December 29, 2012

A euphemism for "aging": "evolving."

Example:
One of my wise [yoga] teachers told us that after 50, she began to cross off the list poses that she no longer felt made sense for her evolving body.
Cue the episode of "Outer Limits" where David McCallum enters the evolution machine:



Tip for "wise" teachers: You're not evolving. And why you find the notion of evolving more comforting than aging is a mystery you might want to ponder.

"Your ignorance makes me ill and angry."

Also... here's the trailer for "Altered States":

51 comments:

Richard Dolan said...

That's what O uses when he needs a euphemism, too. But usually for a different purpose.

TML said...

"He's a fucking gorilla!"

Tyrone Slothrop said...

He'll always be Ilya Kuryakin to me.

Deb said...

We are getting older...old...and we're lucky to be old. I just lost a friend to cancer at the age of 62. My best friend died at 14. I don't complain about being alive.

traditionalguy said...

OMG, that clip of a black and white ill and angry brain has slipped into the blog. I like the beautiful Althouse from bloggingheads better.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

That brought back the memory of an Outer Limits where a scientist invents a time machine. He brings back a being from the future, a horribly disfigured mutant, to tell him how fucked up the future is. As a ten-year-old, after seeing that mutant's face I couldn't sleep for a week.

Jeffrey said...

Wikipedia Notable Deaths, Jan. 3, 2011.

Jill Haworth, 65, English actress (Exodus, In Harm's Way, Cabaret, The Outer Limits), natural causes.

A little more from Wikipedia:

Valerie Jill Haworth[1] 15 August 1945 – 3 January 2011)[2] was an English actress. She appeared in films throughout the 1960s, and started making guest appearances on television in 1963. She also originated the role of Sally Bowles in the musical Cabaret on Broadway in 1966.

traditionalguy said...

The concept of aging has traditionally been seen as an honorable and wise stage in the full life span of God's men and women.

But like young women in India and elsewhere, the "weak and powerless" are the prey of evil men.

Jesus only got very angry at the Pharisees over their tradition that said "honor--meaning give old age support money-- would no longer be what the clear commandment to honor thy mother and father meant provided that the same amount of money was donated to the High Priest's favorite charity, which was himself.

The aging Boomers are terrified of admitting they are becoming weak and helpless now.

How is Mick Jagger these days? I bet he has a gun with him or an armed servant guarding his old bones.

dbp said...

I think Altered States is far better than what one might expect from the trailer. But who knows? I saw it when it came out and maybe it has aged as badly as the trailer.

Chip Ahoy said...

Driving home from a holiday party my date began complaining right off about one of the guests there and that was so unlike her.

She went on about how he expressed contempt for the ignorance of people he meets, they don't know anything about his line of work. An important guy, I guess, He was one of two main people who brought stage shows to town, musicals and such, and he was asking what people would like to see and not getting satisfactory answers. Seems people are ignorant about stage shows.

She was really mad too. She goes, "That son of a bitch, what does he know about, say, accounting, or doing taxes, or radio frequencies, or computers? He's ignorant of everything outside his own field." I don't know why she took such offense. He wasn't talking about her.

And I go, "He complained about people being ignorant?"

"Yes."

"That was me and Bart."

He kept bugging us about what shows we wanted to see, things like South Pacific and shit like that. And we're all, "Dude, that crap's dead. Nobody likes those things." I knew it was his thing but he kept bugging us and rejecting our common answers.

Quaestor said...

Needless to say evolution and it's verb to evolve are two of the most misunderstood words in English.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

How is Mick Jagger these days?

I saw Mick a couple of years ago at the hotel I work at. He was coming back from the pool, dressed in a bathrobe. He was clinging to the arm of his bodyguard, a giant man, maybe a Samoan. Mick looked tiny and frail next to that guy. It is truly amazing that he still gets up on stage and does what he does.

bpm4532 said...

Who cares what words actually mean? It's what you feel that counts!

Big Mike said...

Interesting couple of themes, today, Professor. Is it the coming New Year that make you feel your age? Or does your body start complaining at you when you get active?

About 6 miles from my house as the crow flies is a polished black granite wall. Next to the names on that wall, you and I have had it made for forty years.

Pogo said...

Not evolution, but entropy.
For the body, at least.

The soul can be our chrysalis.

jr565 said...

THere is no evolving there is just rusting.

Mitchell the Bat said...

(1) Not so much euphemism as flattery. Evolution now means improvement over time, apparently.

(2) "You're not getting older, you're getting better."

-- Advertising campaign slogan for Loving Care Color Lotion (c. 1971)

(3) "What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons."

-- Don Draper, Mad Men ("Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" 1:1)

chickelit said...

Gin-net-ticks!

