ATP, Not The Soul Or A Vital Essence, Is Why You’re Alive–And Why You Might Live Again

In our bodies, oxygen and glucose are transformed by protein machines in our cells into the molecule ATP.

ATP is the bomb. It’s what stands between you and “the point of no return.” Shakespeare seems apt here (from Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy):

Who would these Fardels [bundles, in this case, of woes] bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered Country, from whose bourn
No Traveler returns, Puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of.

So long as you are alive, ATP is what’s keeping you from “The undiscovered Country,” the realm of irreversible entropy.

Thus when somebody says “Show me the money!” with regard to what’s alive or what’s dead, ATP is the money. It’s the energy currency that circulates throughout the body. You need money to make the mare go–and chemical money, ATP, to make the body’s economy function.

ATP–not neural electricity, the soul, or a vital essence (see vitalism)–is what’s actually maintaining your body’s current order–and when your ATP molecules have ceased to function, you’re officially off line.

No more Facebook for you.

Unless, perhaps, you get frozen really, really fast. In the below TED education video, biologist Randall Hayes explains ATP and speculates on whether resurrection may be possible in the future by freezing the dead (or nearly dead) now, and then reintroducing ATP into their cells via nanobots later (essentially picking up where their bodies left off).

Hmm. A great little TED video.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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