Welcome to Throw Forward Thursday, where we jump into the future and see what’s going on there. My name is Graeme Codrington, and a few weeks ago we had a look at the hundred-year life, and I even sneakily suggested that we might even have access to a thousand-year life, given some of the work that’s being done on ageing. Well, I want to come back to that thought of what does it mean if life expectancy of longevity is dramatically increased? And I think one of the implications, and this is our theme in this week’s Throw Forward Thursday, is that we’re going to have to change how we think and talk about death.
I don’t mean this in a morbid way. Obviously, we are designed to fight for life. People don’t give up their lives easily, and I don’t think we talk and think enough about death, but everybody dies in the end, and it is a natural part of life. But if we are able to extend our lives significantly, we might reach a stage where we have to give people the choice of whether they want to extend or end their lives. So of course, at the moment we do that through the living wills, which is somebody saying, if I am dying, I don’t want to be resuscitated, even if we have the skills, the medicine, the medical technologies to resuscitate somebody who is moving rapidly towards death. Some people choose to say, I don’t want that to happen, so called living will. And that’s one thing we already do. But what happens if we are able to extend life dramatically? Do you allow somebody who is otherwise healthy who is otherwise living well, but maybe they’ve just had their hundredth birthday and they’re living a reasonably good life, but they think I’m done? I’m finished. This is it. I’ve had a good one and I want this life to be over.
I’m not talking about suicide because that’s the word we use right now. I’m not even talking about assisted dying, which is somebody who’s already on the process of dying, although and this is part of the conversation, we’re all always in the process of dying. It’s the nature of life. You know, when does a flower that you’ve taken and put in a vase, when does it dies? Is it when it looks dead, or is it when you’ve cut that stem? A week or two ago, it can look alive, but it is dying anyway.
Now, maybe that is a little bit more bit, but I think we’re going to have to have a conversation where we become more comfortable in people saying, I’ve lived a good life and I’d like it to be over now. If we jump into the future, I think we’ll discover those conversations are easier to have. I’ll tell you why, because if we jump into the past, we realise we’ve had this conversation before. Was at 55, 60 years ago, that the contraceptive pill for women was introduced. And it was a massive debate, especially in religious circles, about whether this was a woman being allowed to play God as a Generation X or myself, in my 50th year. I am the first generation, I am from the first generation that women could take a pill, not to have could have that contraception easily available to them. It’s changed the world that we’ve been able to control family sizes and control births that way. But in fact, the Catholic Church and others still have debates around whether they should even be allowed access to contraception because apparently, it’s playing God.
We should have the same conversation about how to end life. And I think, as I say in our throw forward to the future, we’ll find that we’re a lot more comfortable about living longer, living younger longer, and ending life on our own terms, rather than just when everything collapses around us, in our bodies. I don’t think that was morbid. I didn’t intend it to be morbid. I intended to be a celebration of life and everything that is part of life, which is also how we do the end of it.
Throw Forward Thursday, a Look into the Future every Thursday. If you are watching on YouTube, make sure that you subscribe and hit the notification bell so that you get reminded to come and check into the studio every Thursday afternoon. If you’re listening on the Future of Work podcast, make sure that you subscribe and rate us please on your favourite podcast platform. We always appreciate that otherwise.
I will see you next week in the Throw Forward Thursday studio.
Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.
For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.