Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On Age and Evil

From bettermedicine:

Normally, cells in the brain that are old or damaged will stop dividing and die. These cells are replaced by healthy young cells. Brain cancer occurs when old or damaged cells continue to divide and multiply uncontrollably. These abnormal cells eventually develop into a malignant mass of tissue (tumor) and crowd out and destroy healthy cells in the brain. As brain cancer grows, it interferes with vital processes and functions of the brain and spinal cord.

Life, or the participation of cycling different forms of consciousness from lightspring through tangible world and back, has its own constantly self-destructive and regenerative disequilibrium.  Cancer develops in the body when cells hang on past "their time" and begin to suck resources from the rest of the system, crowding out the younger, developing cells that renew the system and keep it healthy.  Tumorous growths, in the micro sense of cells, result in expanding malignancies that eventually destroy the host organism.

In a contrasting macro sense, aging humans serve the same role against the rest of the human species and its associated living world.  The economic and social policies of the animated dead work together to extract resources from the young in order to perpetuate the individual lives of elders: causing increasing harm to the growth and development of the species "humans" and their home planet.

Some Aspects of Deathly Elder Economics

Social Security.  Social Security--the untouchable icon to so many--is an easy example of resource extraction.  No, old people shouldn't be starving, eating dog food, living on the street, et cetera.  No one should.  But addressing that problem by requiring all young people to have deducted from their paychecks funds that will go in payment to old people, on the vague non-promise that they will later receive those payments themselves, is a way of extracting life from new generations in order to redirect it to the passing generation.  Paycheck money that would be going to homes, families, love, the raising of small children, health care, and dynamic new business, social and cultural ideas, is instead invested in making the elderly and retired more comfortable.  Children are thrown in daycare because their parents need to work, unable to afford time with them--and a surplus that might be later saved to send those children to college is instead given to the elderly.

Medical care.  The massive bulk of America's hospitals and pharmacies (and the medical profession) is designed around the policy not of helping all humans lead healthier, fuller lives, but around keeping aging humans as close to young (and alive) as possible.

Caring for old people--and all people--is a good thing.  Throughout all of this essay, it must be remembered that all people, including ones currently defined as "old," should be better cared for, and should have more than they do.  Discussing the ways that current "elder policy" is designed to hurt all of us at all stages of our lives has a built in social counter-reaction: i.e., anyone suggesting changes in these policies could be labeled as wanting to turn the elderly into slaves or Soylent Green for the benefit of the youthful overclass.  A cute accusation, like many scarecrows, but inapt.

Yet "over-caring" for elders is not helpful to them.  Many elders live in terror of being kept alive in horrible, vegetative states, by machinery that costs thousands of dollars a day to run, under the roof of a hospital that is more than happy to bill private (e.g., United Healthcare) or public (e.g., Medicare) insurance plans for massive amounts to maintain zero quality of what is technically "life" during the last couple weeks of an unconscious senior's habitation of a shell.

Beyond the "kept alive on the machines" situation is perhaps the greater terror of the elders: living in one of those homes in a vast, multi-billion-dollar network of elder-care facilities, unable to wash, eat, walk, go to the bathroom, or do anything else without assistance; patronized constantly by low-wage helpers; domineered in action and medication by nurses and physicians; kept on suicide watch, while fantasizing about Dr. Kevorkian coming to save you.

Another rung away from there is the senior community: the development of the age-discriminatory suburb by the generation of those who established the initial "white flight" away from the darkies in the inner cities, who now take their middle-class wealth into predominantly white enclaves to wile away the years, trapped forever in the music, culture, society and pastimes of those in their age group, but protected from all the awful noise of children playing new games, new music, and spouting off new ideas.

Financial Care.  When you hoard stuff over decades, and come to be an elder, fear of starving or being stuck by the State or your family in one of "those homes," where they don't even clean the piss out of your bed but once a week, encourages an extreme hoarding.  With enough money to parcel out an income, you can maintain your shell in one of the better communities, having your meals delivered, and individualized staff coming by to help you shower and go to the bathroom and even pay attention to your stories and get to know you.  Another massive glut of the western economy is the storage, study, and shuffling of the resources of the aged.

