Author Topic: Number Our Days  (Read 4531 times)

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #400 on: July 17, 2017, 10:17:22 AM »
The Book Club Online is the oldest  book club on the Internet, begun in 1996, open to everyone.  We offer cordial discussions of one book a month,  24/7 and  enjoy the company of readers from all over the world.  Everyone is welcome.



They say that growing old is not for sissies. Are they right? When Anthropologist Dr. Barbara Myerhoff received a grant to study aging she decided to do it on subjects in the USA, and let them speak for themselves.

The result is an "often funny, deeply moving narrative of human dignity and courage."

 "One of those rare books that leave the reader somehow changed."-- Bel Kaufman.

Join us! 


Questions to Ponder on  Chapter 4

Chapter 6: "Teach us to number our days."

 Chapter 6 is a chapter with a BANG!  There's so  much to try to take in it's almost impossible to select one thing.

1.   What stood out the most for you in this chapter? Why?

2. "A lot of people don't realize how we got to look out for ourself in our old age. We think life is only for the children, then we're alone. We got to face the world in a new way.  This means you find your own kind, so you can be comfortable, otherwise you are lost completely. For some people old age is a terrible ordeal because of the loneliness. But if you manage to find yourself you take a big step. You stop thinking about death. When you have every day something to do, you begin to live all over again." (Rachel) Page 196)


There is a lot of wisdom about old age in this chapter.  Which advice seems the best to you? Do you think Rachel is correct?

3. What did you think of the story of  Jacob Koved? There are many pages devoted to Jacob but not very many conversations with the author  quoted. What is the result of this presentation? The author concludes: "Jacob was not only a symbol of and force for continuity, but also he was to Center members a symbol of the possibilities of aging well. Extreme age had not cost Jacob clarity of mind, determination of purpose, or passion in life. All this he maintained with an air of gentleness and dignity. Tolerant and generous, he aroused no envy; Jacob was a symbolic and literal focus of Center culture and of the people's fragile solidarity and continuity."  (Page 206).

Did you wonder why Jacob is a symbol, almost a superhuman symbol,  and Shmuel isn't? Or is Shmuel? Which one do you feel more drawn to? Why?

4.  What did you think of the statement on page 208: "None of them had ever celebrated their birthdays in this fashion. Indeed, it was customary to commemorate the day of one's birth on the closest Jewish holiday, thus submerging private within religious celebrations."

 Have you ever heard of or experienced this custom? Why then has Jacob left money for celebrations for his birthday for the next 5 years?


Those seem enough to start us out, if you don't like any of them, let's talk about what struck YOU?


What do YOU think?


 



I also did not like the apple incident, I reread it again for the Nth time and still  her interpretation of the dream does not "click".
I can understand the two who fought for the last apples and giving her furtive looks.  They felt some guilt for not letting their visitor have  a choice.

Yes Driving here is getting dangerous.  I avoid the inter town highway if I can help it.  The radio airs flashes a few times a day to remind people to be more considerate and to be careful at pedestrians crossings. In high school now they have a special mandatory course for the students prior to testing for a driver's license.

My grandson in kindergarten had a session with all his class, on a miniature of town roads with signs, crossings, etc.  They had to be with their bikes and follow the rules.  Some were "walking" and had to cross roads after looking left and right, etc.  It was a good experience.  So maybe the next generation will be different.

I am reading the next chapter.  There is lots to ponder about.
I wondered if there were people in that place that were not part of the group, who were more sedate, indifferent to the going on and thus were ignored.

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #401 on: July 17, 2017, 05:04:22 PM »
'...and in her will she left the Center five hundred dollars because she found the old people so wonderful, so full of life.' p191

I thought of that, Bubble, when I read your comment about the folks at the Center:

'I wondered if there were people in that place that were not part of the group, who were more sedate, indifferent to the going on and thus were ignored.'

Weren't we told early on that the Jewish community in the area was several thousand strong? Of whom just a small number were actively involved in Center politics. The author looked for and found the drama. Apples and dream analyses are so critical in Jewish history. And then she wonders: What would Picasso see in this? Mind boggling.

I had a wonderful experience on the weekend. My two granddaughters took me to Pioneer Village. Just the greatest theme park. One has just started her teaching career and the other is still in college. Perhaps about 25 buildings of 150 years ago brought together to recreate the early days. A town hall, a blacksmith, a farmyard, a church with its manse, etc. And of course a one-room schoolhouse. This was most charming. What fun to sit down at one of the little desks. A 'teacher' was in attendance. I've always wondered what would the teacher see from the front of a class. And here was my opportunity. Accompanied by my grands, I proceeded to the front explaining my intent to the 'teacher'. When my darling granddaughter, the teacher, heard this she, in a flash, did a perfect pupil pose at one of the desks: elbow on desk, head resting on hand, looking intelligent but bored silly...What memories that brought back.

This story just keeps getting more dramatic.

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #402 on: July 17, 2017, 05:16:17 PM »
Don't we get sentimental about the past as we get older!

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #403 on: July 17, 2017, 06:50:23 PM »
Oh Jonathan, you sound like you have two very special granddaughters.  Your Pioneer Village sounds like our place called Sauder Village.  I love places like these.  Yes, sentiment sets in as we get older. 

Bubble, I think there were people sedate, and given less attention to.  As you see in the next chapter many new names appear. 

Wait til you sink your teeth into this upcoming chapter.  Meyerhoff has packed it full of her analytical summations.  Phew! 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #404 on: July 17, 2017, 06:56:23 PM »
A few studies that I thought might be interesting to know during this transition time:

1). DNA ties Ashkenazi Jews to group of just 330 people from Middle Ages:

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-ashkenazi-jews-dna-diseases-20140909-story.html

2). Jewish DNA Genetic Research and The Origins of the Jewish People:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTyF2V2Hiwo

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #405 on: July 18, 2017, 08:43:27 AM »
Yes tomorrow will be something else with our progression to the next chapter, and  I really wonder what you thought of it, we'll find out! (Don't you wish you knew Jacob's real name? I'd like to read his Ten Commandments for Aging). Tease of her not to give them all, since we can't  look him up, or can we? Anyway,  tomorrow it is.

