The Fountain of Youth


Do wrinkles bother you?  Does the fact that your hair is changing color or letting loose bother you?  Are the aches and pains that you experience when you first get out of bed in the morning a cause for concern?  When younger people suggest that you may be out of touch are you offended but wonder if they may be correct?  Do you check the obituaries in the newspaper or online regularly?  Have you noticed lately that many of your friends from the past are no longer alive?  Do you have a secret fear of your personal security for the future?  Have you noticed that your children are tactfully disallowing more of your personal independence as time passes? Growing old is a fact of life that each of us must deal with if we continue to live.  The changes that gradually take place in our bodies, our relationships, and our daily activities eventually become acutely matters of alarm.  Many take counter measures to offset the appearance of age.  Some try exercise; some try dieting; many use artificial aids such as hair dye, plastic surgery, hair and teeth implants, skin creams, anti-wrinkle solutions, and Botox treatments.  At night in the privacy of the home, however, reality is faced each day – age is taking its toll on the body. Many would quickly pay the price for a plunge into a fountain of youth.  For thousands of years urban legends have been shared regarding that special miracle pool where you could either drink or bath your age away. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote of this fountain.  The Alexander romance, mythical stories about the exploits of Alexander the Great describe the fountains existence.  The legends of Prester John from the 12th to the 17th century tell of this man who allegedly was a descendant of one of the Three Magi.  He was a generous ruler and a virtuous man, who ruled in a realm full of riches and strange creatures.   His kingdom contained such marvels as the Gates of Alexander, the Fountain of Youth, and it even bordered the Earthly Paradise.  The thirst for the waters of youth became especially prominent in the 16th century when the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon in search of the Fountain of Youth instead discovered what is now Florida (1513). Since then, the legend has moved into the laboratory.  The news item from this lesson discusses the current interest in reversing the aging process.  It opens up the possibility for a number of subjects to be discussed, but this lesson will concentrate on the fear of death.

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