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Old Men in Government – a true representation of the people?

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The circle of life

Healthy Sense of Self assumes that every human being is the embodiment of a soul or spirit. When this incarnation takes place, the little person who is born has to learn how to feel at home in that body. He or she has to be encouraged to carry their own weight. Parents need to show them the way in head and heart as well as teach them how the world turns. This is how young people find their way and flourish. This is how people’s characters can be such that they are prepared for change which can happen any time.

Some of us grow older than others, and some are taken too soon, but while we are here on earth, each of us has a legitimate place. Everybody has a right to be who they are and, based on that, organize their life to make the best of it.

Seeing a large number of older men in the election arena, who all have a rigid vibe about them, caught my attention. Is that common among 60 to 70 year olds? If so, I have two questions:

  • Is that rigidity (ossification) really necessary once you pass 60?
  • If so, are they the right people to govern a country?

Experience versus innovative ideas

They may have all the experience, but are these grey gentlemen connected with the needs and dreams of younger generations? What do they know about women or minorities and their ideologies? To what extent can they cater to those interests? Are they really the right people to dictate the direction of society when they represent less than half of the population?

To answer question 1: I think you don’t become rigid if you move forward with time, instead of controlling things in an attempt to continue traditional systems that may no longer work in the present. But staying with the old has a magic attraction because change is the biggest challenge for the individual survival mechanism.

Adapting to life and personal circumstances

Each of us forms a survival strategy in our early years. This strategy gives us the tools to not only live and grow within the boundaries of general human realities, but to also recognise and accommodate the personal realities of others as well. This survival strategy is stored in our brains, and as we age, it is covered with layers of dust until we are not aware of it any longer. We often don’t remember why we do what we do, or react as we react.

If we want to stay alert and flexible, we need to be in touch with our very own Self, including our survival strategies. If we don’t have a good sense of that Self to rely on, we look for substitutes to experience a Self and fall back on certainties from outside. We need something that functions as a virtual backbone to hold us up. That “something” gives us “a good feeling about our self” that comes from approval or appreciation from others, preferably authoritarian persons.

Growing up and accepting change

A Healthy Sense of Self, however, gives us a clear image of what we are and what we are not; what a person can be and what a person can never be (God). It gives a clear view of what all people have in common: we all have a Self and therefore we are equal and have the same rights. We don’t need to fight, because we simply know it. And that makes change OK.

Change is unavoidable. It is the only certainty in life, beside the fact that life includes death. But that is another story.

So if you want to avoid rigidity:  1) make sure you have a Healthy Sense of Self, 2) accept the progression of time and 3) maintain physical fitness – even better enjoy your physical abilities, through sport or dance. As we grow older that needs more and more of our attention.

How much time is left over to “govern”? How much time do these old men actually spend on meeting all these criteria rather than on politicking and stroking their own egos?

Is life not for people of all ages and all races, male and female? Don’t they have the right to co-govern? Maybe some people haven’t lived long, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have tremendous insights that everybody can benefit from.

Equal representation

Re question 2: I realize it’s easy for me to say, from an idealistic point of view. I have passed the 60-year mark and I know how difficult it is, if you have an agenda, to give preference to physical wellbeing instead. Let’s not throw away those old men. They have experience and know the world – but a government needs representatives of the other groups as well: women and people of different ethnicities and backgrounds, and the young, maybe even children, in their own, child-specific ways.

It’s tradition, I know. But there are other ways, and the time has come to re-examine those traditions. Maybe those old men could look beyond their own bubbles and realize that personal management and recognition of the world outside their own limited point of view is at least as important as their function in government.

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