“Live Long and Prosper!” That priestly blessing of Spock has has stirred some worrisome speculations for me.
Yes, I admit it. I’m an avid Star Trek fan. I’m a fan of the TV series, not the movies, and of the original William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy version. I loved the clear messages of those shows: good guys won, but there were cultural communities that were different from our own and even though they looked and dressed differently, they could be allies and good too.
But to get back to my conundrum, I’m caught by the word “prosper.” What do we mean by that?
Clearly, we all hope to live a long time. But under what conditions? Prosperity connotes a sense of thriving, and we usually take that to indicate a sense of material wherewithal. To live long is a good thing if we can afford it, if we can enjoy the long life with the comfort of proper shelter and the necessities of living. Actually, we wouldn’t settle in our dreams for the necessities. We’d wish for more than that. We want the comfort of wealth that will allow for the extras – for travel, for luxury, even for extravagance.
Living a long life without the benefit of financial security is not a good end. I have seen the loss of dignity, of self-respect and even of love in the waning of financial resources at end of life crises. Moreover, families charged with the responsibility of caring for aging members can be pulled apart and left forever with bitterness instead of delightful memories.
But perhaps that most important wish for long life, the one that should forever be embedded in the blessing is for health. Aging is a process of increasing disability. After a certain age, it seems as if every day a different part of the body’s warranty is up. Fix this, and then go to another doctor. What a boring routine. What a bother. But without good health, the hope for long life is useless. It could turn into a curse. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
Live long and prosper should translate to a prayer for long life with health and a degree of resources. However, instead of waiting for the future, perhaps we need to look to our daily existence. Live today and be grateful. Don’t wait for the end of time, because it might not be so great. Long life is advantageous. What I have now is great. Enjoy and be blessed.