In the following video, archetypal psychologist James Hillman takes on the important but neglected topic of aging. We have lost a sense of appreciating what older generations can offer our community and our society. We have lost a sense of our elders and learning from their experience.
In my previous article I talked a bit about death and our fears around it. Getting older is one way we must confront the reality of death. In our culture, as Hillman describes, we work very hard to get rid of the aging process. I think we have lost so much in ignoring older generations. And those who are growing older have nothing to look forward to because we no longer honor the wisdom of the aged.
I really appreciate Hillman’s desire to be more curious around why our body does certain things like grow ear hairs and get us up in the night. While I have many years to go before I enter that stage fully, I have already begun to see change in my own aging. But even more importantly, I feel a real loss in our society at the ignorance around the elderly. The stories, the knowledge, the experience, the calmness that comes with age.
We desperately need to change our relationship to the aging process and start seeing it as important, wonderful and exciting. We need to appreciate and find meaning in how our body changes and in how our mind changes. Maybe there are good reasons. Maybe medicine doesn’t have the solutions and we are asking it to kill off the soul of human aging.
I will leave you with Hillman, as he describes it all much better than I.