on aging

“Young is beautiful. Old is ugly. This attitude stems from a stereotyping deeply ingrained in our culture and in our economy. After all, we throw old things away—they are too difficult to mend. New ones are more desirable and up-to-date, incorporating the latest know-how. Old things are obsolete, valueless, and disposable. […] The cruelest aspect of this cultural attitude is the elders’ vulnerability to the stereotype. Some feel themselves to be unattractive, dull and, quite often, unlovable, and this depressing outlook only aggravates the problem. One response is to avoid looking or acting your own age at all costs. The result is, of course, humiliating failure. Another attitude is to let go, renouncing even rewarding interests and pleasures as unseemly. The acceptance of the stereotype then actualizes the stereotype itself.”

– Erik Erikson and others in Vital Involvement in Old Age

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