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what would change if we lived longer?

unavailableunavailable Member Posts: 204
Do you think if we could all expect to live for centuries that we'd be less willing to take risks on account of having too much to lose? Or maybe we'd find that at around the first half century or so of life that sex becomes not terribly interesting resulting in humanity in general thinking very little about it at any stage of life?
semiticgodZaghoul

Comments

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 6,997
    It's something of a truism that the reason people have sex has very little to do with children. People do it because they like it. If we lived for centuries, we'd just have more children, and the population would skyrocket, probably beyond our ability to feed it. Ceteris paribus--all other things being equal--longer lifespans would mean starvation and therefore war.

    If you slowed down reproduction as much as you slowed down aging, then our future wouldn't be quite so bleak. We'd probably try to train ourselves to be better long-term planners, but also get very set in our ways, struggling to adapt when the world changes and we can't stop it.
  • unavailableunavailable Member Posts: 204
    edited August 4

    It's something of a truism that the reason people have sex has very little to do with children. People do it because they like it. If we lived for centuries, we'd just have more children, and the population would skyrocket, probably beyond our ability to feed it. Ceteris paribus--all other things being equal--longer lifespans would mean starvation and therefore war.

    If you slowed down reproduction as much as you slowed down aging, then our future wouldn't be quite so bleak. We'd probably try to train ourselves to be better long-term planners, but also get very set in our ways, struggling to adapt when the world changes and we can't stop it.

    I'm pretty sure that like every other basic aspect of life that parents would tell fables and proverbs to their children to the effect of warning against that. I know some people are really shitty parents, don't tell them these things, don't send them to be educated, but I think I'm one of many when I say that I was raised on famous kids stories like red riding hood, the boy that cried wolf etc. They are attitudes and behaviors drilled into our personalities to the point that they're instinct.
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,494
    I suspect we'd be pretty similar, but I wouldn't be remotely surprised if most people moved on from base pleasures at similar times. Most people end up dropping things like having unnecessary sex (biological urges vs psychological), binge-drinking and drugs after a few years of trying them out, and many don't invest much energy into these fields, as they are at best fleeting and at worst unhealthy. Ideally, a person understands evrntually that they are doing these things because their mind is slave to their biology, and they cut back. Others never figure this out, and they continue to wallow. More embarassing/sadder are ones like me, that know better but still live foolishly, regardless of what excuses I may have.

    This isn't to say strong stress relieving tools are bad, just that most people recognize their limits and don't indulge anymore. I think with a longer life the same processes would occur, assuming the same gross chemical changes. Obviously if we stayed children longer we'd have a much bigger window of abysmal decision making, but I assume we develop normally, then bask in prolonged adilthood.

    What would people do with their time in my view? Most would watch more entertainment, a small number would develop astonishing skills. TV is very addictive afterall.
    semiticgodThacoBell
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 315
    Also of consideration is net wealth over time.

    Lots of fictional immortal characters wind up rich, if for no other reason than because they've had centuries of accumulated wealth compounded.

    Small income disparities would result in HUGE changes in wealth outcomes that make today look like nothing.
    Balrog99
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,482
    Really depends a lot on how aging would work.
    ZaghoulThacoBellArtona
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682
    Were obviously not in centuries but it's definitely changing over time, many due to public health advances and medical care. With that we have a big increase with chronic diseases, esp. Alzheimer's disease.
    Like @elminster mentioned , how aging would work would be important. Would we be fully functional all those years or really bad off, with no quality.
    MAJOR population problems for sure, even if many might wait longer to have kids (we can see this isn't the case in many places though).
    Many young folks think they have all the time in the world to live, but when we get much older time seems to fly by.
    I think it would result in more risk taking as the end would seem to be even farther away.
    People have much lose as it is and it does not seem to really have changed. It's an interesting concept though, I mean many here probably watched Highlander. I was particularly interested in this when in college working on public health ed. With the way genes are being studied I suspect this limit will be extended more.



