FOI: Ageism edition

There was a cover story in the Atlantic by Ezekiel Emanuel making the case that he wants to die by 75. It is mostly centered around the idea that health care at that point of life is more about extending the dieing process and not living. He acknowledges that he knows people who are happy that are older than that but thinks it is beside the point. From his perspective, life at that point is disabled or deprived.

If his goal was to get people talking then he has accomplished it. This seems to be halfway intellectual click bait. Ink has been spilled in a number of places is response. For my part I think this is a clear case of a failure of imagination. While the author has no trouble imagining all the negative aspects of being older he seems to display almost no imagination for why you might want to live beyond an arbitrary age. He also misses variability in individuals. I can’t blame him on this front as this failure crops up quite frequently.

My imagination may not be big enough but it strikes me that there are both amazing and mundane things that might make it worthwhile. Will I not be able to appreciate a good wine, a nice meal, talking with friends, a good book, a nice nap, a hot shower, a sunny day, a fall walk, (and I’m going to stop the list because it can go on indefinitely)? Moreover, on the amazing front, is it not possible to meet the love of your life, make a best friend, to have a life changing experience, find god, do something you never expected you would do, see the world change, experience something that never existed before then, have the best day of your life, (and I’m going to stop the list because it can go on indefinitely).

So trying this idea on for size, I find it lacking in the imagination department.


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