Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Robert Kane Pappas | To Age or Not to Age


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S y n o p s i s 

A lot of people think we're biologically programmed to die, but the truth is that we're biologically programmed for survival. There is no mechanism inside us that turns on to kill us when a certain period of time has elapsed." Dr. Thomas Kirkwood

Immortality. We as human beings have desired it for as long as mankind has feared death. Because of the impossibility of everlasting life, we've lived vicariously through the fantasy of it in our books and movies and comics and TV shows and anything else that allows us to dream of possessing this amazing fictional power.

But what if this once-impossibility was starting to look not only like a possibility, but more like a probability? Do I have your attention?

OK, so maybe we're not looking at "immortality" here, but To Age or Not To Age offers up the idea that we as human beings could live 20% to 40% longer, and that 120-year-old people could be able to look, feel, and move around like a 60-year-old does today. If true, it could be one of the most amazing scientific discoveries ever made; even being called the most important since that of DNA itself.

The documentary comes from filmmaker Robert Kane Pappas, who talks to many different doctors and scientist, some of whom quite a few years ago accidentally (that's how all of the great discoveries start) stumbled upon interesting traits in the life span of yeast organisms after some were left in a freezer for an extended amount of time. In years of research since then, they've discovered something incredible: that aging as we know it is not necessary, and that it's even ripe for prolongation.

This accident led to the unbelievable realization that the things that make us old, and age at the rate that we do can in fact be controlled. Enemies to the human body such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative diseases can be postponed and very much combated down to a much less severe level. Many tests have already been performed on mice and other living creatures, and amazing extensions in lifespan and decline in diseases have been recorded, leading to the conclusion that can and will work in humans.

Over the course of the film, you'll hear some of the most brilliant minds researching this medical miracle right this very moment. There's even companies who have developed a drug that affects genes like the SIRT-1 gene, which is what studies have shown could prolong life. Not only has a drug been developed, but many scientists are already taking it " that's how much faith they have in this discovery. Unfortunately for us, "aging" is not technically a disease, so it's thought that this will never be approved by the FDA " another topic that's discussed in the documentary.

Now, I'm just a simple lad, and a lot of this movie went WAY over my tiny brain, but the overall idea is simply fascinating. A life that could go 150, 200 years? How could that POSSIBLY be? But there are some involved here that think that's just the beginning, and that it could go much farther than that. This is one of those things that absolutely NO ONE thought was humanly possible " time travel, real lightsabers, the Red Sox winning a Wold Series " but here we are, with completely brilliant and sane geniuses telling us it's very, very real, and at our doorsteps.

This movie doesn't just introduce and explain the possibility of extended life, but the repercussions of such a giant step in human evolution. Religions would change (the documentary points out that this idea terrifies Catholics and that the Jewish are a-okay with it). Populations would increase, which is already a big issue already, so they talk about how we would adapt there (Mars colonization? Anyone?).

There's not much that needs to be said here in terms of a review. Anything like this that seems completely fictional but has proof of being a reality is a guaranteed winner in my book. Topics like this are really incredible to behold. The hope of extending human life indefinitely may not ever work, but being someone who has always been infatuated with our world and the universe around it, just the very idea is about as exciting as you can get. I mean, to be able to live that much longer and see so many new things come and go, to see more discoveries and watch history unfold for longer. There is no objection. For me, the only question is "where can I get my hands on the stuff that makes this possible, and does CVS carry it yet?"

But in all seriousness, To Age or Not To Age is an incredible documentary to watch, and everyone should really see it themselves, because gods know I surely can't do it justice with a few words here. That, and no matter what you think after seeing the film, many great discussions and debates will come from it. Whether this revolution actually takes place in the next five to ten years or not is yet to be seen, but if you're interested in how we or our future bloodlines may just be living for hundreds of years in the future, this is the very first step.

The Fountain of Youth is real, my friends. It exists; people have touched it and sipped from its contents. Now it just needs to be opened up to the world.

B i o 

Robert Kane Pappas is a director and writer, known for To Age or Not to Age (2010), Orwell Rolls in His Grave (2003), Some Fish Can Fly (1999) and Now I Know (1988).

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