This is the perfect group to read this with. I don't think a lot gets by YOU.  But today I'm off to see Despicable 3, also, Bellamarie,  and I have my grandson tomorrow thru Saturday, but I'll be in each day, I can't miss everybody's  comments on this one!

I also did not like the apple incident, I reread it again for the Nth time and still  her interpretation of the dream does not "click".


No, it doesn't for me, either, Jonathan, and it seems none of us liked the apple bit.  I have trouble remembering the theme of the Apple Incident, that's how little it clicked with me.  I have a feeling that something there crept into the book that turned out a little differently than she hoped. And it seemed to me a lot of the next chapter was an explanation/ rationalization of why it was OK in her eyes, and the placement of it in the book makes me question why,  but I may be crazy, it's hot, it's summer, and there's a lot to read.  And again I have that anathema to Walter Winchell's all knowing voice, but you know what? I thought that when we started the book,  and you all with your insights have accomplished a 360 degree turn for me on the beginning stuff, so I'm hopeful you'll do the same on this one. The Apple Incident however remains somewhat stubbornly entrenched or....not, as the case may be.  Instead of Picasso, I'd like to know what a psychologist thinks of the Apple Incident. 

Bubble, this is wonderful:
My grandson in kindergarten had a session with all his class, on a miniature of town roads with signs, crossings, etc.  They had to be with their bikes and follow the rules.  Some were "walking" and had to cross roads after looking left and right, etc.  It was a good experience.  So maybe the next generation will be different. That's very clever of somebody, isn't it? They will remember this all their lives.

And Jonathan:

I had a wonderful experience on the weekend. My two granddaughters took me to Pioneer Village. Just the greatest theme park. One has just started her teaching career and the other is still in college. Perhaps about 25 buildings of 150 years ago brought together to recreate the early days. A town hall, a blacksmith, a farmyard, a church with its manse, etc. And of course a one-room schoolhouse. This was most charming. What fun to sit down at one of the little desks. A 'teacher' was in attendance. I've always wondered what would the teacher see from the front of a class. And here was my opportunity. Accompanied by my grands, I proceeded to the front explaining my intent to the 'teacher'. When my darling granddaughter, the teacher, heard this she, in a flash, did a perfect pupil pose at one of the desks: elbow on desk, head resting on hand, looking intelligent but bored silly...What memories that brought back.


That is priceless. 

 Jonathan and Bubble:

I thought of that, Bubble, when I read your comment about the folks at the Center:

'I wondered if there were people in that place that were not part of the group, who were more sedate, indifferent to the going on and thus were ignored.'

Weren't we told early on that the Jewish community in the area was several thousand strong? Of whom just a small number were actively involved in Center politics. The author looked for and found the drama.


That's not only a good point it raises several questions. Should a small sample stand for an entire community? When doing anthropological work, should those who want to speak for whatever reason be allowed to speak for all? Is there any danger in that type of sample? But what can you do?  Do the few represent the whole in any group?

And on the drama, I am noticing more and more the placement of incidents and people in the book. It's fascinating, and a VERY GOOD CHOICE, Mr. Jonathan, for a book club read.  I would never ignore any suggestion on that score you ever made. :)

Any last thoughts on anything thus far?

Oh hongfan, I meant to say thank you for those links. I have read that every person in the world today with blue eyes is descended from one ancestor.  I don't know how they know that but they assert it. I am fascinated by those TV commercials with people saying I thought I was Italian, but then I took the XXX test and I found I am actually 78 percent Norwegian and the person is shown with Nordic decorations, and it's changed their lives, the food they eat, etc.   I really think those commercials are nuts.  But I did see one yesterday which changed my mind, the person said I  know it seems  silly but it means something to me to know where I came from, and she put on a hat from a certain region,  and the joy on her face cancelled out any of my  objections.  It's like everything else: you have to walk in that person's shoes before you criticize their choices.



BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #406 on: July 18, 2017, 09:02:56 AM »
I'm back to ragging on the author - we only have her interpretation based on her reaction to what she sees and hears.

I wonder if she has in her minds eye an ideal and if they are like "rotten, unwanted fruit" that is a judgment based on an ideal of what is not rotten. And so I cannot help wonder again how much of the behavior she documents is made into more of a drama because of her own uncomfort. She has full force placed herself in the middle of a family.

They are not related but for all practical purposes they are a family and just as within families there are those who get along better and those that are polite till something out of the ordinary and all the old wars and resentments take over. I remember even as a child getting on with a couple of my cousins but another we shied away from and were silent around just observing so as not to rattle his cage and another who thought she was so above all of us that when we visited she purposely visited her friends with even her Mom scolding her.

So this 8 year history of bad blood seeing it through the eyes of what happens in a family it is the author spreading gossipy opinion and making it sounds like a 'Night on Bald Mountain'

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52iOdAVU4C8

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #407 on: July 18, 2017, 09:47:37 AM »
Barb, I loved your comparison! :)
But I do feel the 8y feud is genuine

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #408 on: July 18, 2017, 10:43:52 AM »
Jonathan, we too went to Pioneer Village last year in London ONT!  It was experiencing old times...
I am not sure if we are allowed pictures here. Not the school, but the old pump.


https://www.seniorsandfriends.org/gallery/57-180717103737.jpeg

hongfan - very interesting links.  I have to  listen to the second one again.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #409 on: July 18, 2017, 10:47:17 AM »
Barb
Quote
I remember even as a child getting on with a couple of my cousins but another we shied away from and were silent around just observing so as not to rattle his cage

Oh my heavens, this statement fit perfect with my conversation with my younger sister yesterday, about our older sister.  We all walk on egg shells so as not to set her off.  I think every family has one be it sister, the crazy aunt, grumpy grandfather or flaming cousin. 