    Not a bad graph so I added it. i wonder what it will look like in the next couple hundred years.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/how-has-life-expectancy-changed-throughout-history-2015-6
    Grond0semiticgod
  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    Natural birthrates would fall to rock bottom, designer babies being now the norm, seniors stay in leading positions at all times, younger generations will shoulder an even more outrageous intergeneration contract, and pensioners will make up for 60% of the total 100 billion world population. Viva la dystopia!

    I miss the Stone Age. It had just the right amount of humans on the planet. :p
    ShikaoZaghoultbone1Papa_Lou
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 713
    There was a guy in greek mythology who wished for eternal life, and he got that - but not eternal youth. :) So if that longer lifespan just meant longer elderly years, we would probably just accept euthanasia faster.
    KamigoroshiGrond0Zaghoul
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 1,088
    Artona said:

    There was a guy in greek mythology who wished for eternal life, and he got that - but not eternal youth. :) So if that longer lifespan just meant longer elderly years, we would probably just accept euthanasia faster.

    Nah, you'd just forget everything and live in the moment at all times. Who are you again? Why am I writing this???
    ArtonaZaghoul
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 713
    @Balrog99
    Why am I writing this???

    Why are you writing what? ;)
    Balrog99Zaghoul
  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 966

    It's something of a truism that the reason people have sex has very little to do with children. People do it because they like it.

    Regardless, a person's sex drive diminishes with age so your idea that we'd have more children wouldn't necessarily hold water. There are many senior citizens that have stopped having sexual desires for many years. Being a 60 year old myself, I can say from experience that sex just isn't as important as it used to be. Not to mention that women, who are the ones carrying the babies, aren't even capable of having children after they reach menopause, which usually occurs when they're around 50.

    semiticgod
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682
    Again, that would depend on the method of ageing and the toll it would or would not take on the body and hormone lvls.
    ArtonasemiticgodBalrog99ThacoBell
  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 966
    Zaghoul said:

    Again, that would depend on the method of ageing and the toll it would or would not take on the body and hormone lvls.

    Not really. Human life spans have increased dramatically over the years, yet the timing of a person's diminished sex drive and a female's menopause phase has always been constant. In order to prevent both things from happening when nature intends them we would need to completely rewire human biology.
    semiticgod
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 1,855
    Living a really long time would just give most people a lot more time to be jerks to others.

    We will be able to attain longer lifespans long before we have the ability to adjust ourselves to that new reality.
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682
    Belanos said:

    Zaghoul said:

    Again, that would depend on the method of ageing and the toll it would or would not take on the body and hormone lvls.

    Not really. Human life spans have increased dramatically over the years, yet the timing of a person's diminished sex drive and a female's menopause phase has always been constant. In order to prevent both things from happening when nature intends them we would need to completely rewire human biology.
    What we are talking about, if possible, would be keeping the body in a young stage of adulthood, for centuries with no resulting decline in bodily functions. Yes, in the normal aging process things change, but IF there was no decline in quality, in adult stage being kept at bay, I do not see any negatives to the body.
    So, if adulthood is held for a few centuries (<40) and middle age may another centuries or two 40-59, major changes we normal experience now would not show for much later, into old, and finally, old old.
    Very rarely do we have Alzheimer's before 60, and less chance if it does not occur by 85 or so. I am asuming the normal<i class="Italic"> ageing processes would be delayed to reflect this MUCH longer life.

    But yes otherwise, beyond the normal record's of early 100's with a continuing declining body would NOT be good after a while and cause reductions in all sorts of things.

    My research and study in both health and gerontology, in retirement homes and esp memory care centers has shown some rather interesting observations with regards to sexuality and ageing.

    As this is a theoretical question I am just following the line of thinking that would be needed to casue such an increase. I don't see it at the moment and there are various theories as to the why's of ageing it is an interesting concept, esp. in light of genes and really , just now understanding more what might be edited or tweak to extend life, or at least, more importantly, quality of life. B)
    ThacoBell
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,494
    I have a fair bit of hope for the present generation actually, they seem like much better adjusted hippies in many ways. War is imho becoming less popular as it seems to be harder to truly win; it doesn't take very many snipers/bomb-makers behind your lines to make a war expensive and unpopular, its not like the days when we mostly stabbed eachother when a civilian couldn't easily be equipped/given functional training, soldiers needed different muscles than farmers, to say nothing of armour or weapon availability.

