Long Live the Longevity Party?

Our major political parties are constantly arguing over things like climate change, immigration and the economy. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t care much about any of those things. They don’t have a direct or immediate effect on my life. I had lost all interest in politics until I discovered a new and exciting political party that could truly impact my life. That is the Transhumanist or Longevity Party. Transhumanists seek to use science and technology to enhance the human being with their ultimate goal being to put the Grim Reaper out of a job. Yes, that is right. They want to conquer death itself.

This party that Ponce de Leon would have loved, argues that aging is a curable disease that can be overcome if we put the necessary resources against it. They think that people don’t deserve to die. The Darwin Award winners might be exceptions. These awards recognize individuals who have helped evolution by selecting themselves out of the gene pool by dying as a result of their own incredibly stupid acts. Past winners include a guy who tried to put a marigold garland around a tiger’s neck and the mugger who climbed into a tiger cage to escape capture by the authorities. The deaths don’t always involve animals but they usually do involve men.

I guess technically, humans are animals.

Today the average life expectancy in the United States is a measly eighty years. What can you accomplish in such a limited period of time? That is far too short. In the Bible we learned that Adam lived to be 930, while Noah survived 950 years and Methuselah lived a whopping 969 years. Methuselah even had kids at age 187. I want to live longer too but I’m not changing diapers or taking the kids to soccer practice when I’m nearing 200.

The Transhumanist Party believes that if we invest enough in science, in 15-20 years artificial intelligence will solve most of human kind’s problems including how to slow or halt the aging process. Some believe that the first person to live to be 1,000 years old has already been born.

They had a candidate in the 2016 presidential race who drove around the country in his “Immortality Bus” which is in the shape of a coffin. He didn’t win. But this was their first entrée into presidential politics. They expect to have a better showing in 2020. And this is not just an American phenomenon. There are longevity parties in countries throughout the world, including Russia.

They claim they would have won if not for Russian intervention.

According to a recent poll, 45% of Russian citizens support a government initiative to obtain radical life extension and 55% of Russians want to live several times longer than they do today, providing the vodka holds out. But at the present time, avoiding Vladimir Putin is the surest way to extend your life in Russia.

One way that some people are currently trying to slow down the aging process is with transfusions. Fifty individuals have paid $8,000 for plasma transfusions from young people hoping this vampire like experiment will confer longevity benefits. It worked in mice and it may work for these guinea pigs as well. But I checked the vampire website. Vampires don’t live forever. On average they don’t live longer than humans and they always have to worry about someone putting a stake through their heart.

Of course, if people are going to start living for 1,000 years, or if we never have to die, there are some issues that will have to be worked out because, after a while, there are going to be an awful lot of really old people. For one thing, with that many old folks, Florida is not going to be big enough. Also, will there be enough Viagra, Geritol and Depends for Adults? Maybe we should start stockpiling these necessities now. We had also better start building more nursing homes. Our kids and grandchildren will not mind taking us in but will our great-great-great-great grandchildren be so accommodating?

Or maybe we’ll have to fight for everything.

Another concern is that once we get over a few hundred years old, we will become too frail to enjoy life. Fortunately, the Transhumanists have thought this one through. They expect to use technology to, not only extend our shelf life, but to also fundamentally enhance the human body and our quality of life. They plan to turn us into cyborgs. A cyborg is a being with both organic and biomechatronic body parts. In other words, we will become part human and part robot. We will be given artificial hearts and arms and legs as needed which, fortunately, means we won’t have to go to the gym anymore. YES! And our brains will merge with artificial intelligence so you will be able to download your memory onto a chip before you go to bed at night and despite having endless amounts of time on your hands, you won’t need to read books. You can just download them into your brain. How cool is that?

Actually cyborgs already exist. In 1998 a Professor of Cybernetics at Reading University became the world’s first cyborg, although it isn’t as impressive as you might think. He had a radio frequency ID put into his arm which allows him to turn on lights with the snap of his fingers. I can do this with my clapper. And his wife, who is also cybernetic, can take control of his body with her brain waves. But that isn’t such a big deal. All wives seem to have this ability.

Wait. If we begin living for hundreds of years, social security will run out and there is no way that the government will be able to pay for all of those cyborg body parts for us. Our savings will run out. Forget about retiring at 65. We might have to work until we are 650. This is unthinkable. I’ve changed my mind. Death to the Longevity Party.

John Wade, a frequent contributor to Unhinged Magazine, is a retired Chief Financial Officer who lives in Wildwood, Missouri.

Want more Unhinged stuff from John Wade? Check out his interview with God.

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published with permission of the author