I have always took death for granted. Hated it, had a deep sadness for the fact that it is inevitable, and panicked over it for many many times. Not until last year, when I stumbled upon an article on GQ magazine where in a published interview with a scientist, Aubrey De Grey, he said that he believes that we are pretty close to defeat aging.
Hope filled my heart back then. For, defeating aging means a much longer life, one that won’t just end in a blink of an eye. It also means, and if arrived soon enough, to have the chance to see my parents young again and healthy for ever (fingers crossed).
It wasn’t just hope that filled my heart, but also many ideas occupied my head, for the impact of defeating again would turn the human societies upside down with lots of new beliefs, values and perception of life. It is a major change in the life we know and a drastic shift in the core of human societies we had for thousands of years. Those ideas turned into a new obsession, obsession to examine what life would be when death from aging becomes part of our history. How would people react initially? what would be its impact on our current belief systems and religions? and what is it like to live for 1000 year or even 10000?
Those ideas have to go somewhere, and thus I started writing a novel to explore the future. I called it Janna ala al ard (Heaven on Earth). The name of it has a philosophical dimension, it carries both the main character name, Janna (heaven), and a hope to achieve heaven on earth with a long lasting healthy human life. I still don’t have the plot of the novel completely clear in my head, but I have written 3 chapters so far and decided to post it out on this blog as I write in order to get more ideas and help from the readers of this blog.
Now the following, taken from SENS foundation website, explains more about Dr. De Grey vision for solving aging issues:
Medicine today offers two approaches to dealing with age-related health problems: “geriatrics” and “gerontology.” SENS Foundation exists to develop and apply a third, revolutionary approach called SENS, indentified by our Chief Science Officer, Dr. Aubrey de Grey. Together, these three approaches are defined as follows (see the flowchart):
Geriatrics — Wait until disease has set in, due to the ongoing accumulation of aging damage to our bodies, then attempt to alleviate the suffering. The standard medical approach to aging, geriatrics is ultimately a futile struggle against the ongoing, accelerating accumulation of aging damage that makes pathology increasingly inescapable.
Gerontology — Decipher the metabolic pathways that create aging damage in the first place, and then try to make those pathways operate less harmfully, thus slowing the rate at which damage initially occurs. This approach seems intuitive, but has several very limiting drawbacks. First, we are decades, if not centuries, from understanding these complex metabolic processes sufficiently well to improve their functioning; second, this approach requires interfering with the biochemistry of life itself, which inevitably leads to harmful side-effects; third and most important, the gerontological approach cannot cure age-related degenerative processes, but only slow them down.
SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) — SENS approaches the diseases and disabilities of aging from an “engineering” point of view. Instead of seeking to decipher the code of life and interfere with metabolic processes (the gerontological approach), or waiting until it is effectively too late to treat age-related damage and treating symptoms (the conventional medical, geriatric approach), SENS targets the damage of aging itself, bringing it down to levels below the threshold at which it causes problems.
I have bought Dr. De Grey book “Ending Aging” and been reading in it with lots of passion. It is a pretty interesting work, mainly bio-chemistry talk. Not an easy read for a non-medical person like me, but I put some efforts to understand it, and glad to learn more about bio chemistry and the advancements happening in that field of science.
Life is good.. and heaven will soon be achieved on earth.. rejoice you humans! 😀