Saturday, October 25, 2014

65 is the New 21

Roughly a century ago, a person of 21 could look forward to a life of "maturity," for another 30 years, and then it was time to prepare for the end -- of so few making it beyond 65.  In fact, that was such a given, that the initial founding of Social Security a few decades later, relied on the fact that so few would live very many years after they reached 65 -- and if they did, all the power to them to live as long as they could.

Now, pretty much the average person makes it to 65 -- and lives many years beyond, which is one of the unintended consequences of Social Security and other government assistance programs.  People who live better, live longer -- and those who prepare better to live longer, are unprecedented in human history and experience. With that lengthening of the life span, the smartest people will take as long as possible to prepare them for real life -- instead of the traditional 21 years, and in times past, maybe only 12 -- before they were finding their way in the world, on their own.

Even before the invention of mass factories employing child labor, children were often shipped off to earn a living as soon as they were able -- at the end of their childhood.  Adolescence then used to be a difficult time because many of that age physically as strong as adults -- but lacking the knowledge and experience in life, to be easily manipulated and exploited.  Formal education was a luxury few people had.  What they knew, they largely learned from their own experiences in life.  There was no mass media to tell everybody what to think.  Everyone had to figure it out for themselves.

Needless to say, it was not a very efficient and welcoming system and society, but a very difficult one -- and so few reached the age of 21 unscathed and unscarred -- as most do now.  That is now regarded as every child's birthright -- to have a happy and undeprived childhood -- for which the purpose of government now is to ensure, and even lengthen -- now pass the college years, until they can truly find their way in the world.  The norm is graduation from college but now that passage has been deferred indefinitely -- with the realization even, that some will never grow up -- no matter how long they live.

So it is quite possible, never fully to mature -- which is good and bad.  The good is not stopping to learn -- and "get on with it," prematurely before one really knows what they are doing -- while the bad is never having to feel one has to "grow up" and take full responsibility for their own lives.  One came into this world as an irresponsible baby, and leaves the world like an irresponsible baby -- requiring the care of others, to keep them alive.  At no point, do they ever exhibit any capacity or inkling, to care of themselves -- as their primary responsibility and meaning and purpose of their lives -- as symbolized by the age of maturity, self-sufficiency, and independence.

Such discussions, are even deemed "politically incorrect" -- to hold anyone accountable for their actions, thoughts and behaviors -- as the essential social contract.  Rather, they are inculcated with the notion that everything in life is random behavior -- and so there can be no consequences, no causes, no effects.  People are just enabled to do whatever they want to do -- and the more entertaining, the better -- but it all signifies nothing, or better, whatever one wants it to.

In an earlier time, this coming of age and responsibility as a truly mature person of society, was the advanced age of 21 -- when the life expectancy was 42, and now it is twice that -- and better, but significantly for those living better lives.  That may take them their entire adulthood to accomplish -- and then they are "retired," and not expected to work hard anymore to support themselves.  It is only at that time, that most achieve that independence in the new world of freedom from want and hardship -- that formerly characterized human society, history and its literature.

The world has changed so dramatically -- particularly in these last hundred years, and especially in the last twenty, that life is very different now -- obviously to everyone but those still insisting that there is nothing new, and that history just repeats itself -- and so should they.  But even as much as people will admit that life is very different now -- from even twenty years ago, most are not aware of the magnitude of those changes -- to realize that the age of 65, is really the milestone that 21 was previously.

The progression, has been geometric and not linear.  The difference has been a quantum leap in human evolution and lives -- particularly for those who can embrace that reality.  Each now has access to the total knowledge and information -- which would have taken years, if not lifetimes, to learn -- which no longer has to be learned, but only accessed, used, and forgotten -- just as quickly and easily, to be able to move on -- to the next thing they need to know.  

Such a mind, never grows old -- but is always learning something new, and not simply repeating the old, as the old are wont to do.  That is what makes them "old" -- and that can happen at any age in life -- when an individual stops growing, and decides that they know "enough" -- not to have to learn anything more, or new.  Those who stop that learning at 21, age in the predictable familiar manner; those who don't stop that learning at 65, create possibilities for themselves they could not even imagine before.

