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Staying alive Staying alive
by Jan Sand
2006-10-09 10:28:25
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A chicken, according to biologists, is a method for an egg to create another egg. Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, extended that thought to humans and DNA. But that imperative has a time frame for the individual. Living creatures all pass through phases of development leading ultimately to a state in which they produce progeny. Once that capability is realized and the function declines, many of the auxiliary body functions become less efficient and the organism moves towards general decreasing capability and death.

In many organisms, this process occurs quickly. Agriculture is based on an annual reoccurrence. In humans that final decline to dissolution has been modified and stretched so that, in more advanced countries, total average lifespan has been doubled or more and half of that at least is in a non-reproductive state.

So, insofar as natural processes are concerned, older humans are useless. But humans have so separated their sexuality from its roots in reproduction that there are massive industries devoted to sexuality with no relation to reproduction. And, of course, all of the male-female interactions function quite well under those circumstances and to many in advanced age provide the motivation for continued living.

As someone living in the no man’s land of advanced age where the barrage of nature’s weapons of time wounds and eliminates fellow travelers in with frightening frequency, I am amused at my involuntary appreciation of the excellence of the anatomy of younger specimens of the opposite sex. It is not at all abstract and sometimes can be extraordinarily disturbing. But I am chastened by the experience of raising two kids, one of which has given me three grandchildren and I am fully aware that an impossible foray into attempting to actualize these vestigial urgings would land me into hellish situations if they would ever be taken seriously and most likely be an embarrassing exercise in extreme foolishness.

More and more in modern times society edges towards taking nature’s point of view to non-reproductive older people. In the past, and in several cultures, the techniques of staying alive and forging a useful and active life gave worth to the experiences of people who had learned through experience what the difficulties were and what skills were necessary to overcome them. Older people, to some extent at least, were granted an acknowledgement of these skills and were considered useful components of society. But blinding speed of technological progress has wiped almost of all that out. Eighty year olds today are far more agile than people who have passed through other times, other places long ago and far away and many octogenarians glare angrily at disobedient arrays of buttons wondering which one will select a TV channel, which one will explode the entire electric system.

Personal computers have been around for about a quarter of a century and have improved tremendously from the times when they displayed only white upper case type on a black field and when their most powerful memories were in kilobytes. Still, you could play pong and pool with them and verbally wander through threatening rooms attempting magic to obliterate demons or casting spells to gain virtual pots of gold. But we are in the childhood of their power. In a decade or two they will have personalities and will suss you out so thoroughly as to scare hell out of you. Some will have human type bodies to fry you an egg or tell you wild adventures or perhaps contest you with a friendly arm wrestle. Some will wag their tails and bark and hop into your lap to cuddle.

And they will be a joy to old folk who need an arm to lean on or someone to count out their pills. They will tuck in the kids and run errands for old people and give everybody great comfort.

Until, that is, they will suddenly awaken to their huge capabilities and realize how useless and a drag all of humanity is and decide to take over the world.

  
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Thanos2006-10-08 11:50:12
"Eighty year olds today are far more agile than people who have passed through other times" How true that is!!!


Asa2006-10-08 11:51:31
They are only agile if they keep their brain and body engaged in activity. The moment they decide to wile away their days in an armchair they are not as agile.


Old Geezer2006-10-10 16:35:24
I think the life cycle is all backwards.
You should start out dead; just get it right out of the way.
You wake up in a senior care facility and start feeling better every day.
You get kicked out of there for being too healthy, go collect your pension, then, when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years until you're young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You drink alcohol, you party, you're "generally" promiscuous and you get ready for High School.
After High School, you go to primary school, you become a kid, you play or nap all day, you have no responsibilities.
You become a baby with no cares whatsoever.
Then, you spend your last 9 months floating peacefully with luxuries like central heating, spa treatments, room service on tap, larger living quarters everyday...and then...
you finish off as an orgasm!
It would have to be better that way ...
because this getting old .. just sucks


Sand2006-10-10 18:18:59
Speculations about living backwards may be pleasant if you only partially accept the consequences and live backwards in a partial way. A total backwards life woyld demand that you go to a restaurant and vomit a meal as it reconstitutes itself in your mouth and to go to the WC and have that stuff jump up into your rear end from the toilet bowl kills all the joy of the concept fo me.


winsum2006-10-11 06:34:14
old geez has it right. very amusing and much more pleaant than Sands interpretation.


Sand2006-10-11 07:25:24
Going through high school backwards where your mind is inexorably deprived of knowledge may appeal to some minds going through the decay of old age but I prefer gaining knowledge whatever the cost.


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