Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) comments …
Since it is the privilege of the mind to rescue itself from old age, I advise mine to do so as strongly as I can. Let it grow green, let it flourish meanwhile, if it can, like mistletoe on a dead tree. But I fear it is a traitor. It has such a tight brotherly bond with the body that it abandons me at every turn to follow the body in its need. I take it aside and flatter it, I work on it, all for nothing. In vain I try to turn it aside from from this bond, I offer it Seneca and Catullus, and the ladies and the royal dances; if its companion has the colic, it seems to have it too. Even the activities that are peculiarly its own cannot be aroused; they evidently smack of a cold in the head. There is not sprightliness in [the mind's] productions if there is none in the body at the same time. (cited in S. Toulmin, Cosmopolis, 38)
What hope is there as we grow old, our bodies and minds fail? Friends and family once brilliant, daring, and beautiful now shuffle along in dull, spiraling decay. Do what they may to preserve the mind (let it grow green, let it flourish), it too follows the body and betrays. We are whole beings and thus move wholly toward physical and mental death.
For my body, I will take exercise, eat whole grains, take certain things in moderation, medicate it when ill, and thereby enjoy its pleasure and strength. For my mind, I will turn off the TV, interact with others, offer it poetry and Lewis, and thereby delight in its ability to reason and recall. And yet, I know decay and destruction wait in the wings. My 58 year old body and mind does not offer me much hope. My hope is in Christ and his resurrection of body and mind. This kind of hope does not fail nor will it decay.