Pulsating like a crystal heart shimmering and levitating in the temperate waters of the oceans, an obscure jeweled jellyfish, when weighed against the staggering expanses of the marine habitat and the prodigious myriad of species populating the underwater wildlife hierarchy, just might be the answer to one of the most important unanswered questions facing humankind.
As the politicized and propagandized Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the painful decline of the small business community, and forever nuked the restaurant industry into a FUBAR mess of a melted skeleton, eerily the hope of additional lifeforce has been gifted upon the volatile tribe that is the human race. The improbable phenomenon of a potentially miraculous reprieve furnished from the heavens coincides with the general malaise perpetuated by a global overture of symphonic servitude forcefully, yet deftly, orchestrated through the maudlin chords of empty rhetoric leading to the perversion of practical science, and debilitating inhumane lockdowns.
The answer to increased lifespans in ascending the Tree of Life, may float gracefully beneath the waves of the oceans, a highly plausible solution to the daunting force of ageing, however with the recent headline and unforgettable performance revealing the worst of humanity, are Homo sapiens worthy of receiving the ultimate hack in controlling the odds of mortality and evolutionary roulette?
Within the tantalizingly opaque waters of saline effervescence shielding light from the unblinking wonderment of the unfamiliar depths, a diminutive, yet unremarkable creature is at the mercy of the currents, predators, and the supply of proximal zooplankton furnishing a solid foundation of the earth’s animal food chain in the euphotic marine wilderness of the ocean. The Immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) is a tiny species of Cnidaria discovered to have the unique and unbelievable capabilities to revert to earlier forms in its lifecycle and technically cheating death. While the daunting Lion’s mane, the Portuguese man o’ war, and the silent and efficient killer that is the Australian box jellyfish traditionally garner the most attention of ocean tentacle mass creatures, Turritopsis dohrnii is making a serious run for deserved notoriety, as the research community interfaces applicable technology with a heightened understanding as to the framework and function of DNA, in forging the template for replicating the regenerative benefits of the creatures in human medicine and physiology.
Scientists have already thoroughly examined the medusae through rigorous experimentation in identifying key aspects of transdifferentiation, and confirmed that when a free swimming juvenile or adult specimen (visible to swimmers and divers as a translucent floating bulb with tentacles) endures mortal injures or damage that compromises mobility, or unfavorable environmental changes, the animal successfully regresses to a nepionic stage of development. Allowing itself to fall to the seafloor, the Turritopsis reverts to a polyp form anchored to the bottom of the ocean, and when the time is right, reboots the life cycle towards maturity. In avoiding and exhaustive and arduous philosophical debate, technically, the comprehensive multicellular creatures possessing the ability to induce deliberate stasis followed by a what only can be quantified as a rebirth is an unprecedented discovery in the natural world, however the fact that jellyfish are actually a comprehensive colony of many individuals, death is a regular occurrence, and whether or not true individuality is a possibility under those circumstances is one of the great unknowns that merits further discourse.
What this could inevitably mean within the confines of the near future, is increased health benefits, with extended lifespans at the pinnacle of expectations that may soon become feasible. Again, is the current trajectory of society equate to be worthy of such gifts?
Modernists, or Eco-Communists, responsible for the reprehensible counterculture movement reinforced by gender pronouns should consider examining the attributes of the critter from an ideological perspective in finding new and exciting ways to express “they” and “them”, while at the same time pushing an agenda that is a thermodynamic abomination in burglarizing the time and resources of society. As science has already been exploited as an overused catch phrase for those forwarding a nefarious bias, why not provide the special interest lobby with an animal that is relatable to ambiguity and identifies an identity while not identifying.
On a serious not, a 2019 study profiling the Houdini act of Turritopsis from a DNA and RNA level, concludes that further experimentation and research into possible first-level applications for humans, which include plausible treatments for muscular diseases, cognitive ailments, and genetic disorders. Texas A & M recently put out a press release highlighting the ongoing exploration of transdifferentiation in university labs, and the hope that data collected and processed through the innovative campaign can one day be integrated into modern medicine and ultimately solving the quandary of ageing, and maybe mortality. Thus far, the program has generated nearly $300 in federal grants, a relative dearth of spending on an intriguing idea when compared with the billions of dollars carelessly tossed at nonsensical projects funded by relentless and inordinate lobbying efforts spurred by career politicians.
As science and the tech world push continue to push the threshold of attainable imagination in a curiously symbiotic relationship, the traditional and dutifully archaic Jules Verne purveyors of sensibility observe in intoxicated wonderment as the frenetic and multitudinous tendrils of the information age render the forgotten into a dreamland of visceral intrigue that is not discernable without the application of Turing test or an electron microscope.
The toxic mixture of Covid-19 and the egregious power grabbing directive disguised as the social justice movement may have stolen a calendar year in slowing down ingenuity to a screeching and protesting halt, but optimism stems from the legitimate scientific community that life is still a precious gift to each and every individual, and society can learn from its mistakes. Though the US is on the verge of ideological annihilation, it is still comforting to be able dream about ideas that transcend the 15-second news cycle, and the nearly extinct attention spans incapable of discerning between the future or the past.
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