Saturday, January 26, 2019

As achievements go, this is a pretty good one.....

      Although average life expectancy has doubled over the last hundred years, it is unwarranted to extrapolate and conclude that we can double it again to 150 in the coming century.  In 1900 global life expectancy was no higher than forty because many people died young from malnutrition, infectious diseases and violence.  Yet those who escaped famine, plague and war could life well into their seventies and eighties, which is the natural life span of Homo sapiens.   Contrary to common notions, seventy-year-olds weren't considered rare freaks of nature in previous generations.  Galileo Galilei died at seventy-seven, Issac Newton at eighty-four, and Michelangelo lived to the ripe age of eighty-eight, without any help from antibiotics, vaccinations or organ transplants. . . .
      In truth, so far modern medicine hasn't extended our natural life span by a single year.  Its great achievement has been to save us from premature death, and allow us to enjoy the full measure of our years.

-Yuval Noah Harari,  Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

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