I've begun the next chapter, and Barb, I am in agreement with you as far as the author has plopped herself smack dab down into the group, becoming one of them and possibly losing her perspective as the anthropologist.  I have to sadly admit I had an 8 yr. long feud with family members after my mother (last parent) died in 1990.  We all have our own perspective on what happened, who did what, and who hurt whom.  Bottom line, no one but who actually were directly involved, could ever definitively say what was what.  Many heard second hand accounts, those who were closer to me, of course saw my point, those closer to the other sister took her point.  Sadly, it all resulted in a non speaking relationship for far too long.  I am happy to say we are all doing better today, with the exception of the one sister who seems to never want harmony in the family.  The Center people are indeed like a family, good point to make Barb.  As we saw in my situation, as in Anna and Sophia's there were sides taken, and when you have the support of others it makes it easier for you to dig your heels in and stay firm and inflexible.  Maybe in my case and in these two women's case, if someone like Basha could have spoken up and made us realize we need to concentrate on what the common ground is, and go from there, the feuds would have lasted a shorter time.

My two favorite people so far are Shmuel and Basha.  I'll talk more about the whole chapter on Jacob tomorrow, but I'm with Ginny, I sure wish we could have seen all ten of Jacob's Ten Commandments, and could trace back to who he really was.  Lots of thoughts to express on this next chapter.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #410 on: July 18, 2017, 11:50:32 AM »
I'm very happy that Jacob was so pleased with himself and managed the numbering of his days so well, stage manageing the last one so magnificently. Thanks, but no thanks, Ginny. I don't want Jacob's Ten Commandments of Aging. It was rumored around later that the Angel of Death asked for and received a furlough after Jacob's passing.

The next chapter is very unusual. Stranger than fiction. All Jacob's  exertions and writings! And then it flashed through my mind. Here is the perfect answer to The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam! Do you all remember that great poem of philosophical resignation?

The world has become so small. Soon each of us will be something of everyone. And no one will look exotic anymore.

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #411 on: July 18, 2017, 08:15:07 PM »
Soon each of us will be something of everyone. And no one will look exotic anymore.

:) Jonathan. There's a new book out called Caesar's Last Breath: Decoding the  Secrets of the World Around Us. The subject of the book is the following: "We are creatures of light and air. Life’s a gas, in every sense. We are oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen, packed together with the carbon that photosynthesising life has plucked, one molecule at a time, from the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide. At cremation, our bodies bake down to a handful of minerals. When Hamlet beseeched his too, too solid flesh to melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew, he got it about right: the Prince of Denmark would have been about 70% water, which is itself an atmospheric vapour. And he certainly could have been blown away."

And "As Kean says, there’s a chance that your last breath contained just the tiniest whiff of the late Harry Truman, just as it quite possibly contains a remnant of the air exhaled by Julius Caesar as he cried “Et tu, Brute,” and expired. The atmosphere is vast, but so is the number of atoms and molecules inhaled with each breath: the number of lungfuls in the air and atoms in each lungful run to the billion trillions and more or less match. So each inhalation is also likely to incorporate the last wheeze of a dying tyrannosaurus 70m years ago; and the breath exhaled by Marc Bolan of T Rex as he sang “Life’s a Gas”, or by Joey Ramone of the Ramones (who wrote a different song of the same title)."

Here's a link to the review in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/jul/05/caesars-last-breath-sam-kean-review?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Bookmarks+-+Collections+2017&utm_term=234224&subid=21785342&CMP=bookmarks_collection

Interesting, isn't it?

I agree, Bellamarie, I really would have liked to see his Ten Commandments, I looked under that title and could find only one and I am not sure they are his because they don't echo what's in the book.

Bubble, what a precious picture of the little boy and the pump. Did the pump work or did it have to be primed? We've got one of those in the barn.

Barbara, also is not in sinc with the Apple Incident, for lack of something better to call it. I laughed out loud at your Night on  Bald Mountain, I have not thought of that or heard it in years. Isn't it also in the Disney Cartoon of the little water bearer, the Silly  Symphonies? I enjoyed listening to it again. That was an interesting speculation on how much the author is orchestrating the drama here.

I've gone ahead and  put up the questions for tomorrow (or that is, some of the millions of points in this one..... DREAMS again.....) in the heading and I'll post them below for tomorrow morning so you all can be thinking  about them.


ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #412 on: July 18, 2017, 08:16:24 PM »

Chapter 6: "Teach us to number our days."

 Chapter 6 is a chapter with a BANG!  There's so  much to try to take in it's almost impossible to select one thing.

1.   What stood out the most for you in this chapter? Why?

2. "A lot of people don't realize how we got to look out for ourself in our old age. We think life is only for the children, then we're alone. We got to face the world in a new way.  This means you find your own kind, so you can be comfortable, otherwise you are lost completely. For some people old age is a terrible ordeal because of the loneliness. But if you manage to find yourself you take a big step. You stop thinking about death. When you have every day something to do, you begin to live all over again." (Rachel) Page 196)


There is a lot of wisdom about old age in this chapter.  Which advice seems the best to you? Do you think Rachel is correct?

3. What did you think of the story of  Jacob Koved? There are many pages devoted to Jacob but not very many conversations with the author  quoted. What is the result of this presentation? The author concludes: "Jacob was not only a symbol of and force for continuity, but also he was to Center members a symbol of the possibilities of aging well. Extreme age had not cost Jacob clarity of mind, determination of purpose, or passion in life. All this he maintained with an air of gentleness and dignity. Tolerant and generous, he aroused no envy; Jacob was a symbolic and literal focus of Center culture and of the people's fragile solidarity and continuity."  (Page 206).

