Andre Maurois: the Real evil of old age is not a weakness of the body, and the indifference of the soul

The famous French writer Andre Maurois familiar to the Russian reader first of all "Letters to the stranger", more "Literary portraits".

In the book "Art of life", not be translated into Russian language, Andre Maurois reflects on love and friendship, marriage, happiness, old age, and draws conclusions that may seem interesting to you.

The excerpt dedicated to the art of aging.

The wind of change

Ageing is a strange process. So strange that often it is difficult for us to believe it. Only when we see what impact time has had on our peers, we, as in a mirror, seeing what it did to us. After all, in their own eyes, we are still young. We have the same hopes and fears that young. Our mind is still alive, and our forces, it would seem, is not exhausted. We conduct the experiment: "Can I climb this hill as fast as I did as a young man? Yes, I'm a little choked, when he reached the top, but I spent as much time and, most of all, I was a little bit suffocating."

The transition from youth to old age is so slow that the one with whom this happens, it can hardly notice. When autumn follows summer, these transformations are so gradual that it is impossible to catch. However, in some cases autumn "attacks" all of a sudden. Until then it is hidden behind a little "bleached" leaves of trees, but one November morning the wind suddenly rips off the Golden mask, and it revealed a gaunt skeleton of winter. The leaves, which we thought was alive, was, is, dead, and barely held onto the branch. A strong wind just exposed the evil, and did not call him. A man or woman may seem young, despite his age. "She's lovely," we say. Or: "He's in great shape." We admire their activity, and their keen mind and ability to carry on a conversation. But once we notice that, having made imprudent act, for which that young man would have paid no more than a headache or a cold, they pay a heart attack or pneumonia. A few days after this "storm" their faces turn pale, back bent, eyes lose their luster. So one moment turns us into old men. This means that we have started to age long before him.

The autumnal equinox

When in our life there comes the autumn equinox?

The famous philosopher Conrad said that when a man turns 40 years, he sees before him a line of shadows crossing it, sadly notes that the charm of youth was gone from him forever. Then we draw the line of shade in 50 years, and those who cross it, are experiencing some fear and short bouts of despair, although they are still quite active.

Old age is far more than white hair, wrinkles and the idea that the game is played, the stage belongs to the young.

The real evil of old age is not a weakness of the body, and the indifference of the soul.

Zand the shadow line we see people and the world as they are, without illusions. The old man asks himself the question: "Why?" That is possibly the most dangerous phrase. Once old man says to himself: "Why fight? Why bother leaving the house? Why get out of bed?"

Except in the simplest of organisms who are able to avoid aging by dividing into two new body for each living being comes old age. Why may the butterfly, set aside two hours for the love of the game, a turtle and a parrot can live for two centuries? Why pike and carp released to live 300 years, and Byron and Mozart only 30? The average life expectancy 150 years ago was 40 years, today in most civilized countries it is about 70 years. If war and revolution will not worsen the environmental situation, the 100 years will be the normal life expectancy in the next century. But it has no effect, however, on the issue of aging.

Coconut the tree of life

Than the living beings closer to nature, the harder they treat their elderly. An aging wolf enjoys the respect of his pack only as long as it can catch the victim and kill her. Kipling in his "jungle Book" described the rage of young wolves, which led to hunt an old wolf losing their power. The day when Akela missed the prey, was the end of his career. Toothless old wolf was expelled from the flock their young comrades.

In this respect, primitive people like animals. One traveler who visited Africa and spoke about how the old chief begged him to give him hair dye. "If my people will notice that I grow gray, they'll kill me."

Residents of one of the South sea Islands forced the elderly to climb coconut trees and then shaking them. If the old man fell, then got right to live; if he fell from the tree, he was sentenced to death. This custom seems cruel, but we also have our own coconut trees!

About public figures, actors, lecturers may one day say, "It's over". In many cases, this means a death sentence for the reason that with retirement comes the poverty, or despair there is a weakness. Shared a coconut tree for all become war.

Among the peasants, where life is closer to nature, physical strength still governs the relationship between the generations. In the cities the triumph of youth is more pronounced during the revolutions and rapid change in society, as the youth quickly adapts to the change than old age.

