Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
I'm no expert in a biological sense, but I have studied enough philosophy to be dangerous.
I've come to the conclusion that we die because we have not acheived the perfect state of being. This includes (among other things) diet, exercise and most importantly, purpose.
As in any mechanical system, parts which outlive their usefulness will "die", while the parts which persist at maximum efficiency will continue to "live".
In biological perspective...
Last year, National Geographic published a great article called "Secrets of Long Life". In it, they studied three human populations whose life expectancy exceeded the norm. At the top of the list are the Okinawans (Japan) who live 10-15 years longer than the avg. human. When you read about these people you immediately realize that they operate much more efficiently and consume far fewer resources than the average human. For one, they're vegetarians whose daily caloric intake is only about 1500. Secondly, they remain very active even in old age with a fierce dedication to purpose.
Now take the converse. Imagine a bacon-slurping glutton who consumes far too much, who has no purpose in life other than self-maintenance, who essentially is a "faulty cog" in the machine. This person will likely die early.
And in a sense, I believe we all die early, because we suffer from the same inefficiencies.
Now let's take the opposite extreme of the glutton. A tree. The tree consumes only what it needs; it operates at maximum efficiency (no laziness!). This is essentially the perfect organism. It is no wonder that certain trees live thousands of years.
Philosophically it makes sense to me.
We die because we fail at life.
The biological death may be caused due to process of telomere shortening:DNA polymerase is not able of replicating the whole chromosome (certain parts at the end are not replicated) and this happends each time our chromosomes replicate. That's why at the end of each chromosome there is a region of repetetive DNA that serves no purpose, but to be lost (instead of useful DNA). There is an enzyme (Telomerase) that adds this repetetive DNA to the ends of chromosomes after each division. However, as people get older, this process is less and less efficient.As a result, telomeres become too short which is detected by the cell as a damage in its genetic material and it stops to grow (or even undergoes apoptosis).
Yeah, the philosophy can get pretty messy.
But science only answers "how", so philosophy has to answer "why".
The telomere explanation sounds good to explain the process of dying, but then we need to turn to philosophy to ask "why is the whole telomere thing built into the system in the first place?"
Sorta like we build disposable systems that are designed to fail at a specific time (example: lightbulbs). Why?
Wow, this discussion makes me want to watch Bladerunner again. If you haven't seen it, SEE IT NOW.
Hmmm, I wonder does it really need to exist answer to question why? Must everything have purpose? Are we humans afraid that our life wont have meaning if we dont find some greater purpose for it than just to be alive? If we are gonna stick to the hardcore evolution than what was the meaning of the first random agregation of organic moleculs? If it was random than where is meaning there? And if it wasnt than who intended it?
Does all things in our life have purpose? Does anybody`s birth or death have greater meaning than just it? I do not mean in human perspectiv like someone died to save a child or died for democracy or died for peace, I mean in cosmic, not antropocentric way. Is there a difference, in terms of purpose, between death of human and a death of antilope in savana?
Hmmm, I really do wonder. Not what is the purpose of us but is there one?
"In wildness is the preservation of the world" J. Hatfiled
As for philosophically, who knows?
note:this is only death through natural causes.
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