Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but ...

The well-known French writer Andre Mauri is familiar to the Russian reader primarily from “Letters to a Stranger,” and also from Literary Portraits.

In the book “The Art of Living,” which was not translated into Russian, Andre Maua reflects on love and friendship, marriage, happiness, old age, and draws conclusions that may seem interesting to you.

We offer an excerpt on the art of aging.

Wind of change

Aging is a strange process. So strange that it’s often hard for us to believe it. Only when we see what impact time has had on our peers, we, as in a mirror, see what it has done to us. Indeed, in our own eyes we are still young. We have the same hopes and fears as in our youth. Our mind is still alive, and our forces, it would seem, have not dried up. We are conducting an experiment: “Will I be able to climb this hill as fast as I did when I was young? Yes, I was a little choked up, reaching the top, but I spent the same amount of time, and, most likely, I was a little bit choked before. ”

The transition from youth to old age is so slow that the one with whom this happens hardly notices it. When autumn replaces summer, these transformations are so gradual that they cannot be caught. However, in some cases, autumn "attacks" suddenly. For the time being, it hides behind slightly “discolored” leaves of trees, but once on a November morning the wind suddenly tears off a golden mask, and behind it is found the haggard skeleton of winter. The leaves, which we considered alive, were, it turns out, dead and could hardly hold on to the branches. A strong wind only exposed evil, and did not cause it. A man or woman may seem young, despite his age. “She is charming,” we say. Or: "He is in great shape." We admire their activity, their insightful mind and ability to talk. But one day we notice that by committing an unreasonable act for which a young man would pay no more than a headache or a cold, they pay with a heart attack or pneumonia. A few days after such a “storm,” their faces turn pale, their backs bend, their eyes lose their luster. So one moment turns us into old men.This means that we began to grow old long before it.

Autumnal equinox

When does the autumnal equinox come in our lives?

The famous philosopher Konrad said that when a person turns 40, he seems to see the line of shadow in front of him and, crossing it, notes with sadness that the charm of youth has left him forever. Then we draw a line of shadow in 50 years, and those who cross it experience some fear and short bouts of despair, although they are still quite active.

Old age is much more than gray hair, wrinkles and the thought that the game was played, that the scene belongs to the young.

True evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but an indifference of the soul.

Behind the shadow line we see people and the world as they are, without illusions. The old man asks himself the question: “Why?” This is perhaps the most dangerous phrase. One day an old man will say to himself: “Why fight? Why leave the house? Why get out of bed?

With the exception of the simplest organisms that can avoid aging by dividing into two new organisms, old age sets in for every living creature. Why is the May Butterfly set aside only two hours for a love game, while a turtle and a parrot can live for two centuries? Why pike and carp live for 300 years,and to Byron and Mozart only 30? The average life expectancy of 150 years ago was 40 years, today it is about 70 years in the most civilized countries. If wars and revolutions do not worsen the ecological situation, then 100 years will be normal life expectancy in the next century. But this will not affect, however, the problem of aging.

Coconut tree of life

Than living beings are closer to nature, the harder they are for their old people. An aging wolf is respected by his pack only as long as he can catch a victim and kill it. Kipling in his “Book of the Jungle” described the fury of young wolves, who were led by an old wolf to hunt, losing their strength. The day when Akela lost his prey was the end of his career. The toothless old wolf was driven out of the pack by his young comrades.

In this respect, primitive people are like animals. One traveler who visited Africa spoke about how the old leader begged him to give him hair dye. "If the people of my tribe notice that I am turning gray, they will kill me."

Residents of one of the islands of the South Sea forced the old people to climb coconut trees, and then shook them.If the old man did not fall, then got the right to live; if he fell from a tree, he was sentenced to death. This custom seems cruel, but we also have our own coconut trees!

About statesmen, actors, lecturers can once say: "It is over." In many cases, this means a death sentence for the reason that along with retirement comes poverty, or as a result of despair, weakness arises. War is a common coconut tree for everyone.

