Saturday, October 4, 2014

"Why I Want to Die at 75"

Missed this when it came out:

On Sept. 17, 2014, the Atlantic published a piece by Ezekiel J. Emanuel entitled "Why I want to die at 75." Here is an excerpt:
Americans seem to be obsessed with exercising, doing mental puzzles, consuming various juice and protein concoctions, sticking to strict diets, and popping vitamins and supplements, all in a valiant effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible. This has become so pervasive that it now defines a cultural type: what I call the American immortal.
I reject this aspiration. I think this manic desperation to endlessly extend life is misguided and potentially destructive. For many reasons, 75 is a pretty good age to aim to stop.
Emanuel does not seem to seek the treacly agreement that others bring to discussions of death. He states his position and reasons. I happen to feel heartened by them: At last, someone talking turkey about a dicey subject. If you agree with him, that's your business. If you disagree with him, that's your business. The need for an over-arching philosophy or religion is left out ... Emanuel offers you a stick of gum; the flavor is not improved or upended by polling others.


  1. Is it about lasting longer? Or being more able while life exists.

  2. Read and loved the article. However the title is misleading. Emanuel is saying to stop life-extending efforts at 75 -- no more drugs, physicals or procedures. Just begin to let nature take its course.
    I agree that we would be better off with a "healthy" acceptance of death.