Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
William Shatner contemplates on life and death:
Immortality is difficult to come by. Egyptian pharaohs tried using pyramids. Roman emperors and later, the great monarchs of the Enlightenment, developed a weakness for marble statuary and oil paintings to immortalize themselves. Anything to avoid the black, humbling oblivion of death.
I suppose we all have our ways of trying to attain a kind of immortality, methods for dealing with the harsh, inescapable truth that life comes to an end. Entire religions have been erected on a foundation of death and the questions about what lies on the other side of it. For many of us we feel we can gain some modicum of immortality through our children (assuming the stress and worry of raising them don’t do you in first). But I've always found that approach a little suspect. I mean, what good is immortality, if you aren’t around to enjoy it?
So for some--me, for instance—these strategies just aren’t enough. I mean I want the whole enchilada—long life where the end is not in sight. And I’m not talking about eking out a few extra years at the retirement home, bobbing for dentures, trying to remember where I put the Depends. I want a vigorous, healthful, butt-kicking life. On the other hand, I don’t want to turn the clock back entirely and become as stupid as I was at twenty-five, for all eternity. Let me keep the experience, just give me health and vitality, and a serviceable mind to go along with it. That’s the goal.
You scoff, but I am not alone. As a society we are obsessed with living longer, and youth is worshipped passionately. Just the diet section of Barnes & Noble would lead an alien to conclude that we value calories (or the lack of them) more than we value literature or even a decent line of poetry. A whole generation of baby boomers, which has been passing for forty years through the world’s consumer markets like a pig through a python, is coming to terms with the inescapable fact that they are getting older and that at the end of the trail, there is only one destination—and it ain’t another Rolling Stones concert. My bet is they’re prepared to pretty much do whatever it takes to keep the Grim Reaper at bay.
William Shatner with Chip Walter, I’m Working on That – A Trek from Science Fiction to Science Fact, Pocket Books, New York 2004, pp. 303-304. (available here)
William Shatner – “You’ll Have Time”
This vid is no longer available in Germany, so I embedded it “blindfolded.” I hope it works.