08 January 2017

Fountain of Youth? Feels More like a Volcano

Call me an optimist. (Nobody ever does, but never mind.)

It's just that I continue to be fascinated by how often our human nature actually works, instead of merely dysfunctioning. Even during impatient, argumentative, easily offended times like these, most human creatures are intermittently rational. By fits and starts, if nothing else. Which means there may be a limit to how much insanity we can inflict on ourselves and each other before we start actually learning something. (Whether we ever graduate to the next level is a separate question.)

And so one day, I'm convinced - however and whenever this present time (1995-?) passes - we're going to begin figuring something out. Some day - perhaps in an Age less violently impatient and growth-worshiping, or less fiercely progressive and dynamic (or maybe even less for-darn-sure of its benign power to re-shape life and work, gender, family and reproduction?).

Someday we're going to begin to understand that all this cult of youthfulness, this spirit of young adulthood we keep trying to inject into our 90+ life-spans isn't just a crock. It is, in fact, just so much arrested development. If not tried, convicted and sentenced-to-life development. In short, what we nowadays call Progress is mostly a four-walled prison masquerading as an endless highway to (a singularly hellish kind of) heaven. And not just of ourselves as individuals, but of a whole Society: one that somehow goes on increasing exponentially its experience and sophistication while gaining almost nothing in commensurate wisdom: a New World(ly) Order bent on amassing, in less than a generation, far more information, skill and power than anyone could ever learn or benefit from in a thousand lifetimes. Much less digest - without serious food-poisoning - within the bounds of a single life.

On that Day, I believe, we shall finally stop bewailing how beastly hard it is to shepherd our young people through an adolescence that's becoming, every year, more unmanageable, more uncivilized, more savage and depraved, the more fiercely we grownups try to cling to it ourselves.

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