Ageism or common sense?

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
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Könchok Thrinley
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Könchok Thrinley »

PeterC wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:20 pm The reason this is difficult is that yes, faculties do decline as one ages, but the subject is often the last person to recognize this and does not want to accept it: but also one does gain experience and judgement with age, and that can have tremendous value, but you can never convince the young of its value until they’ve developed it themselves.

I don’t think you can or should put people through psychiatric or neurological tests. You could however put them through standard physiological examinations and make the conclusions of those public, and ones general physical health is often a useful indicator of how well the brain is functioning. For instance - if we had a president who was obese and had a stroke, then the results of his psychiatric examination wouldn’t be particularly important, we would know we needed a replacement.
I mean experience and all that comes with age has incredible value. I mostly have a problem with generalizing that old people thanks to age have wisdom. I mean sure, but for wisdom to develop it takes some introspection. And seeing many aging people around me be it my dear mother or others... they preffer to distract themselves and I cannot blame them. It is painful.

I also do not think we should put people through those. In general it would be great if some sort of often done regular check ups were done on everyone so people can prevent serious illnesses. However, when we are talking about important positions ... is it really too much to make a proper check up if our candidates have mental faculties to fullfil their duties? Let's remember they run for those offices because they want to. So why not have some general idea if they are literally fit.

For example Czech president Zeman is an old ooold politician in a horrible physical and mental state. He smoked and drank his whole life and based on how his personal assistant evaded answering question on his drinking, he still drinks too much. He has already served 5 years in office and was re-elected for five more years. In his second term he has done nothing. He stopped appearing publicly, didn't even comment when our country's second man in charge was threatened by the Chinese for going to Taiwan. He no longer even appears on tv, in senate, on memorials, etc etc etc. He is now more trouble than a representation of republic as his closest assistants are stealing what they can etc. And there is no way to get rid of him, despite him clearly not fullfiling his function. This is mostly what caused me to think about it.
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PeterC
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

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Könchok Thrinley wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:28 pm I mean experience and all that comes with age has incredible value. I mostly have a problem with generalizing that old people thanks to age have wisdom. I mean sure, but for wisdom to develop it takes some introspection. And seeing many aging people around me be it my dear mother or others... they preffer to distract themselves and I cannot blame them. It is painful.
I’m not sure id call it ‘wisdom’. Let me give you a few examples. If you work in banking but are under the age of, say, 40, then all you’ve ever experienced in your career is falling interest rates and ever-expanded central bank liquidity. What was considered ‘normal’ for decades is completely unfamiliar to you, and you don’t recognize it when it appears. If you work in most areas of commercial law, you accumulate experience through the matters you work on, and it takes a few decades to have see enough variety of them that you can identify problems reliably and you’re not figuring things out from first principles. If you’re a diplomat, there’s huge value in understanding the continuity of issues with many countries - which is a huge issue for the US right now as they’ve forced out a lot of the career people at the state department, and most high-level ambassadors are political appointees who have no background in the bilateral relationship. Look up the trainwreck that happened with the current US ambassador to the Netherlands, for example.

At the senior political level you don’t always need people who are at the top of their game mentally: you need people with experience and judgement. It’s a trade off. I fully agree when you look at trump and Biden that we are on the wrong side of that tradeoff, though really I’m not so worried about Biden, because he seeks and takes advice, and doesn’t always think he knows best.
I also do not think we should put people through those. In general it would be great if some sort of often done regular check ups were done on everyone so people can prevent serious illnesses. However, when we are talking about important positions ... is it really too much to make a proper check up if our candidates have mental faculties to fullfil their duties? Let's remember they run for those offices because they want to. So why not have some general idea if they are literally fit.

