Ask any expert what is aging and you get the following answer: Aging is a gradual deterioration of physiological function with increasing age, associated with decreasing performance, and increasing probability of mortality. You may not find anything wrong here because you were raised to regard aging as a deterioration. It is a Cartesian heritage according to which the organism is a sophisticated machine whose components deteriorate randomly. Its aging is studied within the realm of Reliability Theory.
In order to prolong the life of a machine you equip it with redundant
components so that when one dies the other takes its place. Reliability-theory
experts believe that aging is driven by an ongoing (random) deterioration
of vital genes. In order to attain old age you ought to be equipped with
redundant vital genes.
Hitherto demographic models seemed to support this view, since from the age of 20y and onward the mortality rate known as Gompertz equation rises exponentially, exactly as in malfunctioning machines. Then came an “unpleasant” surprise, models failed to account for the data. People lived longer and when they passed the age of 85 years their mortality rate started declining (!). Beyond the age of 100y the mortality rate approaches asymptotically a constant value. In other words, if you cross the age of 80y and you are still healthy, your chances to cross the 100y mark continually improve. Instead of celebrating the initiation of longevity, scientists were disappointed since all their models fail.
Don’t despair, soon they will adapt their models and theories to the new reality and the human organism will continue deteriorating at their will. They are still mesmerized by the machine metaphor and fail to realize that aging is not driven by random deterioration of components. Actually aging is a creative process. Suppose that you follow the growth of a newborn without realizing that occasionally it may die. You may now regard it as a living system whose properties emerge. Like the weather, a living system that never dies. Would you regard weather as a system of randomly deteriorating components? The same applies to our organism. It is a set of interacting processes called here WOB (Wisdom of the Body), that are continually rejuvenated and hardly ever deteriorate.
The organism is driven by an independent process, destruction, which it continually attempts to repair. As long as the destruction rate is less than the repair rate, the organism continues living and when destruction gains the upper hand it dies.
Aging is an ongoing process by which WOB attempts to creatively withstand
external threat. What appears to us as age deterioration is a successful
attempt to sustain life. The appearance of a healthy elderly is a token
of his capability to handle external threat. So, despite an external threat
our fate lies in our hands.
Late life mortality
How to slow down aging:
Aging in CA-1
Aging in CA-2
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