Last updateFri, 09 May 2014 2pm

Death and other adventures for a society unfamiliar with pain and the conundrum of stepping off the train

Headline-harvesting speculative assertions that humans start aging long before many really believe they’re “mature” are not new.  But now three researchers from Canada’s Simon Fraser University, two of them  doctoral students, plus an associate professor, have published research findings – “Over the Hill at 24” – that they say proves those earlier assertions. 

Age 24, however, marks a time when many – certainly many males – privately believe they’ve yet to truly become adults.  They may outwardly insist and boast they are “mature” while 1) associating “adulthood” with their parents, and 2) simply want to hang on to carefree adolescent behavior as long as possible.  The conduct of young folks and behavioral assessments by social observers for decades have suggested that young people, and much of United States society have created a purposefully prolonged and profitable adolescent culture.    

The study also coincides with a recent spate of articles about “inevitable” fatal illnesses and articles brandishing such titles as “Life and Death as a Narrative,” “Life With Death: Apparitions and Late Fictions,” “The Dying of the Light,” “The Weight of the Past.”   For millennia death has fascinated an uncountable crowd of religious leaders, philosophers, scientists, and of course writers and scholars.  But it generally remains a dark, mysterious threat, something the depths of which remain unknowable even to physicians.

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