Eternal youth

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An essay by the Eschaton

... the living state is a practical realization of a Bose-condensate.
—Poccia, Nicola; Ricci, Alessandro; Innocenti, Davide; Bianconi, Antonio ♦ A Possible Mechanism for Evading Temperature Quantum Decoherence in Living Matter by Feshbach Resonance Department of Physics, Sapienza University of Rome

Illustration 1. Artist's conception of particles in an exotic phase of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate. Each particle in the condensate shares the same quantum-mechanical wavefunction, and so they all move as one. Particles outside the condensate move faster and in all directions. Bose-Einstein condensation has been proposed to occur among neural proteins to provide a unitary sense of conscious "self". [Hameroff, Stuart ♦ Anesthesia, Consciousness and Hydrophobic Pockets]

The Bose-condensed fraction (the spirit, the soul) of an organism resides mostly in the nervous tissue. Therefore, the youthfulness of an organism is determined by its brain-to-body mass ratio.

1) Phylogenetically (as a species), man progresses towards youthfulness:

Illustration 2. Homo habilis (brain volume 660 cm3), Homo erectus (brain volume 975 cm3), and Homo neanderthalensis (brain volume 1550 cm3). [Source] William Sheldon noted that cerebrotonic (ectomorphic) people have young appearance. [Source] This observation holds even for the human phylogeny—an increase in the brain volume is accompanied by rejuvenation. In the course of their evolution, humans become increasingly cerebrotonic. The intensity and the spatial resolution of the holographic morphogenetic field, generated by the brain, increases. As a result, the skin becomes more bright, fine-textured, and smooth.

2) Ontogenetically (as an individual), a man progresses towards older age:

Illustration 3. The power of the human brain is the product of the total number of neurons and the degree of their interconnectedness. Analogously to the gravitational evolution of the universe, the development of the human brain progresses hierarchically.[1] Until age 8.5 in females and 10.5 in males, the brain develops predominantly by increasing the number of its neurons and their short-range dendritic interconnectedness.[2][3] Then, until the age of 24 years, the brain develops predominantly by increasing its long-range axonal interconnectedness.[4][5][6] At the age of 24 years, a progressive decline in brain power sets in, because the decrease in neurons' number, beginning at age 8.5 in females and 10.5 in males,[2] can no longer be compensated by increasing their interconnectedness. The holographic morphogenetic field, generated by the brain, becomes increasingly faded and blurred, which makes the skin pallid (with dark spots), coarse-textured, and wrinkled.

3) The speed of the phylogenetic rejuvenation is exponentially accelerating. By the end of the year 2014, the speed of the phylogenetic rejuvenation will become equal to the speed of the ontogenetic aging. Eternal youth.

Most of you (again I'm using the plural form of the word) are likely to be around to see the Singularity. The expanding human life span is another one of those exponential trends. In the eighteenth century, we added a few days every year to human longevity; during the nineteenth century we added a couple of weeks each year; and now we're adding almost a half a year every year. With the revolutions in genomics, proteomics, rational drug design, therapeutic cloning of our own organs and tissues, and related developments in bio-information sciences, we will be adding more than a year every year within ten years.
—Kurzweil, Raymond ♦ The Law of Accelerating Returns Published on KurzweilAI.net March 7, 2001 ♦ [Graph]
***

The brain-to-body mass ratio is a rough estimate of the possible intelligence of an organism. Infants have higher brain-to-body mass ratios compared with adults. That is why humans are "paedomorphic chimpanzees":

Illustration 4. A chimpanzee adult and a chimpanzee infant. From a 1926 study by the Swiss zoologist and palaeontologist Adolf Naef.

The informational progress of mankind is exponentially accelerating:

  • In 2005, information was doubling every 36 months. [IBM data—see page 41]
  • In June 2008, information was doubling every 11 months. [IBM data—see page 41]
  • On 4 August 2010, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said: "Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003." [Source]
As I understand it, at the last count human information was doubling around every 18 months. Further to this, there is a point somewhere around 2015 when human information is doubling every thousandth of a second. This means that in each thousandth of a second we will have accumulated more information than we have in the entire previous history of the world. At this point I believe that all bets are off. I cannot imagine the kind of culture that might exist after such a flashpoint of knowledge. I believe that our culture would probably move into a completely different state, would move past the boiling point, from a fluid culture to a culture of steam. Most people find the word "Apocalypse" to be a terrifying concept. Checked in the dictionary, it means only revelation, although it obviously has also come to mean end of the world.
The Mindscape of Alan Moore 2003, 56m10s

