Tag Archives: society

Ageism in retreat?

Getting closer to a mid life crisis? Gosh I hope not, how come!
They say its catching us today almost 20 years later than it used to catch in the 50’s or 60’s. Guess what, instead of 30 year old depressed ones there are plenty of 50+, lively and overflowing with not only a spent-my-time-with-TV desire …

I don’t think it exists in my family or between people I know but ageism is (or used to be ?) a crawling feature of our modern society. Especially in TV and press but also in social media old people usually play their role of a wiseman, wizzard or authority. In one of Tadeusz Różewicz best known poems “The Story of Old Women” you will find simple but shocking true about age:

only fools laugh
at old women

Think how old are you and just look at Madonna.  She is a fighter. Same as she was fighting at the beginning of her carrier with stereotypes, social boundaries, cliches, border lines and with every new album reaching further and still today she is crossing the line of domesticated and invisible fifties and becomes again an icon for both younger and older.

Listen to what Madonna had to say on ageism two decades ago or read an article on her fight from The Guardian

You want more? Here you go with Ian McKellen & Derek Jacobi from delicious Vicious, a new television series on ITV. Forget about Gandalf or Claudius now there are just Freddie and Steve, the stars! Marching at the head of the gay protests across the globe they both indeed fight with discrimination on two fronts.
You must see this brilliant TV series, even if a sitcom is not your cup of humor (as it wasn’t mine neither) . Together with Frances de la Tour this vibrant trio is just breaking the TV screens with enormous portions of good laugh and straight-to-the-point acrimonious remarks. Just listen carefully and remember to what they have to say on being together for 49 years as it might be useful at some point if not already…

If you still not convinced have a read on NYT page 

Television Programme: Vicious with Ian McKellen as Freddie Thornhill and Derek Jacobi as Stuart Bixby. A BROWN EYED BOY PRODUCTION FOR ITV VICIOUS SERIES 1 EPISODE 2 All images are Copyright ITV/BROWN EYED BOY and may only be used in relation to Vicious. For more info please contact Pat Smith at patrick.smith@itv.com or 02071573044 A BROWN EYED BOY PRODUCTION FOR ITV VICIOUS SERIES 1 EPISODE 1 Starring: IAN McKELLEN as Freddie, DEREK JACOBI as Stuart, FRANCES DE LA TOUR as Violet,MARCIA WARREN as Penelope, IWAN RHEON as Ash and PHILIP VOSS as Mason. All images are Copyright ITV/BROWN EYED BOY and may only be used in relation to Vicious. For more info please contact Pat Smith at patrick.smith@itv.com or 02071573044
Television Programme: Vicious with Ian McKellen as Freddie Thornhill and Derek Jacobi as Stuart Bixby. A BROWN EYED BOY PRODUCTION FOR ITV VICIOUS SERIES 1 EPISODE 2 All images are Copyright ITV/BROWN EYED BOY

Now, if you think its too late for a new start up, new business or your dream job you probably haven’t met Barbara yet.  I want her to be my coach, I want is she doing with these young folks at IDEO where she works as designer to invent or improve solutions for older generations. Reading one of my favorite quotes from this amazing women just gives me more power to do what I love to do and to continue doing it till I can. And keep enjoying it. Read more about Barbara here or just watch a short program on youtube.

“The ironic thing is that aging is the one thing we have in common, if we’re lucky.”

Barbara Beskind

…and here the last lines just to be accurate and honest: Madonna is 56 , Ian McKellen – 76, Derek Jacobi – 77, Barbara Beskind – 91 and me – 39.

Alone or together. Does social network help?

This paradox of life is hitting us everyday. Should I listen myself or should I follow the rules of the society? Is there my personal benefit at stake only or shall I consider the benefit of the society I live within? This constant tension between individualism and collectivism is fundamental for our social networks, our ego and  our self-consciousness.

The cobweb of our social network, weaved throughout our life defines or characters and creates opportunities for soft landing during difficult times. More friends and family you keep contacts with the less probable is that you will end up in a deep depression and that also depends on the hardiness of the network. Still this delicate and complicated structure may be sometimes destroyed by overwhelming  life circumstances or a person which simply rips all the threads out.

How many didn’t you answer your friends phone call? How many times you forgot to replay their emails? Send Christmas cards or just drop in when passing by during another business trip? Welcomed or not that’s another story but thinking about your friends and family is just not enough. On the other hand if you don’t have any friends maybe its time to knock your neighbors door and ask him or her for a cup of coffee? Or maybe there is an old lady living nearby who literally needs some hand to do her shopping?

Think about it and don’t let the sociologist and anthropologists and other -ists to keep telling us that there is a built-in difference between inflated Ego of the Western society and its collective & socially focused Eastern counterpart. There must be a bridge between them not only over the symbolical Bosporus but also between our souls and minds.

What if society is a tropical forest?

People can use their hands and skills in many areas starting from handicraft, arts, services, care, farming, digging in the ground to picking up mushrooms or flowers and even in soldiering…Throughout the centuries thousands of such activities had been creating diverse and dynamic societies around the globe and across civilizations.
Now imagine you take the land from the farmers and give it to intense and big farming, you force the shopkeepers to close their workshops or stalls by opening new shopping malls, you pollute the gardens and orchards with toxic emissions and you destroy the factories or move them to other countries. What happened is you just removed many bricks from a wall thus made it weaker.
Even a light finger touch can make this fragile construction to fall into pieces or in other words a single spark can ignite this haystack of anger, frustration and hopelessness.

Now lets look at a forest. We all have been thought at school that
a healthy and strong forest consists of many trees species, bushes, grass, fungus and humus. Than on the other side we have human planted forests with very few type of trees if not with one which are extremely vulnerable to pests, wind and fire. Once destroyed it takes them ages to bring back a diverse life on its place. Anyway the factor of destruction is necessary to produce a new and rich ecosystem.

In our age of high unemployment especially among young people, with numerous examples of offshoring , moving machines, production lines and whole technologies to legally unbounded countries, where the employees are paid beggarly wages do we need a kind of destruction in order to bring back the natural balance of
a society? Can one use the parallel of a tropical forest to a human being society? If you consider humans as an ecosystem, why shouldn’t we try? We are animals though, so theoretically these rules apply to human race also.

Once we assume the above we must be aware of such a turning point may occur any time. Whether in form of a revolution or mass migrations, epidemic or other natural catastrophe we must be prepared. Do anything possible to keep our society in good condition, let the people use their natural skills and talents, free the spirit of human initiative and entrepreneurship.

And it is happening right now. Look around you and help all these city movements to preserve old professions, recipes, green areas, bicycle roads, children playgrounds, public spaces available to everyone and those who create any single workplace that can use the work of human hands and create beautiful things that a society needs or can use it for its own wellbeing and protection.

Be active, thing about your skills that you can share with others.
Be a living part of the unique tropical forest that your society constitutes.