On accepting death: scientist David Goodall ends his life at 104 through self-assisted suicide; Barbara Ehrenreich gives up on preventive medical care

Why Evolution Is True

As we grow older (and by “we,” I mean “I”), one’s thoughts tend naturally to turn to mortality. The comparison of your age to that of those listed in the paper’s obituaries becomes a depressing habit, one gives up beloved foods and behaviors in an effort to stay alive as long as possible, and you realize that the time that has passed since you were 40 is longer than the time you have left.

So it’s somewhat heartening, then—though I can’t get there myself—to hear about older people who are sane but have just decided to either die or not engage in the usual measures to prevent getting ill. And two people have done it in different ways.

As this NYT article notes, Australian ecologist and botanist David Goodall, 104, who was working and active right until recently, grew upset at his worsening health and loss of independence, and just…

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