Maturity. The Evolution of Man.
June 18, 2010 10 Comments
This evening I was sitting in a small recording studio, listening to a friend’s daughter deliver a vocal recital. During the (very skilled and moving) performance, I began to look around the room a bit, seeing other friends, relatives and siblings of the performer and some who I did not know. That, and the music inspired in me a rather melancholy feeling about evolution. Not the kind that is associated with Darwin however.
What happens to us as we age? No, that’s too broad. I mean what happens to our connectivity? We are born, at least much of the time, to parents who provide some social bearings for us. And perhaps brothers and sisters and extended family that provide a kind of background in which we begin to develop our own way of facing the world.
Eventually, we connect with peers. They come and go in our early lives, but there always seem to be those in the same relative age group that we associate with, find recreation with, etc. and as our lives develop in routine and stability, we seem to settle on a more fixed group of friends. Those much older or younger generally don’t fall in that social orbit. They may be friends, even confidants or more, but somehow they usually feel temporary. We don’t share history with them usually. It seems natural that we find spouses and colleagues/friends, etc. in our age-cohort.
Age brings disruption of the system. Contemporaries and siblings are taken by death or distance. On balance we seem less flexible in including new members of our group. Our cohort narrows, shrinks. Therefore we gradually become more isolated. Grandchildren find less reason to contact grandparents as they mature. Their lives become as self-involved as their predecessors were. And over-the-river-and-through-the-woods becomes less likely in the modern diaspora.
This shrinkage can bring loneliness and disconnection. Tangent to this is the gradual disfunction of body. You get around less and you tend to disappear from people’s consciousness. Illness and decrepitude brings its own isolation for a variety of reasons.
What counters this social entropy? Church and family may work against it in some respects. But it’s difficult to replace the connectivity one experiences with those who have common sympathies and history. And so we may die with few near us who really understand at least a part of the loss immanent in our passage.
Just sharing the downer. This really does have “links” to this blog. Can you figure some out? Hey, and cheer me up.