and this might actually be possible in a not so distant future, i.e., a "forever young" treatment / "cure for aging", some people are working on that already, and it is not "insane" to think it might be realized eventually (probably not in our life-times, but maybe not too far from it either).

No all complex organisms we know of age and have finite lifespans. Eternal youth is just never going to happen. True lots of people are working on it but there are many conflicting problems -> eg. regeneration vs cancer most of the mechanisms for regeneration greatly increase the chance of getting cancer and mechanisms to kill/prevent cancer reduce the body's regenerative ability.

Also there are fundamental problems with doing science in this area. The animal & cellular model we have to work on in the lab have been selected to be fast developing and short lived so that experiments can be done in months rather than years or decades. But as a result they are not good models of aging in slower organisms such as us.

So while there are lots of people working on it, there aren't any solutions visible even in on the most distant horizon.

commented: Not exactly true, they recently found a 500 year old clam +0

All those people trying to cover up their wrinkles. I would start sellling cosmetics!

Yes - it would be cool!

On a sort of related topic - if time travel were possible, would you visit the past? If yes, what would you want to see?

I would like to see the beginning of creation -- verify once and forall the existance of God. And verify how the universe was created.

I would like to see the beginning of creation

Lol! Don't forget to tell Eve not to eat that apple. Or better, just cut down that tree, better not take any chances. If you don't go back that far, you can at least warn Jonah to watch out for big fishes. Or tell Lot's daughters to leave town before their father gives them up to be raped by an angry mob.

I'd absolutely go back in time. My list of things to see would be:

  1. Moon landing
  2. building of stonehenge and the Easter Island heads
  3. a chariot race in ancient Rome
  4. the hanging gardens of Babylon in full flower
  5. Read in the library of Alexandria
  6. See the forbidden city in use by a chinese emperor
  7. go on a royal hunt in medieval Europe
  8. Go to a harvest celebration by North American First Nations before the arrival of Europeans.
  9. ride in a Viking longship
  10. Attend the presentation of the Theory of Evolution to the Royal Society.

I would like to see the beginning of creation

Even if you could see the beginning of creation you likely wouldn't be able to sense the existence of 'God' since you would still only have human senses. Plus the conditions at the beginning of the universe were pretty unpleasent so you likely would not live to tell anyone about it.

commented: One hell of a bucket list! +0

Moon landing

I watchecd that on TV. Interesting, but not earth shattering.

Go to a harvest celebration by North American First Nations before the arrival of Europeans.

You wouldn't see much because there weren't any.

ride in a Viking longship

They'd probably slaughter you :)

Plus the conditions at the beginning of the universe were pretty unpleasent so you likely would not live to tell anyone about it.

Maybe, and maybe not. Maybe God said "Abracadabra!" and Poof! the universe was instantly created just as we see it today. And, BTW, that was only 10,000 years ago.

And, BTW, that was only 10,000 years ago.

Or possibly even last Thursday. It's just as probable as 10,000 years and there's just as much proof.

I had a read and responded on the site with the comment

I think the more likely explanation is an error in translation. The average lifespan in Egypt 3,000 years ago was 35 years. 40 and over was considered old. Less elsewhere. If you take 969 as the number of months that Methuselah lived rather than the number of years then that would have made him about 80 which, while not as impressive as 969 years is still remarkable for that time and certainly worthy of recording.

commented: Exellent comment I should say. +0

Let's stay on topic, wath about Methusalem and Noah?

Well Methusalah is either a mistranslation, exageration or outright fiction. The main cause of cellular damage & aging is not UV, it is Oxygen radicals so unless Methusalah didn't breath oxygen he didn't make it to >900 years of age.

Noah & the flood also never happened. Sure most cultures have stories of huge floods but that is easily explained by the fact that humans need water to suvive so almost all live near a large body of water. There are many causes of floods -> rain storms, earthquakes, collapsing glacial dams. So given enough time nearly every human culture will experience a large flood at some point just by chance. In addition since floods turn its victims into refugees the story of the flood will travel with them beyond the site of the original disaster.

Plus even if every last drop of rain fell from the sky it wouldn't be enough to flood the entire world.

commented: Well said. +0

Noah & the flood also never happened.

How do you know? Was you there? Probably a better translation would be that Noah's flood covered the world "as he knew it". It would have to rain for a lot longer than 40 days and 40 nights to actually flood the whold world as we know it today, and then it might have to empty all the oceans.