Why Don’t We Live Longer

Current life expectancies in developed countries are about 77-83 years (source).

Although it is being talked a lot about gerontology, transhumanism and even immortality, and much critics received on these topics, I would like to talk about a different things that are to my mind very important for being life-long healthy human.

To begin, I want to emphasize that external conditions (e.g. access to health care, crime rates, ecology etc.) are undoubtedly a crucial factor that determines longevity. But it doesn’t mean external conditions are the only factor.

I see at least 4 internal factors (those that are under control) that are very important and still often overlooked. To my opinion they deserve great attention if we want to challenge the current understanding of human life limits.

How we sleep
Average person in a developed country sleeps 25-27 years. Significant amount. But how many of us are really aware of how important the sleep is for our lives?

More often than not we only know some reference information, e.g. “if you sleep more than 8 ours that is risky, scientists say it increases mortality risks”, that is only for conversations, but completely useless for analysis and action. Terms like sleep hygiene are unfamiliar to many of us. We are even unfamiliar with factors that affect sleep.

We look for “tips and tricks”, but don’t try to ask “why” questions and analyze. The irony is we have all information to analyze, but we don’t bother. Thinking that 25 years will not affect the rest 50 years is itself harmful.

How we breathe
Same story. We almost don’t care about the importance of clean air and even less we care about exact ways we breathe. We only know some yoga-like things about the benefits of awareness of breathing.

But breathe is one of the basic movements of our body. How many times a day do you respire? Guess. About 20000 times. Daily. That’s 584400000 times in 80 years! Is it unimportant? It could be if we’ve lived in green paradise.

How we move
We move every minute. We walk, we touch, we talk, we jump, we run, we write, we dance. But the most basic moves we do almost unconsciously. I.e. we know the only one way to do the basic moves. We do the trained moves, that became reflexive after countless repetitions. But we can’t prove that these trained moves are the correct ones — we don’t know any others to compare!

I think there is a vast space for learning here. Learning not only basic moves, but kinesthetic attention, body awareness and dexterity. That’s what I would like to call kinesthetic literacy.

And few words about freedom. Freedom is about having more than one way to do the single thing. If you know only one way you have no freedom. Kinesthetic literacy gives freedom of movement. It is like living a dance.

How we eat
Not what we eat, but how.

  • What are you thinking about when you are eating?
  • What should you be thinking about?
  • Do you watch TV, make phone calls, develop software, listen death metal at 130Db, drive car, run a marathon, talk to 30 people, read books about schizophrenia or do other multitasking while you are eating?
  • How do you choose what to eat today, or someone else makes a choice for you?
  • Do you work after the meal?

These are not question about “what” but about “how” and they are really important. I’m sure you understand why.

I’m sure learning about these 4 habits and developing them in the direction relevant to our personal unique lives would give us a tremendous advantage of living a healthy lives.

In conclusion I would like to share a links to few books and articles that make sense:

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