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Monthly Archives: September 2014

Today I’d like to share a song by the Canadian songwriter and singer Pierre Lapointe ‘Pointant le nord’ (Facing north) (Album: Pierre Lapointe (2004)). It is a strange and poetic mixture of regrets, death and lost love that I find painfully romantic. Enjoy!

When I think of yesterday Read More

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When I introduce myself as a student of gerontology, I sometimes face people replying with ‘oh, like gerontophilia! You like old people?’ While such a comment is as simple as comparing a paediatrician with a pedophile, it nevertheless inspired to me to write about gerontophilia as a sexual desire and behaviour. What does it actually mean (part 1) and is it real or just fantasised about in the media and in popular culture? (part 2)

Gerontophilia refers to a younger person being attracted to an older person. But to put it in a broader spectrum, it is a subcategory of chronophilia – a term created by the sexologist John Money – which refers to the sexual attraction limited to individuals of particular age ranges (Money 1988). Chronophilia gathers sexual attraction for other age ranges from nepiophilia (1-3 years), pedophilia (3-11 years), hebephilia (11-14 years) (Blanchard et al, 2009), ephebophilia (15-19 years) (American Medical Association, 2013), teleiophilia (adults) and finally gerontophilia. Read More

In a previous post, I questioned several aspects of life in order to tackle the question of immortality. In this second post, I will discuss the definition of death. The goal is not to present a biological breakthrough that disables ageing. That would be in the news, not here! In the previous post I argued that separating people from machines and animals was an uneasy task. In this second article, I would like to debate around the definition of death and argue that the definition is not necessarily immutable and has, as a matter of fact, already evolved in many ways! No suspense needed, I would like to argue that technology enables the extension of life an possibly makes us immortal.
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Tonight I would like to initiate a small three-part essay around the possibility of immortality in relation to technological progress, which will aim to discuss three questions. In advance, I would like to say that these questions by far exceed my knowledge on numerous academic fields. The idea that I would like to argue is that immortality may be at our doorstep, that the first immortal human is born, that you and I may be immortal (assuming definition twists as you will see).

1. What defines a human or a person?
2. What defines death?
3. What does immortality mean? Read More

Ageing, as I like to remind anybody arguing around the ageing ‘problem’, is among the greatest achievements of the 20th and up to now the 21st centuries. I supported in a previous post that it could be possible to use the ageing of a society as an indicator of development and progress. It stands as one step to sustainability. Is it so different from the economic situation? Does ageing take place simultaneously as an economy flourishes? And the mirror question: what happens to older people when the economic takes a down turn?

poverty older adults

Photo from www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk

As many, I am concerned with the Western countries’ economies and it is only moderate to assume that years gained from death are largely supported by State funding. It is not really thanks to increasingly stable solidarity networks of localities or family support that people have become older. I am not ignoring their role but I believe that a society where the concept of extended family gets weaker does not participate in increasing the longevity of its older members. As a consequence, if State support was to diminish (as it is the case already), it is a natural consequence that people will start dying at a younger age.

I remember one of my interviews with an older lady of more than 90 years arguing against the closure of a local leisure centre in London:

Agnes: If they close this place, lots of these people wouldn’t get out of bed. They’d be in bed, they wouldn’t cook. Now, with me, I have a dinner down here, I go home and cook in the evening. These people, they only have one dinner here, ’til the next day for them to have another dinner. So what would they do? If this closes, they would rot. I told the eight people in the council.
Lauren: That’s probably what they want us to do.
Agnes: Yea, yea. I told them in the council. These people, now, with me, I’m fortunate, I go home and cook, but they don’t cook. And I said, they wait for the next day they don’t do a bit of shopping, they wait for their carers to get a bit of shopping. (…) God, if this closes, there’d be a lot of death I tell you.

Having an old society is a fragile and threatened state. The health of the oldest citizens is a clairvoyant image of the health of society as older people may turn out to be the first victims of a long-term economic downturn.

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