Did you wonder why Jacob is a symbol, almost a superhuman symbol,  and Shmuel isn't? Or is Shmuel? Which one do you feel more drawn to? Why?

4.  What did you think of the statement on page 208: "None of them had ever celebrated their birthdays in this fashion. Indeed, it was customary to commemorate the day of one's birth on the closest Jewish holiday, thus submerging private within religious celebrations."

 Have you ever heard of or experienced this custom? Why then has Jacob left money for celebrations for his birthday for the next 5 years?


Those seem enough to start us out, if you don't like any of them, let's talk about what struck YOU?


What do YOU think?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #413 on: July 18, 2017, 10:33:56 PM »
Before getting into this next chapter could not let it pass - the book you refer to, Caesar’s Last Breath by Sam Kean sounds like a good one - along those lines I was reading a few weeks ago that we are made of atoms which is essentially another way of saying what Kean is saying - and the shock to me was learning that within each atom are protons that  are older than the universe - talk about a link to before the big bang.

OK with evaluation it is a story that can be understood how our physical being came to be - however, the thing that makes us different than all other species is our ability to create, to think, to learn complex systems - our conscious - there is nothing tangible - aspects of these systems are in the brain but the next big question becomes where or how did we develop our conscious?

That is what I am seeing is the container or source of our humanity and now I wonder what is the history of its development - what happens to it when we die - is all the consciousness of all humanity floating as one of those specs that float in the atmosphere and that we breath?

Does the universe hold all the consciousness but then how does breathing a vaporized consciousness affect or enter our living conscious - so many questions...

Do you also have a list of books to read to understand some of this - From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett  sounds like a winner - have not had time but on my book pile is Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by Robert Lanza

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #414 on: July 19, 2017, 12:47:22 AM »
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.lionsroar.com/christof-koch-unites-buddhist-neuroscience-universal-nature-mind/amp/

Barbara, what you raised is a huge question, Buddhism tends to have rich theories on consciousness or mind. Happened to see the link above, for whatever worth it is.

Also now not universe but multiverse we are pondering, in that case our universe is just a small portion of the whole out there.

I do not know how we human can eventually be able to figure it out. But for sure, keep thinking on it will "expand our frame" and hopefully get us to live to 969 years old.

At LA airport waiting for flight to Boston.

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #415 on: July 19, 2017, 04:13:18 AM »

Ginny, yes the pump worked, but just a trickle of water ...

Hongfan, your link makes me interested in digging deeper in Buddhism.  I got interested after I met Heinrich Harrer, the Austrian that taught the young Dalai Lama about the West and then helped  in his escape from Tibet. Harrer was giving lectures in Congo about his seven years in Tibet.

To go back to aging, I think that in Tibet and in the Buddhist philosophy, there is more respect for the elderly, more caring.

Ginny I  certainly believe that Rachel is correct in her assessment.  We cannot and do not want to depend on our children.  On the other hand we have to construct our life as as to develop our own interests, furnish our life with daily occupation, hobbies that interest us and keep the mind active.  We also need to keep some contact with surrounding people, possibly of our age range so as not to become totally isolated. Volunteering to different organizations does that.
A personal example: my best friend has been a carer for her mother, then for her dad her whole life.  She never married. When her dad passed away, she had too much free time and realized that unless she organized her days, she would spend them or in bed, or idly watching TV.  Now she spend her Sundays volunteering secretarial work for the English speaking org. that looks after new immigrants from Anglo-saxon countries; Mondays she helps in her local town lending library; Tuesdays she helps me in my French lending Library; Wednesday she goes to an old age home and "visit" two women there who have no visitors though they have children; Thursdays she visits old relatives who are living alone in other towns; Friday- the activity she loves best, she visit and play with children from the third world who come to Israel for open heart surgery ( Look for Save a Child's Heart).  She buys them treats, prepares fun activities for them and they all love her.  They are usually here for a month or two.
Shabbath is for herself.

I never heard of celebrating a birthday the closest to a Jewish holiday, but it is customary in such circles to group together all the birthdays for a specific month.  That is what we do in our Wizo Organization. Then it is a big party for all and every participant makes in turn a wish for the birthday members.
I am sure Jacob knew how much those parties meant to the community there and also he wanted to remain alive in their memory.  That is very important.  There is a belief  that as long as you remain present in the memory of people, you are not totally dead. That is why, I believe, it is important to celebrate properly the date of passing.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #416 on: July 19, 2017, 09:45:43 AM »
Before getting caught up in Jacob's story in this chapter I especially like the first few pages as they all were discussing aging and how they all have their own personal point of view on how to survive and be happy in old age.  Here are some things that jumped out at me:

1. Gita, Be prepared.  Gita made her own arrangements for her death.  pg. 195  A couple of weeks ago she made her own arrangements.  She gave Abe her blue dress, the one for dancing with the silver braid, and along with this some money, so Abe could make sure she had a nice funeral, with a bus to take people to the cemetery, and refreshments.

2.  Nathan, Continuity.  If your children do not chose to follow your religion, find some that will or at least continue it without them. pg. 195  "When my father saw how it was going with us, his children all unbelievers, he adopted his nephews."

3.  Basha, Don't depend on your children.  pg. 196 "We gotta make our own life, from the inside to the outside.  In this time if you don't concentrate on what you got left, you sink under."

4.  Rachel, Look out for ourselves. pg. 196 "We think life is only for the children, then we're alone.  We got to face the world in a new way. 
     Find yourself.  "Find your own kind, so you can be comfortable."
     Have something to do everyday.

