Don’t Let The Old Man In
Robin sent me a link to a conversation with Stewart Brand, 83 years young and still Curious.
From psychedelics to cyberculture, hippie communes to commercial start-ups, Stewart is full of vim ‘n vigour as he lives life to the max. He thinks of health-span – not life-span and advocates all of us to Stay Curious, Live Longer.
“Frankly, I don’t understand people who go quiescent intellectually as they get older. In a way, getting older — you get more control of your time, and you have more savvy on how to do things and how to make things happen, who to call when you have a question, and all that stuff. So, your ability to investigate stuff, especially with the internet now, is going up all the time. Why would you let curiosity fade?
And many don’t. You’ve probably noticed that people you know in their 70s are different from people that you knew in their 70s when you were a little kid. When it was over, they were settling down to play golf or whatever it was. Probably a whole lot of people you know in their 70s and 80s are hard at it, in some cases, just hitting their stride. That’s a change that has occurred in my lifetime. That is a total treat, and as near as I can tell, that one is permanent. I think that’s with us now. People will live longer and thrive longer.
The health span, as it’s now being referred to, instead of life span — health span, meaning how long you can be really engaged and productive and alive to things. I think that’s very good in terms of long-term thinking because people who are older have a longer “now.” Their future may be getting shorter, but their past is personally and significantly long. They’ve seen a lot of stuff come and go, and they’ve seen a lot of skills that possibly they had time to pick up that they can now deploy.
All of that makes at least the kind of intellectual life that we both seem to enjoy that much richer. So long as your genes are supporting your brain cells, and whatever other medications and stuff we can do medically, it’s possible for me to carry on in ways that would not have been possible a century ago. So, there you have it. We are living longer, and we’re finding ways to keep the human body and human brain functioning better, longer. Why would you not take advantage of that?”
PS: Some more advice on this from The Boss and John Mellencamp in their song on Mellencamp’s new album “Strictly a One-Eyed Jack” – Wasted Days.