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AGE AND MEANING OF LIFE

AGE - LIFE BEST YEARS
Meaning of life


EACH AGE HAS ITS OWN VIEWS OF LIFE

Age can change the way we feel about our lives. Each age has its own experiences and ways of living and feeling life. Youth involves an intensity of positive feelings that aged people do not have.
Maturity and old age involve new experiences, truths and reflections, opening the way to new values and to a deeper meditation about the meaning of our lives.


No young man believes he shall ever die
William Hazlitt, 1778-1830, ensaísta britânico, The Feeling of Immortality in Youth


I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more – the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself.
Joseph Conrad, 1857-1924, English writer, Youth



Young men's minds are always changeable, but when an old man is concerned in a matter, he looks both before and after.
Homer, IX century b.C., Greek poet, Iliad



There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in.
Graham Green, 1904-1991, English writer, The Power and the Glory



Life is half spent before we know what it is.
George Herbert, 1593-1633, Scottish poet, Jacula Prudentum



Each age has its own truths, its experiences, its secrets.
E. Morin, French philosopher and sociologist, Method V


Comments
Youth and Old age



HARSH
OLD AGE
Life best years. Age and Meaning of life

In the ancient tradition of Rome and Greece, old age often represents a kind of purgatory; the debility, the end of big dreams, and the pain and the proximity of death which cause lack of meaning in life.


Harsh old age will soon enshroud you - ruthless age which stands someday at the side of every man, deadly, wearying, dreaded even by the gods
Homero, IX Century a. C., Greek poet, Hymn To Aphrodite


Life’s finest days, for us poor human beings, fly first.
Virgil, 70 a.C.- 19 a. C., Roman poet, Georgics


At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1896-1940, American writer, Bernice Bobs her Hair


I should describe old age as a kind of incurable disease.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius



Nothing is more dishonourable then an old man, bent by his old age, without any other proof that he lived, except his own age.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, De Tranquillitate Animi



An old man in his rudiments is a disgraceful object.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius



Old-age, a second child, by Nature cursed
With more and greater evils than the first;
Weak, sickly, full of pains, in every breath
Railing at life, and yet afraid of death.
C. Churchill, 1731-1764, English poet, Gotham



Men of age object too much, consult too long, adventure too little, repent too soon, and seldom drive business home to the full period, but content themselves with a mediocrity of success.
Francis Bacon, 1561-1626, English philosopher and politician, Essays



The time remaining to old man are marked by relative apathy and indolence, and is all the closer to the end.
Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician, Letters to Lucilius



Take advantage of all the moments of youth, because old age is never late. Enjoy yourself while you are in the spring of life.
Ovidius, 43 b. C. - 17 a. C, Roman writer, The Art of Love



Years pass and go by as the water; the wave that has moved before our eyes, like the time that passes, will not return again. One must take advantage of his youth. No matter how happy we are, age escapes from us rapidly, and nothing is as before.
Ovidius, 43 b. C. - 17 a. C, Roman writer, The Art of Love



Comments
Youth and Old age


SHAKESPEARE SATIRE
Life best years. Age and Meaning of life

Shakespeare: burlesque satire to the roles of man, in his different ages, particularly the older ones.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616, English poet, As You Like It


Comments - Youth and Old age

See also:
Happiness
Philosophies of Life
Life is Dream
Life is Short
Life is Pain
Death
Humour about life


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YOUTH AND OLD AGE




  

Above:
Giorgioni painting: The three ages of man.


Commentary
Youth and old age

It’s very common to associate youth with happy days, and old age with more difficult ones, or with the misfortune that surrounds our existence.

It’s part of the ancient tradition – literary, philosophical and also popular. «I should describe old age as a kind of incurable disease»; «An old man in his rudiments is a disgraceful object», said Seneca almost two thousand years ago, expressing the current opinion. Thence the advice of one of his (almost) contemporaries: «Enjoy yourself while in the spring of life» (Ovidius).

There are, notwithstanding, other opinions, or more nuanced ones, about the connection between happiness and age. How many young people experience the plenitude that Conrad remembers with nostalgia in his Youth: «I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more – the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort – to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires – and expires, too soon, too soon – before life itself»?

Bernard Lovell, for instance, expressed another opinion: «Youth is vivid rather than happy, but memory always remembers the happy things».

Maturity and even old-age may be associated with happy existences, says Cicero in his essay about old age (De Senectude): «Old age, when honourable, has an authority that is worth more them all the pleasures of youth ».

Physical decrepitude may indeed be very damaging and the cause of unhappiness, but in Cicero's view our happiness depends a lot on our values and our wisdom, and the way we are able to conduct our life and control our thoughts and feelings. To him, happiness is very much a product of our philosophies of life. Old people situation may be far less dramatic than that described by Shakespeare in his comedy “As You Like It”: «That ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything»).

 

 

 

 

 



 

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