Choices (Buffy, Season Three, Ep 19)


The end of high school approaches, and with it, questions about the future:  what will happen to the Scoobies next year?  Will they go to college?  Where?  Willow was accepted to Oxford (“That’s where they make Gileses”), among other top universities.  We aren’t told if Willow received an offer from a specific college at Oxford, and being an Oxford student, I wonder which college would have suited her best?  (I’m guessing Merton or Worcester, personally.)

As for the ongoing fight against the Mayor’s plan to turn himself into a demon, the Scoobies concoct a plan to enter City Hall and steal the box containing an essential ingredient in the Mayor’s alchemical process.  Buffy manages to get the box, but while Willow also gets into City Hall, Willow ends up getting captured by Faith.  A hostage ransom is arranged in which the Mayor and Faith exchange Willow for the Black Box containing creepy-crawlies the Mayor needs to eat in order to become invincible.  The exchange happens, but not before the Mayor gets to add his two cents to the Buffy-Angel romance dilemma:  Buffy is mortal, and will continue to age.  Angel will theoretically live forever, and remain youthful and physically unchanging.

The Chinese medical problem in this episode is thus diagnosed by the Mayor in that monolgue:  Buffy needs to become an immortal.

Achieving immortality is the realm of Daoist medicine, and we have several sources to whom Buffy could turn for help in such a quest.  All it takes is a touch of alchemy, a touch of herbal medicine from the Divine Farmer, and a little bit of time.  I have already posted on herbs listed by the Divine Farmer for achieving immortality, and won’t reprise them here.

Failing immortality, however, we have longevity.

Chronic disease-free extreme longevity just happens to be one of the two topics on which I focus my studies.  In terms of Western medicine, cross-cultural research has demonstrated that centenarians in the longest lived communities share certain traits in common, as illustrated in the diagram below:

Overlapping traits shared by three communities of Centenarians. (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

They eat a mostly vegetable based diet (fresh vegetables, not canned or processed).

They don’t exercise for health, but incorporate exercise into their daily lives, doing things the long and slow way:  walking up stairs, splitting their own wood, preparing food.  In terms of Chinese medicine, Tai ji and Qi Gong win out over intense cardio exercises.

They have a reason for getting up in the morning.

They have a circle of close friends, often people they’ve known for 80+ years.

They don’t smoke, and often don’t drink alcohol.

They put family ahead of other concerns.

Of these traits, Buffy’s diet (especially in Season Six) seems to be the principle culprit.  Perhaps she and Angel should have moved to Northern California.  Otherwise, Buffy is well on the road to longevity:  She doesn’t seem to smoke.  She is rarely portrayed drinking (with the notable exception of ‘Beer Bad’).  She obviously incorporates exercise into her daily life.  She’s got a reason for getting up in the morning, despite the fact she often feels the burden of being the Slayer.  She also has a circle of close friends whom she puts first, as this episode demonstrates.  That circle of friends is indeed what the writers of the series continually point out have made Buffy the longest-lived and most remarkable slayer of all.

As always, these posts are for informational purposes only.  For more research on ways to increase your own longevity, do an online search using the term ‘Blue Zones’ or ‘Longevity Hot Spots’.  If you feel Daoist medicine may help you in such a quest, please find a qualified practitioner.

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