CANE Writing Contest 2018

The CANE Writing Contest is now available for students and teachers. Download the guidelines at this link. A brief description is below.


“‘…sed iam felicior aetas
terga dedit, tremuloque gradu venit aegra senectus,
quae patienda diu est (nam iam mihi saecula septem
acta vides): superest, numeros ut pulveris aequem,
ter centum messes, ter centum musta videre.
Tempus erit, cum de tanto me corpore parvam
longa dies faciet consumptaque membra senecta
ad minimum redigentur onus: nec amata videbor
nec placuisse deo;…’”

–Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV.142-150


On 25 January 2018, the novelist, Dara Horn, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times about “The Men Who Want to Live Forever”:

“Would you like to live forever? Some billionaires, already invincible in every other way, have decided that they also deserve not to die. Today several biotech companies, fueled by Silicon Valley fortunes, are devoted to ‘life extension’ – or as some put it, to solving ‘the problem of death.’”….As the longevity entrepreneur Arram Sabeti told The New Yorker: ‘The proposition that we can live forever is obvious. It doesn’t violate the laws of physics, so we can achieve it.’”


In the passage cited above, the great poet, Ovid (43 BCE – 17/18 CE), gives voice to the Cumaean Sibyl who knows a little something about living a long, long, long, long, long life. Using this passage as a starting point, imagine that these contemporary immortality-seeking billionaires pay a visit to Cumae. What advice do you imagine the Sibyl would give to these men trying to find a way to live forever?