Exceptional Values. Save Big!
Quality Vitamins and Supplements
Your bible for entrepreneurism and personal development.



Holisticonline Home

Inspirational Reading

Healthy Recipes

Nutrition & Diet


Prayer/ Spirituality

Selected Prayers

Preferred Providers
Conditions/ Treatments
Alternative Therapies
Alternative Medicine

Stress Management




Herbal Medicine


The Life Penalty

By Vasu Ramanujam

All the talk of death penalty made me think of the reverse notion - life itself as a penalty.

For perhaps three quarters of the dwellers of this planet, who lack basic amenities, for whom life is a daily drudgery, endless toil, and the excruciating misery of mind control or oppression by people in power, life itself must seem like a punishment. A character in an old play by Badal Sircar (it was staged at OAT I believe,) brought up this shocking thought - the wonder is not that some people end their lives voluntarily by suicide, the wonder is that so many don't.

Life extension is a big thing with some people who already enjoy a full, prosperous life in America. The fountain of youth is a big thing with some people who have already misspent their lives chasing material mirages. There is zero acceptance of mortality in this society that thinks science will one day make people immortal. Here is the promise. Latter day Ponce de Leons in white lab coats are working feverishly to make that happen. So rejoice, immortality is coming!

Great new promise! Brave new world! Doddering old Markeandeyas, all of us will one day be. We will march into eternal life not through karmic acts, or through acts of redemption, or by becoming a born- again whatever, but through genetic manipulation and a daily regime of 200 tablets and capsules that can intervene in every aging process that is going on in our bodies. Billions of dollars are spent on research, suspect medicines, supplements, and herbs in the hope of life prolongation.

On the other hand, the pitiful character Gollum in the Lord of the Rings, we are told, was "punished" with a long life. The narrator of "The Green Mile" also lives a very long life, tormented by his memories of life as a death row warden.

Some imaginative writers have speculated that endless life would arguably be as insufferable as premature death or suicide is painful. An old movie named "Soylent Green" with Charlton Heston actually speculated about the possibility of death as an attractive choice in a world destroyed by pollution. The Edward G. Robinson character walks into a center for life extinction and buys himself a ticket to the other side. Surrounded by projected images of a green world that has long since been replaced by concrete and steel jungles, he buys his own release.

I am with the philosophers on this. Don't mistake me. I'm not suicidal. I am not a manic depressive. I am not arguing for any kind of voluntary life termination. But I strongly believe death acceptance is necessary. Live a good life, by all means, but when your time is up, have the grace to welcome the opportunity to return to the void from which you came. Don't assume that a long, even endless life, is necessarily a good thing.

So, let me see, you are going to give me the means to live to be 200 years old. During those 200 years what will I see? More flowers fading? More denuded forests on mountaintops? More tigers vanishing? Bigger ozone holes? What is so special about me that I, human, should outlast every other manifestation of nature there is? What treats do you have in store for me? More children dying of malnutrition?

Why? Why, pray, why?

I hope the genetic manipulators, the herbal formulations makers, and sci-fi dreamers would let us die quietly rather than trying to give us everlasting or even a needlessly prolonged life. I appreciate the medical advances that have been made, and all the wonderful things I have come to take for granted. But it is time the medical establishment did other things now. Go, attack malnutrition and AIDS in Africa. Go address basic pathologies like malaria, night blindness, and tuberculosis, in other parts of the world. Don't waste your time adding two more years to my life when my life expectancy is already at 78 years. Those two years can't be worth as much to me as they'd be to the 50% or 60% of the children in many less developed countries who will not live to see their fifth birthdays. Idiot world, get your priorities straight. Let me die, you hear me? I am quite at peace with that idea. Leave me be and tend to the other now.

There are other, better ways in my opinion, to get to everlasting life. Understand that everlasting life is possibly already yours for leading a good life, even if it lasts only a few years. Making a difference to a fellowman, appreciating the huge, huge, huge gift every passing minute is, is a better path to everlasting life, not silly, obscure chemicals of unknown efficacy or side effects that have been dreamed up in some sterile laboratory.

Who the heck are you to determine the span of my life, anyway? Who the heck am I to determine the span of my life?

See Also:

Adjusting Our Dreams
The key to success in life depends upon adjusting to life's occurrences and making the most of them.

101 Reasons To Be Proud To Be YOU
When someone talks badly to you, what makes that ok? NOTHING! You are your most valuable resource, and how you value yourself will depend on how others see you as well. 

10 Steps To Manifesting Consciously
The following are steps you can take that will lead you to manifesting your desired life results.

What If I Fall Flat On My Face?
The fear of failure is a cruel and stupid trick we pull on ourselves. The fact that the fear of failure stops us from going after our goals and dreams means that we've already failed.  Who cares if you fail? Brilliant people fail every single day.

How to Do Hard Things
Tips on how to push past your natural resistance to difficult tasks.

More Inspirational Articles

Dr. Vasu Ramanujam is a Professor at Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

[Recipes][Great Reading][Home Improvement][Health][Holistic Living][Holisticonline][EntrepreneurismBible.com]

1stholistic.com and Holisticonline.com are developed and maintained by ICBS
Send mail to: info@holisticonline.com with comments about this web site.
Copyright 1998-2013 ICBS Terms of Use
All Rights Reserved.