Wednesday, December 6, 2017


The Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget famously wrote about the stages of cognitive development and Freud described the anal and oral stages of infant and childhood psychosexuality, amongst others. The latter is a concept that still continues to raise eyebrows in a schizophrenic culture where increasingly permissive mores have ignited the deep-rooted puritanism that has always been an undercurrent in American life. Human development, of course, ends with death, which has its own protocols. Both Kenneth Nuland and Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote books with the titles How We Die and On Death and Dying. But between the stages of early development and the closing act which Shakespeare’s Jaques describes so eloquently in As You Like It (“Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness and mere oblivion: Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything”), lies a large spans of time and possibility. Fifty Shades of Gray, the title of an erotic romance, is also a good description of the fine shadings that accompany senescence. “Do not go gentle into that good night” urges Dylan Thomas. In fact hardly anybody departs this world without following Thomas’s words to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” The end seems so near at some points, but can actually feel protracted, long and almost boring. However, few people have the courage or desire to want to pull down the curtain on their own performance even when they’ve said their piece and have plainly overstayed their welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.