There are more examples of me thinking like this, for example, there are only two (verified) males alive from the nineteenth century. I get frustrated at my peers for not swallowing the significance of this, but again, it’s arbitrary. Finally, for some odd reason I find 80 and above a good age to live to and 79 and below a bad age to live to (funnily enough I probably won’t even live to 80).
One other age/time/life thing I am weirdly interested in is something that’s not arbitrary. Take someone I admire, like Carl Sagan. He died in 1996 and I was born in 1993. I was three when he died, and for me I would be disappointed if he died in, say, 1992. The fact that we crossed paths, the fact that I was alive at a point he was alive (even though any influence I had on his life was negligible), I just like. The same goes for one of my great-grandfathers (my mother’s mother’s father). He died when I was about 7 months old, but when I found out that when I was born he was still alive, many years ago, I was pleased.
Where am I going? Not far, it’s just some (creepy) way of thinking, but if you’re into the potentially mildly interesting, I can put these thoughts graphically, into what I’m gonna call lifeline graphs.
Let’s take a hypothetical person, this person was born in the start of 1920 and died in the start of 2005, aged 85. This person, as us all, grew in cognition from the beginning of his existence for some years in the growing up phase and in his old age developed dementia where his cognition depleted until his death. For the sake of simplicity, let’s take the beginning of existence at birth (even though there’s some limited cognitive development in the fetal stage (I think), but a birthday is a lot easier to trace) and a gradual change of cognition from birth to 10 years old, even though it would actually be more fluid than this. For this hypothetical man (not James Doohan), dementia was developed at the beginning of 2000. From this, one can represent his existence graphically:
But to summarise the ideas I brought above, and more, let’s throw in several of some real people (including myself) into one lifeline graph:
1. You can see when people were alive together, The Beatles were all alive together, in their prime. I was alive with my great-granddad and Carl Sagan in my babyhood.
2. Consequently, you can see when people were dead together. This doesn’t just mean any time after two or more people have died, like in 2005 for John, George and Ronald Reagan, but also in 1985 when John and I were dead (in other words, we were ‘on the same level’), even though some get angry at me for thinking of ‘death’ as simply not being alive, meaning any children of mine would get squandered out of this definition (as they are not alive, but not dead by the definitions of most). Nevertheless, if my children were put in the graph, you could see that at the time of writing both my children and my great-granddad were dead.
3. You can see where one’s life has been encompassed in another’s. John Lennon’s life has been encompassed by Carl Sagan’s, who in turn has been encompassed by Ronald Reagan’s, who’s been encompassed by Walter Breuning’s.
4. If many peoples’ lifelines were listed, you could see chains that never break, i.e. a no points where no one in the chain is alive.
Anyway, the point of this really, really long post was just a few thoughts and a somewhat useful invention of mine (unless some fucker made it first).
Finally, if you didn’t recognise the names of any of the notable people, here you go:
Carl Sagan (1934–1996) – American astronomer, died from a difficult battle with myelodysplasia.
Ronald Reagan (1911–2004) – 40th president of the USA, suffered with Alzheimer’s disease for the last ten years of his life (hence the fading lifeline).
John Lennon (1940–1980) – member of The Beatles, shot and killed.
Paul McCartney (1942–) – member of The Beatles.
George Harrison (1943–2001)– member of The Beatles, died from cancer.
Ringo Starr (1940–) – member of The Beatles.
Walter Breuning (1896–) – world’s oldest living man.