Thursday, March 15, 2007

Forever young - Possible???

Can a person be “forever young”? I was coming in bus from office to home(for the lack of any other name for the place where I stay... It is more personal compared to a house and less so compared to an actual home.. so the name!) when I saw an advertisement board stating “Wild Jasmines, woman’s creations(whatever that means!!)”. And, then I saw the tagline “Forever young”. That statement intrigued me immediately. So, can a person be forever young? Won’t he/she be bored? First, what does the word young signify? Does it mean signs of vitality and vigor? Then, what do we say of old people who are still leading an active life? Are they young or old? Or somewhere in between? Is this called middle age, by any chance? Then, what can the middle-aged people be called? More interestingly, what can the young people who are leading a sedentary lifestyle with only their computers for their company and surviving on minimum motion be called? Are they old, then?

Or, does the word signify the number of years lived on earth? Then, how can a person be forever young? If that is the case, he/she would have to be born every minute in order to retain the title of the youngest person in the world. Since that is not possible and since we are talking of ‘forever young’ness, the first hypothesis of young denoting the number of years lived can be safely dropped out of discussion?

This leads me to another question. Is the word young used relatively? For example, I can described to be young compared to X while X can be described to be young compared to Y. Does that mean I am young compared to Y at all times? Taking age into consideration, this can be assumed to be true. But, since we already decided that young does not necessarily mean the number of years on earth, we should look into other possibilities. One of them could be looks. We often say, “she looks younger than the other lady”, “he looks younger than the other person”, etc. In such a scenario, the case I gave earlier need not be true at all times and circumstances. For example, though I may look younger than X and X may looker younger than Y, Y can also look younger than me... or may be not. It all depends on the viewer, his/her mindset, the situation, the dress and mindset of the person in question and a lot more. Why? It can even depend on the weather and other external factors out of our control.

Further, when we say a person is young, who is taken to be the comparison-point? Is it based on gender or does gender play no part in this comparison? Also, is the commenter's gender too important? For example, is the case of a lady telling another young different from a man telling a woman so? Against whom is the youth or oldness of a person decided? And, who takes the decision? Is it collective (as in a society) or depends on the viewer as such? Interestingly, nowadays, it is considered to be good or even fashionable to be called young. There is someone I know who smiles widely whenever she receives the compliment that she looks young. Though she knows that the truth is way off the mark, she is still willing to accept it. But, in olden days, it was more respectable and desired to be called old and wise. (How many times have we encountered “wise old men who knew everything that was to know on earth” in stories?) Who makes these decisions as to how a society should react to youth and old age? And, how do we find out when a society changes from one to another? Very interesting!!

Also, is young related to innocence? Then, can’t young people be wise? Or, is it the right of the old people only? And, are all old people wise all the time? What is wisdom and who gives a person the title? Who is authorized to do so? Who gave such an authorization? Anyways, let me not digress... Back to the question of youth and its meaning. When so much of ambiguity lies in the word young, then what can be said of ‘forever young’ness? Even if we were to quantize youth by some means(there is none as far I know), how much young is young enough? Or, is even this relative? Then, wouldn’t everyone want to be in a group of older people so that he/she is the youngest in the group? In such a case, can there be any such groups formed without anyone not being happy with the arrangement?

One last thought... won’t a person be bored of being “forever young”? I mean, only change takes life forward (for good or for worse, that is another question), keeps us from stagnating and makes life interesting enough to live through. Imagine if you had to live every day the same way without any change in routine? Won’t it be the worst thing on earth? Even death would be better than such drudgery. That is why a person’s imagination and creativity are most important qualities in any walk of life. Even if they are not enough for a person to compete with the Mozarts and Da Vincis of the world, atleast they can lift a person from drudgery and cast a rainbow in an otherwise grey life. What can a person do being “forever young”? Can he/she be happy when all the loved ones die some day or the other while he/she remains young forever? And, does being young mean being happy? Are they directly related? Who said that age and happiness are inversely proportional? Isn’t happiness more related to a person’s attitude? Are all youth happy and all others unhappy?

Guess this has been a post full of questions. But, when I see such sweeping statements like this(another example is “happily ever after”, the ubiquitous fairy tale ending – can a person live ‘happily ever after’ – won’t he/she get bored? Where would the spice be in life?), I immediately start arguing against it(like in this post). I think it is an affliction due to my sun sign( I’m a Libran, the scales, forever tipping this side and that, ever judging if everything is fair and wanting everything to be fair to one and all... I can never accept any statement unless it is the irrefutable truth like “the sun rises in the east”. But, come to think of it, one can argue even on that fact. Any takers?? :) ) What’s your opinion, folks???


Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Good post --- and I agree with you when you say that the age of a person is not the last word on his/her youth. I suppose one should strive to remain young at heart, to accept old age gracefully when it comes and to live each moment thoroughly instead of whining about the good old days gone by whereas the golden moments of the present slip right under our noses.

Arun said...

I guess normally young is assoc with physical attractiveness or activeness. Since "young ppl"(by age) by average are physcially better, being younger is saying "better" in this context.(Prob u saw the ad of a cosmetic?). but yes, like "better" , "young" is also very relative. so is happiness.
similarly wise(not intelligence) is assoc with old, bcos by avg older ppl maybe wiser than young.maybe we can re-define it :)
>the ubiquitous fairy tale ending
>– can a person live ‘happily ever >after’ – won’t he/she get bored?
i think no. if the person is bored (s)he cannot be happy. i think nobody can achieve it consciously knowing to achieve it.
>“the sun rises in the east”. But,
>come to think of it, one can argue >even on that fact. Any takers??
yes, if u can move to another planet.

Princess Banter said...

Aaaah, to be young and reckless once again is divine. But I think our guilt and conscience catches up to us -- in the form of age (though I'm sure some people would beg to differ). I reckon that to be young is to know how to be happy through the simple things in life. You've to admit, there's not a lot of people like that anymore out there -- even the real youngsters. Everyone's in such a hurry to grow up. Why?!? That's life's biggest folly, isnt it?

alpine path said...

Sudipta, thanks! :) But,you've given a tall order. I'm not sure how many of us can actually follow that in real life.

Arun, you are right. If I were to live on the South pole, I can always argue that the sun rises in the North, right? :) Because every direction would be North from that point. I don't need another planet,do I?

Princess Banter, well, I guess youngsters want to grow up fast because they are want to know what life has to offer. Just like a kid trying to rip open a present eager to know what is inside. But, the problem is we can wrap the gift again, but life, once unravelled, remains so.

Arun said...

prob u r rite. my geography is weak(like all non-geography subjects :D). i thot the earth keeps rotating eastward w.r.t sun's position .if thats true prob it shudnt matter where on earth u r located. still it will be east.

alpine path said...

Arun, the earth moves round the sun in the west. That is why the sun appears to be on the east for us, the inhabitants of Mother Earth. And, from South pole, every side is North, so is it NorthEast? :)