Self Expression

Great post on Ageless Marketing about the difference in Self Expression between the first halfers(young generation) and second halfers(older gen). I copypasted the whole article. Nothing to add further..

Self-Expression: The Continuous Re-creation of Self

Self-expression is a morally broad term. During the 1960s and 1970s we saw episodic orgies in hedonistic self-expression. “If it feels good, then it is good” was a celebratory mantra of the times.

Today, the ethos underlying the concept of self-expression reflects a less self-indulgent quality than we saw in the Age of the Flower Child, which promoted anything but childhood values.

The rapid aging of the population throughout the developed nations of the world, with a little over a billion people, is transforming self-expression from neotenous self-indulgent behavior toward self-actualization behavior for tens of millions who have reached the second half of life.

The old – and the nearly – are good for society. They temper the hormonally driven behavior of youth. Having evolved beyond juvenile self-absorption they have a more others’ centered connection with the world. This is a core tenet of the increasingly famous “grandmother hypothesis” first proposed by University of Utah evolutionary psychologist Kristen Hawkes.

Hawkes believes that Homo sapiens outlasted Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon in large part because of a sharp increase in post-menopausal women around 30,000 years ago as a result of a sudden spurt in human longevity. This blossoming of the prehistoric elderly population promoted the development of oral history. Even today, older people are the biggest consumers of history as every historical destination knows.

With the development of oral history, lessons learned by one generation were likelier to end up in the minds of following generations. I presume that grandmothers of the day, like grandmothers today, sought to extend their own influence beyond the boundaries of time by having their values and life lessons survive them. And granddads must also have felt that way, much as today’s granddads commonly reach out to give back, thus leaving markers of their existence and proof of their value as human beings.

So, self-expression among people in the second half of life is often more about the next generation than simple self-indulgence.

Self-expression takes many forms. Its range of manifestation extends from artistic expression to taking an innovative approach to help the homeless. It is about giving response to the libido as Jung defined it.

To Freud, the libido was the mere drive for sex that accounted for most unconscious motivation.  Jung believed the libido was much more than this.  For him the libido was a force that flows through and energizes the unconscious in many ways, sometimes sexual, sometimes hunger, and sometimes the simple will to survive. To Jung, the libido was about the operation of the principle of conatus the disposition of every organism to recreate itself at ever-higher levels of development.

In the first half of life, especially during and after adolescence, the imperative for self-expression is strongly rooted in the cause of biological re-creation of the self. In the second half of life, the self-expression imperative takes on a more nonmaterial or metaphysical bent and more likely results in activities that benefit others, including the human species itself.

Think of Bill and Melinda Gates. They’ve secured their biological re-creation of self, and now are moving into a full-time life of serving all of humankind in their efforts to wipe out malaria, extinguish AIDs and immensely reduce poverty through improvements in education.

I’ll continue this discussion in my next post. In the meantime, I hope you have been able to follow this meandering thread that began with my wife’s ikebana class last week (see previous post.)


Dove_proage_campaign_2 By the way, the increasingly famous Dove campaign is very much about self-expression. It begins with the idea of giving young girls and women of all ages greater confidence in being who they are and expressing themselves through an authentic projection of self.

For a new video and other representations of this remarkable campaign, which includes a different look at aging, go to . Ironically, though Dove sells anti-aging products it does so from a pro-aging platform.

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