Why do we grow old. How old can we become. What is the maximum. These are the questions professor of ageing, Rudi Westendorp, explains in his talk at Evigt Liv (Eternal Life).
We grow old because evolution is only interested in sex and kids. As humans we live forever, unless we stop having sex. As individuals we don’t live forever, because after we have had sex, evolution is not interested in us anymore. It is like a car, that breaks down.
During your life, thare are disasters in your body. Backpain. Corona. Damage after sickness. Over the years we become blue in our mind and bodies. We get problems with hearing, problems with drinking etc.
How old can we become? For a long time our life expectancy was 40 year. We had 20 years to become a grownup. And 20 years to get kids and to bring them up. Then, there was no use for us anymore. The last 150 years we have doubled the life expectancy to be around 85 years. Why? First of all we have gotten rid of child mortality. Secondly, because we’ve become better at repairing humans. We have make new arms, new knees, new lenses for those who can’t see anymore, new heart, new valve, new kidneys etc. Can we get new brains one day? Where is the end? Repairing keeps car going, it keeps humans going. Therefore, everybody born after 2000 will likely become centennarians.
What is the maximum? Can we imagine non-aging? That we keep our bodies like when we are in the 20s. It is not impossible. Hydra is a living creature in fresh water, it never ages. They keep their youth. They are non-aging. They can die if you stamp on them for example. Non-aging and eternal life is different. I can say that non-aging is likely if we keep repairing. The world record is 122 years, some believe we can live much longer. I think it is likely that we become centennarians.