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

And, on the contrary, in civilized countries, where there are a lot of wealthy people, there is a tendency to care for the elderly and pay tribute to them. Old people are not abandoned, because in a world where there has not been a change for a long time, experience gains special value.

However, the old leader, who made a career in his youth, gets out of his way to look young.Like the old wolf, he tries to hide his helplessness. Thus, youth and old age interchange each other, alternating in a natural rhythm.

It is useless to wish it to be otherwise. Perhaps the best scheme for the existence of two generations would be the following: the young command, and the wise old men occupy the posts of state advisers.

Tyranny of the past

Old age brings endless difficulties. However, if you want to fight them, you must calmly recognize them. When the doctor comes to a seriously ill patient, he says: “This is what will happen if you do not take care of yourself.” He then lists the symptoms, each of which is heavier than the previous one, and reassures: "None of these symptoms will develop if you apply preventive measures."

So I want to tell you about what troubles you may encounter in old age and how to avoid them if warned.

An aging body is how long the engine has been running. With careful attention to him, care and timely prevention, he can still serve well. Of course, he will no longer be the same as before, and you can’t demand too much from him.But with a reasonable attitude to your body, you can maintain activity in old age.

Old people develop amazing egoism, which prevents them from making friends with young people. If it were not for him, warmly, being connected with experience, on the contrary, would attract young people.

One of the signs of old age is stinginess. The old man knows that it is not so easy for him to earn money, and therefore he preserves what he already has. Another reason for stinginess: every living being must have a passion, and the passion for money may well replace the absence of other passions. The stinginess of old people becomes a game, and those who play it find extraordinary pleasure in saving money. This game does not require strength, youth or health.

Old people usually have weakened brain activity, it is difficult for them to develop new ideas, so they adhere to the ideas that he had in his youth. Objections infuriate them, as they regard this as disrespect for themselves. They find it difficult to keep up with the times, and they keep on remembering their past again and again.

Loneliness is the greatest evil in old age; one after another, old friends and relatives are leaving, and these losses cannot be replaced. Old age takes power and takes away pleasure.

“Old age is a tyrant,” said Laroshfuko, “who forbids the pleasures of youth, threatening death with punishment.” First of all, the "stormy" love characteristic of the young is "forbidden". Older people sometimes experience that their physical desires do not coincide with the possibilities. In many cases, not only the body is aging. But the soul.

In ancient Greek history, there is a case when one of the patricians loved his woman all her life, who for his sake threw her husband, children, friends, and lost the respect of the people of her circle. He could not marry her, as he was already married. She devoted herself to his pleasures, his career. His work. Subsequently, their love relationship turned into a gentle and long friendship. He was 80 years old, and she was 70, they saw each other every day. When the woman died, everyone who knew the patrician was very sorry for him. Everyone said: "He will not bear it." However, he quickly recovered from the shock. He was not only too old to love, but also too old to suffer.

Wear wigs and necklaces!

The art of aging is to combat these troubles. But is it possible if they attack the body? Is not old age a natural biological change of the organism, the inevitability of which must be accepted?

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

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

Wigs were invented to hide thin hair or bald spot. Skillful use of cosmetics helps mask the signs of skin wilting. The art of dressing, especially after a certain age, is the ability to hide their flaws.

It is often said that a person’s age is determined not by his age, but by the state of his vessels and bones. A person in 50 years may look older than in 70. A well-trained body retains flexibility for a long time, and then aging is not accompanied by many diseases.The wisdom is to exercise every day, not occasionally. It is impossible to stop the onset of old age, but it is desirable to deny it.

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

The soul, like the body, also needs exercise. Therefore, do not reject love in old age just because it does not seem ridiculous. There is nothing funny in the fact that two old people love each other. Respect, tender affection and admiration have no age.

It often happens that when youth and passion disappear, love acquires a certain austerity, which is not without its charm. Along with the disappearance of physical desires, sexual mismatches disappear. Thus, the coexistence of a pair resembles a river, which rushes at the beginning of the current, jumping over boulders, but clear waters flow more calmly, approaching the sea, and stars are reflected on its wide surface.

