Monday, March 28, 2011

Expiration Date

I have this nifty program on my computer which indicates how much ink I have left in my ink cartridges (color plus B & W) in my attached printer. It amazes me how close to accurate it is. It usually is no more than a few copies off as to when one or the other cartridge runs dry.

Gas gauges are the same way. Some of the new batteries on the market have little dealies that indicate how much power is left. There are lots of products and machines that possess something comparable.

What if each of us was born with an expiration date. Do you think it would affect the way you lead your life?

Imagine that as each baby is born (in a hospital) that, after severing the umbilical cord, the doctors would hook each newborn up to a machine which could extract the expiration date on the unit. The readout would indicate the exact year, month, day, hour and second that the unit would cease functioning. For example, little Bobby's readout might indicate: May 4, 2043, 22:18:16. Would this information impact Bobby's life?

There are two important considerations before we could even attempt to guess at the answer to the question. If the world was created by a divine being that could foresee each individual's destiny, the expiration date would be fixed with no hope of mitigating factors. We wouldn't know how we were to die, we would just know when. History would teach us that, no matter how some individuals tried to avert the knowing end, it always came on schedule, nonetheless.

If the world was not created by a divine being with the ability to foresee each individual's destiny, then the expiration date would be open to mitigating factors. The date would merely indicate that, beyond disease or accident as well as enriching factors, the unit would cease functioning at that time.

In this latter case, the rich and powerful among us would have a far better opportunity to exceed the scheduled expiration date because they could afford medical intervention to extend the unit's warranty. The poor and impotent, on the other hand, would be far more likely to fall victim to disease, war and accidents.

Taking these considerations into account, how do you think knowing the precise time of your death would impact (or not) the way you live your life?

Whether you care to share your thoughts in the comments section is less important than considering how you might answer the question to yourself.


  1. Responding to a fixed timeline is not the point; the point is what one determines to be the meaning or purpose of one's life. The wise person lives expecting that the next moment could be his last and acts accordingly. Some people find a higher purpose than others. Who cares how other people waste their time?

    Of course, I speak for myself.

  2. In other owrds, I sort of run on empty...


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