The Big Secret of AgeWritten by Virginia Bola, PsyD
Think back to when you were a child. Pick a time when you were aware of world and starting to notice things around you, perhaps 10 or 11 years old. Most of us had aging individuals in our lives: grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers. We may have loved them dearly but they were different to us: they were old. As we grew up, inevitably some of those people died. We were sad that they had gone but comforted by knowledge that they had enjoyed a good, long, interesting life. Our unspoken assumption was that they felt old, were ready to go, were prepared for end.
It is only when we ourselves mature that we finally discover big secret: that no matter our biological age, WE DON'T FEEL ANY DIFFERENT. We think of ourselves as personally indestructible and immortal, just as we did as carefree children. We look in mirror and see wrinkles, thinning hair, ravages of gravity to a once taut jawline, but we still see us. We walk around and look out at world through same eyes and perspective we have always used. We are shocked when someone guesses our age and is pretty accurate. How can that be - I don't feel 50 or 60 or 70 - how can they think that I'm really age I carry on my driver's license?
We know that despite billions of dollars we collectively spend on looking younger, improving our health, and fighting onslaught of time, our days are numbered. As a product of carbon cycle, we start inexorable march to death from day we unwillingly leave safety of womb. We know intellectually that at some time, probably later but possibly sooner, we are going to no longer exist. Yet we live as if we will defy odds and live forever. A soldier on a battlefield sees friends and enemies obliterated around him. It is his sense that laws of chance do not personally apply to him that keeps him going back for more. It is this same ingrained notion that allows us to enjoy dangerous behaviors from mountain climbing and bungee jumping, to unprotected sex, smoking, and eating fast food. "You're going to kill yourself," is an admonition that makes us smile as we continue in activities we find pleasurable and rewarding.
A Cultural Change We Desperately NeedWritten by Terry Mitchell
In his immensely popular book, "The Purpose Driven Life", one of major points that Pastor Rick Warren tries to make is that people must change way they think before they can change way they live. I believe same principle applies to cultures. As I've mentioned many times before, I do not believe morality can be legislated. All laws in world against every imaginable immoral act will not make any culture or nation better or more righteous. Instead, we need a cultural change that comes as a result of modifying our opinion about certain things in our society. Specifically, we must change way we view violence, theft, foul language, and personal responsibility. Sadly, culture of violence is so ingrained into American culture that two have become almost interwoven. We have come to accept violence as a fact of life. We wink at it. We even laugh and make jokes about it. I believe this attitude stems from fact that, for many centuries, we have blithely accepted idea that it is sometimes okay for a man to strike or assault another man for reasons other than to defend himself or someone else from imminent physical harm. For example, we seem to think it is sometimes acceptable for a man to give another guy "a good beating" for "mouthing off" at him. Some people refer to this attitude as "old school." Well, if that's old school, classes need to be shut down immediately! Let's look at what this mindset as led to. Since that kind of escalation has been accepted for so long, people now often escalate from hitting to shooting or stabbing, without thinking twice. Many young people today see no difference between those forms of violent escalation. In their minds, if one form of escalation is acceptable, then why not another? Of course, mobsters, gangs, and those involved in drug culture have never had any problem with escalation of violence, but now that sentiment has spilled over into mainstream society. Violence has become a staple of our entertainment industry. Violent entertainment, even in its most graphic form, and is considered socially acceptable. In fact, FCC cannot fine broadcasters for violent content as it can for sexually explicit or vulgar content. We need a whole new attitude toward violence. It should be completely abhorrent to us. Those who harm others with violence, other than in cases of self defense or like, should be considered disgusting. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't want to see all manliness as well as manly sports erased from our culture. I'm not one of those fanatics who advocate such foolishness. In fact, football and boxing, what some people would call two most violent sports, are two of my favorite sports. Also, if two guys want to mutually agree to settle their differences by "duking it out", that's fine with me. However, when someone resorts to use of unnecessary and unexpected violence against another person, it should be interpreted as a barbaric act and treated as such by our laws. Violence will never be completely eradicated from our society, but it can be greatly reduced. However, this will only happen when we begin to view it as unacceptable. As is case with violence, our culture seems to accept inevitability of theft. It didn't use to be that way. There was a time when almost everyone respected property of others and would not bother it. However, people now have to keep doors of their homes and cars locked to keep contents of such from being stolen. In fact, we spend millions of dollars a year on devices that attempt to prevent would-be thieves from stealing our cars, breaking into our homes, and robbing us of other precious possessions. We sometimes excuse theft and take it lightly. We treat it in such a matter-of-fact manner that we assume that a certain (high) level of it is always going to exist. For example, most stores seem resigned to "fact" that a certain percentage of their merchandise will be lost to shoplifting. In addition, we often seem to hold everyone but thieves themselves responsible when theft occurs (I'm getting to a general point on that later). For example, if a child leaves his bicycle outside, unprotected, overnight and it gets stolen, child gets yelled at for being irresponsible. Now, if child goes outside and gets molested by a pervert, I bet his parents wouldn't yell at him. Why difference? Because we treat child molestation as unacceptable while treating theft as somewhat of a norm. I don't mean to make light of child molestation in any way, but we ought to treat theft as unacceptable too.