surinenglish

Long life

The scientist Ginés Morata, who brought his theories to a lecture in Malaga last week, believes that we could live to be 600 or 700 years old. In other words, science and technology are developing at such speed that we are constantly having to rethink our definition of the word “impossible”.

It's not that long since electricity was considered magic and that flying around the world was superhuman. Now it's difficult to keep up with the barrage of new tricks that the flourishing partnership of internet and smartphones can perform for us today; some advances are life-changing for the better, and others just drag us away from real life.

So if over the last few decades we have been constantly achieving what was previously considered impossible, then there's no reason to doubt our scientist's words. We will, within just a few more decades, be able to slow down the ageing process significantly; but every sentence highlighting progress was followed by a caveat - if we want to; if our politicians accept it.

Politicians. Imagine if we all did have a life span of 600; how long would a term of office be? How many years could a mayor or a president be in power for? Hundreds of years? That would make the current mayor of Malaga, who'll be standing for election again next year at the age of 76, just at the start of his career.

And what about Spain's now former prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who was kicked out by a no-confidence motion as the name of his party became less and less separable from words like corruption and lies? And his replacement Pedro Sánchez? They could carry on bickering for hundreds of years to come. And the old party cronies who have just been handed long prison sentences could bounce back after decades behind bars. Longer life spans would certainly not be a good idea for any political party that is in need of young blood and a fresh new image.

The dream of the human race is to achieve immortality, said Ginés Morata. Well Connor MacLeod didn't seem to enjoy being immortal very much, and Dorian Gray's desire for eternal youth led to nothing but tragedy.

Scientific research is essential and governments should be investing more funds in it - but let's hope that for the time being they focus on projects to improve the quality of the life we have rather than just extending it.

The magic that falls into the hands of scientists in the next few years must be used to find cures for illnesses that take people from us long before their time.

But perhaps someone could save a bit of energy to invent a formula that turns people's faces green every time they tell a lie. That might cut a few political lives short.