For example Czech president Zeman is an old ooold politician in a horrible physical and mental state. He smoked and drank his whole life and based on how his personal assistant evaded answering question on his drinking, he still drinks too much. He has already served 5 years in office and was re-elected for five more years. In his second term he has done nothing. He stopped appearing publicly, didn't even comment when our country's second man in charge was threatened by the Chinese for going to Taiwan. He no longer even appears on tv, in senate, on memorials, etc etc etc. He is now more trouble than a representation of republic as his closest assistants are stealing what they can etc. And there is no way to get rid of him, despite him clearly not fullfiling his function. This is mostly what caused me to think about it.
I don’t know about the Czech Republic but most countries have a ‘removal for incapacity’ option somewhere in their constitutional law. But this is almost never used because it’s such a drastic step. Publishing the results of a mandatory annual medical is a good way to set up the question at least.

That said - Churchill was an alcoholic even as early as WW2. Reagan showed signs of pre-senile dementia in office. Thatcher slept about 3-4 hours a night and had dementia herself shortly after leaving office. Yet these three were, though controversial, very effective in their tenures.

What makes this harder is that the point where people get serious symptoms of dementia is often shortly after retirement. They step down from a busy job, have nothing to do all day, and their brains turn to jelly very quickly. So we should expect that older national leaders would follow this pattern too. That doesn’t mean they were unfit when they were in office.

In short - it’s difficult.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

This is somewhat relevant - https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=552663#p552663 - although it didn't quite deserve a spot in the thread.

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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by FiveSkandhas »

Shakyamuni Guatama Buddha ("the Historical Buddha") is generally said to have attained paranirvana at age 80.

If He could preach the Dharma up to age 80, a comparitvely trivial samsaric activity like running a nation should be a snap for an octogenarian.

:D
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:49 pm ...Some people in their 70s and a very few people in their 80s are as sharp as ever - but not many. ....
:coffee:
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Brahma »

So many of our Perfect Buddhist Teachers are very, very old. Yet they are a good mine of instruction.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by HappyBuddha21 »

Könchok Thrinley wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 10:47 am
I am sorry if I touched a nerve there. However, I don't think we should sort people based on age in any way. I just think that maybe it would be good to have an age limit on leading positions. Look at Obama how he aged in the White House, I cannot even imagine Joe Biden finishing his term if he gets elected. The same would be with Bernie who at least has the mental capacity.

People in their 50's and 60's can be amazingly capable and often are, just like peple in their 70's and 80's and above. I mean look at late justice Ginsburg, she was in her 80's and still kicking ass.

Anyway was just my musing.
The world champion at chess was 23 when he won it. St 19 he was already rated #1 in the world.
It's very hard to compete at the top level there after even 35 or so, I don't think any top 10 players are really very old.

Ageism definitely goes both ways. There's a young skateboarder about 16 who is really amazing. Experience is necessary to do many things, but young people can rack it up quickly if they dedicate the hours.

Isamu Yamamoto is his name. I remembered his last name but had to search. I won't quote or post anything, I prefer my own words; it looks like he won a freestyle world championship at 14, and he was he first person ever to do so using two boards.

Now people may say these are geniuses and exceptions but I don't think it's so simple. There's more that is possible than we usually think of, in fact perhaps, there is always more that is possible than what we think.

I'm certain positivity and peacefulness are essential for people to reach best potential.

Anyway I'm not agreeing or disagreeing per se, as this is obviously a hot button issue.

Look forward to other replies.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Brahma wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:52 am So many of our Perfect Buddhist Teachers are very, very old. Yet they are a good mine of instruction.
Indeed. But what they are teaching is a subject which hasn't changed for ... quite a while.

:thinking:
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Brahma »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:19 am
Brahma wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:52 am So many of our Perfect Buddhist Teachers are very, very old. Yet they are a good mine of instruction.
Indeed. But what they are teaching is a subject which hasn't changed for ... quite a while.

:thinking:
Kim
Perhaps there is only one subject that really matters.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by DharmaN00b »

less change bigger matter!

I don't know much about phhysics :twothumbsup:
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Brahma wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:17 am
Kim O'Hara wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:19 am
Brahma wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:52 am So many of our Perfect Buddhist Teachers are very, very old. Yet they are a good mine of instruction.
Indeed. But what they are teaching is a subject which hasn't changed for ... quite a while.

