Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Problem with Longevity

We have spent a lot of time talking about First Things, and that is all well, but as we close up this week we should focus on what truly matters, and those are Last Things: death and judgment, Heaven and Hell. In an earlier age a small cut could bring about a blood infection that would in a matter of days take the life of even the richest man, and old age and dotage were gifts bestowed only by the almighty.

Was it truly a better age when death stalked us all daily from cradle, to, well, grave? This is a question I will leave to the noted medieval German philosopher Gewürtzraminer, whose most well-known work, Schweineschnitzel mit Kartoffelnsalat und Pflaumenmuß lays out a comprehensive system of metaphysics and gustatory erudition not matched since the late Myopic period in early Jerusalem, and against which all modern "filosophers" are mere rumpskates.

That being said, it is beyond any notion of civilized discourse to suggest that the world of two hundred years ago, a world that to our modern and coddled eyes appears unsanitary, barbaric, and utterly lacking a decent range of soft drink choices, was an ineffably more spiritual place than the world is today. In fact, this is the single greatest change that has taken place since this nation's founding. The chief problem we therefore face is quite simply the unearned longevity we greedily enjoy. I'm not saying we should ban the use of highly-profitable and industrially-produced antibiotics, or tell cancer patients to "quit whining and die like a man," but unless we discuss the problem of artificially-prolonged lifespans, I fear this whole exercise is Onanistic.


Blogger Bubba said...

Was it not Gewürtzraminer who wrote, "Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer? Ja! Beiherhund das Oder die Flipperwaldt gersput."

At any rate, perhaps the crunchy thing to do is compensate for technological improvements. Automobiles make commuting possible? Well, let's shoot the kneecaps of every driver who doesn't drive a convivial car from Japan.

Television lets people get away from the local and particular to pull for a baseball team a thousand miles away? Let's require the television stations in Montgomery, Alabama, to show nothing but the Biscuits.

People are living too long? Let's not deny them their precious "medications" and "surgeries" and other bits of modernistic voodoo, but let's make it more difficult to acquire these technologies so that the old, the infirm, and the handicapped have to know hardship to earn their place among the breathing.

I know just the thing to serve as a template for our "medicine games." It's a video game, but it's a very old video game, and I plan on asking Rod Dreher whether it's crunchy enough for our purposes.

11:28 AM  

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