    Of course, we know how there is always a backlash/'correction' to people as they age, but I think the educational framework exists to make some very good citizens. People naturally change as they age I suppose, so it will be interesting to see how millenials and those almost millenial use their growing influence. Many old boils are being slowly lanced to death, and I think the right wing surge in the US is perhaps leading to a very big lancing. Millions voted for an openly racist candidate, so the story that racism was dead already has been shown to be false, and you can't effectively address a problem you don't believe is there.

    Regarding having more time to be jerks, don't most elderly people tend to be progressively more isolationist as they age? Not all naturally, but statistically speaking. Isolation of the elderly is a huge problem in most developed countries afaik. There will always be jerks, unless they get out bred. ;)
    Zaghoul
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682
    Well, the trend seems to be, in particular for the younger Baby Boomers that are retiring now, is wanting to work more, volunteer more, or be more active, longer.

    Given many have some savings, and have SS for quite many more active years, it is causing a shift.

    There is the problem with rising chronic conditons though, just from the normal processes of ageing, a particular problem for the poor Many are shucked off into nursing or retirement homes and half forgotten. Others feel home bound and cannot, or feel as if they cannot get out more, making them seem more isolated. Most do not want to feel that however but it is a problem.

    As to the millennial's, I do think it will be an interesting change in government. Having gone to school with many in my forties I was at times pleasantly surprised, taken aback at times, and worried at some views of many that seemed unable to grasp the connection between various issues.

    There were also outliers that ALWAYS surprised me in a innovative way, that made me think differently, often leading me to new ideas, so in general good. A combination of ages is best IMO.

    Now we seem to moving from later Baby boomers (old guard) to GenXers leading, which is also a change, with a more openness in part but still mistrusting of many things government wise.

    It is really about hard to say what a centuries longer lifespan would bring (staying in
    tip top adult age state). Wisdom and learning new things is possible (probably good), as well as becoming more entrenched in centuries of old ways of thinking(could be bad, unless the new was dangerous).

    **If, as in Highlander & the series in particular, only a very few lived a long time, that shows very much what one could end up feeling, at least with relationships that continually cause one hurt from seeing it pass away.



  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    I liked how Hiroyuki Morioka, author of the Seikai series sci-fi/space opera romans, created his Abh race. In order to populate space, humans gene-engineered thousands of embyros. Their goal was to create humans which could cope with zero gravity, radioactive rays and have a longer lifespan. For space travels at 'normal' speed would take such a long time, any modern human would die in the blink of an eye. Needless to say the concept of "warp drives" doesn't exist in his works.

    Then those gene engineered humans revolted in the depths of space against their mother ship's computer, founded the Abh Human Empire and artifically reproduced at such speed that they now hold 50% of the Milky Ways total population. In the end, the Abh Human Empire and the Human Alliances go on a total war with each other (like always).

    Anyway, his Abh first age like normal humans until adulthood is reached. Then the aging stops completely. At around 250 years they die of old age, with an appearance like they're still in their 20's.
    Zaghoul
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682

    I liked how Hiroyuki Morioka, author of the Seikai series sci-fi/space opera romans, created his Abh race. In order to populate space, humans gene-engineered thousands of embyros. Their goal was to create humans which could cope with zero gravity, radioactive rays and have a longer lifespan. For space travels at 'normal' speed would take such a long time, any modern human would die in the blink of an eye. Needless to say the concept of "warp drives" doesn't exist in his works.

    Then those gene engineered humans revolted in the depths of space against their mother ship's computer, founded the Abh Human Empire and artifically reproduced at such speed that they now hold 50% of the Milky Ways total population. In the end, the Abh Human Empire and the Human Alliances go on a total war with each other (like always).

