I enjoyed the conversation and it sounds like a lovely process. I want to share some random thoughts and feelings.
I think the value of the exercise, is in the attempt to get all perspectives expressed and on the table. When this happens ( which is rare) the system re-organizes itself, sympiopoesis in action. I like that the Wisdom Council is not ageist. Wisdom is generated through inter-generational initiatives. I favor creative anarchy. We are not yet at Cosmos large enough to need a governing body, although I do appreciate the idea of planning that. It seems our informality is an asset and we can pay closer attention in our small human sized gatherings. We live in a world of institutions that are too big to fail and that is not going to change any time soon unless we are are willing to work in the shadows for awhile. We can make ourselves indigestible as possible so that the big fish wont want us to chew upon. Timing is important. Creative and collaborative research, outside of the big organizational macro level infrastructures, that label and dismiss novelty. I sense that we can do some of this here.
We have nothing like this process in our current buy sell busy social media world.The US Congress , as Mark Twain said, is the best Congress money can buy. Perhaps small organizations can blend hierarchies and networks and achieve more satisfying outcomes. I am open to that idea. How does a social system, in a chaotic environment such as ours, share attention together? It seems to me that is of the greatest importance, as our flat screens are starting to reshape our perceptual systems in dysfunctional ways. I like that age and youth are not pitted against each other as has been done by a lot nefarious forces in big media and government, who claim that we dont have enough resources for each group to flourish, so neither group gets very much. Without a fully functioning autonomous elder hood a shared reality looks bleak for everyone. That remains largely an individual pursuit as our collective imaginations are filled with images of old people drooling in their oatmeal in an old folks home. And I have worked with the elderly and have seen horrible neglect, in the most expensive high end organizations. Relationships are crucial to functioning well at any stage of life but we seem to have rejected bonding with others in favor of competition and cognitive development. Those who work with the elderly are not given respect and are often treated terribly themselves. Advocacy for the vulnerable is frowned upon. Many of the advocates for the elderly, are often young persons who have no power. I have seen them struggle with the organization and it is painful to see them ignored and brushed aside. Profit making organizations that treat the elderly like a prison population. It is another big business, generating profits off of misery.
Once again the arts are the royal way to making the most out of old age. If we can have enough elders who make it to Post Rational Reasoning and can have a healthy attitude towards the future then we can reshape the this phase of life in our collective imaginations. When our expectations are low people conform to those low expectations. That’s why I do hundred push ups a day ( which I couldnt do when I was twenty!) We seriously underestimate the learning capacity of the elderly.
I look forward to reading Ann Robert’s study. Thanks to all participants!