Advanced Reading Course | Life Expectancy

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Advanced Reading Course | Life Expectancy

Advanced Reading Course | Life Expectancy


Selected Text

Source: The Coursebook,

Unit 26: “No one wants to live to be a hundred”

It’s only natural to something better. We do it all our lives. Things may never really improve, but at least we always hope they will. It is one of life’s great ironies that the longer we live, the less there is to . may bring with it the fulfillment of a lifetime’s dreams. At last there will be time to do all the things we never had time for. , the dream fades. Unless circumstances are exceptional, the prospect of growing really old is horrifying. Who wants to live long enough to become a doddering wreck? Who wants to revert to that most dreaded of all human conditions, a second childhood?

Well, it seems that everybody wants to. The Biblical span of is simply not enough. Medical science is doing all it can to and is succeeding brilliantly. are so much better, so many diseases can either be prevented or cured that has increased enormously. No one would deny that this is a good thing – provided one enjoys . But is it a good thing to extend human suffering, to prolong life, not in order to give joy and happiness, but to give pain and sorrow? Take an extreme example. Take the case of a man who is so he has lost all his faculties. He is in hospital in an unconscious state with little chance of coming round, but he is kept alive by artificial means for an indefinite period. Everyone, his friends, relatives and even the doctors agree that death will . Indeed, the patient himself would agree – if he were in a position to give voice to his feelings. Yet everything is done to perpetuate what has become a meaningless existence.

The question of raises serious moral issues, since it implies that active measures will be taken to terminate human life. And this is an principle to allow. But might it not be possible to ? senility, it might be preferable to when death will relieve suffering. , this would be doing no more than was done in the past, before medical science made it possible to .

There are people in Afghanistan and Russia who are reputed to live to a ripe old age. These exceptionally robust individuals are just getting into their stride at 70. Cases have been reported of men over 120 getting married and having children. Some of these people are said to be over 150 years old. Under such exceptional conditions, who wouldn’t want to go on living forever? But in our societies, to be 70, usually means that you are old; to be 90, often means that you are . The instinct for self-preservation is the strongest we possess. We cling dearly to life while we have it and enjoy it. But there always comes a time when we’d be better off dead.

Advanced Reading Course | Life Expectancy

Advanced Reading Course | Life Expectancy

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