I’m young and the truth is, I could die at any moment from some freak accident or illness. But, aside from this random possibility, I will potentially live to die from old age (that’s ironic). According to the Actuarial Life Table, courtesy of the Social Security branch, I should be fortunate enough to have another 54 years added to my current 22. As we all know and are mostly glad to hear, the life expectancy has been going up, and up.
This is all great news, but did you ever wonder why?
Well, just a few days ago I was conversing with my roommate about this very topic when it struck me odd how the general notion seems to accuse modern medicine for this ascending life expectancy. I definitely disagree and would love to share my seemingly obvious thoughts with you…after the heartbeat.
From many of our ancient history classes, we’ve learned that Egyptian Kings would live short lives; maybe being lucky enough to pass the teen years. Clearly a lot has changed since then. Although it has been recorded that people have lived to triple digits even hundreds of years ago, the life expectancy has increased greatly since the times of the pyramids. How is this possible though? Why are we aging older?
My theory (although it may just be a lucid understanding of simple biological concepts forming a conclusion that defies gullible beliefs generated by these technological advancements in medicine) is simply that we have evolved and therefore, our bodies have themselves, grown and become stronger through the experiences endured.
Even as I write this I begin to further realize that modern medicine truly only helps more people stay alive and allows more people to be born. Therefore, we can attribute population growth to more successful treatments through medicine advancements, but I still wouldn’t go as far to say that these steps forward have contributed to an overall average lifetime.
This theory is more like one of those obvious statements that most people take for granted. To further strengthen my point, I specifically remember from my Biology class the reason to which we (humans) repoduce. It’s an instinctual desire to populate and strengthen ourselves. Our immune systems have developed largely to parents experiencing sickness and disease yet growing a resistance to it, passing that resistance on to their children and therefore the toddlers start out with a higher tolerance to these same microscopic conflicts. Over extensive periods of time these miniscule building blocks form an evolutionary skyscraper shield.
If there are any that disagree with my theory, then take this into account. Obviously many, what we deem as, civilized people will at some point in time get sick and go to a doctor, hospital or such. They get their treatment, pray they have insurance, and likely feel better. So what about all these villagers, the people that are completely isolated from modern civilization? They are completely self-sufficient and have no outside influence. These people, although significantly fewer in number, still go on to live long lives. So if a person receiving advanced medical attention lives to be 70 and another person, this one from a small village in the amazon, receives the voodoo treatment and also lives to be 70; what is really the difference?
I’ll tell you, more like reiterate; it’s simply the option of having more people live longer. I guess one could look at it like Wheel of Fortune. You have this life, a consecutively longer life expectancy thanks to hand-me-down immunity, and if you are fortunate enough to get good medical attention in a time of need, you also have a ‘free spin’. If you hit that bankrupt sliver, or for you that don’t see the analogy get severely ill; you can get professional help based on continual scientific analysis and potentially not lose all that you’ve spun so hard for. For those that don’t have access to such attention, they have a much higher chance of involuntarily succumbing to the nature of death. This all emphasizes that modern medicine is equivalent to population growth and evolution is itself growing.
So what, who cares?
It’s not about necessary knowledge so much as it’s just nice to realize these miracles we take for granted on a second to second basis. I find beauty in realizing the splendors around us and appreciating all that Earth has surrounded us with. Ready for the really far fetch’d idea?
I’ve talked about this before briefly I’m sure, but what if we as humans are something like the life of the planet we reside on? Maybe our growing life expectancy is the planet aging; and at some point in time like the pattern most things seem to follow, our life expectancy will reach nothing. Zero, zilch. At this point the planet will have lived it’s finally life and death as we verbalize it, will consume this being; this planetary species we label Earth.
Currently Listening To: Radiohead, Amnesiac Album.