The revolution is being accelerated by an additional recent factor about our ability to survive on this planet that is due to our ability now to directly modulate the genetic information of living beings without risk of cancer. This discovery of only the last few years sets the stage for social and behavioral changes in human populations that can scarcely be imagined.
I have wondered in the context of "Love" how will these changes effect the meaning of this emotional quality of bonding which has served mostly positive purpose in drawing two individuals together to mate but often to ensure that they bond for the duration of their lives.
It is in duration of life and in other aspects regarding the physical state in which we experience our life that changes under way will radically shift the mean we apply to this emotion called Love.
One of the technologies that is sure to emerge from the ability to change the DNA of a living organism is the ability to modulate the externally expressed genetic factors that strongly define our social status in many ways. Study after study confirms the positive benefits of being taller than average, or of being considered more better looking. Additional studies describe the benefits, variably across the world of having particular skin color an unfortunate reality of the application of ad hoc cultural traits to the clashing populations of lineages of man as they rediscovered one another in the peregrinations of one another variably across the globe in the last 10,000 years or so.
Love and commitment are often entwined as sister behaviors and couples that express the former usually prove it by behaving via the latter toward one another...but the deeper meaning of both words is seen now that we come to the dawn of super mortals due to the discovery of new ways to prevent, revert and keep at bay the damages that accrue to us during the process of degradation we call aging. As treatments continue to emerge that can extend life to arbitrary lengths of time, then the meaning of Love and commitment become fully clear.
If the bonds of marriage indicate that one should love "until death do us part" only some one who realizes the potential for that time period to be centuries rather than just a few decades impresses upon them the seriousness of this commitment.
So how will people behave, will marriage evolve to be a temporary contract, limited by arbitrarily chosen duration? Will people even make a fuss to change the institution at all??
Considering that in addition to revolutions in longevity, researchers are engaged in also ensuring the ability to retain youthful vigor throughout as a consequence...and thus making changes to maintain the vigor of youth that is highly correlated with attraction trivial and routine in the future.
Imagine how ageist tendencies are made extinct by such a society. Where a 120 year old can chose to appear as youthful as a 40 year old or a 25 year old depending on how often they revigorate themselves what meaning is the label at all of age?
No meaning at all is the answer at least post reaching adulthood. What a world of expanded possibilities will be unleashed when the women who would otherwise be slow in gait, frail and unflattering in body and dimmed of the beauty of her youth can achieve that youth yet again post revigoration. How a mind mature in the acquisition of much wisdom from the length of it's time on Earth can interact, reason and mate with individuals whose "natural years" put them at a fraction of time on Earth but appear similar in physical age.
What meaning will Love be extended to when we realize that using the ability to change our genes and coupled with the quest to decipher the genetic pathways that emerge the specific phenotypes that in genetic fashion guide our efforts to date and mate that we can change our hair color and texture? change our eye color? change our skin color?
When the formerly utilized physical cues are no longer indicative of an "original" state, all things become fashion and true meaning must be searched for in other context to substantiate the amorous interactions that people engage. I predict a polar response will result, individuals who uphold a pure view on Love that sees it truly as undying will seek to persist in it for the duration...as the markers of attraction become items that can be picked and purchased to physically change us in natural ways into the objects of our partners desires...does Love last longer or does it become more fickle? Other individuals that see the non finality of their lives (at least as far as aging as a cause of death is concerned) will revel in the freedom of their eternal youth. They will see Love as a temporary pleasure to be shared with as many as they can and the rest will be fewer in number. If one is nearly gauranteed to live for ever either one will chose to be eternally bonded to one or be eternally bonding with many is my hypothesis.
Does the ready availability of others modify our will to stay with a one? I assert that it would NOT be the case. Rather than diminish the power of the meaning of Love it will be enhanced. A couple that can be who they need to be to sustain the passions of their engagement by genetic modifications and age reversals have at their command an arsenal of fantasy that was only dreamed about in the minds of couples long gone and buried. Love (or rather the physical expression of the emotional act) can be explored from multiple vantage points, where each of us can chose to literally be some one genetically different from how we were born. I say this will effectively ensure the duration of flow of the critical chemicals that sustain passion and thus directly lead to a strengthening of the emotion of love itself.
It seems obvious that the benefits of these results will accrue first to the affluent and as a result societies run the risk of creating a "superior" class of humans that through their largess are able to experience endless youth and endless variation in their life long before those in the common masses are able to afford such treatments. I predict these issues will become dominant in the 2040 time frame, shortly (in my analysis) after the treatments are numerous and efficient enough to gain market (if not mass market) distribution. Think of the extent of the plastic surgery business today and that is where I predict this age of "cosmecuticals" as I call them will be, with high priced genetic treatments available for those that have means and desire to change themselves as described.
So the new meaning of Love is that rather than be a fickle valueless word, to most it will speak to a duration of commitment that is only known in fables...of Vampires, immortal creatures cursed in their longevity. In reality individual lives will vary based on their paths of experience but in a very contrasting way. Individuals will over much long of periods go from either one view or another...after all if you can spend the next 3 centuries experiencing the youth and vigor of a 25 year old wouldn't you? If you can do that while sharing life with some one who shares your dreams and can be your moving fantasy as they genetically evolve literally to be your fantasy through time wouldn't you?