From Successful Aging
to Conscious Aging
Harry R. Moody
A human being would certainly not grow to be seventy or eighty years
old if this longevity had no meaning for the species. The afternoon
of human life must also have a significance of its own and cannot be
merely a pitiful appendage to life’s morning.
When we look at our globe from a planetary perspective we recognize that population growth is slowing and that populations are aging. United Nations demographers estimate that by the middle of this current century global population will peak and then begin to decline, a process chiefly attributable to rapid decreases in fertility in both the industrialized and the developing world. Does this leveling of population mean the decline of humanity? On the contrary, it means an achievement of equilibrium, ecologically speaking, and the opening of a new chapter in the human story (Mumford, 1956). What does this new chapter entail? Specifically, what does a new planetary ecological balance involve in psychological or symbolic terms, in terms of how we think of ourselves and of the human future?
Within two decades, Americans over 65 years of age, instead of being one in eight (as of now) in the population, will be one in five—a dramatically larger proportion. In the nations of Japan and