Recent studies have determined that the natural life span for human beings based on D.N.A. researches is 38 years. That made we wonder a little about the life span of a human mind and its health.
Top elite chess players tend to be young and play at peak level no more than age 38 or 40. The effort to calculate and dead reckon complex positions requires a lot of brain energy as well as physical stamina.
There may be other reasons why it is difficult for Super GMs to stay in the top ten rankings in the world beyond age 40 (although former world champion V. Anand is 50 and still a high ranked Super GM) including the fact that younger players know the games of older elite players while the older elite players haven’t had the time to study so many games of numerous potentially elite younger players since it’s easier to study the few at the top of the pyramid for younger players at the bottom than vice-versa. Chess might be used by some as a yardstick for the life expectancy of elite mind power, yet not all activity of the mind demands the same kind of work effort.
While the human body may have evolved to physically life for a certain span for various evolutionary reasons, the human mind grew in knowledge and wisdom in an unequal and slower pace. A human brain that supports a mind is physical and can begin to decay as does the body. The mind is not a purely physical item though it occurs because of the physical brain. A human mind is more like the artificial intelligence of a computer if A.I. were actually fully sentient.
A mind empty of knowledge is not the same as a mind stuffed with a lifetime of learning and intelligence. Thought the physical capacity of the mind may degrade comparably to the body in some cases, the mind itself may continue to increase in ability and knowledge. With intentional effort and reasonable work to increase knowledge, the mind as a sentient power may actually increase its competence within the brain while the brain loses some ‘computational’ power.
It is as if the central processing unit of a computer- the chip that processes instructions, and the storage area of a computer- the solid state drive and random access memory- were a tabula rasa without an operating system to start with and given only the most basic bios instructions on the CPU. BIOS (Basic Input/Output Instructions) is a booting up set of instructions written on the CPU that are the first think to start to ‘think’ when the power is turned on.
If the CPU, ram and SSD were designed to last 38 years and started slowly breaking down after that, yet the computer had increased its knowledge and became sentient, the sentience could be far more powerful than it was early in its life, or even at age 38, when more time –maybe decades- had passed.
Sentience is life a spiritual fire that becomes alive in-itself. It exists in a physical body that sustains its operations and provides information from the Universe of which it is a part. AS the fuel that sustains sentience become spent and cannot medically be replaced, as the physical body ages, sentience continues perhaps brighter than ever as an increasing fusion of ideas that perishes only with the last consumption of health of the body.