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VITALS, biome, and longevity

Posted by Arqel on 06/04/2019

Hi. After reading and seeing a lot lately on the biome, VITALS came to mind.... My aunt (retired Rn and such) thinks biome imbalance is cause of/precursor to most if not all disease. I'm wondering immortality. Perhaps all spaghetti code of DNA, etc. Aubrey de Gray mentions isn't relevant. Perhaps the biome can guide the body to do as we wish.....

Re: VITALS, biome, and longevity

Posted by Greg Bear on 06/07/2019

Alas, as mortals, our biome and attendant organisms are not designed for immortality. Replications of tissues are fraught with errors, many of which get corrected, and some of which do not. As well, tissues have attitudes and even "personalities" suppressed by their relationship and benefits within the organism, which can on occasion break out and cause major problems--particularly the immune system. Cancers are a kind of rugged individualism of tissues which begin with not paying attention to either the immune system or signals to self-destruct--and which then try to strike out on their own, creating only partially successful colonies within the tissue, which can often kill the main organism. Sometimes viruses are involved in these ventures, sometimes errors caused by chemical interference--sometimes both. The ideal of immortality also does not take into account the economic and biological problems associated with lack of diversity! And so in VITALS, I expanded on some of the political problems of such an achievement. Politics is merely an extension of biology, and they exhibit many parallels.

Re: VITALS, biome, and longevity

Posted by Sean M. Brooks on 06/24/2019

Kaor, Mr. Bear! And your own father in law Poul Anderson touched on the issues raised by "immortality" in such books as WORLD WITHOUT STARS, THE BOAT OF A MILLION YEARS, and FOR LOVE AND GLORY. One consequence of "immortality" would very likely be human societies becoming static or even stagnant. Due to long lived leaders simply not dying off as quickly as they now do from ordinary old age. Poul Anderson did suggest in books like WORLD WITHOUT STARS and FOR LOVE AND GLORY that one way of lessening the more unsatisfactory consequences of "immortality" would be from mankind LEAVING this rock to settle other planets. True, either a FTL drive would be necessary or generation ships with very patient crew and passengers might be used for such colonizing efforts. My point being that a REAL space program would allow for greater variability in societies and political systems. But I doubt indefinitely extended life spans are possible or likely. I think the most we can hope for is for some EXTENSION of human lifespans.

Re: VITALS, biome, and longevity

Posted by Arqel on 09/05/2019

@Greg: yes...but Nature allows, the body loves, homeostasis, which is not a difficult thing to nudge around. @Sean: The Culture, man, The Culture.

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