Otoom home page

Back to Parallels


Life expectancies

One of the parameters of the Otoom mind model is the connectivity of its functional elements. Higher connectivity - associated with a commensurate volume of such elements - means greater processing power for the output overall. The quality is reflected in better responses to one's environment, leading to a better quality of life in general.

Due to the interdependency of systems - actually, the subsystems making up wider and wider systems - information-rich cognition impacts positively on one's life.

There have been a number of studies shedding light on the life expectancy of humans through the ages. Such general evaluations match the overall environment at a certain period with the people's longevity. For example, we see that in classical Greece and Rome the average life span was 20-30 years, in medieval Britain it was the same, during the early 20th century it had reached 30-40 years and as of 1998 the world average stands at 67. But what about exceptional individuals - those that left their mark in history, to be recorded in our annals?

As main reference I have used the six-volume set of the Everyman's Encyclopaedia. Its 1726 pages are sufficient to list most of the famous people as we have come to know them; at the same time it is not so large that just about everyone who did something of some kind is featured. All in all there are 4643 individuals (omitted were those who came to a violent end and members of the aristocracy - preordained luxury does not count).

The following graph shows the average life spans of these people as they are listed in those pages, arraigned century by century. The complete set of tables, including a breakdown by century, can be found under Downloads (Life expectancies of famous people).

life expectancies chart
Note: The 1st century includes previous centuries

Far from adhering to the expected life spans the vast majority died at a ripe old age. What is particularly remarkable is the difference they managed to achieve in centuries usually not noted for their livability.

The lesson is clear: if you have an active mind chances are you have many years to practise your art; and if that is the case chances are you'll be remembered.


Paxton, J., (ed.), 1984, The New Illustrated Everyman's Encyclopaedia, Octopus Books Limited, London.

Life expectancy, 2007, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy.

Life Expectancy, The World Bank Group, 2001, http://www.worldbank.org/depweb/english/modules/social/life/index.html

16 Nov 2007

© Martin Wurzinger - see Terms of Use