Friday, 4 February 2011

Called to Live Forever?

Life in so many ways is marked by progress in this field or that. These days, progress in ecologically advantageous matters are all the vogue. However, the might of science has been hard at work for generations to increase life expectancy. This has been achieved by the eradication of many diseases or by the discovery of their requisite cures. 

Now I should say that I would not deny any single human being the medicines that they need. I would do anything to alleviate suffering and pain, and as a parent myself hope and pray that when or if my children ever need the fruits of scientific breakthrough, they will be available. 

I read an article somewhere a week or so ago about a discovery about the polluting nature of home-based domestic fires in third-world countries. Evidence, apparently, suggested that they belched out more toxic gases than all of global industry put together. Answer, ovens for homes; solution, several million more people living longer. 

Simple mathematics leads me to a concern. If we will all begin to live into our hundreds, and in circumstances when millions more will live longer because of cleaner air, in an age when people have more children - where will we all live and what will we all eat? How will we keep warm, how will be dispose of our waste, and where will our hard fought eco-battles get us when all the green spaces and the fauna and flora are squeezed into extinction?

I wonder if there will be a moment of either critical mass or a tipping point at which point human lives will be too long in relation to the number of people alive on this rock? Will there be a time when suddenly there just is far too little of what we need to survive available to us (accepting of course that most of a continent already knows something of this way of life already). 

In short, we can't all live forever. I am not sure that is what we are called to do either. I am not suggesting that the Lord would have us die of some vile pestilence, but what if we started living to 150, 200, more? I see the lives of some people in their 80s 'buried' out of harm's way in care homes and wonder if the progress for eternity is worth it. One thing that utterly and momentarily grieved me on the day the twins were born was that, in normal circumstances, I wouldn't be there for them when they too were old and needed help. Old-age is a gift and a privilege of course, but I can't help thinking that we could end up with too much of a good thing. 


  1. What do you suggest as an alternative, a sort of lemming-like leap off Beachy Head or its global alternative venue. Or should we perhaps bow out gracefully when our neighbours produce inconveniently large numbers of offspring?
    Surely one of the answers is to reduce the amount of harm we do to the environment, increase and improve our natural resources and dare I suggest, limit the number of children being brought into an under-resourced world.
    Right. I've solved that one, what's next?

  2. Having recently lost both of my maternal grandparents in their 90's is that we don't extend their teenage years. We extend the point of suffering. Have a look at this:

    I'll probably end up in the spam filter now.

  3. You're right about old age being a gift; I think it is also a responsibility. Old age can be a blessing or a curse, it depends on health, but surely we learn from our vulnerable Oldies as well as from wise elders. There is no easy answer, because euthenasia is too open to manipulation. Lots to think about, and I am one of the Oldies - more or less!

  4. Ray, Ray, Ray - let me never accuse you of hanging back lol! That said, my brother spends many of his working hours (or at least used to) accompanying the mortal scatter trail remains of those who used the Head for that purpose! Yes to the rest though, of course.

    Freda, just want to thank you for your comments across the posts. They are welcome and insightful

  5. Be sure, oh Vernacular one, that if you set yourself up as an Aunt Sally someone, usually me, will be bound to fire a coconut at you.
    Raise an issue which engages my interest/ire and I'll instantly go into battle. Hang back, Moi?



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