Financial advisor; realtor; attorney; accountant; banker; insurance agent: the professions of manipulating numbers to justify youthful power for the aged and passing, with peripheral fees extracted from the advancing young.  Buy, sell, and trade those elaborate second, third and fourth homes and timeshares for two dwindling, lonely elders, while young families struggle to find space for three growing children to sleep and play and learn.

Death State. 

The physician prescribes drugs; the surgeon patches together; the pharmacist organizes drugs; the nurse wipes vomit and feces.  The elder endures.

In a different time, families nurtured one another.  Elders would be present in the lives of the young and middle, who would be present in the lives of one another and the elders in turn.  Elders did not need to fear the abandonment and loneliness that, in the first place, motivated the secondary financial and medical sectors to "protect" them--instead, they had the warmth of all humanity to care for them, as they cared and passed on wisdom and guidance in turn.

The "individual" now celebrates the independence of an "owned" household, where you have the power to fall down in the bathtub and die without anyone around to know, until the kids visit for Christmas.  Where you can golf without worrying about any young people to make noise and interrupt you--and you go home to an empty, futureless hut, all of your friends on dialysis or chemo or being taken away by ambulances, trapped forever in the prison of independent adult living.  Such freedom; such glory; such liberation from the chains of family and society.

Immortals.

In good "fantasy" or "science fiction"--or other pitiful classificatory terms that attempt to categorize stories--one of the villain's aims is, if not already to remain undead, then to become immortal.  Dracula, Star Wars EU's Emperor Palpatine, The Simpsons Mr. Burns, and any number of other standard villains seek, like a cancer, to perpetuate themselves forever at the expense of other human beings.  This is the malignancy toward which antilife seeks to bring humans.  The natural passage of death into life into death into life is the [good] flow of the lightspring.  The endurance of "one kind" of human--of an immortal singular entity, like our ancient lord and enemy Jehovah--is the passage to evil; to the unchanging end to all.

Once, weak and sick elders would wander off on their own to perish, when they knew--like aged "animals" (which humans are, outside of the absolutist religions [yes this includes science, Mr. Brin])--that it was their time.  They were ready, like slipping into bed, to pass onto a new phase, without unduly burdening their successors--themselves and forms thereof--with the maintenance of something that should be renewed, not entombed.

Now, when humans try to do that, the state springs into action: emergency care responders swoop down to "rescue" the elder, diagnose them with dementia, depression, or alzheimer's--and state medical services, supported by the tax base (laboring elders and young), are ready to force that body to remain "alive" for as long as it can be justified.

It's not just about age and political power.  Remember Dr. Kevorkian?  Powerful movements of elders struggled for the right to have assistance passing peacefully, and were denied, by a system of death that needs to use their husks to justify itself in starving the world.

That said, the enclaves of the aged serve as a political force in their own right.  Conservative retirees use their resources--including spare time--to move masses of white Republican voters into an area, destroy any attempts to raise property taxes to fund schools for the young, and vote in as stodgy a way as possible.  For all their suffering, they do their part to keep death's fingers around the collective throats of everyone else, too.

The Unliving.

The western fetish for zombie movies finds its roots, partly, in this.  What is slow moving, deathly, off-smelling, created and nurtured by mad doctors, and survives by feeding on the blood and bodies of the young?  Zombies, or the very elderly?  The necromantic terrors of our time are the hungry ghosts that have plagued this planet ever since advanced neural nets developed fearful minds that wanted to persist as ordered "entities" beyond the natural time.  Those who do not cycle; those who try to persist as "themselves" beyond their natural times, and not to merge with all and become something new: these are the terrors who leech away life.

How to stop them?  Life is the change and dynamism of youth.  More resources and power should be in the hands of the young, growing and striving, not the old, fading and retiring.  Many of us bank on this--what a safe dream of immortality it seems, that one day we might be old enough to have to not do anything.  Deathlust.

More later.  

3 comments:

  1. I believe you are onto something more than just "modernity as a death culture" here. My generation (the baby-boomers) failed every generation to follow and our high priests will not go quietly.

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  2. Is it any wonder that they went after Kevorkian so hard? Even the states with so-called "euthanasia" laws require a terminal diagnosis within six months. Contrastingly, is it surprising that the countries that allow physician-assisted suicide (ex. Netherlands, Belgium) are also among those who make more resources available for the living?

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