:thinking:
Kim
Perhaps there is only one subject that really matters.
In an ultimate sense, you may be right.
But this thread began with a question about the age of our political leaders - you know, the people who send us off to a war (or not), fund our health care (or not), deal with wildfires and hurricanes (or not), encourage us to hate our neighbours (or not), etc, etc. These are all important for our day-to-day safety and comfort.
Those issues are important enough to be given some attention, and anyone who thinks they aren't is living in a fool's paradise.

:namaste:
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

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HappyBuddha21 wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 2:38 am The world champion at chess was 23 when he won it. St 19 he was already rated #1 in the world.
It's very hard to compete at the top level there after even 35 or so, I don't think any top 10 players are really very old.
Wilhelm Steinitz was 58 years old when he lost the world chess championship to Lasker in 1894. In more recent years, Vishy Anand was 43 when he lost a title defense. There have been some chess grandmasters in their 80s. M. Botvinik won the championship when he was 50 but most champions have been in their 30s. Based on this, we might be able to say that for most people their peak cognitive ability is somewhere between 30 to 60 and severe decline typically starts around 80. But of course everyone is different and some decline much earlier or remain sharp even beyond 80.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

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Könchok Thrinley wrote: Sat Sep 19, 2020 12:58 am Okay, today I started wondering about one thing. Have you noticed how we are heading for doom and most of the world leaders are old farts? Trump is old, Biden left his mental vitality during Obama's administration and in my coutry our president can barely walk, there are rumors he cannot hold his stool and our prime minister is soon to reach 70 and steals our nation's future.

Like, shouldn't there be an age limit? In many functions we have a minimum age necessary to serve in that function. However, with aging population, shouldn't we have age maximum? Let's say 65 as the maximum age for presidential candidate. Is this an ageism or just common sense? I do not think that all old people are incapable of critical or are immoral. But we have age limit for drivers from both ends, why not for our leaders? For once I want someone around 40 to kill my dreams of having a house and a dog with my boyfriend, that's all I am saying.

What are your thoughts?
No, I disagree. It is silly to propose some sort of limitation on age. If they can pass a physical, why does it matter?

Trump was a self-serving narcissist 3 decades ago. His problem has nothing to do with age. Biden, also, has always had issues with public speaking. I think people are wrong to attribute some of his perceived faults to age.

For the record, I am 24.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Charlie123 »

Könchok Thrinley wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:28 pm
PeterC wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:20 pm The reason this is difficult is that yes, faculties do decline as one ages, but the subject is often the last person to recognize this and does not want to accept it: but also one does gain experience and judgement with age, and that can have tremendous value, but you can never convince the young of its value until they’ve developed it themselves.

I don’t think you can or should put people through psychiatric or neurological tests. You could however put them through standard physiological examinations and make the conclusions of those public, and ones general physical health is often a useful indicator of how well the brain is functioning. For instance - if we had a president who was obese and had a stroke, then the results of his psychiatric examination wouldn’t be particularly important, we would know we needed a replacement.
I mean experience and all that comes with age has incredible value. I mostly have a problem with generalizing that old people thanks to age have wisdom. I mean sure, but for wisdom to develop it takes some introspection. And seeing many aging people around me be it my dear mother or others... they preffer to distract themselves and I cannot blame them. It is painful.

I also do not think we should put people through those. In general it would be great if some sort of often done regular check ups were done on everyone so people can prevent serious illnesses. However, when we are talking about important positions ... is it really too much to make a proper check up if our candidates have mental faculties to fullfil their duties? Let's remember they run for those offices because they want to. So why not have some general idea if they are literally fit.

For example Czech president Zeman is an old ooold politician in a horrible physical and mental state. He smoked and drank his whole life and based on how his personal assistant evaded answering question on his drinking, he still drinks too much. He has already served 5 years in office and was re-elected for five more years. In his second term he has done nothing. He stopped appearing publicly, didn't even comment when our country's second man in charge was threatened by the Chinese for going to Taiwan. He no longer even appears on tv, in senate, on memorials, etc etc etc. He is now more trouble than a representation of republic as his closest assistants are stealing what they can etc. And there is no way to get rid of him, despite him clearly not fullfiling his function. This is mostly what caused me to think about it.
I know nothing about Czech politics, but it seems like the issue is alcoholism and a lack of checks and balances, not age. A young person is perfectly capable of failing to fulfill their obligations while drinking themselves to death.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Brahma »

Kim O'Hara wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:14 pm
Brahma wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 11:17 am
Kim O'Hara wrote: Tue Sep 29, 2020 5:19 am
Indeed. But what they are teaching is a subject which hasn't changed for ... quite a while.

