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  1. #1
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    Default In a throw-away society is longevity of little value?

    In a throw-away society is longevity of little value?

    For a period of some two hundred years America had an every moving new frontier. One of the appeals of this ever-present frontier was the sense that there was always a place for the rugged individualist. A place existed for the individual who was enthused about the prospect of uninhibited growth where each individual could test his or her capacity to be all they could be. No one had an edge over the other person beyond character and motivation.

    Darwins theory teaches us that mating and reproduction is the means whereby the species adapted to a changing environment and thereby created the possibility for survival of the species. Generally speaking the human species stops this procreation process before the age of fifty. Biological evolution generally provides no means for adaptation in our species beyond fifty years of age.

    Human instrumental rationality has created a technology that continually increases the longevity of individuals of our species. Instrumental rationality is the ability to determine and execute the best means for reaching an established goal. We have determined the goal of ever extending life to be a valuable goal and are constantly extending human longevity.

    Simultaneously with an extended life span we are continually shortening the social value of longevity. Like the rest of our commodities we have a throwaway culture for long-lived persons. Our society seems to mimic biological evolution in placing fifty years as the end of adaptability concern. Biological evolution terminates concern for those beyond the age of reproduction and our culture terminates concern for those beyond the age of commodity production.

    Biological adaptation has abandoned us after fifty, our instrumental rationality is responding to our unexamined desire to prolong life; how do we manage to survive as a species if we do not find a rational means to engage this challenge? The challenge is to improve the societal value of human life after fifty.

    Where is the ever-moving frontier of expectations for the man or woman beyond the age of fifty? Is age beyond fifty to remain a throw-away social value?

    I claim that longevity can provide a greatly needed value for our culture, provided that each of us begin developing an intellectual life after our school daze are over. That is to say, if by mid-life we have prepared our self to provide to society an intellectual sophistication that this society badly needs we can then donate a great deal of sophisticated intellectual energy to our culture in those long years that are presently devoted to little constructive activity. This intellectually sophisticated energy can prove to be very beneficial to a culture that is badly lacking in this very important ingredient.

    Our society badly needs a cadre of men and women who have grown in intellectual sophistication while growing old in years. Such individuals can provide the Dutch uncles and Dutch aunts to serve the function that village shamans provided to more primitive societies.

  2. #2
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    By all means, instead of rotting away or indulging yourself in the lazy luxuries of retirement, become a community leader. Help troubled kids and be like a grandfather. Be active and engaged. Wtf is a community without elders? You cannot have one.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

  3. #3
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    I don't think it's as big a problem as you're imagining...

    First of all, not everyone over 50 automatically retires or stops doing the things they did before. There are some people over 50 who still manage to perform adequately at the same job they had at age 40 or possibly even 30.

    I think the incidence of this will increase once our technology gets better at extending vitality and appearance as well as life. Ideally, it would be possible to avoid extending the life span further, but to allow people to die at age 80 or 100, just as fit and youthful looking as they were at age 30 or 40.

    I've always thought that one of the more disturbing aspects of human nature isn't that we die, but that we seemed destined to slowly wither to an ugly, feeble state with most of our faculties decaying and malfunctioning before it happens. By the time most of us die, we've already lost too much of who and what we were in better times to even care anymore. Our bodies often outlive our minds and personalities, in other words.

  4. #4
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    I've always thought that one of the more disturbing aspects of human nature isn't that we die, but that we seemed destined to slowly wither to an ugly, feeble state with most of our faculties decaying and malfunctioning before it happens. By the time most of us die, we've already lost too much of who and what we were in better times to even care anymore. Our bodies often outlive our minds and personalities, in other words.
    I often think that if it were not for the gradual enfeeblement of progressing age, there would be much less pressure on individuals to open their hearts in time. Your elders would not come into the wisdom we associate with age as well. Mortality is that for which the pride of youth dulls itself and the individual comes progressively into the spirit of giving, of gentleness and kindness. And so they come into knowledge. Death is one of the most beautiful agents in our culture, and allows for consciousness to subsist. Without death, there is no consciousness.

