Legends that speak of immortality have been around for thousands of years. The entire Christian myth centers on overcoming death and going to heaven to live out eternity with family and loved ones. I think that you are supposed to be in your thirties in heaven even if you were in your eighties when you died.
Sometimes immortality was viewed as a curse rather than a blessing. Just look at the legend of the Roman Centurion who pierced Christ’s side with a spear. He was doomed to walk the earth for evermore and never die. But the legend of someone doomed to eternity way predates Christianity.
All of the ancient gods were, of course, immortal. Sometimes they bestowed this gift or curse on their mortal counterparts. In Celtic legend the best way to become immortal was to die in battle.
If this happened then you were dipped into the cauldron of the Dagda, also called the cauldron of regeneration, and returned with all of your wounds healed, but you were unable to speak. After all, the gods didn’t want you to speak of what you had seen in the underworld.
In the sixteenth century, the fountain of youth became popular when Ponce de Leon went on his famous search for it. After a while, when nobody found it, it kind of became standard for someone who goes on a fool’s folly.
But now science may have stumbled on some preliminary research findings that may hint that through mice and science, we may be one step closer to discovering the fountain of youth. This doesn’t mean that we will live forever, but our lifespans could be greatly enhanced.
According to CNN: “Could mice in a Boston laboratory hold the key to people living longer? Scientists think it’s possible. Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute say for the first time, they have partially reversed the aging process in mice. In these mice, brain disease was reversed, the sense of smell was restored; the mice even got their fertility back. The study appears in the journal Nature.”
The research has shown that even aged cells have the capability to reverse the aging process. But don’t get too excited just yet. In the experiment, the scientists tweaked the genes that give protection to the mice’s chromosomes and prevent them from prematurely aging. Whether or not this would be possible in humans remains unclear.
As we age, a certain part at the tip of our chromosomes degenerates, giving way to a host of ills and syndromes associated with aging.
Even if the scientists can’t tweak your chromosomes because of ethical or safety reasons, maybe this research could lead to the development of drugs that could conceivably slow down the aging process.