28 May 2009

What if the human life span was extended beyond 80-100 years? How would the additional accumulated life experience factor in the arc of human development?

Let's say that medical science was successful in thwarting the aging process and consequently, humans were able to live hundreds of years, like described in biblical lore. Methuselah, for example, lived to be 969 years old. For sake of argument, contemplate that stem cell research, nanotechnology or revolutionary organ replacement techniques have extended the human life span. What sort of wisdom, above and beyond, could an individual possess, in great part, derived from a vastly larger set of acquired knowledge?

Considering my own life experience, I can testify that I knew a lot more about the world at age 40 than I did at age 30. And at 30, I was a lot more knowledgeable than the raging hormone "know-it-all" freak I was at 20. But every successive day, it seems I am confronted with another "wow, I did not know that" moment. As I read and study, it just grants me awareness of the vast domain of how much is unknown to me. I view my younger self with disdain for the haughty arrogance I once displayed.

What ramifications would be presented to such a society where this phenomenon was possible? What if it was a human mind disembodied, but kept alive by a machine? In contrast to an individual preserved at pristine peak physicality?