Every birthday, I reflect on my life. Sometimes, I have researched the real threats to my continued existence. The number one threat is heart attack, and therefore I have thought and researched what I might do about that. Some of it is known to everyone, eat a broad diet in a modest amount to maintain a BMI near 27, exercise to maintain a vigorous muscular body and stimulated vital organs. Cultivate meaningful social interactions and participate fully in events in which you find yourself immersed. Those I do, and do purposefully.
Not so obvious things to extend your life are: carry aspirin on your person such that you can have two of them in you mouth and being chewed in five seconds. That will probably get you through most normal heart attacks. Also, have a cell-phone available in a few seconds with the emergency numbers already set into the quick dial function.
A search of my website on blood pressure found some life extending posts, and then I searched life, and found some more good stuff: The ACE Test (Adverse Childhood Experiences), Exploiting personal freedom, What is the meaning of life? One thing I haven’t posted is the results of an experiment I have been conducting on myself for several years reported in A new possibility for extending your healthy life, but my personal experiments are looking very suggestive of success. It is a method for flushing plaque from my arteries by raising my body temperature to 102°F and drinking 2½ ounces of whiskey. The idea is to dissolve the plaque and thus reduce my risk of heart attack. At age 78 my blood pressure is generally close to 125/70 58 bpm, and my cardiac calcium score is 36 (Agatston), and the doctor said there wasn’t any concern until it was above 100, and becomes a serious problem in the 400+ range
I’m still thinking along the lines of how to improve my life and the life of everyone living and the lives of the hopefully 100 billion people to come. A strange thought came about while thinking about the philosopher Immanuel Kant’s famous Categorical Imperative, Make your every action suitable for a Universal Law. It is functionally inoperable in the natural world. It requires too much time to consider all of the potential ramifications of any action, let alone every action. So, in my usual humble way, I rewrote it, and would now suggest as a much better Personal Imperative, – Avoid everything that might harm your body or mind. By that law, many common activities would quickly be seen as a risk to the body or mind and actively avoided by thinking people. This Personal Imperative law is much easier to apply, than Kant’s and will give better results, both in the moment and in the long run. It can be applied as a working method to everyone right now, and to all of the 100 billion people to come. Perhaps it doesn’t sound so sophisticated, but I suspect it would have appealed to the ancient Greek philosophers, especially the Stoics and Epicureans.
That short suggestion is easy to remember and to apply, and usually your body and mind warn you when you are putting them at risk, so when they do, apply that simple rule, Avoid everything that might harm your body or mind.
Not so easy to remember, but equally valuable, is the advice of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece. It is 147 suggestions posted on stelae in Greek cities throughout their world in 400 BC.
1. Pursue goodness.
2. Obey all laws.
3. Praise goodness.
4. Obey your parents.
5. Honor justice.
6. Use your proven wisdom.
7. Base your wisdom on facts.
8. Whisper reasons to yourself.
9. Support a healthy family life.
10. Prepare for opportunities.
11. Adjust your actions to living.
12. Behave with discretion.
13. Bring honor to your family.
14. Avoid excessive actions.
15. Empower your friends.
16. Moderate your emotions.
17. Avoid unnecessary risk.
18. Respect the inevitable.
19. Avoid all swearing.
20. Encourage friendship.
21. Learn all you can.
22. Seek virtuous actions.
23. Discover what works best.
24. Reward good acts.
25. Avoid accusations.
26. Recognize quality behavior.
27. Practice being fair.
28. Be respectful of everyone.
29. Don’t expose weakness.
30. Practice courage.
31. Shun every form of evil.
32. Participate in events.
33. Protect what’s valuable.
34. Respect people’s stuff.
35. Respect people’s thoughts.
36. Keep religion personal.
37. Do many kindnesses for friends.
38. Prevent excess.
39. Make extra time for actions.
40. Prepare ahead of needs.
41. Subdue offensive actions.
42. Respect refugees.
43. Make everything comfortable.
44. Challenge your kid’s minds.
45. Help giving empowerment.
46. Look into others’ reasons.
47. Praise good actions.
48. Copy wise acts and thoughts.
49. Judge with a long view.
50. Plan your actions.
51. Shun criminals and murders.
52. Seek what you can earn.
53. Choose honest friends.
54. Challenge your character.
55. Share your gifts.
56. Start off positive.
57. Share your best work.
58. Maintain your limits.
59. Reward good deeds.
60. Shun jealousy.
61. Always be careful.
62. Acknowledge hope.
63. Despise accusations.
64. Earn what you receive.
65. Reward good actions.
66. Understand the judges.
67. Participate in family life.
68. Aim for positive outcomes.
69. Eschew cosigning.
70. Speak to communicate.
71. Seek friends like yourself.
72. Maintain slack in everything.
73. Enjoy what is easy.
74. Obey your shame.
75. Do tiny good deeds.
76. Whisper your positive goals.
77. Enjoy random events.
78. Observe and reflect.
79. Earn what you seek to own.
80. Avoid conflicts.
81. Prevent disgraceful actions.
82. Speak fairly.
83. Block improper actions.
84. Judge by accepted laws.
85. Finish your tasks promptly.
86. Judge by law not by interest.
87. Don’t slander absent people.
88. Speak from knowledge.
89. Suppress violent behavior.
90. See blessings, ignore sorrows.
91. Treat people gently.
92. Admire your completed works.
93. Help people to their goals.
94. Guide kids toward good ends.
95. Help your wife.
96. Take good care of yourself.
97. Give friendly greetings.
98. Set goals before deadlines.
99. Work hard and play fair.
100. Do your best and move on.
101. Show repentance quickly.
102. Keep your eyes on good goals.
103. Think tomorrow before action.
104. Keep actions purposeful.
105. Protect friendship as life.
106. Display your gratitude.
107. Reveal mutual interests.
108. Keep secrets secret.
109. Remember rulers’ obligations.
110. Make actions for mutual gain.
111. Say YES to opportunities.
112. Discuss mutual advantages.
113. Love old age as a gift.
114. Don’t boast about gifts.
115. Speak with kind thoughts.
116. Walk quietly away from hatred.
117. Earn money in fair ways.
118. Finish your tasks promptly.
119. Walk away from temptation.
120. Avoid unnecessary dangers.
121. Ask good questions.
122. Keep slack so you can finish.
123. Respect people’s silly beliefs.
124. Treat your dependents well.
125. Don’t challenge the departed.
126. Respect everyone, like elders.
127. Make fun games for kids.
128. Be open to people’s problems.
129. Treat yourself with respect.
130. Never force people to actions.
131. Think fondly of ancestors.
132. Risk dying for your country.
133. Use life as an opportunity.
134. Never disparage the dead.
135. Learn from the unlucky.
136. Be happy, shun debauchery.
137. Grieve losses, then move on.
138. Find healthy spouse for kids.
139. Make and accept no promises.
140. Honor all that is past.
141. Live vigorously.
142. Preplan responses to luck.
143. Explore everything.
144. Cultivate self-control.
145. Work your best options.
146. Exemplify tranquil living.
147. Die with pleasant memories.