Ask Jonathots … March 3rd, 2016

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The medical field keeps people alive much longer than it used to. Do you think this is a good thing?

Are you asking me, do I think more people should be dying? (Somehow or another, I think this is a trick question.)

For thousands of years, life offered only one possibility: quality.

Quantity was fairly unlikely, except in a few rare cases, where longevity was miraculously granted without any obvious effort by the recipient.

Most people, from the time they were children, grew up with an awareness of their mortality and the realization that death was not only present, but often imminent.

So over the years, through medical advances, we have succeeded in increasing the quantity of life without really doing anything to enhance the quality.

This is what I feel about long life: Long life is wonderful if it’s good life.

To me, good life has three elements:

  1. Purposeful work.
  2. Expanding, growing relationships
  3. A good balance of vulnerability and confidence.

The medical field does not address these situations, nor should it have to. This should be the responsibility of our philosophers, teachers and ministers.

If you’re only going to live longer to spend that time fussing about your health, well-being and treatments, then I’m not sure what you’re achieving by becoming a prisoner of your own body.

So I think pursuing a long life is an enriching experience as long as you avoid a trio of negative by-products:

A. Becoming obsessed with your physical health to the detriment of your emotional and spiritual health.

B. Allowing your concern about health to encompass your conversation to the point that you become irrelevant to younger people.

C. Living so long that you settle for a less-than-fulfilling situation, which is only a fragment of what you originally intended to have in your life journey.

Somewhere along the line we need to understand what life is all about. A great teacher once stated that “life is more than the body–what we shall eat and what we shall wear.”

So true.

So if you can give the same attention to your body that you have given to your heart, soul and mind, then I think it’s possible to live on for a long time…with joy.

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I think a really good column! Just tonight read Luke 12:22-31. Perfect fit!

    Like


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