And, on the contrary, in civilized countries, where a lot of wealthy people, there is a tendency to take care of the elderly and to give them tribute. Old people do not give up, because in a world where long time did not change, experience is of particular value.

However, the old leader who made his career in the youth from distracting forces in order to look young. Like an old wolf, he tries to hide his helplessness. Thus youth and old age are used interchangeably, alternating in a natural rhythm.

It is useless to wish that it were otherwise. Perhaps the best scheme is the existence of two generations would be as follows: a young team, but the wise old men occupy posts of councillors of state.


The tyranny of the past

Old age brings endless trouble. However, if you want to deal with them, you should recognize them. When the doctor comes to the seriously sick patient, he says: "this is what will happen if you don't take care of themselves". Then he lists the symptoms, each worse than the last, and confirms: "none of these symptoms will not develop if you apply preventive measures".

So I want to tell you about what troubles you may face in old age and how to avoid them, if we warn them.

An aging body — how long the engine worked. While attentive to the respect, care and timely prevention it may even have a good serve. Of course, he will not be the same as before, and he can not demand too much. But with a reasonable attitude towards your body you can stay active even in old age.

Older people develop amazing selfishnessthat prevents them to friends with young. If not for him, the heat, being United with experience, on the contrary, would attract the young.

One of the signs of old age to avarice. The old man knows that it is not so easy to earn money, so it protects what you already have. Another cause of greed: every living creature must have a passion and love of money can replace the lack of other passions. The avarice of the old people becomes a game and those who play it, find extraordinary pleasure in the accumulation of money. This game does not require neither the strength nor youth nor health.

Old people usually weakens the brain activity, it is difficult to develop new ideas, so they stick to the ideas that he had in his youth. Objections to lead them into a frenzy, as they regard it as disrespect. It is difficult to keep up with the times, and they continue again and again to forget the past.

Loneliness is the biggest evil of old age; one by one out go the old friends and relatives, and to replace these losses is impossible. Old age takes away her strength and takes away the fun.

"Old age is a tyrant, said La Rochefoucauld, which forbids the pleasures of youth, threatening the penalty of death". First of all "forbidden" stormy love, characteristic of the young. Older people sometimes worry that their physical desires do not coincide with the possibilities. In many cases aging body. But a soul.

In Greek history there was a case when one of the patrician all my life loved a woman, which for him had left her husband, children, friends, lost the respect of your peers. He could not marry her, as was already married. She devoted herself to his pleasure, his career. His work. Subsequently, their love affair moved in a gentle and long friendship. He was 80 years old and she was 70, they saw each other every day. When she died, everyone who knew Patricia, were sorry for him. Everyone said, "He will not survive". However, he recovered quickly after the shock. Not only was he too old to love, but too old to suffer.

 Wear wigs and necklaces!

The art of aging is to fight with these troubles. But is this possible if they attack the body? Unless old age is a natural biological change in the body, the inevitability of which you accept?

Civilization and experience has taught people to fight if not with old age, with its external manifestations. Elegant clothes and well-chosen jewels to attract the eye and distract from physical flaws. A special role plays the use of jewelry. A soft iridescence pearl necklace makes you forget about the shortcomings of the neck. The glitter of rings and bracelets hide the age of the hands and wrists. Beautiful hair clips and earrings, like a tattoo primitive tribes, affect the imagination, that the wrinkles on the face can not see.

To do everything to smooth the differences between youth and old age, the deeds of civilized people.

Pariki was invented in order to conceal thinning hair or baldness. Skillful use of cosmetics helps to disguise the signs of skin aging. The art of dressing, especially after a certain age is the ability to hide their shortcomings.

It is often said that a person's age is determined not by years, but by the condition of his vessels and bones. People 50 years of age can look older than 70. Well-trained body remains flexible for a long time, and then aging is accompanied by numerous diseases. Wisdom is to practice every day, and not from case to case. Impossible to stop the onset of old age, but it is advisable to deny it.

The famous philosopher Montaigne said: "I prefer to be old for a long time and not become prematurely".

The soul, like the body, needs exercise. So do not reject love in old age because of not appearing ridiculous. There is nothing funny about the fact that two old people in love. Respect, affection and admiration have no age.

