Why do different organisms have different lifespans? PART 1 (The PHILOSOPHY)

Since we can consider 40 as the turning point or mid point in a human’s life, then just  as an exercise in imagination, let’s say 40 is as the oldest one gets, after which each year one moves back through their youth (midlife crisis?) towards a childlike age… look to folk tales for this analogy:

The Grimms’ “The Duration of Life,” 1840:

“When God created the world he gave the ass, the dog, the monkey, and man each a life-span of thirty years. The ass, knowing that his was to be a hard existence, asked for a shorter life. God had mercy and took away eighteen years. The dog and the monkey similarly thought their prescribed lives too long, and God reduced them respectively by twelve and ten years. Man, however, considered the thirty years assigned to him to be too brief, and he petitioned for a longer life. Accordingly, God gave him the years not wanted by the ass, the dog, and the monkey.

Thus man lives seventy years. The first thirty are his human years, and they quickly disappear. Here he is healthy and happy; he works with pleasure, and enjoys his existence. The ass’s eighteen years follow. Here one burden after the other is laid on him; he carries the grain that feeds others, and his faithful service is rewarded with kicks and blows. Then come the dog’s twelve years, and he lies in the corner growling, no longer having teeth with which to bite. And when this time is past, the monkey’s ten years conclude. Now man is weak headed and foolish; he does silly things and becomes a laughingstock for children.”

Or in the words of Shakespeare’s As You Like It:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

Reference: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/aging.html#stages

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