If you were to listen to the apologists for Death which include Popes, Dalai Lamas and all the Death Society’s “bioethicists,” you would believe that if anyone is “ethical,” “moral,” or “spiritual,” it would never ever cross his or her mind to wish to live longer than the average human lifespan. But is there any twentieth-century historical figure seen as more “ethical,” “moral” or “spiritual” than Mahatma Gandhi?
So guess what The Mahatma’s greatest wish was? It was to live to 125 years!
As Louis Fischer pointed out in his biography of Gandhi on which the epic film “Gandhi” was based, “Gandhi had been saying that he wanted to live a hundred and twenty-five years but without becoming ‘an animated corpse, a burden to one’s relations and society.”1
In other words, he wanted to live to 125 and be healthy, functional and perhaps even vigorous, like Moses was, to the very end. It’s very ImmorTalist.
Gandhi rebuts and debunks once and for all the belief and dogma, preached by the “bioethicists” and Popes and Lamas, that one cannot be ethical, moral or spiritual and at the same time desire superlongevity and life-extension.
You can! You can be ethical, moral, and spiritual and want to live to 125 or more. In other words, you can be an ImmorTalist and be ethical and moral and even “spiritual,” if that is your wont.
Gandhi’s “moral authority” surpasses any last-century or this-century Pope or Dalai Lama by far.
Was Mahatma Gandhi an ImmorTalist?
Gandhi’s goal is exactly ImmorTalism’s short-term goal!
To attain our maximum human lifespan which we know to be at least 123. Jeanne Calment has proven that. Gandhi just aimed for two years beyond that.
As any ImmorTalist knows, if one were to live to 120 or 125, there’s a good chance that, given a potent ImmorTalist Movement pushing for Breakthroughs and making sure they’re available to all, science, medicine and technology would have come up with more life-extensions along the way that we can avail of and benefit from.
A hundred years was simply not enough for The Mahatma (“Great Soul”)! Not even one hundred twenty, the age Moses reportedly lived to, and the age gerontologists consider as our species’ maximum span. Until that indomitable French woman, Jeanne Calment, came along, broke this barrier, and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that a mortal can stay quite healthy and perky and witty up to almost 123 years.
If Gandhi had succeeded, he would have exceeded Madame Calment, and become the holder of the world record in longevity today.
So don’t worry about “hubris,” that cardinal sin of Mortalist Christianity, if Mahatma Gandhi, known for his humility, could publicly and repeatedly declare his great wish and goal of living to a hundred and twenty-five years, then by definition such a wish and goal is not “hubris.”
Way back in the 1940s, only a few years after Dr. Clive McCay’s landmark experiment extending rats’ lifespan, healthspan and youthspan greatly, Gandhi already wanted 125 years.
It is quite ImmorTalist actually. And Gandhi was neither ashamed nor embarrassed by his desire and goal. He saw no need to hide it in some musty closet.
And this was no casual one-time wish. It was an oft-repeated and public great wish. It was not merely a great wish, it was a great goal. Gandhi’s spartan diet and intermittent fasts (a rough version of caloric restriction) and his walks were all in hot pursuit of this goal.
Was Gandhi Afraid of Death?
So does this betray a secret “morbid” fear of Death on Gandhi’s part? If anyone acted as if he was not afraid of Death, it was Gandhi. Unarmed, he challenged the mighty British Empire and all its legions, and faced down mobs in the heat of religious and ethnic strife, all without any bodyguards.
Very unlike Pope John Paul II who preached about how you should not be fearful of Death, that Death is not the enemy, while chauffeured around in his bullet-proofed Popemobile.
1 “The Life of Mahatma Gandhi” by Louis Fischer (NY: Harper & Row, 1950), p. 413 of Trade Paperback edition
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