That is how much life has changed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Senior" Citizenship

Arguably the greatest milestone in every life, is reaching the status of full, or senior citizenship -- when one is entitled to all the benefits of living in their society.

Until then, one has to struggle largely on one's own -- feeling "less entitled" -- until the day one reaches the magical age of 65 -- when the entire machinery of that society, is now dedicated to helping one out.

Early benefits can be obtained at 62 -- or even earlier, if one is judged "disabled," but no questions asked entitlement, begins for most at 65 -- when Medicare also kicks in.  Then the great equalizer is how healthy one is -- all things being equal, because at that point, one will be as equal to anyone else -- with the machinery of the government and society, now on one's side.

For most, that means not being completely dependent on the vagaries of the market and "other people's opinion," to largely determine what one's choices will be.  At that point, nobody cares -- if one conforms or not to the tyranny of opinion -- because they'll continue to receive their full entitlements, whether anybody approves of them -- or not.

That's a huge advantage to have -- that most will not feel fully entitled to, until they reach the milestone of full (senior) citizenship -- with all the seniority rights, of no longer being held to account -- to anyone else, but themselves -- at which point, accounting to oneself, was never so important -- leaving woefully too many, totally unprepared -- for that responsibility and accountability in their lives.  That is also one's greatest opportunity -- to choose the life one wishes to live, or more accurately, is the karma of one's life -- up to that point.

The person one is then, is the summation (result) of the life one has lived -- that earns them their entitlement for life beyond.  Obviously, one hopes to embark on that stage of life, in the best condition of one's life -- rather than reaching the point of despair that life cannot get any better, but only worse, from here on out.  Those latter, have failed to prepare themselves for the fulfillment of their lives as the golden years of their existences.

That period should not be the beginning of decline and deterioration -- if one has learned all their lessons correctly.  Of course, many will have learned all the wrong things in life -- and done them, to their detriment.  But life doesn't have to be that way -- in the actualizing world of full functionality -- rather than the old paradigm of dysfunction, still acceptable to many, as the only way life can be -- and particularly, end.

Life doesn't have to be -- and end that way -- short, nasty and brutish anymore.  It can have whatever ending, and meaning, one can imagine it being -- and living that way.  That means living healthy and intelligently -- as the way to ensure one's best health and well-being, and no longer just leaving it to chance, and the arbitrariness of others -- to determine for all, how best everyone should live their lives.  Everyone, as a "senior" citizen, has a right to determine that for themselves.

But many, will not know how to rise to that challenge and golden opportunity in their lives,  because they've never prepared themselves for that possibility -- and the possibilities, but have only done what they were told -- for the benefit of those telling them what to do.  So doing what is for their own benefit, is something that many have never been taught to do, discovered for themselves -- or even thought possible.  That's how the world fundamentally changes -- upon reaching senior citizenship status -- that even people who have thought they've prepared for that stage of their lives, have largely missed the point -- thinking it is simply the continuation of life as usual, but one is older, and less capable -- rather than rightly, as being at their most powerful.

At that point, money is not as important a differentiator as the vested interests would have us continue to believe -- because what is even more important at that point in life, is all the knowledge, information and experience one has learned in their lives -- that leverages any amount of money.  "A fool and their money is quickly parted," has been known for ages.  But a wise and intelligent person, will find a way -- no matter how daunting the situation may first seem -- because that is their learned response to a problem -- to solve it, rather than  accept and give into the problem as their inescapable reality.

The solution may not come immediately, or in the next few days -- but they will continue to work on it -- all their life if need be, until they resolve it.  That is the meaning and purpose of their lives that they have dedicated themselves to -- that persists long after they have stopped working at any job -- simply for the money, power, status, etc.  They have created a meaning for their life -- which keeps them going far more compellingly and powerfully than the usual incentives -- that when they stop for most, leads to their disintegration and deterioration -- because that motivating force that was the vitality of their existence, has disappeared.

