The Will to Live

Archaeologists excavating a trash pit at the Jamestown colony site in Virginia have found the first physical evidence of cannibalism among the desperate population, corroborating written accounts left behind by witnesses. Cut marks on the skull and skeleton of a 14-year-old girl show that her flesh and brain were removed, presumably to be eaten by the starving colonists during the harsh winter of 1609. —New York Times

There are few limits to what people will do when desperate. Historically, to speak of desperation denotes a loss of hope. In our day, desperation trends toward the presence of strong desire. The desire to live, while leading to cannibalism among starving colonists,  leads to other kinds of life-preservation in our day. In my neighborhood this takes the form of anti-aging and natural hormone therapy. A clinic promises life-extension by replacing hormones lost as we get older. This reminded me of another conversation some years ago about organ transplants being generated by coaching stem cells to grow into livers and kidneys on polymer frames. Replacement hormones and replacement organs allow for a new normal humanity seems so desperate for. Is this good? Who knows. Desperation eliminates the need for ethics.

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