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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Swindon Think Slam, first talk - How Long do you want to live?



How long do you want to liveFrom the time of Stoneage to the onset of the 1st World War, the life expectancy of a male in the UK was around 52.  If this were today, there would be less than a 50% chance that I would be here.  

Today life expectancy for a male is 79 years, giving me 27 chances to attempt win this event 
If I died of a heart attack now there would be lamentations that my passing was too early. Today no one is expected to die young. 

Many people are not even expected to die old.  80 years olds are often subjected to invasive surgery to drag out their existence for a few more years.  

If you have used your mind, body and soul to its fullest potential so that fatigue is flowing through your veins, do you really want to drag out your existence till you become a burden on society or should you welcome the long sleep with the satisfaction that you will live on in the memory of those that you love.  

In the techno-centred world that traps us allsuch talk is dismissed as a slide towards fascism. But our techno-centred world can only survive by destroying the natural and depriving us from ever using our minds, bodies and souls to their full capabilities. Instead, our minds are filled with trivia, our bodies with junk food and poisonous chemicals and the spirit of our soul with the self-interest needed for survival in a hyper competitive industrial world on the point of collapse.  

Today, few people live life to the full.  Rarely does anyone connect with nature by eating a fish they caught and which wriggled in their hands as it died; we get red meat from McDonalds rather than joining a hunting party to chase down quarry and kill it with a stab to the neck, nor do we have to fight to death for things that are not for us while fuelled only by altruism and principle.

So perhaps the reason why we try to so hard to drag out our existence is because our society deprives us of so much and we cling onto life in the hope that quantity replaces quality. 

We reconcile this dilemma within the myriad of conflicts that our dystopian techno-society creates for us. The same society that diminishes us also provides the techno fixes to extend life expectancy of a new born to 100 years while threatening his early death with runaway climate change and radioactive poisoning.  

So what do we do with the old and infirm that are being kept artificially alive long after their natural life expectancy and when society has exceeded all limits of sustainably.   

The Innuit community in Greenland living on the edge of survival in the most brutal environment possible were acutely aware of this.  Once their elderly women resigned themselves to fact they were of no benefit to the community they jumped off a cliff to their death. 

Perhaps if we told todays elder generation that the quid pro quo for the profligate lifestyle that they have profiteered from is that they must forgo artificial extension to their lives then perhaps we might have the dialogue we need to avoid a decent into dystopia. This would put the rather mundane debate about how we fund the NHS during the election into a more realistic perspective.
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