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.

  • Glen McGraw

    Our society is fearful of death, maybe more than ever. We call it “passing away” or “they are gone now.” Many teens spend their time looking older and behaving in what they think is an older fashion. Yet, once they are middle aged they spend the latter year searching for the youth they were running from in their teens years. Maybe we have failed in teaching, or creating a culture, of acceptance of self. This acceptance of self with also include the finite limitations of a persons humanness, to include the inevitable deterioration and then death. If we as a society could come to grips with that, maybe that would effect some change.


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