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Bill Gardner

Very interesting perspective! Can you say more about what you mean by the will to live?

The Health Blog

When I say "the will to live," I'm referring to a person's desire to live and his or her corresponding decision to live as long as possible. I think this act of the will counts for a lot. I believe it can, in some cases where the will is strong, impede the advance of death.

I have no empirical evidence for this belief, although I have read antidotal articles where a doctor, upon performing an autopsy, exclaims, "I don't know how this guy lived for so long. He should have died years ago!"

To add another perspective, I'd argue that a lack of autonomy, by degrees, destroys a person's will to live. I expect a person without autonomy—a slave—would over time decide that life was not necessarily worth living under those conditions. And so he or she wouldn't necessarily put up a fight if death showed up at the door.

To take it another step further, the man with autonomy likely has much to lose to death while the man without autonomy has little to lose to death. Does it not make sense that the autonomous man would fight death to the end while the slave would let death walk right in?

Thanks for asking your question, Bill. Hopefully I've clarified some things, but, if I have not, please write again.


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