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on aging: like wine, or deteriorating

hwang jini

mountains are the same as in the old times but the streams are never the same;
they keep flowing day and night,
so they cannot be the same.
the men of fame are like streams;
once gone, they never return.
hwang jini. (16th century korean poet)

image and poem from the google search

four friends went hiking in the countryside on a cool spring morning, and all of a sudden, the dark clouds gathered covering the azure blue sky. the thunder began to rumble and the lightning seemed to come closer and closer to the four. the rains drenched them. they rushed to a big tree to shelter under.

now the lightning began to strike near the tree, frightening them all the more. they started to think, and came to a common conclusion, that the lightning wants to strike on one of them, and if they stayed together, the other three would be hurt as a consequence. so they decided that one by one they would walk away from the tree, and let the lightning strike on that one, sparing the other three. hesitatingly the first one walked a distance, and came back unharmed. now it increased the mathematically logical chance of being struck on one of the three. but the second friend walked reluctantly, and hurried back safe. now that frightened the remaining two, thinking that it is one of the two to be hit. but the third one had to take his chances. so he did, and ran back to the tree cheerfully. the fourth one just did not want to go, and the lightning began to strike nearer and nearer. the three who had passed their tests, now physically pushed their friend to do his part and save his three friends.

at last he was made to gather his courage idolising that he was saving his friends by self sacrifice. so he went, and just as he was turning back from the appointed spot, the lightning struck the tree and killed the three huddled together feeling safe.

-a folk story heard in 1940s india.

the deaths caused by lightning-caused fires, droughts, tsunami, flooding and epidemics, when taken as the natural occurrences are nature’s ways of the house cleaning. these ecocentric happenings not caused by humans cannot be altered by the scientists. as there is a difference between invention and discovery, the scientists may discover or reform whatever already exists, but cannot create anything new. much of man’s discoveries of natural processes and inventions are for the sake of the survival of the comparative fittest among the competing members of the human species. beyond that, even the winner of the race is unable to prolong life beyond the nature created lifespan, which is unpredictable. still, without knowing how many more years one has yet left before death, prompted by the commercial minds one goes to the extreme self torture to live longer beyond that unknown time of death.

in the folk indian philosophical cognition, the death was described as “ the time is up”, like the actor’s time to move away from the stage. what happens then to the actor gone behind the curtain remains unknown to the audience which is occupied with what is happening in front of the stage.

life, as lived all over the world, especially in non modern rural cultures was much closer to the way the other three primates lived. birth and death happened in humans much the same as it did in all other creatures. in such a living there was no need for mathematical thinking, and the linguistic vocabulary contained no numerical expressions in their hand to mouth motions of life like other life forms. the numerical aging does not happen without knowing how old one is. natural aging process does not alter whether or not one succumbs to the whims of the commercially medical minds. the media made statistical longevity of the preferred ethic group or nation before the industrial revolution is mostly fabricated in the media employed minds as there were no news reporters and census takers keeping the tab on births and deaths in the remote regions of the globe which were looked down upon. what is not economically profitable is either downplayed or out right ignored.

before it was nature that maintained the ratio of birth and death; now it is the pharmaceutical industry that selectively keeps tabs on births and deaths by altering the linguistic meanings of words that also redefines the codes of ethics and morality. casualties of wars and police kiliings or abortions are excluded from the sinful acts prohibited by the first commandment. if the routine termination of life caused by the morning-after pills and abortions of any western country counted as deaths, the ratio between birth and death of the west would be similar to, or even worse than that of the third world. besides, arbitrarily selected time of letting the pregnancy to come to full terms when a woman is in her thirties or later, and delivering a child does not in itself guarantee that the offspring would be healthy and fit to survive. this is the reason why in animal husbandry, the captive male and female animals in their prime are mated or are artificially inseminated.

in natural existence the element of life, the sense of being alive is interrelated with the purpose of the motions of all one’s physical and emotional components constituting what one is, as one is. the residue of such a living is found in rural arkansas in an answer to a question: ”how old are you?” the answer: “for what?”

when medically or surgically a limb or organ is altered or removed, all physical and emotional motions related to that component of one’s being cease to be. the prime example of this was the eunuchs guarding the royal harems of the past. the castrating of the testicles also terminated the sexual desires in those men. the religious approach to subdue the sexdrive may enable a rare few to live a chaste life, but not as sure as its surgical removal. that is why, many of the very famous gurus’ and clergies’ secret sex lives have been exposed as scandles. at the height of the roman cathoic era in rome, along with the population of monks, the prostitutes had also increased. “the monk’s position” in sexual intercourse refers to the position required due to the monk’s robe while having sexual intercourse. and there was even a”monk’s pocket watch” that had pictures of sex-acts inside the back side of the lid. a watch making company had even made a mechanical sex act in the pocket watch. some of this pictorial information may be had in google search and in a very detailed information related to the lives of the people who “keep time’’, in a book of history of the time keeping machines, from the chinese water powered clock to the digital watches.

in hand to mouth existence nothing repeats: a monkey does not get to pick fruits sitting on the same tree limb picking fruit one by one, as unurban shopper inserts a coin and picks soda pop one after another; nor does every hunt of the animal of prey end in its meaty meal of the day. nor did the primitive hunters invoke the almighty to grant them a successful hunt as do the anthropologists and the hollywood movies portray. seated in the cushy armchairs they perceived primitive life through the glasses heavily tainted with their own fears and wishful thinking as to how they would act in such situations.

the obsession with longevity is a commercial conditioning. in a society devoid of that obsession almost all commercially created human interactions would cease. the centuries old conditioning has dulled the natural sense of perception so much, that seeing someone clothed slightly differently causes disturbance and conclusions in boxing such persons into categories made for anything different from their norms. even the animals born of the several generations in captivity, when freed do not always survive in freedom even after provided with the initial provision of food and support.

as for the human slavery, even after the abolishment of slavery, most of the freed persons, both black and others have accepted to live in the modified form of the slavery of the economic kind, in which one has to continue working for another person to earn a living. a slavery is not that one has to physically work; it is like an old sanskrit observation, that, “deer just does not enter the mouth of a lion that sleeps.” nature requires the pertinent physical motion, which also justifies one’s being alive. the difference is in who is the provider, nature or an ideology driven man.

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