5.  Olga, Keep moving.  Don't let yourself be stagnant.  pg. 196"You got to keep a breath of air in your mind, keeping new ideas circulating or you could suffocate."

6.  Sonya, Seek education.  Find groups, and classes to go to like at their Center. pg. 196 "I find a lot of life in here at the Center.  I seek education, any little thing I can learn, to me is a treasure."

7. Leah, pg. 196 Don't let yourself get depressed in old age.  Don't isolate yourself. "So I got up  and got dressed.  I said, I must go out into the fold again between my people."

8.  HeschelDeal with the pain. pg. 197 "Pain is the avenue to getting a soul, getting quality from yourself.  This is how you get a life that's really on the essence.  You got to go about pain the right way.  You couldn't escape it, so you go into it." 
     Talk about pain.  "When I start to talk about pain it leaves me."  "So when the pain comes, I am patient.  I shut up, active silence; I bear it, wait, even overnight, but I mean I bear it.
     Don't take tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol or ignore it with television or other distractions. 
     Stand before the pain.  Call it out. "After you go through this you discover you got choices.  You become whole.  This is the task of our life.  I want to live this kind of life, so I can be alive every minute.  I want to know when I'm awake, I'm altogether awake.  When I'm asleep, I'm asleep."  "One of our prophets said, "In quiet confidence, shall lie your strength."  In this way you can make of suffering positive, because it's a part of human life."

9.  JakeSuffering  pg. 198 "Suffering gives you purpose, the purpose to get free of it."

10. HeschelCourage, knowledge, wisdom, and self worth.  pg. 198 "In old age, we got a chance to find out what a human being is, how we could be worthy of being human.  You could find your courage, and know you are vital.  Then you're living on a different plane.  To do this you got to use your brain, but that's not enough.  The brain is combined with the soul.  Do you know what I am talking about?  I don't think you could get to this understanding  too young, but when you get to it, then you couldn't go before your time, because you are ready.

I would like to print these out and tape to my refrigerator, to remind me daily of what I would call the:
 Ten Commandments of Aging.

"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #417 on: July 19, 2017, 10:00:59 AM »
When I think of Rachel's statement of not depending on our children into our old age, I have to say I am guilty of this, and need to work on it.  Since my grandchildren are all now school age and I no longer daycare them, I have found myself feeling a little lonely, depressed and not needed.  I still have my two, Zak 9 yrs. old and Zoey 6 yrs.s old to come during the summer two or three days a week and they still love to have sleepovers, but last week when they were on vacation and we did not have them my hubby and I began feeling a bit down.  Our children and grandchildren have been my purpose in life since the day I gave birth to my first child.  Since my oldest moved out of state when she turned twenty-one wanting to be independent, I did cling a little more to my two sons.  After reading this book and listing the "Ten Commandments of Aging" I just posted, I do realize I have some work to do.  Since I retired I did get involved in volunteer work, teaching religious classes, joining a Bible Study group, and am more active with family & friends my age.  My hubby and I have taken on projects around our house to keep us busy and excited to update things, but you can only do so much at a time due to expenses.  I am not a traveler, so I suppose this is something I could also try to work on, I have family and friends we could travel to see that would not be too costly.  I just don't want to dip into our savings because you never know what could arise.  I know others say don't hoard your money only for it to go to your kids after you are gone, live for today.......  I'm not there yet.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #418 on: July 19, 2017, 10:13:15 AM »
Post later but wanted to share this - you may have to be registered to facebook in order to see it - her selection of clothing is all her however, her wisdom is spot on.

https://www.facebook.com/thisisinsiderstyle/videos/255043514952215/

Jonathan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #419 on: July 19, 2017, 11:09:55 AM »
I posted an untruth and now I'm suffering. I failed the Basha test this morning (see page 1) and will be unable to make it to the ocean and the bench. May each breath give you all new life and vigor. And wisdom.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #420 on: July 19, 2017, 11:11:26 AM »
Barb,  I like this lady's thinking.  Good for her!

Jonathan,  I hope  you are feeling well today.   
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #421 on: July 19, 2017, 11:23:53 AM »
Someone in the book mentioned that the pain makes you aware that you are alive and empowers you with new strength, or so I understood it anyway and I do believe it is true.
Jonathan, conquer that suffering and come back renewed :)

Barb,  she is great, but she is not old, she is only 61... So why could she not dress herself like that?
At least she is not ridiculous like some old, overweight women who try to fit into skinny pants and two sizes too small tops. 

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #422 on: July 19, 2017, 11:31:13 AM »
Bellamarie, I like your list of 10, my favorite is #8 from Heschel. I think #10 is related to and an extension of #8? Also, to keep yourself busy - take a language class will keep you very busy,  for instance, Ginny's Latin class? or Greek  class? Many people went to learn Classic Greek because they want to read New Testament in its original text. 

Bubble: have you read the book or seen the movie "7 years in Tibet"? I haven't and wonder how good it is.

so P bubble

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #423 on: July 19, 2017, 11:51:04 AM »
Bubble: have you read the book or seen the movie "7 years in Tibet"? I haven't and wonder how good it is.

Yes I have read the book in '54 I think, and then again about 10 years ago when the Dalai was much in the news.  Quite a good book.  Amazing how Tibet was so cut off from modern life. Even getting reading glasses for the young Dalai was an innovation.  Harrer too has a lot of charisma while telling about his adventures hiking in those mountains during the war.
I did not see the movie but Harrer had  films he showed in his talk.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #424 on: July 19, 2017, 04:29:15 PM »
hongfan, I like #8 as well. 

I gave this a lot of thought,  Don't take tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol or ignore it with television or other distractions.

I wonder what you all think about this? 

