Amortality: Why It’s No Longer Necessary to Act Your Age
2011 04 21

By Catherine Mayer | TIME.com



If one place on earth has vanquished nature and stopped the clocks, it is Las Vegas. Built on land without water or any reliable resource apart from the blazing sun, the resort entombs visitors in the permanent, cool, jangling dusk of hotel casinos. Its skyscape positions ancient Egypt near Renaissance Venice and fin de siècle Paris. I had come to this confected city to find out if the Cenegenics Medical Institute, "the world’s largest age-management practice," could subvert the laws of human biology with similar ease. First I had to locate Cenegenics, and though you might think it would be easy to spot a building described by its tenants as "quite a lot like the White House," the cab driver took more than a few passes before we were able to pick out the right White House from the rows of White Houses that have sprouted in the Nevada desert.


Kendrick Brinson / Luceo

That’s the Vegas paradox: despite the mind-boggling range of architectural styles and eras represented, there’s a remarkable uniformity to it all. The residents are similarly homogeneous. Perma-tanned and toned, many of them sport a uniface common to both genders and across the income range, from bellhops to casino owners. The uniface is defined by absences: its eyebrows have been plucked, threaded or waxed into submission; its fine little nose is free from bumps and bulges. Above all, it looks neither young nor old. It is ageless. It is amortal.

Amortality — the term I coined for the burgeoning trend of living agelessly — is a product of the world many of us now inhabit, a sprawl of virtual Las Vegases, devoid of history and shorn of landmarks that might provide guidelines for what is expected of us as the years pass. Youth used to be our last hurrah before the onset of maturity and eventual dotage, each milestone — childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle age, retirement, golden years, decline — benchmarked against a series of culturally determined ideals. But as our life spans have lengthened — across the developed world, we are now living 30 years longer than we were at the beginning of the 20th century — the ages of man have started to elide. If you doubt that statement, think how hard it is to answer the following questions: What’s the best age to have children? Or to settle down with a life partner? Or to retire? When might a woman consider herself middle-aged — at 40, 50, 60? Does that differ for a man?

The meaning of age has become elusive, visual clues untrustworthy.

Children dress like louche adults. Their parents slouch around in hoodies and sneakers. Rising phalanxes of Dorian Grays rely on exercise, diet and cosmetic procedures to remain transcendentally youthful, while glowing teens and 20-somethings are propelled by some of those same procedures into a semblance of premature aging.

The rules of age-appropriate behavior that used to be reliably drummed into us by parents and teachers, church and state, no longer hold sway. But we haven’t lost faith; we’ve just transferred it, to scientists and celebrities. Hollywood is the home of amortality, the music industry its outreach program. "I think you should just keep going while you can, doing what you like," Mick Jagger observed at 66, ignoring his pronouncement in May 1975 that he’d rather be dead than be singing "Satisfaction" at — or presumably long after — 45.


Doing what you like might include adopting children at 49 and 50, like Madonna; becoming a first-time dad at 62, like Elton John; preparing to marry a woman 60 years younger than yourself, like Hugh Hefner; or, like Jagger himself, reversing the traditional order of marriage and bachelorhood. These are amortal choices. But amortality is not invariably synonymous with extended youth. Meryl Streep represents a different expression of amortality, a true agelessness. And Woody Allen exhibits one of the classic symptoms of amortality, constructing a personal and professional life full of distractions. He never rests. He has turned out at least one film a year for all but three of the last 40 years and performs regularly with a jazz band. As he told an interviewer, "When you’re worried about this joke, and this costume, and this wig, and that location and the dailies, you’re not worried about death and the brevity of life."

The defining characteristic of amortals is that they live the same way, at the same pitch, doing and consuming much the same things, from their late teens right up until death. They rarely ask themselves if their behavior is age-appropriate, because that concept has little meaning for them. They don’t structure their lives around the inevitability of death, because they prefer to ignore it. Instead, they continue to chase aspirations and covet new goods and services. Amortals assume all options are always open. They postpone retirement by choice, not just necessity; one of the reasons the American Association of Retired Persons changed its name to AARP was that many in its demographic were, in fact, still working. And they’re having children later than ever — and often relying on fertility treatments to do so.

[...]


Read the full article at: time.com
Top Image: Source




Also tune into:

Sonia Barrett - Immortality and the Quest for Eternal Life

Gregg Braden - The Divine Matrix

Lynne McTaggart - The Intention Experiment

Paul Levy - George W. Bush & Our Collective Psychosis

Anthony Peake - Mystery of the Brain, Precognition, Time Dilation & Déjà vu

Anthony Peake & Tom Campbell - Consciousness Creates Reality

Marcel Kuijsten - Julian Jaynes, the Bicameral Mind & The Origin of Consciousness

Colin Wilson - The Outsider, The Robot, Magic & the Occult






Related Articles
2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal
Immortal Micro-Organisms - What Could Possibly Go Wrong
AIs, Superflies, and the Path to Immortality
Henrietta’s ‘Immortal’ Cells
Immortality only 20 years away says scientist
Space Travel: The Path to Human Immortality?
Lindbergh sought god-like transhuman immortality with Rockefeller eugenicist
The Manhattan Beach Project to End Aging by 2029
Can We Reverse Aging By Changing How We Think?
The End of Aging -Are There Unknown Dangers?


Latest News from our Front Page

Chess-playing computers may cause the robot apocalypse
2014 04 23
Sore-loser chess programs might be the end of us all... In the movie The Terminator, we heard the human side of the story of Judgment Day, with the machines getting smart and seeing us as a threat. It wasn’t until the sequel that we heard the tale from the machine’s point of view, as it chose to start World War III ...
Archeologists’ findings may prove Rome a century older than thought
2014 04 23
It is already known as the eternal city, and if new archeological findings prove correct Rome may turn out to be even more so than believed until now. Next week, the city will celebrate its official, 2,767th birthday. According to a tradition going back to classic times, the brothers Romulus and Remus founded the city on 21 April in the year ...
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
2014 04 23
A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. "I can’t speak for other MPs, but I’ve had many, many calls over the past eight years about chemtrails. And these questions are not so easy to answer," ...
Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound
2014 04 23
If it quacks like a duck... it’s not always a duck. Scientists have reportedly gotten to the bottom of the mysterious ’Bio-Duck’ sound in the Antarctic. Here’s a recording of the strange sound (it’s kind of a stretch to say it sounds like a duck, but who are we to second guess the biologists?). --- Mystery of Bizarre Duck-Like Ocean Sound Solved By Tanya Lewis ...
’Extreme’ Carbon Dioxide Reduction will be a Death Sentence for Humanity & Planet Earth
2014 04 23
If we allow a fraudulent pseudo-environmentalist cult to control every aspect of our lives then our children are doomed to a totalitarian existence which Stalin could only have dreamed of. “The common enemy of humanity is man. In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine ...
More News »