I don’t do mortgages or contracts anymore; long-term financial commitments just aren’t compatible to the Octogenarian society where I “live, move and have my being.” Can you imagine! Taking on an obligation to live 30 years beyond my time in order to honor a debt? Tires me out just thinking about it.
On the other hand why not? Why not on and on indefinitely? There’s this: People my age have lived through a technological explosion never before witnessed in the history of mankind. Nothing short of magic: Who knows but that theoreticians may discover a sophisticated mathematical equation whereby we may extend our lives not only into tomorrow but ever onward to infinity’s distance shores.
Scientists tell us that, theoretically, the faster we travel through space the slower we age; or more precisely, time slows relative to an object, or a “travelers” rate of speed. Playing upon this thesis are those old movies that depict intergalactic explorers streaking out across the universe at multiple speeds of light only to return home months later to find themselves victims of a “time warp,” wherein the future has overtaken and generational processes are overlapped or reversed; with no sense of having aged yet returning to a world that in the blink of an eye has shifted from today to some future generation, finding themselves strangers to an advanced culture which they fail to recognize; a culture wherein their children are grown old, died or taken up residence down at assisted living. Yet, one remains skeptical. Say we crank the ol Enterprise up to a point in the mathematical equation that the travelers natural aging process is either significantly slowed or suspended altogether; how do we survive the mathematical realities of the ride?
Imagine a cartridge inside the chamber of a 30, caliber carbine rifle and on the tip of that cartridge the bullet, or projectile. The round lays at rest in the chamber until the trigger is pulled, powder explodes and the projectile goes from a static position to full forward thrust. The degree of that thrust is called ‘velocity’ the rate at which an object changes its position from one point to another; a 30-caliber M1 carbine round has a velocity of 2,000 feet per second. That’s quite a jolt from a stationary position.
So fancy if you will, sitting in your idling automobile, hitting the accelerator and from a static position you’re kicked in the butt by a 2,000 feet per second forward thrust. This references g-force acceleration and would subject the bullet, mass or person to several times the ordinary pull gravity naturally exerts on the old body. Eighty “Gs” is about the maximum stress tolerated by the human body, so how do we survive the extreme gravitational forces produced by the velocity it takes to attain the speed needed to slow our ageing process that one might survive 100 years earth time of intergalactic travel?
And if we leave the launch pad slow enough as not to be thrown through the seat of our britches and right out through the back’ard end of our ‘automobile’ how many years of measured acceleration to accommodate the body’s g-force resistance and reach the point (speed) where time slows to a crawl? And having worked out a mathematical equation of surviving that, how many lifetimes of deceleration to slow the buggy to a stop without being thrown through the windshield from a drastic reduction in the forward momentum? And, can a mass traveling in a straight-line from point a to point b survive the most infinitesimal wobble of its mathematically assigned trajectory?
Then there’s this: Hubble telescope estimates indicate that there are about 500 billion galaxoes in the universe. Our own Milky Way galaxy is estimated to contain 300 billion stars, and divided betwixt them 17 billion earth-sized planets alone. Traveling at the speed of light across a universe that contains billions of galaxies what are the odds you don’t hit something? Sure there’s a lot of emptiness out there but also lot of stuff floating around in a universe that’s at least 156 billion light years wide. Gotta thread the needle: cruising along at the speed of light there’s not much time to dodge a deer caught in the headlights.
Say all of this is of no consequence; the speed of light is a cool 186,282 miles per second, and a light year is how far it takes light to travel in one year. Dispensing with my own feeble calculations in favor of scientific expertise, scientists estimate that the universe is 156 billion light years wide and that it would take someone on a spacecraft traveling at the speed of light some 20 billion light years to cross from side to side.
But a caveat: At 186,282 miles a second the clock stops and time stands still. Say the buggy broke from the gate at the speed of light with a sustained velocity there and back it would arrive home billions of years into the future with all hands alive and well, the astronauts awaking as from a good dose of sodium pentothal with no sense of lapsed time. Basically, “eternal” life would seem a few short years.
If every fantastical dream conjured up from humankinds mathematical calculations could be achieved, one suspects he’d still come up a day late and a dollar short. Me I’m still hung up on how far is up, was there ever just nothing, how something can be constructed out of nothing and boundary theories i.e. what’s beyond the limits of space, if indeed space is limited; and what exotic chemical compositions might design the nature of other worlds.
And finally: curiosity may be an element vital to maintaining the human industry but if one does not know how to construct the inquiry dang sure he won’t find the answer.
As one may observe, math isn’t my ‘long suit,’ anyways. When I started high school at Mountainburg my algebra teacher red lined my correct answers for the use of wrong systems of calculation. In his defense he may have anticipated me asking the very questions I herewith angst, but in defense of my youthful ignorance all I wanted was to get from point a to point b without a whole lot of aggravation. In relation to transgressing from youth to old age I’ve got that, what I don’t have is the where-with-all to work out the later part no matter the system or peculiarity of the equation.
Truth is, I never really figured to survive the ride, much less gain immortality. Heck, most time I was so busy dodging the wildly swinging scythe of the grim reaper, couldn’t imagine I would ever reach “eldership.”
Now it’s way late in the game to think about living beyond my time by way of Buzz Lightyear, become an astronaut, crawl onto the tip end of a roman candle and hit warp-speed into a dimension where time slows and flows like molasses.
Cryonics is my gig. At this age and stage, aeronautics and space technology doesn’t have horses to pull the wagon, time grows short and best not waste a whole lot of what’s left of it treading water; expect to extend this earthly visitation, either take out a loan, go into debt - or find a good freezer.