Successful Longevity: Is It Better To Die Healthy Or Suffer a Fate Reminiscent of the Struldbrugs?

“The destiny has been filled with worry, stained and polluted by way of the heartless beyond. From the wondrous tree of lifestyles the buds and blossoms fall with ripened fruit, and in the commonplace bed of earth patriarchs and babes sleep facet with the aid of facet. Why ought to we worry that with a view to come to all that is? We can’t tell. We do no longer recognize that is the greatest blessing, life or loss of life. We can’t say that demise isn’t correct. We do now not recognise whether the grave is the stop of this lifestyles or the door of some other, or whether or not the night time right here is not elsewhere a sunrise.” Hair Transplant Chicago
Robert Green Ingersoll, Oration at a Child’s Grave, Chicago Tribune, Jan. Thirteen, 1882
Religions, Christianity specifically, have indeed promised a future beyond this lifestyles-a hopeful idea shop for one unfortunate truth: the clergymen of Christendom, as Ingersoll mentioned, filled it with worry. Nobody knows anything about the character of any such opportunity. We do realize, however, that we can, in time, fall from the tree of lifestyles like buds and blossoms and ripened fruit. I consider Ingersoll that we can not inform if death is good or now not. We all have our reviews, a few faith-, some cause-based, whether dying, the night of this life, is probably the door to a dawn of another. However, pious and pagan alike also know, of their personal hearts, that such beliefs (or hopes) are simplest that-hopes, no longer facts.
Death, with the aid of comparison, calls for no religion. It is a fact, understood, if out of thoughts.
Fear of dying renders toughness appealing, even greater so, I suspect, than love of life. Large sums are spent on clinical structures preserving people alive on the margins inside the very last times of existence. In a few cases, that is executed against their will, irrespective of diminished or non-existent best of lifestyles potentialities.
In Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift brought the Struldbrugs. The Struldbrugs had been a small extended family of immortals defined by way of Gulliver as having been “born exempt from that regularly occurring calamity of human nature” (i.E., loss of life). To Gulliver, it regarded “their minds were unfastened and disengaged, with out the weight and melancholy of spirits due to the persistent apprehensions of death!” But, they still suffered the consequences of time, though their emblem of “ripened fruit” never fell from the wondrous tree of existence. These immortals, concern to getting old and disorder have been, through their eighty’s, found by using Gulliver to be “opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain and talkative,” as well as “incapable of friendship and lifeless to all natural affection.” By their 90’s, that they had misplaced their enamel and hair and couldn’t keep on conversations. Beyond that, it changed into a good deal worse. Perhaps dying healthful, in advance in lifestyles, could have been the desire of many a Struldbrug.
So permit’s agree that durability with out power isn’t a consummation devotedly or in any other case to be desired. Let’s also recall Ambrose Bierce’s take on sturdiness, as seen in The Devil’s Dictionary: “Longevity is the unusual extension of the concern of demise.” The lesson? Curb your enthusiasm for advances in medicinal drug and biotechnology that might show more effective at extending existence than significant life.
Now comes a brand new e-book on sturdiness research wherein the possibilities of “radical lifestyles growth – to age one hundred fifty and past,” is offered. In the pages of Living to a hundred and Beyond, author Sonia Arrison speculates approximately the consequences of such advances both for people and society. She recognizes the distinction among easy longevity and life quality, the usage of the terms “lifespan” for the previous, and “fitness span” for the latter.
Arrison also presents many sturdiness-related records, such as those:
The Census Bureau lists 5.7 million Americans at 85 years and older-almost percent of the populace. While 2050 can also seem a protracted way off, properly beyond the time when many of us will nonetheless be alive, by means of that time 19 million (4.34%) can be on this class. Among the seniors could be 601,000 centenarians.
Longevity for humans has expanded through the years. In the Cro-Magnon technology, average existence expectancy was 18! By the Renaissance, it had almost doubled-to 30. In 1850, it turned into 43. Today, it is 78.
Longevity research persuades some scientists to forecast tons longer lifestyles than the ones projected with the aid of the Census Bureau. Some declare that food regimen, drug and medical improvements (i.E., organ replacements) will result in technology-fiction situations. A gerontologist named Aubrey de Grey is credited with this outlandish forecast: “The first human beings to live for 1,000 years may also have already got been born.” (Source: Book overview of Living to a hundred and Beyond, Wall Street Journal (August 27, 2011, pp. C1-2). I find this statement difficult to take critically.
Imagine the consequences of 100-year existence spans, not to mention a time whilst 150 years is the norm. If Republicans have problems with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security now, what is going to they do whilst the bills arrive for subsidies for the amazing centenarians? Obviously, such existence-spans will impact worksites, households, relationships, herbal assets, the surroundings and lots greater. Perhaps a few modifications will bring pressures that spark generational civil wars!
Also, ask yourself this: Would ten percentage of Americans prove to be “depressing, tired and cranky?” Would the very, very antique be like Gulliver’s Struldbrugs, particularly, “opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, useless and talkative?” Judging from the demeanor of Tea Party elders at political rallies, it seems probable.
Yet, whilst toughness researchers assert that an “common span of 150 years appears nicely inside attain inside the close to future,” they insist that those extra years will be vital and productive. That is exquisite, for my part, and should be viewed skeptically, but persuasive the statistics marshaled to assist such brilliant aspect situations. Extraordinary claims, in spite of everything, require remarkable tiers of evidence to be taken severely, and such empirical help isn’t always on the horizon.
What is the character of research that Arrison presents to assist such claims or alleged possibilities? Most of the evidence comes from experiments with worms; the relaxation with mice, fruit flies and monkeys! I’m sorry however no longer even an everlasting computer virus, fruit fly or mouse could deliver me an awful lot self assurance of seeing, not to mention turning into, a one hundred fifty yr-old. (However, if organ transplants, DNA manipulations and/or a new eating regimen plus health regiment continues a monkey going for a century and a half, then I would possibly trade my song.)
Sonia Arrison, the author of one hundred Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith, reviews after which rejects the most important arguments towards efforts to dramatically amplify life. She finds not anything “noble, beautiful or exciting approximately deterioration and decline.” At the stop of her e book, she asks: “What is morally suspect about ameliorating human suffering? The solution is not anything. Everything that we’ve got, socially and as people, is based on the richness of existence. There can be no greater basic responsibility than to assist ourselves and future generations to enjoy longer, healthier spans on the Earth that we percentage.”
Obviously, this good and clever woman does not consider the selection is to die healthy (i.E., noticeably young) or go through the destiny of the Struldbrugs. What do you think?