Does anyone “enjoy” their 40s with the raw compelling simplicity as much as their 20s?
Leaving aside people who’s lives were shit early on or who’s external circumstances go from crap to good in the meantime.
I wonder about that. I suspect as the brain fills with more and more complex neural routing, where all things (sensed or imagined) get represented by involving a longer chain from start to end of “thought moment” … this more complicated, interconnection matrix ends up outputting a less straightforward unambiguous catalyst. So the receptors fire a more diverse but less strident pattern. Which feels less intense and compelling (absorbing) than when one was young. If one’s memory is good enough to have stashed usable former states, to compare.
Life is nothing BUT states, one moment to the next, with consciousness a persisting theme playing out. Birth to death. Don’t conflate two different things though.
There is a very gradual degrading of quality of simple sensation vs an increasing and diversifying brain-power. There’s a “spreading thinner” as one gets older, barely perceptible day to day and only noticeable when thinking or events conspire to bring an evocative vivid old memory to the surface; and inevitably the mind weighs the old versus the new. What one loses in narrower but absorbing strength of feeling, one gains in breadth of insight and bigger deeper subtler associations. This shift does not answer the “what to do” or “how to live best” question. The observation isn’t a vague judgment. It doesn’t necessarily conclude in depression.
What’s interesting in life does not need to change just because intensity degrades to more mature diversity as one gets older. It is likely that the same stuff (or evolutions on their themes) that have before been interesting will still be interesting, regardless the slow shift from amplitude to pitch as young gives way to middle then old age.
Why do people over a certain age talk wistfully about a world they’ve lost, a world before the net blah blah; then complain cellphones and the internet and the zillion ways to consume shows and social media have changed what life is, while continuing to indulge these “innovations”?
Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s changed for them. But I’ve a feeling despite what they say, they’re making the age old mistake. The biggest change happens within us, as we get older. But that’s hard to process and to do so would mean thinking in that most forbidden zone (for people over 35) – that change means getting older and getting older means getting old and getting old means dying.
Vast world religions with billions of followers grew out of death cults, all to keep from having to look reality in the face. So sure, say the world has changed and cite some technologies and form over substance examples to ringfence the conclusion. It’s sensible self-protection but it’s missing the point; and I’ve a feeling it’s another of those inversions that’ll retard an individual’s intellectual progress – and therefore the development of the species en masse.
Like the song goes: “we all have this knowledge of DNA but, we still die!“
If most people were freely thinking about the death that’s coming for themselves and everyone they love and will ever care about, then there’d be the popular will to priority finding a solution. It’s an incredibly complex subject. It may take millennia to move the dials in a major way if research and momentum remains an afterthought, as many crackpots as genuine scientists. Nobody alive today will benefit. It only needs these shared delusions and no go zones to stay unchallenged and we are all dead men walking.