Elders, Old People, Aging, and The Immortalists

At my friend Canova’s suggestion, I watched a documentary (available on Netflix) called “The Immortalists” that discusses people who are trying to find the solution to the aging “problem.” The effect would be that we become biologically immortal and would never die “naturally” of “old age.”

Currently, our paradigm dictates that aging is associated with wisdom and experience and such, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion. Certainly in my 30s I’m experiencing a life that’s happier and more fulfilled generally speaking than I ever did in my teens and 20s, and I won’t even touch my childhood in talking about this.

I know my physical health will likely decline- that’s part of the aging process- but another part of me is excited at the prospect of greater emotional maturity and balance, of having a greater range of experiences upon which to reflect, of solving a greater number of psychological complexes that threatened to destroy my life earlier on.

At this point, I want to establish what happens on the psychological level with the process of aging- people wind up, for the most part, in one of two categories. One either becomes an elder or an old person.

The difference between an elder and an old person is simple: both have had a lot of experience simply from living a long time, but the elder has reflected upon those experiences and gained wisdom and insight into life from them whereas an old person has simply become  a sort of cutlural fossil of the era in which they were raised. They have experience, but they may as well not have that experience.

So, I charge you with attempting to become an elder and not an old person because the former is a great thing while the latter is almost a sign of a wasted life.

The question (or one of the questions) Canova and I will have to discuss at this point is what it would mean for the process of aging to essentially come to a halt, at least on a visible level- what does it mean when society no longer has visible elders OR old people? Is there something we may also be missing about the aging process that we would discover? What if certain levels of mental maturity rely on structures of the brain changing? Would that be possible for someone who never ages past, say, 20? This would be a completely new paradigm, one we’ve never seen in the history of mankind, yet it’s running up to us pretty soon.

I think some pretty crucial truths are going to be revealed about mankind when this tough nut is cracked and we get to the meat of the matter.
Steve

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