We are extending life expectancy by leaps and bounds through the miracles of science and technology.
Today, longevity doesn't necessarily mean quality of life. It means, simply, surviving to a much older age.
Given the march of progress in the medical sciences, it may be safe to assume that over time, quality of life will also increase in the later years of life. As geriatric diseases become treatable, and even curable in certain cases, long life may also become more enjoyable through better health.
But there are other problems with longevity.
In a world with fast declining number of jobs, as it is people are struggling to find employment. Youth unemployment has become a major problem. As of July 2016, youth unemployment rate in Greece stands at 50.3%. Spain is at 43.9%. Italy is at 39.2%. France is at 24.4%. It's a dreadful, tragic story of several lost generations. Idle youth is a tremendous economic burden that the world is already reeling from.
Add to that increasing populations of older people who are also idle. Now, we're looking at 30-40 years of idle, retired years that human beings have to live through. May be more.
Is this desirable?
I can tell you that I have no interest in living very long. The day my independent, productive, high impact life is over, I'd like to say goodbye and move on.
And for that, an essential piece of philosophy: just like the right to live is an accepted human right, so should be the right to die.
I want to die when I choose to, and society needs to make it possible and easy for me to make that choice.
Photo credit: Image Catalog/Flickr.com.