So while one is still young, or more importantly, at any age -- one is preparing oneself for the best life one can envision -- and manifest.  It is not simply life as we have known it in the past -- but a whole new way of being that has not existed before.  That is the work of man -- and all humankind -- to be all that one can be.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

The Best of Times

There is a conspiracy by "The Media" to convince us that these are the worst of times -- rather than as always, the best of times -- as life is getting better as evidenced by there being not only more lives, but as longer lives, as well as many more, living as well as only one person could do previously.  That is to say, that the "average" person, now lives like only kings could -- even 50 years ago, maybe even 20.  For one thing, the "average" person, now knows as much as only a rare few had access to -- only 20 years ago, and it is this increase in knowledge, that is the greatest measure of one's quality of life, as indicative of choices one has -- unlike the person of a poor quality of life, who has no options.

That used to be the world we lived in -- as recently as 20 years ago, when the World Wide Web was just beginning to include most people in the world -- especially in the developed countries.  There, the possibilities of life, multiplied geometrically -- truly limited only by what we knew, and chose to know.  This is the major difference between people -- living in these times -- or not.  Many can still choose to live in a much more limited and oppressed times -- the times of their grandfathers, and before that, the fathers of their nations.

Such people who are like the proverbial Rip van Winkle who fall asleep for 20 years, and wake up to find that the whole world has changed -- but they have only grown old, and not wiser -- in those last 20 years.  So they alone, have not improved, and stayed connected to the current life all around them -- but have cut themselves apart from the vital movement of life that keeps improving -- because that is the way of life.  It must improve, or face a certain death, and before then, deterioration because they fail to embrace the opportunities of their time -- by taking in new information, but are convinced that information thousands of years old, have not improved since then, and the caveman's brute force, is still the law of the land, and the arbiter of every difference of opinion and judgment.

Such people think that the only way to settle that difference of perspective, is to fight it out -- until the other is dead, or so crippled and compromised, as to no longer be able to express another perspective -- but the one, that they champion and enforce -- as their station and duty in life.  Sometimes entire cultures think that way -- and think it is the only way to think -- and those who don't think so, must be punished and killed, which of course, is the carryover of a medieval times and mentality.  Some people are still living that way -- but not those who feel they have all the choices in the world offered in today's marketplace of ideas, goods and services.

That is also the answer to the question of "Where is the Best Place to Live?"  In that area that allows one the greatest choices of the possibilities -- and not just the one, so-called perfect one for all times, places and conditions -- that allows no further improvement, no progress in understanding.  The solution that may have worked 20 years ago when one was 40 -- may not work when one is 60 -- and rather than accept that that is the way it is, the proper course, is to find a solution that works now.  That guarantees that one will live in the best of times -- and not just in some distance past and memory -- that things were perfect before, and never the best of the present -- which now is what one is convinced, is all they can expect forevermore.

Time reveals that what they thought was the truth -- was just a thought, and not the the truth.  The truth, is always discovered and revealed in the present moment -- and not simply a remembered thing.  That kind of truth, has no validity -- if it doesn't stand the test of the present moment.  It is not that people grow old and increasingly incompetent, but that what they knew to be true, has been revealed in time, to be false.  It has failed to prove the test of time.

That is why a lot of exercise and practices that seemed to work when one was young, doesn't work when one is older.  It is not that the body fails, but the knowledge one was so certain of -- fails spectacularly, when it has to face the ultimate test.  One can believe that simply lifting the most weight or running the most miles will keep one young for eternity -- rather than causing most people to abandon their efforts, because they now obviously destroy one's health and viability.  At which point, many abandon all efforts -- and fall into the despair of thinking that nothing can be good anymore -- rather than that they need to look for better answers, and that what they thought they knew unfailingly for all time, needs to be rethought, re-examined, relearned -- just as when they were experiencing the best times of their lives -- learning everything because they didn't know everything -- especially all that turned out not to be true, relevant, or valid.

That discovery, is the best of times.