The first person to live to be 1,000 years old is certainly alive today … whether they realize it or not, barring accidents and suicide, most people now 40 years or younger can expect to live for centuries.
Sounds overly optimistic? A Cambridge University geneticist, and many other researchers, think it’s possible.
Immortality is one of humanity’s oldest dreams. We seem to think of life as being on a conveyor belt. You get on, travel to the end, then get off. The phenomenon we refer to as aging, has been researched extensively — both medically and psychologically.
A few months ago, I watched a documentary titled ‘How To Live To 101 Without Trying‘. It explores the towns where people live the longest:
In Okinawa (Japan), the residents actually age more slowly than almost anyone else on earth.
It’s what they don’t eat that may be at the heart of their exceptionally long lives. The Okinawan’s most significant cultural tradition is known as hara hachi bu, which translated means eat until you’re only 80% full.
Scientists call it Caloric Restriction (CR), but don’t entirely understand why it works. They think it sends a signal to the body that there is going to be a impending famine, sending it into a protective, self-preservation mode.
Eating less, does have huge merits. Some may argue, but I feel that living to 100 years, or 1000 years for that matter, may be possible through natural mechanisms such as CR. Such a diet can put the body into survival mode, causing cells to be extremely efficient, boosting the process by which cells remove damage. Research has shown that these unrecycled or damaged cellular components can lead to age-related decline.
If at all, we do end up living to 1000 years, what will be the implications? One significant transformation I expect to see is how the risk of living itself will increase with a longer lifespan. Mundane tasks like driving a vehicle or swimming in the ocean will suddenly become dangerous.
Is aging really a disease, for which we need to find a cure? Is eating less the perfect cure? Will extending the human lifespan result in social betterment? I guess it’s questions like these, and their answers, which will unravel in the near future.