I have watched people who lost a loved one, numb themselves at the hospital and funeral with some form of pills.  My daughter in law had a doctor prescribe something for her mother when her father was dying.  She stayed on the pills a few weeks after the funeral.  I noticed when I was around her she was not emotionally feeling her loss on a conscious level, due to the pills.  When he was actually dying she had members of her congregation in front her talking with her, so much so that my daughter in law and myself watched him take his last breath, while she was busy being distracted with these members.  We tried to get her attention to let her know she needed to come to his bedside, but these distractions kept her from realizing what we were saying.  This made me question whether it is a good idea to have so many people in the room, and to take pills, or any other kind of substances to numb your pain to get you through times like this.  As difficult as it is to lose a loved one, the pain you experience does indeed signify the love you have for this person. 

Bubble
Quote
pain makes you aware that you are alive and empowers you with new strength

I agree, even though we must go through the pain, we do come out with more knowledge and strength.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #425 on: July 19, 2017, 10:07:46 PM »
Am in the midst of one of our 4 day Jammie Partys, but I do want to say I've been reading your very thoughtful posts and am really impressed.

Barbara: Do you also have a list of books to read to understand some of this - From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds by Daniel C. Dennett  sounds like a winner - have not had time but on my book pile is Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe by Robert Lanza

No I don't, that's in intriguing concept tho, it really is, and I appreciate this list.

Hongfan,

I do not know how we human can eventually be able to figure it out. But for sure, keep thinking on it will "expand our frame" and hopefully get us to live to 969 years old.


I just read somewhere that man has now reached the limit of the  most he will ever live. I don't know where I saw that but since I haunt the BBC and WSJ I have a feeling it was in one of them. Length of life is actually decreasing in some areas.

Jonathan, I posted an untruth and now I'm suffering. I failed the Basha test this morning (see page 1) and will be unable to make it to the ocean and the bench. May each breath give you all new life and vigor. And wisdom.

Well  now we're worried about you! Please get some rest and relaxation and hopefully you will be doing that centenarian's 100 meter dash in no time!

Barbara and Bubble, yes that ladyh in the linmk has good bones. However I was startled to see she's only 61, I thought she was that 100 year old that models. She looks good, whatever her age.

This is my idol as far as appearance goes. ONLY as far as appearance. This is "Patsy  Stone," a character invented by Jennifer Saunders for her Absolutely Fabulous show. She is played by Joanna Lumley who is 71.  "Patsy" always  looks like a fashion model, the show is a gross sometimes (I love it) send  up of the fashion industry and here are some shots of the latest movie:










I wish. :)

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #426 on: July 19, 2017, 10:22:13 PM »
3. What did you think of the story of  Jacob Koved? There are many pages devoted to Jacob but not very many conversations with the author  quoted. What is the result of this presentation? The author concludes: "Jacob was not only a symbol of and force for continuity, but also he was to Center members a symbol of the possibilities of aging well. Extreme age had not cost Jacob clarity of mind, determination of purpose, or passion in life. All this he maintained with an air of gentleness and dignity. Tolerant and generous, he aroused no envy; Jacob was a symbolic and literal focus of Center culture and of the people's fragile solidarity and continuity."  (Page 206).

The author has a lengthy analysis on Jacob Koved, attempting to create some recipe for aging well, and through this she introduced a lot of complex concepts including Jacob's autobiography and writing as myth-making, etc. I don't know if I would buy all of those, to me it sounds that she was kind of stretching in order to have some theories. It reminds me that in physics, the great physicists (Einstein and like) believed that the nature's power is in its simplicity, if you can find multiple equations to explain one phenomenon, go for the simplest one. Maybe in anthropology, it is operating under the opposite principle - the more complex the better?

To me, Jacob is quite different from the rest of the Center people, he was universally liked (while the others were habitually critical to each other), he had great respects from his children (while the others agonized over the lack of that). And particularly on the latter one, it made me wonder why is so?

To me, he seems a person that habitually put himself behind others - when his mother had to move to Odessa and could only bring some of the children with her, Jacob left behind and made a living for him and his sister by teaching; when he and Rivke got married, they got married on her term - move to America, and he did; when Rivke's brother became ill and moved to California, he followed with Rivke to move to California; there are many other examples as such, he and Rivke saved pennies to buy tickets for their relatives to come to America; Jacob's all-life work with Union to improve conditions of others; and his generosity to the Center and his people is just one another example of such.

This reminds me a paragraph in Lao Zi's Dao De Jing (or Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching by old style latinized spelling) - Chapter 7:

Heaven is eternal and Earth everlasting.
They can be eternal and everlasting
because they do not exist for themselves.
And for this reason can exist forever.

Therefore the sage places himself in the background
but finds himself in the foreground.
He puts himself away, and yet he always remains.
Is it not because he has no personal interests?
This is the reason why his personal interests are fulfilled.

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #427 on: July 19, 2017, 10:25:16 PM »
  Bubble, I am sure Jacob knew how much those parties meant to the community there and also he wanted to remain alive in their memory.  That is very important.  There is a belief  that as long as you remain present in the memory of people, you are not totally dead. That is why, I believe, it is important to celebrate properly the date of passing.

THAT is a very super attitude about it.


Bellamarie! I can't get over what you did with those Ten Commandments of Aging, winnowing out the quotes, that is absolutely wonderful! I have copied that out, just as you wrote it and posted it here next to the desk. Wonderful! Thank you so much!

This one:
I gave this a lot of thought,  Don't take tranquilizers, sleeping pills, alcohol or ignore it with television or other distractions.

I WAS a little startled at the sleeping pills. I have taken one Benedryl at night for years. YEARS. (Don't start it, it causes Dementia). I do have to sleep. I think a good night's sleep is very important. They've just done a study of people's abilities to think with 2 and then 4 hours of sleep and it was astounding, you NEED sleep.

