Professor Pigrum on Life Expectancy in the Present Age

Thank you for inviting me to share my latest research on life expectancy in the present age. The theorem is simple, as those who have read it are aware: our present generous life spans are the result of a one factor, that we are using our brains less. Surely scientific tests will settle this issue empirically in the future, but for now I must do my part to convince you with reason gathered from experience.

Imagine, if you are able, a mathematical graph. Using statistical representations of human life expectancy as the Y-axis, with time as the X, it is obvious that a line of best fit would increase ad infinitum. Not surprisingly, if we take the same X-axis of time and juxtapose the old Y-variable with a new variable depicting the average brain activity (inverted, of course), you will find that there is a close correspondence.

The many reasons why this age has seen such a dramatic fallout of mental activity will be immediately apparent to the fastidious reader, but I shall list them for those who have already been sorely immersed into the modern society. Some reasons are: the increased amount of time spent at the television screen, where the brain functions slower than when at rest; a decreased quality in popular art (observers/readers are now presented much of the implicit meanings that used to require a good deal of sleuthing); an exultation of the trades as opposed to a holistic learning; and a general shift in goals from that of personal enhancement to that of the acquisition of material.

The correspondence I have mentioned above is not hard to grasp. We have been endowed with a limited supply of mental power. When this supply runs out, it is only a matter of time before we succumb to a natural death. This has been evidenced in many of the finest minds throughout history; take for example John Keats, who died at a very young age. Others, like Wordsworth, last many years after the mental reserves have expired. Their work is filled with great pomp but little circumstance.

In our age this is most often manifested in senility. I have often heard remarked, “Isn’t it bizarre how the dull-minded ones always seem to last the longest?!” Indeed! So much for survival of the fittest! It is this group, that frittered away childhood bickering about onions, that should have been first to the grave! But instead they linger on, like some mouse trapped behind the laundry machine. At least we can take comfort knowing that such folk will not be found in our academic halls.


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