It’s been a human tradition and necessity, from way, way back in time, that “old humans” have a precarious existence, living moment to moment between the real terror of life in general, and the iffy proposition, “Will my children feed me or let me die?” And the terror of becoming feeble, helpless, useless and praying for an overdue death.
Suggested viewing: The film, The Ballad of Narayama, 1958. In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close …
There is another side to this: during most of human history, living to old age was a real accomplishment. Those who did so had likely hit the genetic lottery at birth, managed to survive Nature’s ruthless culling of infant children, and were the product of a proper lifestyle for a curiosity-driven bipedal ape; a steady adequate diet, moderate to strenuous daily exercise and lots of time for play, group learning and meaningful work, above and beyond survival. This scenario no longer prevails.
Old people were rare embodiments of success, and the equivalent of the Google search engine for their people. Whether or not “old” was counted as 30-70 years, that’s a lot of experience tucked away in one brain. Old Humans were knowledge sources and critical to family and group continuation. Extinction of bipedal ape species in the conquest of Earth environments is common; so common that Homo sapiens is reportedly, the Last Homo Standing. Thus, rarity + value to the group = success for the individual. RARITY is the point.
Old people are no longer rare! How many “old people” exist on earth today?
Way too many.
In Capitalist societies this creates a massive problem. Cultural concepts like wisdom, judgement, guidance, tradition, common sense – “eternal fact” – any knowledge that represents the totality of data processed for meaning by a human brain and stored in memory – information that has collected over generations, and as been re-examined and applied in the light of the challenges experienced in the ongoing present, has been utterly discredited as “old–fashioned” and is presently held to be the root of all social evil – the cause of all untidy human behavior, prejudice, and obstruction of a “free” global economy.
Suggested viewing: Rollerball, 1975 Trailer; full movie also available on youtube. https://youtu.be/E3BUMSY2xsQ?list=PLVb5Jn98DSgt81RpkL_y_6w8GR8emCfdJ
Communication in the new “data” paradigm is retarded at the “data” level. Processing for “meaning” in the modern world is a delusion: data collection, speed of transfer, stripping of context, and extreme abstraction do not create meaning but deny meaning. These current systems are so remote from human experience and comprehension, that even the most clever humans are forced into abject worship of the “magic allure and primacy of instant results” regardless of the utility of those results. No one is able to critically evaluate the consequences of relying on these extreme abstractions, and attempts to do so utilizing more abstraction (and more created data), by further processing and mathematical manipulation.
One stated goal of the “artificial intelligence community” is to duplicate the acknowledged superior range of functions that the average human brain is performing right now: and let’s not forget other magnificent versions of “operating systems” in living organisms that are active all over the planet, but “disappearing” due to our voracious need to convert “the universe” into data. A “species” is no longer a living form, but a genetic code that is stored; this is considered to be a valid substitute for the living organism, which is then “allowed” to become extinct.
Note: The “DNA code” is not the organism; you can have a recipe for chocolate cake, but it is not the cake! You can’t eat the recipe. You have to “create” the cake from actual ingredients. It’s the same “magical thinking” problem: neurotypicals believe in the “power” of words (codes, formulas, languages) to “create reality” – this is an infantile “magic spell” concept of reality.
The organic brain is the result of 3.5 billion years of tried and true research and development by natural evolutionary processes, but Man has declared it to be obsolete.
The “social value” of data collection and hoarding is the “discovery” that actual humans are unnecessary to the survival of Homo sapiens. Extinction is not a “possible or probable” hypothesis for the “last Homo standing” – it has already occurred. If Western Psychology and the tyranny of reductionist gene theory have their way, every last human will be found to be a defective organism produced by mistakes in the evolutionary substance of DNA – “Life” is a pathology that must be done away with in pursuit of a relentless goal; that of conformity to social abstractions.
The elevation of the mirage that “data is meaning” is the opposite of intelligent “synthesis”
Old People no longer have a “function” in human society except to consume pills, boost the use of medical intervention and life-extending technologies, to purchase temporary “youth products” and to be warehoused for profit, a scheme that is loosing the interest of society as a “growth industry” because keeping old people around in a “fake” state of health costs a boatload of resources vs. profit.