 Gosh that was some story about the people in the room in the hospital with the patient passing away. I don't know what to say about that  one. Hopefully the patient was comforted by their presence, anyway.

Back tomorrow, which of  Bellamarie's 10 Commandments do you think is the most important of all?  I just can't get OVER them.

Bubble your friend has plunged herself into many good works, I hope they are wonderfully fulfilling to her, and how could they not be.  She's a wonderful example of engaged ageing.

Am I the only one who feels that the story of Jacob was a little flat? I am trying to figure out why. Certainly he is an extremely impressive person, but somehow he's made into...the contrast is quite striking, to me, but I may have read it with too much haste. I liked Bubble's take on him, what do you all think?




ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #428 on: July 19, 2017, 10:28:56 PM »
Hongfan, we were posting together, but everything you've said here rings a bell with me. What do you all think of these statements?


"The author has a lengthy analysis on Jacob Koved, attempting to create some recipe for aging well, and through this she introduced a lot of complex concepts including Jacob's autobiography and writing as myth-making, etc. I don't know if I would buy all of those, to me it sounds that she was kind of stretching in order to have some theories."


I wonder, too. There does seem to be something there, but I can't put my finger on it.

 "It reminds me that in physics, the great physicists (Einstein and like) believed that the nature's power is in its simplicity, if you can find multiple equations to explain one phenomenon, go for the simplest one."

 Maybe in anthropology, it is operating under the opposite principle - the more complex the better?

What do you all think of that one!!??

To me, Jacob is quite different from the rest of the Center people, he was universally liked (while the others were habitually critical to each other), he had great respects from his children (while the others agonized over the lack of that). And particularly on the latter one, it made me wonder why is so?

What an excellent question! What do you all think?

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #429 on: July 19, 2017, 10:33:15 PM »
I have no idols.  I have come to the conclusion that with as much make-up, face lifts, botox, tummy tucks, lipo, hair extensions, spandex, personal trainers and cooks, etc., etc., and the money it costs to keep up with all this, I refuse to idolized anyone because it's so fake.  I love looking at a woman who has aged gracefully and is very comfortable with her wrinkles, her muffin top, her age spots, thinning hair and not so perfect complexion.  Anyone can look as great, and be as active, as these women, if you have enough money.

Jonathan, please get some rest, and stop in to let us know you are okay. 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

ginny

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #430 on: July 19, 2017, 10:42:00 PM »
;O) Can't resist these words from Joanna Lumley at 68, when she was planning her own funeral.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/joanna-lumley-is-already-organising-her-funeral-9768097.html


"The actress was inspired to start thinking about what to take with her after visiting the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo.

"When I was out in Sarawak staying in a long house, one of the old grannies died, and she was buried in lovely bamboo-y leaves, and inside they put a bit of food, money for the journey, cigarettes because I think old granny smoked a bit," she told Saga magazine.

"I’m going to have some books, some I haven’t finished or haven’t read, some feathers and nice bits and pieces, the odd note. Just on the journey for the next bit."

She thinks it’s important to think about such provisions before she is "too gaga" to do so.

"Look, when you’re young you think life is forever, but it’s finite," she said. "I’m 68, so even by the maddest measurements, I’m in the last bit of life.

"All the trouble you will cause by not leaving a will. All the heartache!

"Family feuds are going to happen anyway, so be as clear as you can. And even if it’s only to leave it to the cat’s home, make a will."

But far from being morbid about the idea of death, Lumley approaches the subject with a hearty dose of realism

"Learn from nature. Stuff lives and stuff dies all the time, you know," she said.

"Animals and birds and flowers. Trees come and go, and we come and go. That’s it. So we should all seize life and make the most of what we have, while we can.

"You can’t just expect life to do it for you. You have to do life. You’ve just got to keep doing it up till the last minute."

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #431 on: July 19, 2017, 11:02:10 PM »
I just read somewhere that man has now reached the limit of the  most he will ever live.

Ginny, that might be right, IF our society, as a whole, doesn't change.

I like to think each of us as a single cell of the body (the collective life, the nature and all its bearing). For a healthy body, each cell has to do its work, perform its function, all in the best interest of the whole body.

Now what will happen if one day, some cells wake up saying to themselves - I want suck all the nutrition, I want to multiply myself, again and again and again - well those cells become cancer cells, these cancer cells suck most of the nutritions from their surrounding environment and suffocate normal cells. And when these cancer cells spread over, the body gets cancer and dies sooner.

Our society right now is a bit like that, in analogy a cancerous society, the capitalism is a oncogene that turns normal cells into cancel cells, greed is good, don't they say? Why do we have so many cancers now? is it just a coincident? May be the ultimate treatment for cancer is not lying in medicine, but lying in our soul?

The cancer cell never INTENDED to kill the body (because it relies on the body to survive) but with its selfish actions, it DID kill the body and as a result killed itself. We human never intended to kill nature and all its bearing, did we? But aren't we are killing it and with it killing ourselves?

Can this be changed? Can we wipe out the cancer cells and get the body healthy again? I guess so, we have been on a decaying curve, and when it gets to the bottom, the force will swing back. How? I don't know, has to be another deluge? I don't know, hopefully not, hopefully there will be a better way to do it.

I like a scene in the 2008 version of The Day The Earth Stood Still - the scientist said to the alien (played by Keanu Reeves): "We CAN change, give us a chance."

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #432 on: July 20, 2017, 12:12:46 AM »
hongfan, You are so correct in saying,
Quote
" IF our society, as a whole, doesn't change."


