Battling with time: the endless strife to stay young


Luigi Lo Forti
On behalf of H&PC Today (TKS Publisher)


More than death, man has always feared the decline that comes with ageing. Hence, it is no surprise that man has always being looking for a “cure” against the unavoidable effects of time passing by throughout its history – in these terms, anti-ageing could be considered the earliest scientific research man developed, even before science turned something different from magic…

In Greek mythology, Eos, Titan of the dawn, fell in love with Tithonus, son of king Laomedon of Troy and Strymo, a water nymph. When she asked Zeus to make Tithonus immortal, she forgot to ask for eternal youth. Indeed, he did live forever, but also became older and older, until he was nothing but a babbling old man lying in a bed with no strength left in his body. He eventually turned into a cicada, who would endlessly sing, but begging for death to overcome him.

Ancient as it is, the sad story of Tithonus reveals that, since the dawn of history, man has always been more frightened by the idea of getting old than actually dying. This is why the history of man is also the history of the struggle to overcome the unavoidable ageing of our body, through magic before and by means of science in modern times. That struggle has never stopped and is likely to go on indefinitely. Though this is a battle that clearly cannot be won, but only fought, a lot has been achieved since the time when ancient populations would ask the gods to grant them eternal youth. Paradoxically, we all strive to meet the objectiveyet will never really make it. Like an asymptote, the curve of science wil ...