:thinking:
Kim
Perhaps there is only one subject that really matters.
In an ultimate sense, you may be right.
But this thread began with a question about the age of our political leaders - you know, the people who send us off to a war (or not), fund our health care (or not), deal with wildfires and hurricanes (or not), encourage us to hate our neighbours (or not), etc, etc. These are all important for our day-to-day safety and comfort.
Those issues are important enough to be given some attention, and anyone who thinks they aren't is living in a fool's paradise.

:namaste:
Kim
And if your one subject matter is serving the Buddha in all these cases, you will be a perfect political leader! Buddhism as you know is here to envelop every aspect of our lives, coming from our personal selves, in a commitment to the Dharma, the Sangha and the Buddha. If a true political leader were to turn to the Buddha for everything, and be a Buddha themselves, then they would be considered perfect, and would probably have their own sense as when to want to retire and do so, unless pressured otherwise. But those kinds of otherwise pressures are what we are often fighting, and so it's important to stand up for what's right, even if no one else seems to be doing so, because an aspect of the sinful is that they try to wear away an honest person's integrity and Metta, because the sinful still have a lusting propensity and they don't want to given up their lust. But as long as one has the resolve that they are done with sin and have decided to reach the state of no regression, they are to be considered saintly. And we need saintly leaders. I believe for example someone like the Dalai Lama can stay in office until the end of His life, and the same with Thich Nhat Hanh, despite their advanced age and physical conditions, because I know what a Buddha is.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

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Brahma wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:40 am ...
And if your one subject matter is serving the Buddha in all these cases, you will be a perfect political leader! Buddhism as you know is here to envelop every aspect of our lives, coming from our personal selves, in a commitment to the Dharma, the Sangha and the Buddha. If a true political leader were to turn to the Buddha for everything, and be a Buddha themselves, then they would be considered perfect, and would probably have their own sense as when to want to retire and do so, unless pressured otherwise. But those kinds of otherwise pressures are what we are often fighting, and so it's important to stand up for what's right, even if no one else seems to be doing so, because an aspect of the sinful is that they try to wear away an honest person's integrity and Metta, because the sinful still have a lusting propensity and they don't want to given up their lust. But as long as one has the resolve that they are done with sin and have decided to reach the state of no regression, they are to be considered saintly. And we need saintly leaders. I believe for example someone like the Dalai Lama can stay in office until the end of His life, and the same with Thich Nhat Hanh, despite their advanced age and physical conditions, because I know what a Buddha is.
The problem is, this fantasy of your's is not a reality yet.
You could say: "Okay, not yet, but utopia is needed before real change can come."

The problem is - and that's why I answer to your ideas - people with this kind of faith like your's are being misused right now. In their strong belief of a fantasy lala land that will come in future with saints as politicians... this belief leads them into the arms of abusers.
Happening right now in Germany and in the US maybe as well. They think they fight for a pure land of freedom and in reality they vote for Nazis.

I don't know how that happens but it does.
I warn you to keep practical in your fantasies of a wonderful future. If you don't consider how people are right now on this planet, if you insist in imagining a perfect world, every bad guy could easily misuse your faith.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Brahma »

Ayu wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:02 pm
Brahma wrote: Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:40 am ...
And if your one subject matter is serving the Buddha in all these cases, you will be a perfect political leader! Buddhism as you know is here to envelop every aspect of our lives, coming from our personal selves, in a commitment to the Dharma, the Sangha and the Buddha. If a true political leader were to turn to the Buddha for everything, and be a Buddha themselves, then they would be considered perfect, and would probably have their own sense as when to want to retire and do so, unless pressured otherwise. But those kinds of otherwise pressures are what we are often fighting, and so it's important to stand up for what's right, even if no one else seems to be doing so, because an aspect of the sinful is that they try to wear away an honest person's integrity and Metta, because the sinful still have a lusting propensity and they don't want to given up their lust. But as long as one has the resolve that they are done with sin and have decided to reach the state of no regression, they are to be considered saintly. And we need saintly leaders. I believe for example someone like the Dalai Lama can stay in office until the end of His life, and the same with Thich Nhat Hanh, despite their advanced age and physical conditions, because I know what a Buddha is.
The problem is, this fantasy of your's is not a reality yet.
You could say: "Okay, not yet, but utopia is needed before real change can come."

