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Fountain of Youth Research Paper

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Fountain of Youth: History and Contribution to Society

Abstract

The fountain of youth was believed to be a myth to modern society, but some explorers had actually ventured out to find it. Explorers such as Juan Ponce de Leon had explored Florida, but other leaders claimed that they had fountain. According to different religions, the fountain of youth has had many different forms of blessing people with youthfulness. But, in popular culture, this myth can be found in various mediums illustrating its version of what can be restored when using this fountain, compared to how different religious cultures share their folktales. In the medical society, this myth could’ve been one of the further causes for the beginning of age restoration procedures or medicines introduced to the world. This eventually would evolve part of social culture and the image that people have to live up to.

History
In modern society, the myth of a fountain of youth could have been spread around as a fictional tale for entertainment purposes. The fountain had many versions of how it worked, but the most popular was a well that you drank from that would give you immortality or bestow rejuvenation in people. The location of this well would be unknown, but in history, a famous explorer, Juan Ponce De Leon had ventured out to find its actual location. One of the rumored ways Ponce de Leon had explored for the fountain of youth was to visit the islands of Bimini, the supposed location of where the fountain of youth could be found. Juan Ponce de Leon had communicated with the Native Americans and they had told tales of the mystical waters that would make you younger. After his voyage, he had not found the fountain, but only the islands of Bimini. This venture would later on would lead to the new discovery of Florida. According to an article, “Any records that Ponce de León kept of his two voyages have been long since lost to history.

The best information concerning his journeys comes to us from the writings of Antonio de Herrera y Tordesillas, who was appointed Chief Historian of the Indies in 1596, decades after Ponce de Leon’s journeys. Herrera’s information was likely third-hand at best. He mentions the Fountain of Youth in reference to Ponce’s first voyage to Florida in 1513. Here’s what Herrera had to say about Ponce de León and the Fountain of Youth: Juan Ponce overhauled his ships, and although it seemed to him that he had worked hard he decided to send out a ship to identify the Isla de Bimini even though he did not want to, for he wanted to do that himself. He had an account of the wealth of this island (Bimini) and especially that singular Fountain that the Indians spoke of, that turned men from old men into boys.

He had not been able to find it because of the shoals and currents and contrary weather”. (Fuson, Robert H. Juan Ponce de Leon and the Spanish Discovery of Puerto Rico and Florida) This Spanish explorer wasn’t the only to be associated with this myth, other explorers and rulers had rumored to search for rivers that removed the effects of aging or had the fountain of youth, such as King Prester John in the 12th century. (“Fountain of Youth—just Wishful,” n.d.). There weren’t any surviving documents of Ponce de Leon’s expedition creating the mysterious effect of if he ever fond the fountain. Impact in Popular Culture

Ever since the explorations of this mythical place, different medias such as movies and books tell the tale of this mysterious fountain, immortality, or rejuvenation. The most recent that display this scenario are movies like Pirates of the Caribbean’s: On Stranger Tides, where one of the characters had lifted cups that had read water of life. Two people had drank the waters of the fountain and one person had taken all the years the other person had left. In other literature, the book Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt, the book entails a family that had discovered waters that would give them immortality. Other movies such as Cocoon, The Fountain, and The Dark Crystal show different forms of the fountain.

Some include a swimming pool to restore health, but some could be in forms of elixirs to make someone gain their youth back of become immortal. In most forms of entertainment, movies have shown different variations of restoring age, restoring health, becoming immortal, or other forms of staying some way of young. The use of this repetitive image of youth could of exposed people now to the obsession of staying young over time. The overwhelming amount of ideas about immortality could be putting a negative impact on the current youth and what they have to live up to. Being young looking/immortal had become the new fad over the past several years of the new decade. Movies such as Twilight have disturbingly become one of the most popular occurring films to showcase immortality for a person. Yet, that aspect contributes to the conflict and makes overall entertainment better.

The use of science fiction in entertainment such as rejuvenation adds distinctive factors to the plot. Impact in medical field and effect on society

This myth couldn’t be a direct cause of the modern obsession for staying young. This could have been one of the many initial reasons why the medical society has expanded its research on creating more age-defying medicines. In most stores, there are creams, lotions, procedures, surgeries, etc that could make your appearance younger. This is mostly could be found as a part of Western culture. ” From legends of the Fountain of Youth, and the account of the rejuvenation of Aeson in The Golden Fleece, to the latest wonder drug, without fail science, magic, and medicine have pandered to the predominantly Western cult of youthfulness.

More than merely camouflaging a pandemic fear of death, the desire for rejuvenation is primarily a rejection of the infirmities and diseases of old age and a desire to retain or regain the beauty and vitality of youth.” (Blakemore & Jennett, 2001). Many thought that they could expand on the fountain by using other methods such as using aphrodisiacs, using the breath of younger adults, increasing their intake of vitamins/minerals, human growth hormones, and cellular therapy. ” This search for eternal youthfulness certainly isn’t new. “In 1,500 B.C. people were ingesting tiger gonads to rejuvenate them,” says Dr. Gene Cohen, a George Washington University expert on aging. ” (“Youthfulness a Costly American,” 2008) The obsession of staying younger or take years off of their appearance is ever growing in modern times. ”

It is a common sentiment in a society where many of us strive to look and feel decades younger — to prove to ourselves and the world that we are healthier and more vital than our parents were at our age. We’ve all heard it: 60 is the new 50, the new 40 and so on. But often, we need a little help. Sometimes, a lot of help. As the baby boomers march toward retirement, Botox, wrinkle fillers and hormones of various kinds have become big business. Medco’s latest drug trend report shows, for instance, that human growth hormone use grew almost 6 percent in 2007. ” (“Youthfulness a Costly American,” 2008). Some people go to extremes of staying young, just to be healthy for the longest moment.

“The quest to live forever and the desire to avoid diseases and not suffer” is understandable, says S. Jay Olshansky, a public health professor and longevity researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago. But it can make people vulnerable to far-fetched and potentially dangerous scams, he said, with some of the more bizarre including fetal cell injections, inhaling radon gas, even cutting off testicles, an ancient practice meant to reduce overexposure to reproductive hormones.” (“Youthfulness a Costly American,” 2008)

 

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