They shall die alone

A while back an anonymous commenter tried to get me to react to this article in Slate. In the words of my anonymous commenter, “I just posted that to see your reaction to the educated class contemplating encouraging species suicide.”

I don’t know why this person wanted to bait me. I have posted numerous posts on demographic decline and on the ideals that lie behind it. My reaction to the educated class contemplating encouraging species suicide cannot be too hard to predict.

That is not to say I could not write more. In my mind with its secret places and many voices I store many unwritten essays that touch on this subject.

In one such unwritten essay that goes by name “We have become like gods” or “The Removal of all Restraint” (it depends on my mood) I explore the constraints that biology and physics use to place on societies. I then go on to explore how the great technological advances of the last hundred years have freed us from those constraints. In this hypothetical essay, I then argue that as societies become freed from constraint they invariably start to emulate the attributes of the pagan pantheons. I then show that the logical culmination to this trend is some kind of Ragnarök.

In another unwritten essay tentatively titled “The Earth Cries Out” (I have got to think up a better title for this one. Perhaps “The Alienation of Man”? ) I talk about the paradox of people who do not believe in a God or any absolute standard of right and wrong and yet believe that man is fundamentally evil and deserves to be wiped off the face of the earth. From there I go on to explore the apocalyptical sensibilities of many atheistic ideologies and how they have a common theme that mankind deserves a horrible fate. I then ponder what it is in mankind that leads them to believe that their own race should be destroyed.

Maybe I will put both of those essays up on my essay site someday. But neither of those unwritten essays seems like an appropriate response to the prodding of my anonymous commenter. They are filled with too many references to things most people do not bother to read. They border too much on the mystical. Those unwritten essays strive too hard to make people think to be a proper response from a simple ape man.

But as I was reading through those things that are on the Ethereal Voice, the proper response to the educated class came to my mind: they shall die alone.

It came to my mind as I read this post on Karisa’s blog expressing her anger that an old widow went 120 hours in isolation. It strengthened as I viewed this slide show on the demographic imbalances in Europe, with its charts showing that old people in Europe outnumber the children. I could not get the vision of millions of old people dying alone out of my head.

I see them dying in a heat wave because no one came to check up on them like this…

Scientists at INSERM, the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, deduced the toll by determining that France had experienced 14,802 more deaths than expected for the month of August.

The toll exceeds the prior government count of 11,435, a figure that was based only on deaths in the first two weeks of the month.

The new estimate includes deaths from the second half of August, after the record-breaking temperatures of the first half of the month had abated.

The bulk of the victims — many of them elderly — died during the height of the heat wave, which brought suffocating temperatures of up to 104 degrees in a country where air conditioning is rare. Others apparently were greatly weakened during the peak temperatures but did not die until days later.

I see them clinging to robotic dolls to keep themselves from dying of boredom like this….

TOKYO (AFP) — Japan’s growing elderly population from will be able to buy companionship in the form of a 45-centimeter (18-inch) robot, programmed to provide just enough small talk to keep them from going senile.

Snuggling Ifbot, who is dressed in an astronaut suit with a glowing face, has the conversation ability of a five-year-old, the language level needed to stimulate the brains of senior citizens, its software designer said.

If a person tells Snuggling Ifbot, “I’m bored today,” the robot might respond, “Are you bored? What do you want to do?”

To a statement, “Isn’t it nice today?”, the robot could say, “It is a fine autumn day,” by detecting the season from its internal clock.

This is the future the educated class is bringing about. This is future they think they want. This is the future they think they are ready for. They talk about how they are going to be the healthiest generation of old people yet. They talk about how they will work far longer than their parents did and how they will stay active well into their later years.

But the technology they think will save them from the demographic problem, the technology that enables people to live longer and thus work longer, will turn on them in the end. For just as they lived longer than their parents, so, too, will they linger longer in that space between life and death for longer then then their parents did.

That is the place where you can still think and talk, but have difficulty walking from your bedroom to the bathroom. That is the place where you can not see well enough to drive. That is place where your social circle will constrict to those young enough to come and visit you.

For most of them, there will be no one healthy enough who wants to come visit. There will be no one who wants to deal with the burden of the elderly in exchange for their stories. There will be no one who will help them through the long years that they will spend between life and death.

As befitting a pagan generation, some will probably kill themselves as they see the isolation coming on. But most will cling to their robotic dolls until they die alone.

One Response to “They shall die alone”

  1. […] _uacct = “UA-1202685-1″; urchinTracker(); Map of the Ethereal Land The Ethereal Voice Front Page – Politics – Money – Knowledge – Art – Food – Fun Masthead About They shall die alone By Ape Man | October 7, 2007 – 4:09 pm Posted in Category: Front Page, Politics A while back an anonymous commenter tried to get me to react to this article in Slate. In the words of my anonymous commenter, “I just posted that to see your reaction to the educated class contemplating encouraging species suicide.” I don’t know why this person wanted to bait me. I have posted numerous posts on Click Here to continue reading. […]

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