Salon 22 New Aging

The last decades have seen unprecedented progress in human longevity – known as the the “longevity revolution” – and corresponding variations in the age composition of the world population. In the last sixty years, life expectancy in the more developed countries has almost doubled – from just over 40 to nearly 80 years – while the percentage of populations aged 60 and above has doubled, from around 8 percent to around 16 percent. Such rates of growth, the UN says, are without parallel in history, and are anticipated to continue in the future. As societies grow older, common understanding of what it means to age becomes elusive; and this, in turn, has profound implications for the lives of every men and women across the globe: from the way we conceive of the space we inhabit, to changing conceptions of the meaning of authority, leisure, health and mortality. In this salon, we unpacked some of the challenges associated with one of the most elusive phenomena faced by contemporary society.

Among the questions that we tackled: What is the meaning of the demographic transformation the world is undergoing? Is it a threat or an opportunity? What are its social, psychological, aesthetic, and ethical implications? How does this global trend force us to negotiate novel conceptions of intergenerational obligations and expectations for a well-lived life? Do we need a philosophy of aging? Are we correct to be worrying about the world’s population aging? What is the role of art in all of this? What will be the impact of a demographic tectonic shift for world politics? What is the longevity economy? How does the beauty industry exploit ageist myths and stereotypes? Are there countries in which it is easier to get old? How does the pressure to stay young forever play out in different global contexts? How and where will we live as we age? What an all-age-friendly world would look like?

This salon took place on January 22nd, 2018.


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