Rich people with too much time and money on their hands often seem to get bored with the hum and drum of their gold- filigreed existences. And in response turn to egalitarian enterprises, such as feudal kings commissioning alchemists to turn base metals into gold, because a lot of stuff back then needed to be filigreed.
Today’s Billionaire Princes of Silicon Valley don’t care so much for filigree as they’ve already figured out how to turn base metal into gold. So they’ve taken to funding molecular biologists and biogerontologists, our modern day alchemists, to conduct experiments to seek out an elixir of life. A liquid or pill that will restore youth and grant longevity. After all, what good is being rich, if you can’t live forever?
Of course, immortality is a relative thing. Compared to our ancestors we already live to be antiques. Wasn’t long ago, folks just up and died. At 35. Of old age. Or were victims of accidents involving livestock. Not to mention plagues, pitchforks and blue meat. Or the village would band together and get rid of you for the “greater good.” Of course, back then, like today, the “greater good” was always a sort of a fluid measurement.
Didn’t help that the villagers were notoriously twitchy back in the Dark Ages. With vivid imaginations. Look at all they derived from gazing at the stars. “Seriously, Larry? You got Gemini the Twins from nine points of light? It’s not even an even number. They’re supposed to be twins. Shouldn’t it be symmetrical? Oh, fraternal twins. You know what I get from that same set of stars? A spigot full of dachshunds. See the floppy ears? Lip of the nozzle? 3rd sign of the Zodiac should be Dog Spout.”
Most modern diseases existed during olden timey days. Just badly diagnosed. This was when every medical treatment boiled down to two possibilities. Put leeches on it or stake through the heart. That was it. One or the other. Medieval doctors carried two things in their bags- leeches and stakes.
Suffering from epilepsy- possessed by the devil- stake through the heart. Dissociative Identity Disorder? Possessed by the devil. Stake through the heart. Bipolar? Parkinsons? Alzheimer’s? You guessed it. Not leeches.
Even something as simple as allergies. “He sneezes fealty to the devil. Stake through the heart.” “Whoa. Whoa. Dude. It’s spring. Lot of pollen in the air. Could we at least try the leeches?”
You can understand why people tried to be as conventional as possible. Nobody wanted to be known for anything out of the ordinary. People got stakes through the heart because their tomatoes grew too big. And if you had a birthmark in the shape of a trident, forget about it. “No. No. No. That’s not a trident, it’s a spigot full of dachshunds. Look, look, see the nozzle? Where’s Larry?”
Fact is: the government has given up on funding scientific research. And it’s only because of the Google Gods that a lot of the maladies that confound us today are just a couple of research projects away from being identified and eradicated. 40 years in the future, Dr. Siri from Apple Health is going to sound like Bones from Star Trek. “Can you believe these idiots? Using radiation on live human tissue? The barbarians.”
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|Allen L. Jasson|
|William John Cox|