Storage J

Fear Of Dying
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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 Methuselah, who 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 killed the Mother Earth and are now heading on a fast track toward our own extinction, that we may also have discovered 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 we have.

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 researchers now believe that within the next few years it will be possible for people to have their bodies completely restored with a promise of living very long and healthy lives.

They say they even have discovered what scientists call the Methuselah gene, which may, in itself, be a secret to living a long and healthy life. The gene is present in certain cultures known for longevity of life, but is not found in other people.

Sadly, however, because of overpopulation and our mistreatment of the Mother Earth, where these bodies originated and from whom the food, water and material for shelter is provided, the task of staying alive on our dying planet will be such a difficult task there may 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 a 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 irony in our situation is incredible. How could we be so brilliant and yet so foolish at the same moment in time?