The Biology of Immortality Who wants to be immortal?
Hélène Merle-Béral, doctor, specialist in leukemia, has directed the department of biological hematology at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. She is the author of 17 femmes prix Nobel de sciences (2016).
Fighting against the unbearable injustice of inhabiting a perishable body, humans have invented immortality. At first a purely imaginary scenario, the object of myths and religions, the utopia has ultimately, with the progress of medicine, assumed a place on a scientific agenda.
Today, immortality seems to be within our grasp, but what does it really promise? Medicine has some reasons to make us optimistic, as seen in the increase in the number of centenarians, but biology is much more realistic, reminding us that evolution has chosen to regularly reshuffle the genetic cards, and that life as we know it cannot be conceived without the death that ensures its continuity.
This doesn’t prevent the concept from reemerging in a new light, with transhumanist delusions that promise “augmented humans,” overcoming all deficiencies, even an immortal cyborg who, no longer having to fear illness or disease, will henceforth only have to fight against boredom.