A recent article in the Wall Street Journal prompted me to download Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels from Gutenberg.org. It is a philosophical book, very different than the familiar Disney movie version.
The article was about the increasing medical success on prolonging life well past age 100. As the article states, Gulliver encounters a small group of Struldbrugs, immortal people “who, being born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehensions of death!”
But Swift goes on to report they were still subject to aging and disease, so that by 80, they were “opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative,” as well as “incapable of friendship, and dead to all natural affection, which never descended below their grandchildren.”
Wow! I sure have seen that many times. I am headed in that direction myself unless I take steps now to improve. Lesson learned.
One researcher interviewed in the article states the first 1,000-year-old human has probably already been born. Can you imagine William the Conqueror, depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, still languishing in a French hospital somewhere, with no memory of his past success? Why is this not a happy thought?