The Future of Aging as Reflected in José Saramago's Novel "Death with Interruptions" – Israel as a Case Study

Avi Bitzur


Humanity has won one of the most challenging battles ever presented to it – the struggle to extend human life and increasing life expectancy. Current data and the figures predicted for future generations forecast significant longevity, and humanity has ostensibly marked a monumental achievement: containing death.

This achievement, however, is not without its challenges. This essay argues that humanity is not ready to deal with the challenges posed by aging and the dramatic increase in longevity. As the number of older people increases, so will social, political, human, economic, and health issues that are naturally associated with older age. Society will face a so-called "human tsunami," or, alternatively, a "demographic revolution" in which man will find himself preoccupied with his elders in a world that has not prepared for such a revolution.

This essay will review José Saramago's masterpiece "Death with Interruptions," which sarcastically describes a world free of death that, in turn, must contend with a myriad of problems. Faced with the issues plaguing Saramago's "deathless" world, authorities attempt to exercise a series of macabre and preposterous solutions vis-à-vis an issue that has all but upturned the "human pyramid" in the book.

The novel will serve as the backdrop for presenting the case study at the heart of this essay, aging in Israel. I will present the existing situation in terms of aging-oriented services in Israel and the issues, obstacles and shortcomings of the system currently in place.

This essay strives to illustrate the fact that global and Israeli society alike, fall short of rising to the challenges presented by this revolution, as the communities, families and the formal and informal state systems are not ready for the dramatic rise in longevity and its implications.

Only nations that prepare themselves from social, religious, healthcare, economic, and organizational standpoints ahead of time will be able to properly deal with this phenomenon.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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