On Aging: Revolt and Resignation
On Aging, the first of Jean Amery's books after At the Mind's Limits, is a powerful and profound work on the process of aging and the limited but real defenses available to those experiencing the process. Each essay covers a set of issues about growing old. "Existence and the Passage of Time" focuses on the way aging makes the old progressively see time as the essence of their existence. "Stranger to Oneself" is a meditation on the ways the aging are alienated from themselves. "The Look of Others" treats social aging - the realization that it is no longer possible to live according to one's potential or possibilities. "Not to Understand the World Anymore" deals with the loss of the ability to understand new developments in the arts and in the changing values of society. The fifth essay, "To Live with Dying, " argues that everyone compromises with death in old age (the time in life when we feel the death that is in us). Here Amery's intention, as encapsulated by John D. Barlow, becomes most clear: "to disturb easy and cheap compromises and to urge his readers to their own individual acts of defiance and acceptance."
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Existence and the Passage of Time I
Not to Understand the World Anymore I
To Live with Dying I
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absurd accept aging human aging person alienation already Amery's annihilation anymore Auschwitz become body breath called comes constantly contradiction cultural aging death dying empty essays eternity eventually existence existential experience fact fashion fear feeling Francois Mauriac future give Guermantes happens Hesse hope horror individual system intellectual Jean Amery Jean-Louis Curtis Jean-Paul Sartre judgment kitsch language Lettrism lived logical longer look Ludwig Klages matter meaning memory metaphors Mind's Limits mirror negation never novel old age once one's oneself ourselves pain past perhaps physical possession present Proust question reality recognize res cogitans res extensa resignation sense sick sign system Simone de Beauvoir social age society speak suffering suicide supersystem talk Talleyrand Theodor Less Thibault thing Thomas Mann thought toothache torment turn Vladimir Jankelevitch word world and space writing xanthelasma yesterday young youth