Medium published my new article “If Science Could Provide Longevity, We Would Need to Ask Why”
A story published on the Hebrew edition of Israel Hayom states that a research conducted by RAMBAM hospital and Technion — Israel Institute of Technology claims to have found that injecting a protein called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A (VEGF-A) opens the door to rejuvenating the skin of elderly people, and perhaps even making internal organs younger. Assuming this were possible and life could be extended significantly, if not indefinitely, we would have to ask ourselves what for, since without a good purpose in life, we will not want to go on living.
I would not mind taking such a pill or getting a shot that would rejuvenate my body. I have dedicated the past four decades of my life to spreading the method of connection around the world, hoping to help people improve their lives. I have no grievances about what I have accomplished, but judging by the state of the world, much more work needs to be done, so I would welcome another couple of decades to continue my efforts.
This is true not only for me. Any person who has a chance to advance humanity’s well-being and happiness must want such a gift, as it enables him or her to do more good.
As a whole, however, I do not see that people want to extend their lives beyond a certain limit. What for? People who have reached their golden years are generally quite calm about their lives and the approaching end.
The only reason for the frantic search for a fountain of youth is to sell it for profit. Perhaps some people are truly interested in finding this wellspring of eternal life, but I have yet to see anything good coming out of it. Therefore, I cannot say that if such a product were to be made, it would be in great demand.
There is no doubt that science can make life easier, make us healthier, and live longer. But what for? Just over a hundred years ago, people lived approximately forty years on average. Now they live twice as long, but what has humanity gained? There are four times more people, the ground has been polluted, the air, too, and the same goes for water. What have we gained thanks to our forty extra years? What will we gain if we gain another forty years? What will people know at 120 that they do not know at 80? Fear of death in and of itself is not a justification for extending life indefinitely.
While there is no meaning to an endless life, the fear of death does have a purpose. It makes us search for the meaning of life.
When we search for the purpose of our existence, we find that it has nothing to do with prolonging the existence of our physical bodies. Moreover, as long as all we want is to extract hedonistic pleasures, thinking only of ourselves, life will never be eternal. At some point, we will grow tired of the endless self-indulgence and either search for a deeper meaning to life or simply grow tired of the chase. When the latter happens, our passion gradually wanes, our zest for life dims, and we gradually wither until we pass away, with or without an elixir that guarantees eternity.
Our life is like a cup that we fill up with satisfactions. When the cup fills up, nothing more can enter it and our lives end.
Alternatively, when we wish to help others fill their cups, we become conduits that stream vitality to others. Think of the satisfaction a mother feels when she sees her child enjoying the food she had prepared or a new gift she had bought. The mother’s delight is far more intense and rewarding than that of her child. In fact, her delight gives her fuel for giving more, and more, and more.
This endless giving, endless outpour of delight that one can give to another, has no boundaries. Just as the mother feels with her child, we can feel this with all of humanity. And because it is unbounded, it is eternal. Just as the mother’s energy comes from the joy she has given to her child, because giving generates endless vitality, it generates eternal life. This is the meaning of eternity.
Giving, in short, is the fountain of youth that scientists are seeking. It is the one thing that never dies, and never fills to the brim.