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A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance CompanyExecutive offices, Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Pres. required to understand and cope with them. If that is the case, the prospect for democracy is very dim. If he is right, we are fated for a future dominated by an elite of intellectuals, unless scientists throughout the world can help us, for they do offer a possible way out if they can extend the maturation period of life. If we can use this expanded maturation period to address ourselves to our most pressing problems, namely our political and social problems in what Robert Hutchins calls a society that he would like to be a Learning Society, we might have a chance. This would be a society in which men devote their energies not so much to their subsistence functions but to their civic functions, dealing with these really hard problems of maintaining the cultural order; a life-long dedication and an expanded life-long dedication. It is quite possible, theoretically possible, for us in this way to close the gap between the additive and accumulative nature of scientific knowledge and the non-additive, non-accumulative nature of practical wisdom, of philosophic knowledge, and of political and deliberative powers. So this is why I conclude that the biological revolution, and with it expanded longevity, is not inevitable, it is only necessary. * There are many other implications of the biological revolution relevant to social change. These have been commented upon at length in popular books and journals. I shall comment upon one facet that may be of some importance for more general cultural trends. In the first place we know that the expansion of longevity will increase the proportion of the population in the older age brackets. This, of course, will add further to the population pressures already observable. It will increase the demand for the limitation of births and we can expect the present clamor for a zero population birth rate to be succeeded by a demand for a negative population birth rate; possibly a demand for the virtual prohibition of childbirth. This will carry many implications, some of them economic it will change the entire structure of our market demand system and it will add to the pressures for a zero economic growth rate. There will be political implications. Over half the total population will be elderly. Never before in human history has there been such a population. There have been many societies in which the elders assumed prominent roles. But gerontocracy always occurred under conditions in which the elderly made up a very small percentage of the over-all population. What we are now led to expect is a situation in which the population as a whole will be largely composed of adults, most of them quite old. This implies all sorts of changes for styles and value systems. For example, what will happen to our conceptions of physical beauty? Now these are dominated by the conceptions of youth. The Vienna philosopher, Friedrich Heer, suggests that the change will occur in the following way. Youth is a time of immaturity. It has its charm, but also its indistinctness. All youth melts into a general melange in which individuals are poorly distinguished from. one another, as is the case with a grove of sapling trees. Only with age does true individuality appear and only with true individuality is true beauty possible. Today we look at a landscape showing a hillside, trees, a stream, shrubs like a scene from Poussin, let us say. Is it one in which everything is freshly planted as in the fields of a tree nursery? No, our impressions of its beauty derive in part, at least, from the fact that it is old, settled, established, expressing a certain character and personality. The same is true of the face and figure of an elderly person. We are now so accustomed to identifying age with ugliness and wrinkles with revulsion that we have forgotten the beauty many great painters have found in the elderly. Soon our criteria of beauty may, as with certain of the great masters, be based upon age-centered rather than youth-centered models. Then we will regard life itself the human lifespan as a work of art; as a painting whose true nature cannot be known until it acquires its mature consummation. Youth may even come to be associated with some of the revulsion now associated with age. One consequence may be a new development in the field of cosmetics in which special preparations capable of simulating age will supplant those whose function now is to simulate youth. In short, we may see a social system in which the values associated with age, maturity, and tranquility supplant those now associated with youth, impetuosity, and unrealized potential. One final comment on the biological revolution. We are accustomed to criticizing the present preoccupation with gadgetry associated with the consumer society. This revulsion against the excesses of rampant technology carry over into a disenchantment with science. Science, especially establishmentarian science, is anathematized along with General Motors and General Dynamics. It is often concluded that this revulsion against science may characterize the future. However, there is some reason for doubting that this will happen, especially after the biological revolution has come of age. Biology is not as suspect as is physics. For one thing, biology is the science that brings us ecology, and ecological balance together with environmental protection must provide themes for the future. Moreover, we can expect to see the present demand for general environmental protections to carry over into a concern for individual somatic and psychomatic balances. This is already present, perhaps most stridently among those now in their thirties, but it is spreading through the older segments of the population as well. The natural food craze and the vitamin fad is part of this general demand. As the biological revolution matures, it will bring with it more and more naturalizing, harmonizing, and homeostatic drugs. Hence, we may expect a new form of gadgetry to appear: biological gadgetry. There will be an increased scramble to consume pills for everything from impotence to stupidity, the way we now rush for machines and gadgets for everything. From this standpoint it is possible that the present disenchantment with science is a passing phenomenon and that a celebration of science particularly biological science will supplant the present derogation as soon as it succeeds in bringing us effective biochemical gadgets. Paradoxically, it may well be the very people who now lead the fight against science the science related to material gadgets who will most effusively herald the new biological science. \(Continued Next