December 01, 2011

Does Ambivalence Increase with Age?

On the topic of increasing ambivalence as we grow older:
While to some degree I have followed the stereotypical trajectory of becoming more "conservative" with age, in some ways I've become more "radical." I don't think that's necessarily a contradiction.
I've come to see shades of grey and ambivalence as a good thing. Something that makes you think and question, instead of simply accepting, and relying upon, some dogma. Something that allows for creativity, for experimentation, for changing one's mind. Something that enables you to work with people that you thought you had nothing in common with, for the betterment of society.
That's why in my 50s I can be an "environmentalist" and "activist", and also contribute to my local board of trade. I don't think I would have been capable of that at age 20. Mind you, back in my twenties, boards of trade didn't have environmental sustainability committees...
Some may say shades of grey can become a moral quagmire. But over the course of history, I think black and white has done more damage to peoples and societies. It's the extreme manifestations of societies, be they left- or right-wing, that have killed the most.
I think age helps one to define the idiotic extremes that one can write off, while at the same time teaching one to be more tolerant. Hmm. Getting ambivalent again... : -)
So while in some ways as I get older I am more apt to call a spade a spade and f**k the consequences (perhaps because time is more precious as I age), in other ways I'm more willing to listen and to compromise (because time is often the only way to share and teach and reach consensus).
Ambivalent, eh?

Posted by Paul at December 1, 2011 10:55 PM