    Anyway, his Abh first age like normal humans until adulthood is reached. Then the aging stops completely. At around 250 years they die of old age, with an appearance like they're still in their 20's.

    Sounds reasonable in a way. I would think when the entire process of ageing is understood from a gene and DNA point of view that could be possible.

    I suspect that after a while, the temptation and desire to 'design' people to order for those wanting children will come to be. We are already looking at a point now when defects can be found, it may be possible to correct it. Then just a small step of doing it just for the heck of it.
    Certainly there are those now that don't have reservations to designing people, with the research being done somewhere, at least.

    I would also bet that the tinkering at first will probably have some flaws. B)

  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 713
    To be honest, I think perception of time of long-living humans would be very different from ours and would result in vastly different culture (assuming that we talk about elf-like lifespan with long period of prime condition). After all, 500 years ago there was still knighthood, and Europe was in the heat of madness of religious wars - kinda hard to imagine how it affect psyche of the guy who had seen it all and is still around.
    ThacoBell
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 1,088
    Artona said:

    To be honest, I think perception of time of long-living humans would be very different from ours and would result in vastly different culture (assuming that we talk about elf-like lifespan with long period of prime condition). After all, 500 years ago there was still knighthood, and Europe was in the heat of madness of religious wars - kinda hard to imagine how it affect psyche of the guy who had seen it all and is still around.

    Wolverine?
    ThacoBellArtona
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 713
    I had someone different in mind: there is G. R. R. Martin novel Fevre Dream. One of its heroes is very, very ancient and that made him absolutely indefferent and empty inside.
    Balrog99
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 6,997
    Now that I think about it, a slow-reproducing race would be extremely prone to disease. Most scientists agree that the primary reason so many organisms use sexual rather than asexual reproduction (the former is very inconvenient, evolutionarily speaking) is because the mixing of genes makes people more resistant to constantly-evolving bacteria, decreasing the chance of mass death from disease.

    If slowing down the aging process would also slow down reproduction, then we'd be giving bacteria lots of extra time to evolve new ways of infecting each generation.
    ThacoBellZaghoul
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,494
    Some plant lines have been pretty much cloned via cuttings for a not insignificant amount of time, and they should have even less diversity than normal asexual reproduction would allow due to mutations.

    Then again, I hear the Cavendish banana is losing viability, so it could be an issue if the original genes aren't especially hardy.
    Balrog99semiticgod
  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 4,057
    On the other hand, some of the most successful lifeforms on earth are reproducing asexually. One rather famous example would be Lepidodactylus lugubris, or mourning gecko. That lizard is an parthenogenetic species where one single, ashore washed exemplar can give birth to whole new colonies of clones in a blink of an eye. Thus them being known as one of the best survivors in the animal kingdom.

    When thinking of slow-reproducing races, they're usually come with record holding long gestation periods as well. That elephants are 22 months pregnant is more or less widely known. But alpine salamanders carrying their eggs for 2 years? Ouch! That goes even more so for the frilled shark and its 42 months of preggo time.

    Wouldn't surprise me if the gestation period of elves end up well over 10 years. :P
    Zaghoul
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,682
    That sounds like the offspring would have more of the 'mothers' resistances built in at birth.

    I would assume though that someone having the ability to live for centuries, engineered or not, would have superior resistance to disease, both chronic and acute. I assume that as in order to do so gene would need to edited in a fashion that removes certain genetic markers that make one predisposes to many diseases. Or, in the same regard strengthen the ones that provide more resistance.

    As to the ability of viruses in particular to adapt, that would be a problem. Right now, the knowledge and technology exists to combine the DNA of a creature with the DNA of a virus and make it (the virus) resistant to existing vaccines. I would imagine that tech to be even greater if the ability to make humans live longer existed.

    So as to what would happen if people would live, with quality of function and mental capability, more of the same tinkering and things people have always done. Maybe not all but by enough, as it always has been.

    The mistake would be not to think as how oneself might be, if benevolent, but to think in the way the worst possible example of humankind might think, if granted that longer lifespan.

    That said, I'm all for it, for various reasons. B)
    semiticgod
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