Is aging inexorable, and death inevitable? Am I perhaps the first human to question this? Setting aside tradition, religion, and the universal experience of human history; I challenge it.

The biological purpose of death is to allow for the evolution of a species, by clearing out the old specimens. This makes room in the ecological niche for younger, more evolved individuals. These new generations may be better adapted to changing environmental conditions and, perhaps most of all, to competition with other evolving species.

Remember, nature opts for "Survival of the Species," not of the individual. Life-forms that did not evolve by reproducing, and/or sexually exchanging gene sets with other individuals in the process, may have survived for, say, a million years. But those lucky critters would by now be long extinct, or else have remained pathetically primitive-maybe in sheltered, unchanging conditions in the depths of the earth or the sea-bottom-not likely on this planet's fragile, changeable surface biosphere.

"Immortality" of a sort, and advancement-but only of the most adaptable SPECIES-was achieved by the biologically programmed death and replacement of individuals. The invention of aging and death was a big leap forward in evolution, though sadly, a very short step for us specimens!

So, it's important to realize that death is programmed, built-in and scheduled, not just a gradual wearing-out. Natural immunity and healing are miraculous processes in our youth, but tend to keep us alive just long enough to reproduce, nurture and socialize our offspring, who themselves strive to survive, mate, and reproduce. That's how we got here.

Then, as we age and threaten to compete with these young recombinant specimens, we wither like weeds and disappear. Our strength and energy fade; our bodies no longer heal as they did before.

We become dependent on our young, who may cherish us only as sources of affection, experience and wisdom. Our modern lives, in particular, may be unnaturally prolonged by medicine, because our civilized intellect and institutions cause us to value human life and (in our own communities, at least) regard it as sacred.

Specifically, as we age, our immune systems tend to fail or malfunction, often attacking our own bodies with autoimmune diseases such as arthritis. Our tissues and bones weaken, mainly by not repairing and regenerating themselves as actively as they did in youth. And simultaneously, our mental attitudes decline or may even collapse into senility. We steadily become prey to diseases of aging such as prostate, osteoporosis, shingles, autoimmune reactions, vertigo, etc. Along with feebleness and inactivity loom a host of "setbacks:" falls, fractures, strokes, pneumonia, hernia, confusion and cancer.

All of the above-Shakespeare's "ills to which the flesh is heir" - represent gradual failures of our immune protections and tissue regeneration. I further submit that they're all mediated by the endocrine system. So evolution's program to kill us is, quite simply, controlled by hormones. I've found an equally simple remedy for this.

But what about the "inevitable" aging process, our bodies just wearing out over time? The actual results of long-term wear and tear, I maintain, are few. In human bipeds, large joints in the knees, hips and spine do not easily repair themselves, due to a lack of circulation and under the added pressure of standing upright, making our cartilage become thin and brittle with age. The resulting "osteoarthritis" can involve cartilage tears, ruptures, bone erosion and crippling. As an alternative to surgery or joint replacement, I've found that infusion with the body's own stem cells can naturally cure this.