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The Fountain of Youth: It Resides Within

By @Entropy

The Fountain of Youth: It Resides Within

The quest for everlasting youth has been a human preoccupation since the genesis of civilization. In 1513, Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon sought out the Fountain of Youth: reputedly sulfur springs in St. Augustine, Florida. He never found them. However, current wisdom indicates that among the major contributors to the mystical fountain are a healthful diet, aerobic exercise, restful sleep, yogic practices and regular sex. 

Mental and physical exertion is never mentioned. Indeed, uncovering an article connecting arduous effort with longevity is a demanding task. It is easier to unearth information suggesting that hard work kills and that unhurried pleasure the esoteric recipe for a preternaturally long life. Equally ludicrous is to assert that relentless toil guarantees longevity. What can be affirmed with confidence, nonetheless, is that constructive effort increases the odds of a longer, healthier, happier, and more rewarding existence. 

By contrast, indolence is the bane of longevity. Hence a slothful parasite sucking the economic life blood off the community is unlikely to enjoy a normal life expectancy. Apparently, the Laws of Nature collectively connive to eliminate such gratuitous perversity. 

Indolence is not an Option

Undeniably, a positive correlation exists between persistent diligence and life expectancy. Analysis of the lifespans of Nobel Laureates from the inception of the awards from 1901 to 2013 supports this thesis.

Of the illustrious figures cited in The Eloquence of Effort, Schweitzer, Mother Teresa and Mandela were Nobel laureates. Gandhi was a nominee. Mandela was so occupied unshackling South Africa from the bonds of apartheid that he missed the birth of his daughter Zindziswa. Following his lengthy incarceration and days after his release, at the spry age of 71, he remarked: Winnie tried to get me to slow down, but there was simply too much to do.  Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher mildly castigated him for his blistering pace:  I must warn you, that your schedule is too heavy. You must cut it in half.

Mandela: 1918-2013

If these terrestrial stars are representative, then the conclusion that Nobel Laureates lead enormously prolific lives is undoubtedly valid. Their mythical work output is nothing but prodigious: they lived to work and no doubt worked to live. Enslaved by their work, they freed others. Consequently, they enjoyed long, healthy and productive lives. By so doing they improved the living standards of millions. Excluding Gandhi, their average age was over 90 years. 

A cursory glance at the lifespans of Nobel recipients from 1901 to 2013 reveals an average age of 80 years; whereas the calculated average age of the general population was a mortifying 65 years. The deduction is that the laureates outlived the general population by 15 years, or 23% longer.

Considering that the average lifespan of a career economic criminal is a meagre 46 years, one can deduce that the normal population survives the criminals by a precious nineteen years. In other words, an easy life sustained through economic crimes quantitatively erases one-third of a felon’s life. More sobering is the comparison of the criminal life-span to that of the laureates. The latter have outlived the former by an impressive 34 years – 75% longer.

Recall that Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner for 27-years, not a conniving economic criminal, and lived to realize his life’s mission: a free South Africa. Having lived a free man for close to 70 years he died at age 95, outliving the criminals by twofold.

Mandela: A Political Prisoner for 27-years

All things considered, it would seem that the true fountain of youth resides not in an external sulfur-emitting spring, nor by grifting one’s way to easy wealth as Donald Trump did. Rather the true elixir of life springs from within; tapped only by maximizing the physical and mental faculties, less they atrophy and die long before we do.

Excerpted from The Eloquence of Effort:

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