Friday, 6 December 2013

Longevity—A Blessing or a Curse?

They say that only the good die young. If we examine the immediate past of some 2000 years, then this adage sounds a little too close for comfort.
Some of us want to live longer, although BBC reports that: “Alzheimer's Disease International says 44 million people live with the disease, but that figure will increase to 135 million by 2050.”
Live long and prosper?
Not any more, Mr. Spock

But there is hope. If we don’t live TOO long, we are much less likely to become a mental vegetable. I speak from experience. Both, dementia and Alzheimer’s affected members of my immediate family. It is not pretty. Not if you watch them from close by. When you do, they are no longer a statistic. They are real, bright, intelligent people loosing their mental, emotional integrity. Long life is not all it’s deemed to be. There are exceptions. I prefer not to count on being one of them.

Why do we insist on living longer? No matter how decrepit our bodies become, no matter how useless we become to the society, we seem to hold on to our bodies with broken nails. Don’t we know that we are immortal? That our bodies are little more than the means through which we add experiences to the real life that is beyond the ravages that physical reality offers?
Dozens of great prophets, mystics, philosophers, wise men and women tried to persuade us of this indomitable truth. And yet…
Every single night we leave our bodies… and dream, usually 4-6 times each night. We perform marvelous feats in our dreams, well beyond anything we could possibly do when lumbered with our physical enclosures. True, once we shed our material skin, our envelopes, we can no longer add to the storehouse of our memories, the storehouse of our subconscious, but, considering we are very likely to reincarnate again and again, surely, we shall have plenty of chances to do so in the future.
Why do we continue to hold on so tight to that which we no longer need?

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands—over the years probably millions—of people who accomplished more in a 35- or 40-year lifespan than most centenarians. Isn’t it time we thought of letting go when the time comes? Isn’t quality more important than quantity?
My suggestion is simple. For as long as we contribute to society we have duty to do so. When we become a burden… shouldn’t we let go? I don’t want to accumulate a debt I’ll only have to repay in my future incarnations.

As I mentioned above, I witnessed the ravages of dementia and Alzheimer’s in my own family. Don’t get me wrong. There is also love and laughter, yet… If you read The Gate you might decide if you really want to live long. Too long. 

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  1. An important post. The new adventures into cell regeneration ( The Russians mainly...Petrov Grabavoi et al) claim that theoretically the cell is immortal, and can forever be repaired through DNA reprogramming when faulty. I find this promise of physical immortality deeply depressing. It seems to imply an unwillingness to leave kindergarten, or the play we know too well.

    Interested that you assert that experiences in dreams do not get coded in memory. It seems to me that dreams are peopled with familiars that we recognise, rather more reliably than living acquaintances, who need to be in the right place ( the corner store, the golf links) before we can 'place' them.People in dreams are from past lives (or future ones) why the distinction?

    1. Thanks for the note. Once again, we seem to agree. As for the dreams, I’d written a blog or two on the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. It seemed to me that the subconscious is about things that already happened. They are the memory storage, which religionists equate with heaven. Or at least, as Paul would say, the 1st stage of heaven.
      As we have no physical body in the subconscious (dreams, lucid or otherwise), we can relive all sorts of events without danger of being hurt, without consequences or ensuing Karma, hence… heaven. There is more abt. it in the blogs.
      I repeat, these are just my ideas. My reality.
      PS. I’m enjoying your poetry. How’s my Delusions?