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Social Correlates of Longevity—Part II

(Josh Mitteldorf, ScienceBlog.com) When we think about things we can do to have longer, healthier lives, it’s the metabolism that comes to mind—diet, exercise, supplements.  It’s a surprising fact that (at least until the next generation of anti-aging technology becomes available) the most effective things we can do are not just psychological—they’re social.  Perhaps because we were raised in the most pathologically individualistic culture in the history of humanity, this seems hard to take in.  The message is to embed in your community and your family, to actualize your creative potential, to love the people around you, to celebrate life and connect, only connect.
Philosophers from Kant to Buber like to distinguish two ways that people may relate to one another.  One is utilitarian, using the person to help you make money or obtain something else that you want.  This kind of relationship needn’t be sinister.  There can be cooperation and mutual benefit, but the relationship is a calculated investment for personal gain.  The second kind of relationship is a core of human friendship or love or companionship or empathy that we value for its own sake, independent of whether we can get anything out of it...
Both utilitarian relationships of power and reciprocal relationships of love can contribute to longevity.  There is a longevity bonus attached to social status and power, and a separate correlation with family, sexual contact, and loving connection.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.