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A Defense of Longevity
by Esther M. Cook
March 27, 2006
Many years ago, I did a survey on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles about longevity. I was selling Neways' excellent personal care products, so I asked people if they wanted to live longer. I was quite startled at the results: most people did NOT want a longer lifespan. "Life is long enough," was a typical response.
  Life is indeed long enough if you have no worthwhile purpose, and if you have collapsing health at typical ages.  But what if you could enjoy every minute of every day (well, okay, most of them) in health and vitality, doing worthwhile things that got you the love and admiration of others?

  You might not much admire my grandmother, who lived to a hundred, spending her last years in a nursing home.  The last three decades of her life were spent fat and old.  But how about the life of Fitness-and-Health pioneer Paul S. Bragg? He had a home in California and another in Hawaii because his favorite sport was surfing. He died at the age of 96--of a tragic surfing accident! Or how about his protege, Fitness Guru Jack Lalanne, known all over the world, lots of money, and featured January, 2006 in Parade magazine at the age of 91. That is one sexy dude at 91.  Who would mind a life of such service and physical vitality if it lasted to 191--or even beating Methuselah's record if it could be done in usefulness and health?

  Some people think that "persons over 65 have a duty to die and get out of the way." (Colorado's former governor Richard Lamm, who will undoubtedly change his mind as he approaches that age himself). Others think that the world is overpopulated already, and longevity will make it worse. (That idea is over 2000 years old).  Still others think that only young people have any intelligence or creativity.

  Those ideas are true enough if we prolong dying rather than prolonging vitality.  Healthy persons often find that a lifetime is needed to accrue enough knowledge and wisdom to begin making their real contribution. The reality is that the wellbeing  of the Earth--people, nature and businesses--will rise if people live long enough to get any sense, with enough vitality to use it.

    People are a positive good for the other creatures of this planet. It is instinctive for humans to want to "replenish the earth" as described in Genesis. This is an observable fact whether Genesis is the Word of God or not.  Improving the vitality of our own bodies is a central part of improving the well-being of the rest of the Life on this world.  Perhaps this instinct for gardening arises from the simple fact that "Life comes from Life." We are better nourished by healthier plants and animals, so humans instinctively work for the benefit of other creatures.

The longer we live, the better we get at benefiting others, if the longevity includes vitality. Today's world includes thousands of scientific advances enabling us to live longer and more active lives. Use them. Live as long and as well as you can.