Science is striving to reverse the ageing process so we can all live longer. But is it really advisable? We all want unlimited money and life. As J K Rowling says, ‘The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.’
There are people frantic for eternal life. A few years ago I met people who were vesting their savings in the cryogenic movement - a movement that undertook to freeze your body after you were dead and keep it until such time as science came up with the solution to whatever had killed you, at which moment you could be defrosted, cured, and resume your life.
Little attention was being paid to two serious disadvantages: what might the world be like when you emerged from the deep freeze, would they still have iPods and aeroplanes, supermarkets and killer heels. And secondly, why would anyone bother to defrost you when you had already paid up and had no possible means of redress. Who would want to resurrect a cluster of damp and out of date individuals, who would merely hang around adding to the world's population problem?
If people never died, the world would be a miserable place. Gulliver's Travels tells of many fictional South Sea Islands but none stranger than Luggnagg. There, he is told, the Struldbrugs live forever. Gulliver exclaims: "I cried out as in rapture; happy nation where every child hath at least a chance for being immortal!"
His contacts soon put him right. As Swift puts it, "the question therefore was not whether a man would choose to be always in the prime of youth, attended with prosperity and health, but how he would pass an eternal life under all the usual disadvantages which old age brings along with it".
When people grow old, they lose their teeth and hair; they have at that age no distinction of taste, but eat and drink whatever they can get, without relish or appetite. Advanced longevity can prove a mixed blessing if it is marred by poverty and ill-health, death of near and dear ones. When one is no longer self-sufficient, death can be a blessing.
While you are alive, be aware of your surroundings and enjoy every moment. It is a tragedy if a flower bud wilts and falls from the plant before it reaches its full bloom. Likewise if a young mother dies it is a tragedy. When a husband dies, the wife is called a widow. But when a child dies, what do we call the parents? The answer to that would be bereaved parents who would wish that there was a term like orphan or widow to describe their status. Some say there is no such title because the death of a child is too awful to put into words. Why is it sad when a young mother or a young child dies? Because when a mother dies, her child suffers. When a child dies, the future of the parents dies.
As long as we are useful and contributing to society and somebody is dependent on us, we must live. And we should enjoy life to the fullest while we live. Love life to the fullest. Live in the present because the past is history, the future is a mystery. That is why the present moment is really a gift from the Gods. But do not get too attached to material things. Everybody has to leave this world one day. So why waste time over petty matters, petty politics, earning money for the sake of spending on useless items which you probably don’t need anyway.
“After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. It’s the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more,” as J K Rowling says. We all cry when we are born, but a true winner is one who makes this world a better place for the future generation and dies with a smile.