Mitchell the Bat said...

He kept bugging us about what shows we wanted to see, things like South Pacific and shit like that.

"I'm gonna wash that grey right out of my hair."

jr565 said...

(1) Not so much euphemism as flattery. Evolution now means improvement over time, apparently.

This idea is stupid (the idea that evoling mores or ideas means an improvement. And only points out how vaccuous Obama actually was. Because to him, change meant good. And he didnt even have to say what that change was.

Sheryl Crow, an Obama supporter obviously, had that song "A Change Will Do you Good". But how stupid is that? (no wonder she voted for Obama!)
Christopher Reeve got flung off a horse and was paralyzed from the neck down? Was that a change that did him good?

Pogo said...

De-evolution!

"Are we not men?
We are Devo
Are we not men?
D E V O
Are we not pins?
We are Devo

Ann Althouse said...

"Interesting couple of themes, today, Professor. Is it the coming New Year that make you feel your age? Or does your body start complaining at you when you get active?"

I feel perfectly fine, the same as I've always felt physically. Mentally, passing time, impending death, and getting old used to bother me far, far more than it does now.

If there seems to be a theme, it's really only the result of what I happened to see looking around this morning.

It's the year's end, and there are items -- notably in the NYT -- about the people who have died this year.

As for "feeling" my age. What does that really mean? How is it supposed to feel to be almost 62? I wouldn't have thought it would feel like this... basically, no different from any other age... except much less burdened by troubles, fears, anxieties.

You can only live in whatever day it happens to be, and if you're here today, whatever age you are, you have that day, and only that day. It's not shorter because you're older. All the days are equal. It's delusional to give days a different weight because of the number of days that are behind it or in front of it, but we do attribute meaning to that comparison, number of days behind it and (guessed at) number of days ahead. But it's not obvious that the day is better for having relatively more days ahead. Arguably it's worse, because you have the days behind today in your memory. There's value in the past and in the future, different value, but you can't change the proportions around today. You can only live today.

Astro said...

In Astronomy the term stellar evolution is used instead of 'aging' because a lot more goes on as a star gets older than mere aging. For humans, though, I think beliefs and attitudes are what evolve - as the body ages.

rhhardin said...

"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards."

rhhardin said...

from ex- "out" (see ex-) + volvere "to roll" (see vulva)

unquote

rhhardin said...

"To mature" covers both to evolve and to age.

rcommal said...

Today, I am loving the responses on this thread.

eddie willers said...

I saw this episode of the Outer Limits when it was first broadcast in 1963.

I was 11 and thought thought the evolved man looked cool.

Watching again now at the age of 60, I notice that Jill Haworth is a total babe!

Big Mike said...

As for "feeling" my age. What does that really mean?

It means arthritic and metallic knee joints let you know when cold, damp weather is approaching. If you don't get that, then I congratulate (and somewhat envy) you.

Bruce Hayden said...

Ah, a young Dr. Mallard (McCallum). So, this is how he got so smart.

Joseph Morris said...

Back in college, I started using "evolve" as a marker for spiritual growth, but one of my biology grad student friends reminded me that "develop" is a better word, since people were not becoming a new species in their lifetimes, but coming closer to the organism's final stage of growth, whatever that may be.

Old Dad said...

Most of our ancestors were in the ground by age 35. We played a naughty trick on evolution, though, and figured our how to stay above ground longer. The random and inexorable machine will catch up eventually, assuming we don't exterminate ourselves--an iffy proposition.

In the meantime, every day above ground is potentially a good one, and that's what makes it interesting.

The other day, as I limped toward my car, a lovely lady a few years older than me, approached with a slightly concerned look and asked if I'd hurt myself. Yes, I told her, constantly and for many years when I was younger. She laughed, and we briefly shared stories about arthritis. As I limped away, she called out, you're OK, you're just wearing out.

She's right of course. Some spare parts are in (and on) order.

The ground can wait for now. In the mean time, I intend to soldier on, raise some hell, do my job, love my kids, and grand kids soon I hope. As my 9th grade Latin teacher used to cackle, "it's a great life if you don't weaken."

Sam L. said...

We don't have those controls on TVs now. I don't recall when they went away.

edutcher said...

I thought evolve meant caving in to the Lefties.

SteveR said...

I suppose I've evolved to the point where I too can appreciate the beauty of Jill Haworth, without distraction or complication.

n.n said...

Evolution, like progress, is a qualitatively ambiguous concept. The former only uniformly implies a chaotic dynamic. That is an evolutionary process describes a behavior which is bounded with varying intermediate behavior, which is modeled as a stochastic process when the system is incompletely characterized or unwieldy. While the latter only uniformly denotes a strictly increasing or decreasing dynamic, which can be either characterized as negative or positive within a limited frame of reference. Aging is an evolutionary process, beginning from conception and ending with mortal death.

