“If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
Attributed to Mickey Mantle as well as others; this represents an interesting and seemingly inverse relationship between doing that which is considered “unhealthy,” and the expected result. Granted that this is generally stated quasi-comically, but the paradox nevertheless remains.
Most are familiar with other similar paradoxical situations, where the outcome was much different than that which was expected. Few have not heard stories about the friend, relative, or famous person who did everything “right;” and yet nevertheless passed on at an incredibly young age. And there are always those who did everything “wrong;” and yet nevertheless outlived even the children of all of his or her contemporaries.
This is not to say that “healthy living” is not likely to increase both “health” and longevity; but rather that this alone is grossly insufficient—and in some instances might even be counterproductive. One could try and argue that the man who smoked and yet lived to, or close to 100; (George Burns and Eubie Blake come to mind respectively); would have lived much longer had he stopped. One could also argue the reverse. But neither represents the point.
Doing what is healthy in the material is good. However; this material contribution to health and longevity is dwarfed by man’s other; but only seemingly unrelated; behaviors. As Ayn Rand pointed out; “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.”
Understand the system, and solve the paradox.