FIFTY TRILLION

There are those among us who believe we can effectively “cure” aging. That is, with the right medications, such as rapamycin, and the right operations, such as rebuilding an old thymus gland, and following the right information, such as significantly reducing your daily caloric intake, people can live radically past 100.

150?

500?

You, this old.

Not you constructed with fake skin, your organs replaced by mechanical parts, nerve endings connected to computer processors, bionics for limbs, not that, but rather, you, essentially as you are now.

I do not believe this.

I believe something far more fantastical.

The Bible is a makers guide. It points the way.

Jesus was resurrected, lives forever, and if we follow his way, and mirror his miracles and deeds, that will lead us to, possibly, immortality.

I accept that this is a challenge to your beliefs.

Let’s consider, then, what others believe. What if we could cure aging so as to live well past 100, maybe to 200, maybe even to 500 — as humans, not borgs?

How much might that cost?

Aubrey de Grey is a pioneer and leading voice in the anti-aging movement. A biomedical gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, which helps fund “regenerative medicine.”

Regenerative medicine is a branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology which deals with the “process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function”. This field holds the promise of engineering damaged tissues and organs by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to functionally heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.

Regenerative medicine also includes the possibility of growing tissues and organs in the laboratory and implanting them when the body cannot heal itself.

When asked “how much money does Aubrey de Grey need to find a cure (for aging),” de Grey’s answer belies belief. 

Short answer: $1 billion over 10 years would do it with high probability.

Longer answer: clearly the question is not whether but when aging will be brought under comprehensive medical control. Thus, the right question is how much money is needed, over what time period, to hasten that time to the point where money will not make much difference any more because the rate of progress is limited by the simple difficulty of the research. See above for the number!

I suspect no one on this planet, with the presumed exception of de Grey himself, actually believes such nonsense.

Maybe some rich techie in Silicon Valley, where de Grey resides, might actually be willing to part with one billion. Thus, stating the number may make sense for that reason.

But to bring aging under control?

$1 billion?

More like $50 trillion.

Large research universities run through over $1 billion in R&D every single year.

$1 billion is not a price worth even considering. The SENS Research Foundation is not in possession of the philosopher stone.

$50 trillion is closer to the truth.

If it helps, the annual US Government budget is $4 trillion.

All the wealth in the United States — literally everything — is around $50 trillion.

Should we sell off everything, shut down the government — including the military — to fund radical longevity?

It’s certainly worth considering.

Erase from your mind the visualization of backsliding Israelites offering up all their gold to build a golden calf.  No doubt there are billionaires out there who believe their wealth will connect them to cures and concoctions, charlatans and geniuses who will, through tinctures and cryonics, medicinals and electronics, buy them an extra five or ten or twenty years.

This is a false hope.

A lie.

Technology — advancement — does not work that way.

Neither the president of the United States nor the founder of Google possesses a better smartphone than you, probably not even a better television.

For things to work, really work, they must work for all. Not for morality sake but because magic gains its power only through spreading itself to all.

Back to Jesus.

If I am right that for us to conquer aging, conquer death, we must follow his way, reproduce his miracles — and we have already reproduced some, such as virgin birth — then the actual cost will be nearly everything.

Matthew, chapter 19:

And behold, one came to him and said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? One there is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I observed: what lack I yet?

Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful; for he was one that had great possessions.

And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Fifty trillion.