The problem is - and that's why I answer to your ideas - people with this kind of faith like your's are being misused right now. In their strong belief of a fantasy lala land that will come in future with saints as politicians... this belief leads them into the arms of abusers.
Happening right now in Germany and in the US maybe as well. They think they fight for a pure land of freedom and in reality they vote for Nazis.

I don't know how that happens but it does.
I warn you to keep practical in your fantasies of a wonderful future. If you don't consider how people are right now on this planet, if you insist in imagining a perfect world, every bad guy could easily misuse your faith.
We live in a degraded Age, and most of our leaders are materialists, I agree. You are correct to point out that most of them are not Buddhist and not Enlightened. I was simply saying that Enlightenment is a timeless quality for those that are Enlightened, and if they are the right age to be a leader they should be. We should all take need your wisdom that we are not living in a fantasy land, but it is possible to save this world, and in the end Guatama will, that is the hope for this world, and it is our purpose to help save this world as well.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by shaunc »

A person who is enlightened probably has no ambition whatsoever to be a political leader.
Mixing politics and religion is usually not a good idea.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

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"Whilst I had such power and good fortune, yet I thought: `When an untaught ordinary man, who is subject to ageing, not safe from ageing, sees another who is aged, he is shocked, humiliated and disgusted; for he forgets that he himself is no exception. But I too am subject to ageing, not safe from ageing, and so it cannot befit me to be shocked, humiliated and disgusted on seeing another who is aged.' When I considered this, the vanity of youth entirely left me."..
In selecting our leaders, of course we have to consider age, but its one of many factors.

In my profession, I often look for the advice of older practitioners - they've seen a lot and having been through it, they know how to navigate to the end. Even old cats who move slow, think slow, I often find they have wise advice. I don't think its debatable - in professional careers there's a sweet spot between experience and capabilities. In my profession that sweet spot is probably 40 to 60, but certainly exceptions outside that. Ideally, you have a team of older directing and advising, some middle aged carrying the heavy duty work, and younger in support roles doing the busy work.

When we're selecting leaders, at least in the US, we put a lot of emphasis on the charisma of the candidate, but they have large networks of institutional support (this is part of why Bernie lost - he had the grass roots support, but did not have the institutional support, for better or worse). In the ordinary course, a candidate brings with them an extensive team. Biden is not alone - Harris will likely carry a lot of the load in a Biden administration, as will all those people who have been on the sidelines for the last 4 years, or who left civil service.

Biden's job for the next four years will be to smile and reassure Americans and the world, that its not falling apart. He will need to steer the machinery of the state toward his policies - but mostly, we need him to be like Eisenhower - just project calm, that things are going to be OK. We're at a frantic point in our politics and we need to walk this back.

Progressives will not be happy with that, of course. But the last thing we need right now, after the trauma of Trump, is more paradigm disrupting politics. Of course I want to move in progressive directions, but I also see that a lot of my fellow citizens are not there. The chance for that was 2016. Thing are different now.

We need an old dude who will keep us calm. In the end, its what Democratic party voters decided on. And now we'll see what the country wants - more of Trump's chaos or some semblance of normalcy where we're not being provoked at every turn.
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Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

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There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
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Re: Ageism or common sense?

Post by Brahma »

shaunc wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 9:42 am A person who is enlightened probably has no ambition whatsoever to be a political leader.
Mixing politics and religion is usually not a good idea.
We should only have Enlightened and Spiritually religious people in political offices, or else we are going to have some really, really big problems. You already know the reasons for this.
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