Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday Photo

From a New Yorker review of the book Death with Interruptions by Jose Saramago that talks about eternal life in a country blessed (or cursed) with no death.

A country in which no one dies inevitably becomes a Malthusian zoo. Old people who were on the brink of death on New Year’s Eve simply remain on the brink, frozen in their desuetude. Undertakers, those selling life-insurance policies, and the directors of hospitals and old people’s homes are variously threatened with unemployment or overactivity. The state will soon be unable to pay for the maintenance of its citizens. And although this sudden utopia may now be the very best of all possible worlds, humans can always be relied upon to wreck utopias. Families with aged, infirm members realize that they need death to save them from an eternity of bedside care. Since death has not been suspended in neighboring countries, the obvious solution is to transport ailing Grandpa over the border, where death will do its business. A Mafia-like organization takes over these death runs, an operation secretly connived in by the government, since no state can afford infinite expansion. As the Prime Minister warns the King, “If we don’t start dying again, we have no future.”

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