Saturday 10 March 2018

What is the purpose of old age?

According to modern Western culture the answer is: To Stay Young; but given that is impossible, to pretend to stay young (by simulating a youthful appearance and behaviour).

(The only praise ever given to an older person nowadays is that they don't look or behave as if they are old - they seem almost asif they are young... They could pass as younger - in the dark, with the light behind them...)

There is, in fact, no alternative to this indirect condemnation of ageing - because from a secular materialist perspective ageing is decline, and nothing-but decline - and that's just a plain immovable fact about-which nothing whatsoever can be done.

For mainstream discourse old age is degenerative.

The real purpose of old age is spiritual - objectively spiritual - hence necessarily invisible to secularism.

In reality, old age - properly considered - is developmental (not degenerative) it is an unfolding of purpose. From one positive purpose to another...

The development from mature adulthood to old age properly includes the following shifts of focus:

From material to spiritual
From current to eternal
From elsewhere to here

From evaluating to knowing
From complexity to simplicity

From social to universal
From motivation to being
From creativity to comprehension

From speaking to praying
From listening to meditating
...Thus from commun-ication to commun-ion 

From teaching to answering
And from answering what is asked - to answering what is needed.


Unknown said...

Following on from my last comment, and upon further thought, this real target of this idea is younger people. I imagine if you grew into old age without understanding any of this, it would probably be too late, because you wouldn't have even developed the preliminaries necessary for the final unfolding, so there would be no grounds for the final unfolding.

Thing is, for this to be credible to youth, it should come from a trusted old man, but if the culture says that old people are just "in decline", then why would we listen to anything they say, if they are just withered versions of ideal (young) man? They would have no special authority.

Again, the importance and necessity of escaping social programming via intuition is clear as crystal.

Bruce Charlton said...

@U - A list such as I provide has no traction, indeed no meaning at all, unless a person has *already* rejected the secualr materialism of modernity... otherwise everything just reduces to a hedonic calculus of feelings... pleasure/ suffering etc. That's what I intended by the phrase 'objectively spiritual'. For the spiritual purpose of old age to be mainingful entails that spiritual things are objective, real, universal...

Unknown said...

Absolutely. Saying this to a young person who doesn't believe spiritual values are real (objective) is as good as nothing, regardless of who it came from.

Another case which illustrates how interconnected the whole "delusion" is, and how it reinforces itself. And which therefore shows clearly that to regain sanity and clarity, you must necessarily reject it as a whole, not piecemeal or selectively. Leaving even traces of the delusion will infect everything else in due course, virus-like.

Bruce Charlton said...

@U - Agreed.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

"From current to eternal / From elsewhere to here"

Less focus on the temporal present, but greater focus on the spatial present?

Bruce Charlton said...

@WmJas - It doesn't work if you try to combine them to get a 'profile'. They are a sample of contrasts meant to highlight some changes - but I'm not hypothesising some kind of profile of mature adult versus old. And to get away from the prejudicial concept of competence - the old aren't 'better at' anything; the old have a different role in the developmenatl-trajectory that dervives from a different set of purposes, priorities - a different context... "better for" rather than "better at".