Sunday, May 13, 2018

Old Age

"The popular approach is: “Keep alive a zest for living in the elderly, by encouraging them to continue old hobbies, or to develop new ones.” Now preoccupation with games and hobbies, the overemphasis on recreation, while certainly conducive to eliminating boredom temporarily, hardly contribute to inner strength. The effect is, rather, a pickled existence, preserved in brine with spices.

Is this the way and goal of existence: to study, grow, toil, mature, and to reach the age of retirement in order to live like a child? After all, to be retired does not mean to be retarded. What is the role of recreation in the life of the aged? Is it merely to serve as a substitute for work one has done in earlier years? It seems to me that recreation is serving a different purpose, and that an overindulgence in recreational activities aggravates rather than ameliorates a condition it is trying to deal with, namely the trivialization of existence. In the past it was ritual and prayer that staved off that danger. For thousands of years human existence was not simply confined to the satisfaction of trivial needs. Through prayer and ritual man was able to remain open to the wonder and mystery of existence, to lend a tinge of glory to daily deeds."