This is a post in response to a post in Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2299256/) I picked up from http://susansayler.wordpress.com/, often a source of interesting material. Supplemenal info at: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070723/
The thesis of the source article is “Why has the maximum age of death not advanced beyond about 114 despite medical advances.” Certainly, this a complex issue but what has not been asked is what the results would be.
Of course the younger, vital sector also has its opinion of those who built the university:
There’s nothing worse than an aging hippie (http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=aging_hippies)
“Hippies blow. There has been a recent increase in hippies at my university. They’re old, wrinkly, disgusting and above all, worthless. What right do they have coming back to school after they spent their youth doing drugs and having sex? They frittered their lives away while everyone else busted their ass to get through school and 40 years later, they want to come back and get a degree? Screw you.
I have no sympathy for hippies. I’m tired of going to class and having some 47 year old moron sit there and ask stupid questions. It’s bad enough that they’re even going back to school, but some of them have the audacity to act young. There’s this one lady that I see all the time around campus, and I can’t even begin to describe how gross she is. There aren’t enough synonyms in the english language for the word “disgusting” to adequately describe her. She’s at least 50 years old, has short gray hair, flabby arms, a big gut, and a face that paradoxically has more wrinkles than skin pores. Here’s the worst part: she wears spandex. Nothing but spandex. People, if you don’t have the body for it, DON’T WEAR SPANDEX. Hell, even if you do have the body for it, don’t wear spandex. Some lumps just weren’t meant to be seen.
Every time I see this lady, I collapse and go into convulsions as I try to fight back the vomit. On top of it all, she wears really short shorts. These shorts are too short to even pass as underwear. Holy shit it’s so gross. Not only that, but it looks like she’s wearing depends underneath. BARF. I just puked all over my keyboard. It’s time to kick some hippy ass. 31 hippies are trying desperately to hang on to their youth. email@example.com”
And…? Longevity is often put in a positive context, however the end of life is often a relief. Suppose longevity were extended to 150 and one’s useful working life were extended to 110.
With population growth increasing exponentially, but limited by resources, which are limited by arable land and water (among other limiting factors), it would be further limited by the compressed lines of progeny to the rear bearing knives so that they might succeed to become manager, or president, or heir to the property of the generation before.
No, death, aside from its relief from diminishing mental and physical abilities, provides room for the hormone-paced aggressive appetites of youth. The third age, the golden years, can be idealized in the minds of the young, but, in truth, they are years of fear huddled around radios listening to hucksters extolling golden seal, açai, ginseng, adjusting to osteoporosis, diminished libido, and the concommitant increase in spirituality.
Death is the wind of relief absolving us from our sins – real and imagined – and allowing us the benevolence of allowing our children fond remembrance.