That Non-Ending Search For The Elixir Of Life
By James Donahue
Throughout human history, there has been a search for a magic elixir of life . . . an escape from
the inevitable fate called death that awaits us all.
The story of Adam and Eve involves a banishment from the Garden of Eden, after they gave in to temptation
and ate from the tree of knowledge. The story is that God placed cherubim and a fiery revolving sword at the gate "to guard
the way to the tree of life" so humans would never find a way to live forever.
Even after this, if we are to believe the ages of the first humans recorded in the Book of Genesis, folks
lived astoundingly long lives. The oldest record was that of Methusla, who was said to have lived 969 years.
Those old stories have been the backbone of mythology that inspired many early explorers to search
for that fabled "tree of life," and was said to have sent Juan Ponce de Leon hacking his way through the swampland of Southern
Florida in 1513 in search of a "fountain of youth."
From the Middle East comes a legend of Alexander and his servant who cross the Land of Darkness in
search of the Water of Life. From Europe and Asia we find the stories of the philosopher's stone, the universal panaceas
and the elixir of life. Even the Gospel of John suggests that there is something wonderful at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem
where Jesus healed a man.
There is extreme irony, we suppose, in the fact that now, even as we are discovering that we have
carelessly overpopulated, polluted, stripped and all but killed the Mother Earth and are now heading on a fast track
toward our own extinction, that we also have discovered what appears to be the real secret to a long and healthy life.
The Human Genome Project, a 13-year research that involved the mapping and identification of all of
the estimated 25,000 genes in the human DNA coil, determine their role in birth, growth, our general health and our death,
has unlocked the keys to not only producing genetically healthy children, but fixing a lot of things wrong with the bodies
Medical teams already are finding ways to use this information to manufacture new body parts to replace
diseased livers, hearts, kidneys, ears and just about everything else in the human body. Some believe that within the next
ten years, it will be possible for people to have their bodies completely restored with a chance of living very long
and healthy lives.
They say they even have discovered what scientists call the Methusla gene, which may, in itself,
be a secret to living a long life. The gene is present in certain cultures known for longevity of life, but is not found in
Sadly, however, it also is possible that within the next ten years, staying alive on our dying planet
will be such a difficult task there will be little point in wanting to hang around. If we continue operating the way we have,
our climate will be out of control, there will be an extreme shortage of food and potable drinking water, and the air will
be so polluted that we will be breathing through recycled and filtered tanks.
The human race thus appears to be at an important fork in the road. If we put down our guns,
learn to get along and work together to solve these extreme problems, we may have a chance. If we follow the path toward war,
then . . .