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Why Welcoming Older Age, Can Be an Option

Updated: 6 days ago

A beautiful house beside a hill.

Note: No intention of inflicting guilt upon anyone, is intended.

Ms. Tamara Moskal's Synopsis

Life can be seen as an escape from an infantile past, a choice to develop and contribute to the world above the enjoyment of hedonistic pleasures. Stereotypically, viewing older people as wiser is often inaccurate, as not every older person is wise, and wisdom can also be obtained at a younger age.
Therefore, ideas should be respected, regardless of age or neurodivergence. Extensive past experiences attributed to aging can only contribute to one's wisdom if reflected upon, questioned, and learned from. Youth is a state of illusion of knowledge. The philosopher embraces aging to gain more wisdom and witness the value of their legacy to their followers.

“It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable” - Socrates


Journey Towards Growth

Life, I believe, is like an escape from the past. The closer I was to the moment I was born, the more incomplete I felt. My logic was shaky, my interactions awkward and cowardly, and my sensitivity raw and infantile. No wonder I struggled with self-acceptance as a child and as a teen.

Continuing to live is my way of escaping this perceived imperfection, a constant pursuit of becoming better. I view each day not as an opportunity to seize, but as a problem to be solved. If I simply accept flaws as unchangeable or as worthy of acceptance, then why strive for improvement? Why shouldn't I work towards development, if it will not only help myself but others as well? Why, then learn, grow, and contribute, if life isn't problematic?

After all, my life can be utilized for world repair, or "Tikkun Olam". And I can only do so by becoming less ignorant and more impactful in the world. I thus prefer to help myself to contribute to the world, than to embrace myself and enjoy this life.

Age: Re-looking at Wisdom

There's a certain mystique surrounding older people, due to the positive stereotypes, along with pity, due to the positive's negative counterparts. They seem to radiate wisdom and possess a calmness forged by experience, but also technological incompetence. This perception, however, isn't always accurate, as with all stereotypes. While I once equated baldness with respect due to its association with age, I've come to realize that true wisdom transcends physical appearance, and age as well. Wisdom if anything is purely a cognitive faculty.

These components [of wisdom] appear to be localized primarily to the prefrontal cortex and limbic striatum.

If we want to be wiser, we shouldn't just let ourselves gain more and more experiences, we should study new experiences and also reflect on past experiences more often. Aging becomes a liability when we fail to protect our brains from cage-related ognitive decline using a healthy physical and mental lifestyle.

Life is a continuous learning process, and mistakes are, often, inevitable stepping stones. I'm comfortable with the idea of making them unintentionally, but the ever-present future does bring a touch of anxiety. Will I make fewer mistakes as time goes by, simply because of time passing? No. I must work on my intellect to prevent making mistakes I might regret and pay for. This line of thinking pushes me to constantly strive for growth and improvement, independent of my age.

Simply living life without much thought is a recipe for disaster waiting to come, and more than once. Having more life experiences only yield important results if we bother study them, and not forget them. Otherwise many of them would lose their potential to help us grow into better and wiser beings.

Youth carries the advantage of being further from the inevitable end. Perhaps this explains why some fear aging. Beyond that fear, though, is there a real reason to dread the passage of time, as long as we're still capable of doing what we wish to do?

A dream I once had, where I was mistaken for an elderly resident in a retirement home, was a thought-provoking experience. Despite my actual age, my cane (which I used during my chronic fatigue era) led to assumptions. However, the dream (and real life as well) was a reminder not to judge based on appearances. The mind isn't seen beyond the behavior it expresses, making it like a prison that can be quite invisible to other minds.

Just as I hated being treated like a child, even as one back then, I understand how condescending it can be to dismiss someone's ideas solely based on age or neurodivergence. While I may not have chosen to be young or neurodivergent, both are parts of who I am. Dismissing an idea because of someone's age is age-based discrimination and ad-hominem in general. Instead, ideas need to be tested independently of their presenter's irrelevant characteristics.

And of course, age is one of them. And in the age of contentism, much of who we are, as people, doesn't matter as much as the content we deliver.

Experience is a natural byproduct of aging, but it doesn't guarantee wisdom. The elderly may possess a wealth of knowledge, but age alone isn't the sole factor for their knowledge. Information is to be processed and assessed, questioned and criticized.

True wisdom lies in the ability to learn from experiences, adapt, and approach life with an open mind, expressed by the correct application of knowledge.

From Plato's Cave to the Light of Wisdom

Like a prisoner escaping Plato's cave of ignorance, I see youth as a state dominated by illusions of knowledge.  To emerge from this self-deception, we must strive towards the "light," a pursuit of truth beyond mere appearances.

As a philosopher, embracing aging becomes an act of liberation. It's a chance to shed the delusions of youth and ascend further on the path to wisdom.

Yes, the physical manifestations of aging – greying hair, potential hair loss – may come. There might be a shift in how we relate to younger generations, too. However, this is a fair trade for the potential gain in wisdom, as time marches on.

A true philosopher would readily accept this deal. The deal of staying alive, and see it through that his work is not only accomplished but stays for others to consume and enjoy.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

Life is also about utilizing the past to shape our futures. I can’t say all escapism is about ignoring stuff. A huge part of the future falls on being aware of where you are at. Taking a self inventory so to speak.... Any thought I have I will utilize my past to determine its validity.... Do you not increase your human capital through learning new things?

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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