The Machines Are Laughing
I wanted this blog entry to be of epic proportions – to be so amazing and mind blowing, but after reading the Tragedy section of “What Old People Are For?” I came to a realization: on the surface, it may appear no one cares about the older adult population but it in reality, this not caring is masked by fear. That’s right. I said it. Fear. People fear becoming older and the “baggage” they presume comes with it. The concept of the fountain of youth – no matter how elusive and mythical it appears – remains a serious discussion and conquest for those who wish to make it into a reality. As though anyone can defeat a natural process which has occurred since the beginning of time, but I digress. What further impresses me is how explosive the anti-aging industry has become. Its marketing ploy is genius in the fact it supports and perpetuates itself based off of fear. Who knew fear would fuel a million dollar industry – Hey! Let’s save the remainders of youth to fight off that disgusting, repulsive, raging fire of elder hood. I knew I should have taken my agriculture class more seriously in high school – those olives could have paid off my student loans! Just kidding – maybe.
My consciousness took another step on the intellectual stimulation ladder when the author pointed out the ironies of what many consider to be the largest, most advance time in history: The Age of the Machine. My mother once told me, technology would be the ruin of us all – which may be true, however machines may take the gold in this category. The creation of a machine to make society at large supremely sufficient has numerous advantages as you can witness throughout your everyday life, however it does come at a cost. We have become a society of people do more, want more, and demand more. The insistence upon DOING all the time – constantly garnering and generating of information, increasing productivity as skyrocketing rates, exhausting and expending our energies has created an illusion of false urgency of here and now. We have depleted the essence of what makes us human in exchange of being in “the greatest harmony with machines”. Our potential and general value and worth is now measured on a numeric scale and has been reduced to mere economics – productivity input and output, supply and demand economics. If that is the scale on which we are measuring people, then I must assume some older adults will be excluded if they are no longer to participate in these economics – although they can contribute in other areas.
I have also come to a greater understanding in the DOING – being relationship. Doing is reserved for adulthood simply because during that period in time, adults are consistently striving for more in all aspects of their lives as well as searching for meaning. The creation and attainment of goals, acquiring materials and possessions and most importantly, building an empire all define the essence of Adulthood. However, it is essential to be able to transition successfully from one stage to another. In the age of the machines, there is no transition from DOING – being; rather it is a constant cycle of DOING – even in the years spent in retirement. Ironically, we have become the machines we originally created.