Love in old age can be as sincere and touching as in youth. Victor Hugo told how he was touched when he saw Madame Recamier and Chateaubriand together. She was blind, and he was paralyzed.“Every day at 3 o'clock Chateaubriand was brought to Madame Recamier. A woman who saw nothing more looked for a society of a man who no longer felt anything; their hands met, they were close to death, but they still loved each other. "

Not out of the game

Emotional life does not consist only in love impulses.

The attachment of older people to their grandchildren often fills their lives. We rejoice in their joys, suffer when they suffer, love when they love, and take part in their struggle. How can we feel left out of the game if they play it for us! How can we be unhappy if they are happy! What a pleasure it is to observe that they enjoy the books that we have recommended to them.

Grandparents often find common ground with their grandchildren more quickly than with children. Even physically, they are closer to their grandchildren. They cannot run with their son, but they can run with their grandson. Our first and last steps have the same rhythm.

In addition, people age more slowly if they have good reasons to live. It is believed that a person is exhausting himself if he is very active in old age. Just the opposite.Aging is nothing more than a bad habit that a busy person does not have time to follow.

In many cases, old people are better leaders than young ones. Older diplomats and doctors are experienced and wise, since they are not distracted by young passions, and they can talk calmly.

Cicero said: "Great things are accomplished not through physical strength, but through mature wisdom inherent in old age."

Line of light

There are two reasonable ways to grow old. The first is to not grow old. It is for those who manage to avoid old age, leading an active lifestyle. The second is to take old age with calm and detachment. The time of struggle is over. There are old people who not only envy the young, but feel sorry for them, because the stormy sea of ​​life still lies at their feet. Deprived of certain pleasures of youth, these people with particular urgency feel the pleasures that they have left.

There are several ways to grow old unpleasant. The worst of them is to try to keep what cannot be returned. Unfortunately, there are such people whose lives are poisoned until the last days by constant dissatisfaction.

The art of aging is the art of behaving in such a way as to be a support for the next generations, not a stumbling block, a confidant, not a rival.

You should also talk about retirement. Some are hard at it. Meanwhile, for a person who retains the ability to wonder, retirement can be a pleasant moment in his life. At home, in his garden, he can finally do his favorite things.

It will be even more interesting to live to those who have always been concerned with poetry, books, the beauty of nature. The works of great writers are our immortal friends.

Music is also an extremely loyal friend. For those of us who have become disillusioned with people, music is a care for another, beautiful world.

Pascal said: "A person's life can be called happy if he starts it with love and ends, reaching the heights of ambition." If ambitions are satisfied, then life in old age proceeds more easily.

Thus, 10 or 20 years after a person crossed the “line of the shadow,” he could cross the “line of light.” He is calm and happy. His openness and friendliness speak of the state of his soul. No, old age is not hell, above the entrance to which is inscribed: "Leave all who hope here entering." If 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 by faith and philosophy.

Just go to sleep

Will science ever be able to prevent old age from destroying our body? Is it possible to create a fountain of youth, in whose waters we could bathe in order to become young again? Biologists managed to achieve this in experiments on simple organisms. But does a person need to live so long?

At 80 years old man has already experienced everything: love and its end, ambition and subsequent devastation; several naive illusions and sobering coming after their crash.

The fear of death is not very great in old age; all attachments and interests are in the past and concern those people who have already died.

When HG Wells was honored for his 70th birthday, he delivered a speech in which he noted that this event resurrected his childhood impressions. The nanny used to say to him: “Henry, it's time for you to sleep.” He usually protested, but in his heart he knew that sleep would bring him rest.

“Death is the same kind and at the same time strict nurse, and when the time comes, she says:“ Henry, it's time for you to sleep. ” We are protesting a little, but we know well that it’s time to rest, and in the depths of our hearts we are waiting for this.

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  • Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but

    Andre Maua: Real evil in old age is not a weakness of the body, but