What if there were a new drug discovered that would make it possible for you to live forever? Would you try to procure that drug and take it?
What if that drug were widely available—but only for people who were willing to sign a declaration that they would not have children? What kind of society would that produce?
Malley’s dystopian novels about everlasting life
While working on my Dec. 31 blog article about resistance, I came across and subsequently read two thought-provoking science fiction novels: The Declaration and The Resistance (both published in 2008) by British author Gemma Malley. They are set in the 22nd century when a new drug, called Longevity, makes it possible for people to live forever.
Although written for young readers, I found Malley’s dystopian novels fascinating. They also raised some exceedingly important questions about the practical problems that might well occur with the advent of everlasting life on earth.The current search for everlasting life
Some of you may recognize the name Peter Thiel. The German-American Thiel (b. 1967) is, among other things, an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and political activist. He is, specifically, a billionaire who founded PayPal in 1999.
As a few of you may remember, Thiel spoke at the Republican National Convention in July and then in November became a member of the PEOTUS’s transition team.
Back in September 2006, Thiel announced that he would donate $3.5 million to foster anti-aging research through the Methuselah Mouse Prize foundation. He gave the following reasons for his pledge:
Rapid advances in biological science foretell of a treasure trove of discoveries this century, including dramatically improved health and longevity for all. I’m backing Dr. [Aubrey] de Grey, because I believe that his revolutionary approach to aging research will accelerate this process, allowing many people alive today to enjoy radically longer and healthier lives for themselves and their loved ones.
The SENS Research Foundation, headed by de Grey and supported by Thiel, is working to achieve the reversal of biological aging.
As far back as 2005, de Grey was saying that some people living now may have a lifespan that is “likely to exceed 1000 years.” And some journalists are suggesting he may be on the cusp of finding “the key to eternal life.” (See this 4/15 WaPo article.)
Everlasting life or eternal life?
The words “everlasting life” and “eternal life” are often used interchangeably. In the article about Peter Thiel just referred to, as well as many times in the Malley novels, unending human life on earth is referred to as eternal life.
I grew up with the King James Version of the Bible and early on learned from John 3:16 about the possibility of “everlasting life.” Later I learned that there is a difference between “eternal life,” which is found in most “modern” translations, and everlasting life.
Everlasting life is quantitative, a measurement in time. Eternal life a timeless concept that is qualitative. That significant difference is not widely recognized by many regular Bible readers nor by the general public, so, as we have seen, the words are often used interchangeably.
While I am all for eternal life, I am quite sure that everlasting life on this earth is not a good thing. (Consider the quotes from Malley’s novels I have posted here and here.)
And I am not sure having a man who is passionate about finding a way to “enable people to live forever” in the top echelon of the PEOTUS’s transition team is a good thing either.