    Of course, Alzheimer's does little for the individual it affects, yet it still allows for a different kind of lesson to the rest of us, so it is not entirely a waste.

    Everything, even our progress against the problems of old age is beautiful. Nothing goes to waste.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bushranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antireconciler View Post
    I often think that if it were not for the gradual enfeeblement of progressing age, there would be much less pressure on individuals to open their hearts in time. Your elders would not come into the wisdom we associate with age as well. Mortality is that for which the pride of youth dulls itself and the individual comes progressively into the spirit of giving, of gentleness and kindness. And so they come into knowledge. Death is one of the most beautiful agents in our culture, and allows for consciousness to subsist. Without death, there is no consciousness.

    Of course, Alzheimer's does little for the individual it affects, yet it still allows for a different kind of lesson to the rest of us, so it is not entirely a waste.

    Everything, even our progress against the problems of old age is beautiful. Nothing goes to waste.
    I explicitly reject this notion, the enfeeblement of old age is merely a side effect of the nature of our mortality. Wisdom comes with age and experience, but we rarely gain anything from weakness.
    I've met too many wise souls in their 20s and too many bitter old men and women to mistake age and enfeeblement with wisdom.

    The only thing to be gained from observing an affliction like Alzheimer's disease is a deep and abiding hatred for the cruelty of the 'Natural order of things'.

    Suffering is never beautiful. Wisdom comes from the exercise of living, not the exercise of dying.

    I believe that a lot of the reluctance to open our hearts is due to the insecurity we feel about ageing. We can spend so much time and effort preparing for old age that we forget to get on with the process of living.
    I'll get you my pretty, and your little hermit crab too!

  6. #6
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    To gain in intellectual sophstication demands that one become intellectually active. One can not gain wisdom via social osmosis.

  7. #7
    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushranger View Post
    I explicitly reject this notion, the enfeeblement of old age is merely a side effect of the nature of our mortality. Wisdom comes with age and experience, but we rarely gain anything from weakness.
    I've met too many wise souls in their 20s and too many bitter old men and women to mistake age and enfeeblement with wisdom.

    The only thing to be gained from observing an affliction like Alzheimer's disease is a deep and abiding hatred for the cruelty of the 'Natural order of things'.

    Suffering is never beautiful. Wisdom comes from the exercise of living, not the exercise of dying.

    I believe that a lot of the reluctance to open our hearts is due to the insecurity we feel about ageing. We can spend so much time and effort preparing for old age that we forget to get on with the process of living.
    Well said, and I agree, although I cannot share the hatred you speak of.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    To gain in intellectual sophstication demands that one become intellectually active. One can not gain wisdom via social osmosis.
    How much can you answer with your mind? How much through love? So there are active and passive elements both at work. It is not so straightforwardly simple.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

  8. #8
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    I think we're on the horizon of an interesting global demographics shift. i.e. The 2010 census shows that the "average american" no longer exist.

    What that used to be defined as is a married 2 parent family with children, living under
    the same roof. The average age of industrialized populations all over the world has
    increased exponentially, there are more people over 40 living today than there are of
    younger ages.

    Further, 33 percent of all Americans under the age of 35 are single and still living with their parents. Caucasians are now a minority in four US states. The world is a changing.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sLiPpY View Post
    Further, 33 percent of all Americans under the age of 35 are single and still living with their parents.
    Are you serious? D;

    /depressing
    Ti = 19 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Te = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ne = 16[][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fi = 15 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Si = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Ni = 12 [][][][][][][][][][][][]
    Se = 11[][][][][][][][][][][]
    Fe = 0

    -----------------
    Tiger got to hunt, bird got to fly;
    Man got to sit and wonder why, why, why;
    Tiger got to sleep, bird got to land;
    Man got to tell himself he understand

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blank View Post
    Are you serious? D;

    /depressing
    Unfortunately, yes... and agree it's depressing as hell.

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