The human path to knowledge has been synthesis from seemingly chaotic distributions of data into “useable and meaningful” principles and practices, which inform and guide behavior toward individual and group survival.
This “path” both substitutes for, and enhances natural instruction (instinct) that is mostly lost due to extreme premature birth in our species, a deficit that is countered by the life-long learning functions that are made possible by the individual development of the brain and body outside the mother – and in the extremely challenging physical environment that life must negotiate. This environmental pressure is the most likely driver toward the complexity of an “open-system” human brain and our technical adaptability to almost every environment on Earth.
Our big brain is a both an asset and a liability. We’re clever enough to get ourselves into a heap of trouble, but not smart enough to avoid or fix our “creative” blunders.
That flaw that is evident in the elevation of “data as meaning” is the inevitable generation of more data; the more data, the more energy required to deal with all that rapidly increasing data. The result is not “meaning” but more data.
The Laws of Physics are not arbitrary. In fact, the “rules of the road” that nature sets are visible all around us and within us.
Observe the simple diagram below: “You” are the open system. You have boundaries, from the physical limits of your body to “mental” boundaries which depend on the “integrity” of your body. That means, you can’t properly engage the environment if your body is “disordered” by stress. What is stress? Disorder that is caused by not enough energy to maintain the “ordered organization of matter” that is you (Homeostasis). Not enough energy being introduced into your system? Disorder will follow. Too much energy being drained vs. energy being obtained? Disorder will follow. This applies to all types of open-systems.
It’s energy-in; energy used for maintenance and renewal; energy out (and waste products which must be dealt with). Contemporary modern social humans actively ignore or deny this simple fact.
The creation of “units of order” (the ever-increasing human population and associated domestic animals) obviously necessitates that more energy be added to the system. But importing energy by reallocating resources from one place to another, DECREASES ORDER in the “surroundings” from which one obtained the resources. The activities necessary to converting raw materials (less ordered) into manufactured goods, (highly ordered), and the movement of those goods and materials from one part of the planet to another, consumes vast amounts of energy, which decreases the energy available for basic system functions.
The “cost” of temporarily increasing order (rapid population increase-concentration in cities and the ever-increasing demand for food, water, shelter, governance, policing, material wealth, DECEASES ORDER IN THE SURROUNDINGS, from which energy is being drained, reducing the capacity of the environment to supply energy. More energy must be introduced into the “failing productivity” of the environment: the horrendous industrial farming system now in place is one result. Contrary to self-congratulatory insistence that we can game the “Laws of Physics” by increasing the volume of food produced in an imaginary never-ending upward trajectory, the energy available in inferior food (feed corn and corn syrup) DECREASES the amount of nutrition available to humans.
Hogging energy input, which is a dominant American practice, whether or not it’s by production of food, water, minerals, oil & gas fuels, plastics, and fertilizers, or vast military stockpiling of “dead end products” means INCREASED DISORDER IN THE SURROUNDING ENVIRONMENT (the rest of the planet) The Western practice of looting resources (all types of energy) disrupts pre-existing systems characterized by self-sustaining production and distribution of food, clean water sources, local government, healthy population numbers, and efficient trade. (No, not Utopia, but local production and control and the ways and means of meeting challenges).
American interference around the world destroys physical and cultural infrastructure; destroys local and regional food production, housing, clean water supplies and traditional human interdependence. Our ignorant self-interest increases disorder, which we then compound with more destructive activity – wars and “aid” (yikes!) – the awful consequences of which we blame on the victims of our stupidity!
The Laws of Physics are not negotiable: neither is the inevitable factor of entropy, as a sliding scale of return on energy use and production: using energy to convert “less ordered” materials into rigidly “ordered” objects, notably plastics and heavy-metal technology, which do not easily pass into disorder (break down into components – natural recycling) is nothing less than monumental stupidity.
The big question is: Why do we consider “energy-draining” behavior to be harmless to human beings? Why do we promote “energy-depleting” lifestyles as desirable or even socially mandatory? Why are modern humans addicted to creating ever more “disorder” due to the impossible delusion that more disorder will create order?
Old people? Our “wisdom input” is sorely needed.