Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Monday's Food for Thought

Yes, it's Tuesday, but here we go with yesterday's post:

Today it was announced that scientists have discovered an "immortal animal". Considering ageing has to do with the degradation of genes, I'm willing to go so far as to believe there will one day be a way to "become ageless" once scientists crack the gene code.

Now some of you may disagree, but as writers/readers, let's suspend our disbelief for a moment and discuss this. (NOTE: I'll use immortality and eternal youth interchangeably, but I'm talking here about stopping the ageing process, not the inability to die.)

WHAT IF scientists found a way to stop the genes from ageing? If, once a certain age, humans were injected with something that made them immortal? Or perhaps with the altered genes it would only have to happen for one generation before it was passed on to children.

In either case, we're looking at some massive problems. What kind of system would governments set up to control something like this? Would they only allow immortality to the people who could afford it? The elite? A mixture of types of people to keep the human race varied and growing? Would everyone eventually have access to this immortality?

And if they did, the new problem is where to put them all. If it's a scientific race between space colonies and immortality, at the moment immortality is winning by a long shot. Countries would be bursting at the seams with people before there was a chance to set up a habitat on another planet.

The day scientists announce a way to stop the ageing process is getting closer. Imagine if you're still alive when this happens. What day to day problems would you face? What kind of work would be available for an ever-growing immortal race? Would euthanasia and suicide be acceptable? Would you get bored after living for hundreds of years?

It's a scary thought, isn't it?

Just a little something for your Monday (or Tuesday) mind to munch on.


  1. There's also an immortal jellyfish, which is a little different than the worm, but waaaay creepier. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immortal_Jellyfish

  2. Wow, thanks for the link! (Also, ewwww.)