It often happens that, when youth and passions go, love takes on a certain austerity that is not without its charms. Together with the disappearance of the physical urges disappear sexual mismatch. Thus, coexistence of the pair is reminiscent of the river that early in the course of rushing, jumping over boulders, but clean waters flow more quietly, closer to the sea, and on its broad surface reflects the stars.

Love in old age may be as sincere and touching, as in his youth. Victor Hugo talked about how he was touched when he saw the together Madame Récamier and Chateaubriand. She was blind, and he is paralyzed. "Every day for 3 hours of Chateaubriand brought to Madame Récamier. The woman who didn't see anything else, looking for companies of men, who felt nothing more; their hands met, they were close to death, but they still loved each other."


Not out of the game

The emotional life is not only love counts.

Attachment elderly grandchildren often fills their lives. We rejoice in their joys, suffer when they suffer, like when they like, and participate in their struggle. We can feel out of the game if they play it instead of us! How can we be unhappy, if they are happy! How nice to see that they enjoy about those books that we recommend them.

Grandparents often find a common language with their grandchildren faster than children. Even physically they are closer to the grandchildren. They can't run with my son, but they can run with my grandson. Our first and last steps have the same rhythm.

In addition, people age more slowly if they have justified reasons to live. It is believed that man exhausts himself, if he is very active in old age. Just the opposite. Aging is nothing more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to follow.

In many cases, older people are better leaders than young. Old diplomats and a doctor skilled and wise, as they do not distract young passion, and they can talk quietly.

Cicero said, "Great works are performed not by physical force, and thanks to the Mature wisdom inherent in old age."


The line of light

There are two reasonable ways to age. First — don't get old. It is for those who manage to avoid old age, leading an active lifestyle. The second is to accept old age with calmness and detachment. The struggle has passed. There is an old people who not only envy the young, and regret it, because stormy sea of life is still laid at their feet. Deprived of some of the pleasures of youth, these people keenly feel the pleasure that they have left.

There are several ways to get old unpleasant. The worst one is trying to hold on to what cannot be returned. Unfortunately, there are people whose lives are poisoned until the last days of constant dissatisfaction.

The art of aging is an art to be for the next generations support, not a stumbling block, a confidant, not a rival.

You should also talk about retirement. Some hard to experience it. Meanwhile, for human, retained the ability to wonder, retirement can be a pleasant moment in his life. At home, in your garden it can finally do what you love.

Even more interesting will be to live someone always cared about poetry, books, beauty of nature. The works of the great writers of our immortal friends.

Music is also an extremely loyal friend. For those of us who are disappointed in the people, the music — caring to another, beautiful world.

Pascal said, "human Life can be called happy if it starts from love and end up reaching the heights of ambition". If ambitions satisfied, life in old age runs quieter.

Thus, in 10 or 20 years after the people crossed the "line shadow", he can cross the "line of light". He's quiet and happy. His openness and friendliness talking about the state of his soul. No, old age is not hell, over the entrance to which is inscribed: "abandon all hope ye who enter here". If the old people are worthy of friendship, they are surrounded by friends and in old age. And finally, the fear of death in old age can be overcome with faith and philosophy.

Just time to sleep

If someday science can make old age did not destroy our body? Is it possible to create a fountain of youth whose waters we could swim to once again be young? Biologists managed to achieve in experiments on simple organisms. But does the person live so long?

In 80 years people have all experienced: love and ambition and the subsequent devastation; somewhat naive illusions and disillusionment, coming after their collapse.

Fear of death is not very large in old age; all attachment and interest in the past and relate to those people who have already died.


Also interesting: How to stay young or aging — a personal choice!

What's next? Aging is the most dangerous in the life of the game

When Hg wells was honored on the occasion of his 70th birthday, he gave a speech in which he remarked that this event has raised him childhood experiences. Nanny used to tell him: "Henry, you need to sleep." He usually protested but deep down knew that sleep would bring him rest.

"Death is the same kind and at the same time strict nanny, and when the time comes, she says, "Henry, you need to sleep." We protest a bit, but know that it is time to relax, and deep down, looking forward to it.published

Translated By Irina Kurdakov Gave


P. S. And remember, just changing your mind — together we change the world! ©



See also

New and interesting