I observe the numerous responses tbat people have to age. Some deny, some lie and some repress mortality and age. i reflect that i will be sixty one in under for weeks. . There is no doubt that that for many as we age learn to fear more. Perhaps as time accelerates we learn to resist age by insisting that things must not change. Cable makes the point that to look back on a mythical age that never was has shaped Brexit and tbe conservative outlook of many over 60
Bertrand Russell argued the opposite he said that life was like a river . He argued that as we approached the great sea of dissolution we should be free from prejudice and narrowness and share the insights and expanses of our experience with others.. in fact we should challenge more and resist more. I remember reading Russel at 14 and now at nearly 60 his words come back to me. There are too many who move to the opposite…thdy close down and fear the brown face, the young face and the different ideas. Yet it was the political manipulators who used this fear and drove us to a new fog in the English Channel.I find as I age I become more left wing. I mock myself more. I become more at ease in my eccentricities. I see more connections and I feel the tragedies and the comedies of the world far more. My mind is sharper as my eyes grow dimmer and I become less tolerant of fools, bigots and racists. I become kinder as well, more excitable and more touched by vulnerability. My fears can be stronger but my hopes and ecstasies mire profound and varied…perhaps I stand on the liminal boundary of being an old foolish man. Perhaps part old fart, part Old Testament prophet without a beard.. I think aging is part comedy and part satire as we become parodies of who we were and are.
Yet at this stage we offer so much so many possibilities. We become the elders .. perhaps we can transcend our prejudices and our fixed ideas. Being over 60 offers us the chance to challenge and dispute the vast majority of the over 60s who closed off by the Bluekipper plague wait in fear and anxiety for death. We should share our knowledge of history, take the long view and understand that there is nothing new under the Sun. Farage, Mosley fear of the other and the unknown we must be aware..
Perhaps this should be the time to blaze out with ideas and become trans personal as freed from ego and narrow conservatism we can do so much. I will do my best and will share my views and ideas long into the future. As the March Equinox nears there is a vast Summer and beyond that an Indian Sumner of Philosophy, left wing politics and renewal. You have been warned.
“The best way to overcome it [the fear of death]—so at least it seems to me—is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life. An individual human existence should be like a river: small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past rocks and over waterfalls. Gradually the river grows wider, the banks recede, the waters flow more quietly, and in the end, without any visible break, they become merged in the sea, and painlessly lose their individual being. The man who, in old age, can see his life in this way, will not suffer from the fear of death, since the things he cares for will continue. And if, with the decay of vitality, weariness increases, the thought of rest will not be unwelcome. I should wish to die while still at work, knowing that others will carry on what I can no longer do and content in the thought that what was possible has been done.” Betrand Russel
Why are there so many bitter old men and so few like Bertrand Russel….. ?