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Connections Across Cultures: Glorifying Youth vs. Valuing the Elderly

We hear a lot in our society about how we value youth, and consider the elderly to be of little worth. The obsession with youth and appearance is such that plastic surgery has become the subject of numerous television shows. But is our society really different than other societies, and if so, what factors might have contributed to the difference? The matter is particularly important today, since the world’s older population is the fastest growing group. One estimate has suggested by the year 2020 the total population of people over 65 years of age will be 690 million (Hillier&Barrow, 1999). Thus, it won’t be long before there are a billion people over the age of 65. But is 65 years old a valid point for declaring someone as old?

Old age can be defined functionally, as in whether or not a person can still do the things expected of them in their culture, it can be defined formally by some external event, such as the birth of the first grandchild, or it can be determined chronologically, as it typically is in the United States (we traditionally use the age of 65 years). Each measure has its advantages and disadvantages, but regardless, when a person is viewed by others as old, the question becomes one of how they will be treated. Generally speaking, the more industrialized a society is, the less likely it is to treat its elderly with respect and dignity. In non-industrialized societies, the elderly play a number of important roles in the traditions and ceremonies emphasized by such cultures, since they know the most about those traditions and ceremonies. Older members of the community function as historians, vocational instructors, and often as doctors and ministers. In agrarian societies they continue to work as long as they are able. As a result, the elderly are still vital, contributing members of the community, and as such, they are naturally treated with the respect they deserve (Hillier&Barrow, 1999).

There are, however, variations even within non-industrialized societies. For example, nomadic societies have few resources, and often live in harsh climates. Their geographic mobility favors youth and vigor, as well as individual autonomy, all elements that fade with advanced age. Even with minor advances in technology, the important roles that elders played in many cultures have faded with time. Among the Aleuts in Northern Russia there were always one or two old men who educated the children. However, the availability of printed material has largely eliminated the need for this type of education. In places such as Turkey and Nepal, the elderly have lost their place in the workforce with the urbanization and industrialization of the country. The Igbo of Nigeria once held their elders in high regard, but mass migrations have diminished their authority, and formal education in schools has supplanted their spiritual roles (Hillier&Barrow, 1999). Many more examples can be found of changes in how communities, societies, and cultures treat the elderly more poorly than they have in the past.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Personality theory in a cultural context. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11901/1.1
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