Does modern culture devalue longevity?

According to this article:

HUMAN lifespan took a sudden leap about 32,000 years ago, allowing people to grow older and wiser, scientists revealed yesterday.

The five-fold jump in longevity may have been the key factor that shaped modern civilisation.
[….]
On the one hand, it would have led to more disease and disability. On the other, it would have not only encouraged social relationships and kinship bonds, but also the passing of information from old and experienced individuals to younger generations.

Since today’s youngster’s get very little information from their grandparents or for that matter from teacher’s substantially older than their parents and since most *useful* information resides in the mass culture, the value of having older population has substantially diminished. Perhaps acquiscing to the needs of the old is an evolutionary artifact like an appendix that we no longer need and that hurts us both in our political institutions and in our gross healthcare spending.

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3 Responses to Does modern culture devalue longevity?

  1. morgan says:

    on the other hand, i think that we (everyone who is not old) has lots and lots to learn from old people — and we would benefit (evolutionarily) from listening to and considering how they see the world. see chris alexander’s pattern also about having people of different ages mix together. therefore, my conclusion based on this is that, by organizing society in the way that we do (that minimizes interaction between younger & older people), we are putting ourselves at an evolutionary disadvantage.

    -morgan

  2. diane says:

    trust no one over 30!

    erp. uh…

    trust no one over 40!

  3. Morgan, if that were true, then either there is massive market failure or the value of residing near old people is not as high as the value of excluding them (or perhaps they are excluding us!).

    Also, historically, old people were 50-60 years old and we still definitely listen to them. The question is how much you discount knowledge old than that.

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