Friday, November 21, 2008

Fear of Death? Good News!

Alphabet Skull
(image found at ELITALICE)

I like to think I have a pretty solid grasp on reality. Unfortunately, part of that, from a spiritual perspective, means having some level of acceptance - or at least understanding - of mortality, that we all, one day, will be dead.

What happens after is, for everyone, a level of subjective conjecture. Nobody "knows" and the best chance at peace comes with faith that your flavor of afterlife is the right one.

But I don't have a real firm hold of my own mortality, although it edges closer at times like my grandfather's recent death. And while I have what I would consider a level of a conviction of the afterlife, I don't think there is anything that I'm 100% about; I always have questions, doubts. My current condition stems from a mix of leaving the Catholic Church at 16, mind-expanding drugs, and that vampire fascination I had so many years ago (um, Anne Rice, not that Twilight tripe), along with not believing all things fiction are necessarily fiction (remember, not 100%).

So, basically, it's fear of the unknown, that over-encompassing catch-all that causes so many problems in the world. I kid myself that I may not have to worry about it, that by the time I get old enough to worry, technology will have created a cure for just about everything. And then this story comes out, basically saying that:
Researchers believe boosting the amount of a naturally forming enzyme in the body could prevent cells dying and so lead to extended, healthier, lifespans.

The protein telomerase helps maintain the protective caps at the ends of chromosomes which act like the ends of shoelaces and stop them unravelling.

As we age, and our cells divide, these caps become frayed and shorter and eventually are so damaged that the cell dies. Scientists believe boosting our natural levels of telomerase could rejuvenate them.

A team at the Spanish National Cancer Centre in Madrid tested the theory on mice and found that those genetically engineered to produce 10 times the normal levels of telomerase lived 50 per cent longer than normal.

And my middle finger cranks towards that big guy in the black cloak because if we can kick that average up to 120, by the time we get there, we'll have mastered 160, etc.

Don't get me wrong; my vision of what happens after we die is much more fun and liberating than everyday life. But what if it all just goes away? "Death is part of life" or "Renew! Renew!" Sometimes they sound the same to me. That's why Logan ran.

(Yes, this entire post was a buildup to a mid-70's sci-fi movie reference. Snap!)

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