Inga said...

Ageism.I have seen quite a bit of it on display in Althouse comments section.

Aridog said...

Althouse said ...

You can only live in whatever day it happens to be, and if you're here today, whatever age you are, you have that day, and only that day

Interesting. That you'd express that. It is a feeling I've always had, and at times just the joy of waking once again was enough for a whole day of happiness. I felt less immortal as a younger man than I do now. I have today.

Big Mike said...

Most of our ancestors were in the ground by age 35.

Or slid down the gullet of some carnivorous beast.

Ann Althouse said...

"I felt less immortal as a younger man than I do now. I have today."

If you have today, you have the eternal now, and you are immortal, now. The older you are the more obvious that should be. A young person's day is no more of a day than yours. If you find yourself here in this day, you wake up and discover that you are a human being on Planet Earth, that is all anyone has and you can never get any more, only move to the next now, with no assurance whatsoever that there will be another.

St. George said...

Tyrone--

The Outer Limits episode you're thinking of is "The Man Who Was Never Born," starring Martin Landau as a hideously diseased man who returns from the future, only to meet the man who will soon cause a plague that wipes out the human race. Of course, Landau must kill the man to alter future history....

What makes the story fascinating is that the ugly Landau has the power to make people think he is handsome. This works to great effect on the fiance of the scientist.

The story has quite a fairy-tale quality. Think frog prince....

Inga said...

Spend a day on a hospice ward, you will soon feel your own mortality. It is true that everyday is to be lived fully, but in all honesty the days do seem to go by quicker to me, the older I get, but of course rationally I know they are as long as when I was younger.

Fred Drinkwater said...

Paraphrasing from memory a Haas translation of a haiku (Issa? Basho?):

Turned 50 today
Now every sunrise
is clear profit

Methadras said...

altered states was a fun movie. Now that I look at it again, i believe the tv show fringe is a lot like it or might even be based slightly off of it.

altered states said...

I enjoyed "Altered States" (the movie), as well as some altered states over the years. The movie is better than the trailer, IMO.

Like many who commented in this thread, I'm just thankful to have survived to this point. Enjoying what is to come and trying to pass on what I have learned to my kids and the other youngsters I know.

rcommal said...

As for me, I have today and also a fireplace in a Florida room, which I've been told I cannot have, but of course I do. : ) It is what it is, and I am grateful, so mindful.

Happy New Year, Ann Althouse, Laurence Meade and various Althousians, in advance, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and/or whatever.

All good care and take good care, moving forward into 2013... . My well wishes runneth over.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

@rcommal

Were you alluding to this?

Donna B. said...

You, Ms Althouse, are like my father who didn't quite understand "aging" until he was in his 80s. He's a decade past that now.

You are genetically lucky -- as am I. I will probably live almost as long as my father, but because I also have my mother's genes I won't live in quite the same way. I did not inherit his tolerance for pain (I've seen his xrays -- he should not be able to use a spoon. Or walk.)

I'm about your age, but I have learned one thing that you have perhaps not yet learned. Your experiences are not the norm any more than mine are.

And you are responsible for triggering my understanding of that. Specifically this post of yours:

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/10/its-going-to-be-tough-because-im-used.html

Way back then, my first thought was that you didn't understand aging and were harsh in chastising someone whose experiences didn't fit within yours.

Although the article you linked to there was not about an elderly person in the South whose body was acclimated to higher temperatures, I could not help but think of a 77 year old person here who thought setting her thermostat below 80 in August was wasteful of energy...

Bottom line, that post has stuck in my mind. I am reminded of it every time you are judgmental about the behavior of others... and when I am also.

Perhaps if my husband had not insisted on setting our thermostat at 62 -- like you suggested -- this would not have had such an impact. Of course... it was August when he insisted on that setting. I would have been so much happier with 77.

virgil xenophon said...

"Fossilization" is the term I think we are all groping for, lol.
(The Faculty Intramural teams at Eastern Illinois have long named themselves "The Fossils" lol)

Actually, for me, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.."

Alex said...

Inga... at all points in our lives we will be ageist and then the targets of ageism. Goes with being human.

creeley23 said...

Evolve is, of course, incorrect and pretentious, but develop is a good word.

I'm middle-aged and I'm still getting better at some things. I can see structure, detail and relationships much better than I could when I was young.

However, that's counterbalanced in that I no longer have a memory as sharp nor can I muster that intense laser-like focus of my youth.

Interesting trade-offs. I used to be excited about the potential medical breakthroughs in longevity. I do expect to live longer, knock on wood, than my parents and grandparents, but it looks like it won't be that much longer.