VII. Pedia Sapiens: A Genesis Future on Earth and in the Heavens
3. Positive Personal Enhancement within Community
This section reports an array of novel knowledge capabilities to intentionally, respectfully take over ones bodily, psychic, and behavioral life for its personal and societal betterment. Two aspects will be highlighted – longevity as the extension of a healthy, productive life span, and the positive psychology turn to emphasize and inform an enhanced, creative, relational life style.
Aspinwall, Lisa and Ursula Staudinger, eds. A Psychology of Human Strengths. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2003. A large volume which sumarizes an international movement to infuse psychological studies with a new emphasis on the good and positive in people such as judgment, emotion, intelligence, creativity, excellence, wisdom, aging, and healthy well-being and how these qualities interact socially.
Berry, Thomas. The Great Work. New York: Bell Tower, 1999. The theme of an emphatic, celebratory education about a cosmological import for phenomenal young people runs throughout these wise essays.
Our educational institutions need to see their purpose not as training personnel for exploiting the Earth but as guiding students toward an intimate relationship with the Earth. For it is the planet itself that brings us into being, sustains us in life, and delights us with its wonders.
Bova, Ben. Immortality. New York: Avon Books, 1998. An earlier, well researched work which documents the claim that indefinite longevity is becoming possible.
Burger, Oskar, et al. Human Mortality Improvement in Evolutionary Context. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 109/18210, 2012. With coauthors Annette Baudisch and James Vaupel, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research scholars report a three times increase in average life expectancy over the last century as humankind’s culture shifted to a global technological civilization. For more, view the MPIDR's “Modeling the Evolution of Aging” page where group leader Baudisch’s publications can be found, and also Oskar Burger, et al. “Industrial Energy Use and the Human Life History” in Nature Scientific Reports (1/56, 2011), second quote below. What does this passage it immortality mean and augur for?
Life expectancy is increasing in most countries and has exceeded 80 in several, as low-mortality nations continue to make progress in averting deaths. The health and economic implications of mortality reduction have been given substantial attention, but the observed malleability of human mortality has not been placed in a broad evolutionary context. We quantify the rate and amount of mortality reduction by comparing a variety of human populations to the evolved human mortality profile, here estimated as the average mortality pattern for ethnographically observed hunter-gatherers. We show that human mortality has decreased so substantially that the difference between hunter-gatherers and today’s lowest mortality populations is greater than the difference between hunter-gatherers and wild chimpanzees. The bulk of this mortality reduction has occurred since 1900 and has been experienced by only about 4 of the roughly 8,000 human generations that have ever lived. (PNAS Abstract)
Carey, James and Shripad Tuljapurkar, eds. Life Span: Evolutionary, Ecological and Demographic Perspectives. Population and Development Review. 29/Supplement, 2003. A technical survey of the significant increase in average life span in most countries over the 20th century.
Cassady, Jerrell and Mourad Ali Eissa, eds. Emotional Intelligence: Perspectives on Educational and Positive Psychology. New York: Peter Lang, 2008. The employ of IQ alone to quantify behavioral norms belongs to the past, today a blend of cognitive abilities and interpersonal relations is more appropriate, which would finally balance our gender based cerebral attributes.
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi, eds. A Life Worth Living. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. A volume of papers from the First International Positive Psychology Summit about the historic shift in emphasis from maladies to enhancement.
Natural Selection and Immortality.
The Institut Pasteur geneticist expands this biological field to fit within a physical realm most distinguished by an informational quality and its creative, cellular elaboration. By this vista, a new, fruitful approach is opened toward a cure for cancer and advancing human longevity.
Genomes replicate while the host cells reproduce. I explore the reproduction/replication dialogue, based on a deep analysis of bacterial genomes, in relation to ageing. Making young structures from aged ones implies creating information. I revisit Information Theory, showing that the laws of physics permit de novo creation of information, provided an energy-dependent process preserving functional entities makes room for entities accumulating information. I identify explicit functions involved in the process and characterise some of their genes. I suggest that the energy source necessary to establish reproduction while replication is temporarily stopped could be the ubiquitous polyphosphates. Finally, I show that rather than maintain and repair the original individual, organisms tend to metamorphose into young ones, sometimes totally, sometimes progressively. (Abstract)
de Grey, Aubrey, ed. Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Vol. 119, 2004. These proceedings of the September 2003 Congress of the International Association of Biomedical Gerontology cover genetic, physiological, pharmaceutical, neural, health, education, social, and ethical aspects of the real ability for human beings to achieve in the 21st century a relative immortality.
DeGrazia, David. Human Identity and Bioethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. After an initial look at how persons “narrate and self-create” their own identities, a consideration of new options for life-extension, mental enhancement, reproduction, and so on.
Dominus, Susan. Life in the Age of Old, Old Age. New York Times Magazine. February 22, 2004. Combining vignettes of men and women with active lives of 100 years with the frontiers of life extension biotechnologies, nutrition and exercise, the article considers profound changes in our cultural and social mores due to a rapidly growing longevity.
Fahy, Gregory, et al, eds. The Future of Aging: Pathways to Human Life Extension. Berlin: Springer, 2010. A comprehensive and authoritative collection on the palliative frontiers of the “therapeutic potential of biogerontology.” Twenty-three chapters cover both biological and medical science and ethical pathways to foster a longer, healthier, more productive life. Chapters include Towards Naturalistic Transcendence: The Value of Life and Life Extension to Persons as Conative Processes by Steven Horrobin, Evolutionary Nutrigenomics by Michael Rose, et al, and Telomeres and the Arithmetic of Human Longevity by Abraham Aviv and John Bogden.
Just as the health costs of aging threaten to bankrupt developed countries, this book makes the scientific case that a biological "bailout" could be on the way, and that human aging can be different in the future than it is today. Here 40 authors argue how our improving understanding of the biology of aging and selected technologies should enable the successful use of many different and complementary methods for ameliorating aging, and why such interventions are appropriate based on our current historical, anthropological, philosophical, ethical, evolutionary, and biological context. Challenging concepts are presented together with in-depth reviews and paradigm-breaking proposals that collectively illustrate the potential for changing aging as never before. The proposals extend from today to a future many decades from now in which the control of aging may become effectively complete. Examples include sirtuin-modulating pills, new concepts for attacking cardiovascular disease and cancer, mitochondrial rejuvenation, stem cell therapies and regeneration, tissue reconstruction, telomere maintenance, prevention of immunosenescence, extracellular rejuvenation, artificial DNA repair, and full deployment of nanotechnology.