Bringers of Allah: The Druse Elders
EDITORS' INTRODUCTION Two different, though related, issues of meaning are, first, what meanings people give to values and goals and, second, what meanings people give to each other. Gutmann attends to the latter issue. More specifically, he is concerned with how someone who has moved beyond responsibilities for work and family can continue to be socially valued.
Gutmann says that whether an older person matters socially depends on whether he or she can contribute to a socially important enterprise. Some older people are able to do this here in America. They hold senior positions in institutions in which tradition is valued: our military, our judiciary, and many of our largest commercial institutions. The retired CEO, a member of the governing board, may be looked to for the assessment of current policies against the experience of the past; for memories of the way things were done in the past, what worked and what didn't, and what the founders of the enterprise intended; in short, for perspective and wisdom. Gutmann says that what happens in America only in certain sectors can in other places happen for the entire society. His example is the Druse.
Gutmann describes a society in which older men who have won the respect of the community through their behavior in earlier life are inducted into roles as spiritual