As a result, the evolutionary pressure for youthfulness (essentially, for higher brain-to-body mass ratios) is exponentially strengthening:

The terrorists in al-Qaeda seek to destroy Western culture. They needn't bother. Give Western culture 30 years and it will collapse under the weight of its incontinence nappies.
The West's celebration of youth has infected its culture like a deadly virus. Too many members of generation X go childless as they perpetuate a youthful lifestyle of attachment-free independence.
It's understandable. Today youth is celebrated by the mass media like never before.
Sportswear, soft drinks, junk food and zippy inner-city cars are made by corporations that survive by selling their wares to young, single people with disposable income.
The commercial media have no choice but to deliver a younger audience to these corporations. Youth lifestyle is subsequently promoted by the media as the pinnacle of Western culture.
The lifestyle of the young is seductive. It's not surprising that X-men want to play the never-ageing Peter Pan and X-women choose the capable romantic, Wendy Darling, as their role model.
I call them "Neverlanders".
—Ferguson, Tim ♦ Cult of youth spells end of Western civilisation The Age, 4 March 2004

By the end of the year 2014, this evolutionary pressure will overcome all the barriers currently preventing mankind's transformation into an eternally young species.

[edit] References

  1. Thinking Inside the Box The University of Chicago Magazine, 2002 ♦ "The evolution of the cosmic structure is hierarchical: gravitational collapse first builds small objects—galaxies—and then larger structures—clusters of galaxies. Clusters tend to move toward each other and form filamentary structures, flat and elongated."
  2. 2.0 2.1 Lenroot, R. K. et al.Sexual dimorphism of brain developmental trajectories during childhood and adolescence Neuroimage, 15 July 2007, 36 (4), pp. 1065-73 ♦ "Total gray matter peaked at age 8.5 in females and 10.5 in males (Figure 2b)."
  3. Quarton, Gardner C. et al. (Ed.) ♦ The Neurosciences The Rockefeller University Press, 1967, p. 725 ♦ "Following birth there is a considerable increase in the "cell territory" or "dendritic field" of neurons. This is caused by the outgrowth of neuronal processes, with a resulting increase in the neuropil/perikaryon ratio (gray/cell coefficient), or decrease in the packing density of neurons. Functionally, this change represents a progressive growth in the potential connectivity ot neurons. <...> Recent evidence, reviewed here, indicates that, contrary to older views, undifferentiated cells multiply at a high rate after birth in various germinal regions of the growing brain, and a large proportion ot these cells become differentiated into short-axoned neurons, or microneurons."
  4. Brain Network Linked to Contemplation in Adults is Less Complex in Children ScienceDaily, 11 March 2008 ♦ " 'The difference between children and adults is profound,' Fair says. 'In a graph depicting the strength of connections between the brain regions we studied, children's minds have just a few connections between some regions, while the adult brains have a web-like mesh of many different interconnecting links involving all the regions.' "
  5. Fields, R. Douglas ♦ White Matter Matters Scientific American, March 2008 ♦ "Electrical signals, unable to leak out through the sheath, jump swiftly down the axon from node to node. In nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, a sausage-shaped glial cell called a Schwann cell forms myelin. Without myelin, the signal leaks and dissipates. For maximum conduction velocity, the insulation thickness must he strictly proportional to the diameter of the fiber inside. The optimal ratio of bare axon diameter divided by the total fiber diameter (including the myelin) is 0.6. <...> The wrapping occurs at different ages. Myelin is prevalent only in a few brain regions at birth, expands in spurts and is not fully laid until age 25 or 30 in certain places. <...> An impulse typically takes 30 milliseconds to travel from one cerebral hemisphere to the other through myelinated axons in the corpus callosum, compared with 150 to 300 milliseconds through unmyelinated axons."
  6. Pease, D. P. (Ed.) ♦ Cellular aspects of neural growth and differentiation UCLA Forum Med. Sci., No. 14, University of California Press, 1971, p. 388 ♦ "... my hunch is that in man myelination ends perhaps at 20 years, or some age like that, and that from then on there is very little myelination going on."

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