Boomers Crashing on the Beach

Spring                                                        Waning Bloodroot Moon

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” -Albert Einstein

I’m not sure I completely agree with Einstein, since I would give abstract thought the potential for creating knowledge, too; but, it is true that without experience the thinker has none of the material necessary for understanding.  This leads to an interesting observation about life at any point.  As we remove ourselves from experience, whether by depression, illness or again, our capacity to develop new knowledge grows weaker.  We can fall prey to narrow perspectives, prejudices, knowledge built on weak foundations.

The silver tsunami, baby boomers crashing on the beach of old age with considerable force, runs the risk of making our politics out of balance.  That is, if the aging who have been active in the world pull back and reduce themselves to voting what seems to be in their self interest, those of us in that number might find ourselves on the sharp end of political reprisal.  Read Susan Jacoby’s fine book, Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age.  She outlines the case for intergenerational struggle if we don’t extend health care coverage to all citizens through a program similar in scope and kind to medicare.  With a smaller number of workers supporting an increasing number of seniors, remember tsunami waves keep coming, in this case for 25 years +, national health insurance will be critical to assuring the successful retirement of all those workers we need.  Absent a way to see their ways through to their own retirement these younger workers may rebel against the burden of carrying us on their backs.

Jacoby’s book has several other pertinent perspectives, among them reminding us to prepare for old old age, now sometime after 80, when 50% of those in that age bracket have Alzheimers.  50%!  And the rest of us will likely have some other debilitating condition or another.  A good read.  An important one.

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