Who wants to live forever?

Do you want to live forever?

Something tells me that many people will answer yes to this question. To live forever, to see how the world unfolds, perhaps travel to the moon and Mars someday. Yup, sounds great.

And how about work?

Did you think about that? Suppose you can indeed live forever and be the person you were in the prime of your life. Be it 25, 30, 35, take your pick. You’d not only live forever, you’d also be working forever. Pay taxes forever. Perhaps even pay for a pension plan you’ll never get to enjoy.

That might outweigh the idea of working (forever) on the moon, or Mars, or wherever, but I don’t think that’s all too appealing.

And how about the ones you love?

They might not want to live forever. You will see them grow old, demented, sick, and die. All the time you’re alive and moving through the centuries, people will come into your life and leave you again.

There’s more to living forever than not dying.

So you want to live forever…

Lots of people have this dream of living forever. Well, they should be more specific with that dream because I’m convinced that most people forget something crucial. I’ll let you guess what that is.

My Dad is 91 years old since last September. His eyes are failing. Also his memory, legs, and arms aren’t what they used to be. And since this week even his dentures are failing. Yes, go ahead and laugh, because how can dentures fail? Well, when you get old your body shrinks. And that includes your jaws. And that in turn means that your dentures won’t fit any more. (Oh, right, hadn’t thought of that, huh?)

Are you already on the right track to the crucial bit?

You may want to live forever if you don’t get older. If you stay as healthy are you are now, or better still: if you can be like you were in your prime, let’s say 23 or 25 years old. There. Gotcha. You’re probably not 25 any more, so your wish comes a bit late. Think of how horrible your body will be when you’re 129. Or 241. Of course you don’t want to live forever like that.

What is life?

Maybe a silly question. An online search says:

life – lʌɪf/
noun
1. the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.

2. the existence of an individual human being or animal.

I wonder about the second one. Oh, not in a physiological sense, but in a humane sense. It’s the second one, the one that doctors have to abide by through their Hippocratic Oath. (Link to PDF.) They basically promise to sustain the human machine (body) and do what they can to keep it going for as long as possible. But… Is that what we want?

I’m convinced that many of us have seen people in hospitals, connected to machines that keep their vital functions going as long as the heart keeps pumping. “Sustaining life.” It is not at all the first definition of life as listed in the beginning of this post. No ‘functional activity‘, no ‘capacity for growth‘.

Of course, this has been addressed in many places, through the years and centuries. I think there has to be a more humane approach to this, a manner in which people can choose to end living when they feel it’s their time.

The world should reconsider these values of life. It won’t be easy due to ethical arguments, but the way ‘life’ is treated now is very often inhuman. Inhumane.

Your work. Your ball and chain.

As I thought last week:

It’s so dumb that you select an area of work and you’re basically stuck with in, in the modern structure of things. When you have no idea yet of the real world and real life, you’re to make choices that will rivet you to your future. You like numbers? Be an accountant or so. You like computers? Be a programmer. You like colours? Be a painter.

bridezilla-ball-and-chain

Of course you know me, you understand that I’m painting this a bit black and white – to make the impact a bit larger than life. Still, it’s true. You set your sails for graphics design and you’ll probably design graphics for the rest of your life, unless the market for that is so overfed / full / desperately unwanted that you have no choice but to learn something else.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a few moments in your life where you have the opportunity to consider where you are and where you want to go from there? Instead of what we have now; a world where the options to change are so limited, considering that work = money = life.

The mistake of Monday. Or: we have to work.

The mistake of Monday is that it stopped being part of the weekend. Same thing with Friday. In other words: weekends are too short. You may not agree, but this is my blog and my opinion.

People in the Netherlands are required to work until they’re 65. Or 67. Or wherever it will end by the time it ends. No excuse that there are many unemployed people who can do a few days of work as well, so the working class can have some more time off. We have to work, work, work, to boost the economy, to grow the export to other countries, to make more money for those who have so much already.

There is no time for a lot of happiness. Money doesn’t believe in happiness, only in more money, and we are the means to get that.

Of course, life now has more weekend than the life of the average peasant in the Dark Ages, but we are also submitted to lots more stress. Did you know that, on average, we now work more and longer than before the industrial revolution? That didn’t bring us much, did it? I sincerely believe that we should have more time to enjoy ourselves. To do something more constructive with our lives than just playing slave to the dollars and the euros.

We could, for instance, ‘live’.

Life is old there, older than the trees…

No, this is not going to be a copy of John Denver’s song, but life apparently is quite old (unless you’re bible-strong).

oldnewlife

The Washington Post wrote this:

Bacterial traces from 3.5 billion years ago are ‘oldest fossils,’ experts say

by Devin Powell, Published: December 31

Scientists analyzing Australian rocks have discovered traces of bacteria that lived a record-breaking 3.49 billion years ago, a mere billion years after Earth formed.If the find withstands the scrutiny that inevitably faces claims of fossils this old, it could move scientists one step closer to understanding the first chapters of life on Earth. The discovery could also spur the search for ancient life on other planets.These traces of bacteria “are the oldest fossils ever described. Those are our oldest ancestors,” said Nora Noffke, a biogeochemist at Old Dominion University in Norfolk who was part of the group that made the find and presented it last month at a meeting of the Geological Society of America.Unlike dinosaur bones, the newly identified fossils are not petrified body parts. They’re textures on the surfaces of sandstone thought to be sculpted by once-living organisms. Today, similar patterns decorate parts of Tunisia’s coast, created by thick mats of bacteria that trap and glue together sand particles. Sand that is stuck to the land beneath the mats and thus protected from erosion can over time turn into rock that can long outlast the living organisms above it.Finding the earliest remnants of this process required a long, hard look at some of the planet’s oldest rocks, located in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. This ancient landscape was once shoreline. Rocks made from sediment piled up billions of years ago are now exposed and available for examination. Relatively pristine in condition, such outcrops, along with others in South Africa, have long been a popular place to look for traces of life from the Archean eon, which ended 2.5 billion years ago.

(Read more on The Washington Post site.)