I think as a society, we have hit our lowest of lows.  When killing innocent unborn babies is okay, then sell off their organs for profit, and when as a society we are not willing to accept the will of the people's vote for a presidency, instead malign, disrespect and impede his every move, when the media has become the mouthpiece of lies and hatred, refusing to report as journalists were taught with no bias, and when government can use taxpayer money to fund  abortions, while watching our veterans sleep on the streets, when government can steal from the elderly by miss allocating their social security benefits they paid into all their years of working, when we are willing to make it a federal law to protect mallard duck eggs, yet allow the killing of a fetus inside a womb, when we attempt to take away the religious liberties of those who chose to believe in God, I would say we have hit rock bottom.  For every argument someone has for all these egregious acts, there are just as many against them. As a society, we have lost what being a human being is, and are not worthy of being a human being, when we devalue life.  Heschel said it best,  "In old age, we got a chance to find out what a human being is, how we could be worthy of being human."

Indeed we need to change, because we have become a cancerous society that needs immediate  healing and a cure.  I pray you are right hongfan when you say, 
Quote
"and when it gets to the bottom, the force will swing back."
  We are there now..... let the pendulum begin to swing back anytime.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #433 on: July 20, 2017, 02:38:52 AM »
If Jacob was Christian he would be canonized as St. Jacob - he is described with all the support one could receive and with a Gandhi like concern for others - a figure the others could not live up to if they tried - nice story but I just saw the inclusion of the story as the author showing what an ideal apple looks like that is not rotten - sad...

As to all the advise - seems that anyone who lives past 80 is filled with opinions how it happens - many want some philosophical answer but I think, like soldiers in battle wonder, why did I beat the odds? My guess is that is the same roll of the dice for aging - successful aging is simply continuing a successful life - we each have our measure -

There is a saying something about it takes courage to be old and I've also heard, being old is not for sissies - true - but then if you see change as an adventure you've got it made. There are hermits who live past 100 just as there are those who surround themselves with human contact live to be 100 - there are those who in their younger years experienced trauma, unhappiness, disappointment and all manner of experiences that stopped some in their tracts - in response some turn to drink or drugs etc. and so, to me it is no different if you are 30 - 60 or 90 - we all have challenges and we all have our way of handling or not, those challengers.

I do not think there is a separate category with special behavior needs unless you decide you deserve some special care because of advanced and accumulated years. You can get arthritis at 30 just as you can at 60 or 90 - you can be tired because the body is not working tip top at 40 just as you can at 80. Sure there will be grater odds and more folks in their advanced years experiencing failings of the body along with the many losses like losing friends and neighborhood landmarks change along with what we value may change as well as, our financial circumstances - but then, the young loose their jobs or eat the wrong food and gain too much weight to enjoy activities practiced a few years earlier or they are divorced or their friends move away - however, it is just a given that after a certain age everything you knew dramatically changes - Things you saved money for years to own no longer have value since lifestyles change - All that lovely silver and china, no one does a 4 or 5 course dinner any longer - No one even knows how to repair a lace insert on a linen table cloth any longer much less, knows how to make from scratch gelatin, ham hocks, sauerbraten or their own noodles - life's change is either an adventure or a loss of comfort and security or maybe a little of both. 

Ha never thought but yes, aging after 75 is like walking through a war zone - losses to the left and losses to the right but onward we go paring down our physical, emotional, spiritual essentials as our pack feels heavier. Goodness even truth changes.

bellamarie

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #434 on: July 20, 2017, 09:41:44 AM »
hongfan
Quote
The author has a lengthy analysis on Jacob Koved, attempting to create some recipe for aging well, and through this she introduced a lot of complex concepts including Jacob's autobiography and writing as myth-making, etc. I don't know if I would buy all of those, to me it sounds that she was kind of stretching in order to have some theories. It reminds me that in physics, the great physicists (Einstein and like) believed that the nature's power is in its simplicity, if you can find multiple equations to explain one phenomenon, go for the simplest one. Maybe in anthropology, it is operating under the opposite principle - the more complex the better?

Ginny,
Quote
Am I the only one who feels that the story of Jacob was a little flat? I am trying to figure out why. Certainly he is an extremely impressive person, but somehow he's made into...the contrast is quite striking, to me, but I may have read it with too much haste.

Barb
Quote
If Jacob was Christian he would be canonized as St. Jacob - he is described with all the support one could receive and with a Gandhi like concern for others - a figure the others could not live up to if they tried - nice story but I just saw the inclusion of the story as the author showing what an ideal apple looks like that is not rotten - sad...

I have not yet been able to tackle and piece together my thoughts on Jacob's whole story.  Ginny, I am so glad to see I am not alone in how I feel about Jacob's story.  I do know that if I didn't know for certain he was a real person, and all that she wrote actually happened, I would have seen this as a very well made up story.  I just can't put my finger on why it does not ring true to me.  I'm not disputing the validity of it, I am just not responding to it as real.  I've purposely not addressed his story in this chapter because I find myself struggling with it.  I'll give it a lot more thought, and go over it once again to see if I can put my finger on why it did not ring true to me.  Barb is seeing Jacob a saint, had he been a Christian.  That was quite a label to place on him, yet I am not sure if that even gives me more clarity, or troubles me even more so.  Hongfan questioning,  "the more complex the better?" I feel it was so complex, I had to put the book down several times to complete the chapter, because it was so complex for me.  I need more time to see where all these pieces fall into place for me. 

Ginny, Yes, all those people in the room distracting Sandy was so overwhelming to me.  It took away from what she should have been focusing on........... her dying husband.  Once he was gone and she realized she lost those last seconds, missed his last breaths he took, she came running to the bed.  This still bothers me today experiencing what happened in that hospice room.  Then I believe due to the medication she was under, she decided to leave and go home before they even came to take his body to the cremation place.  My husband, her adopted daughter, and myself stayed and walked alongside him being wheeled out.  He and my hubby were veterans and they always talked of their service time over the years.  He was Jehovah Witness in his last couple of years, so before they wheeled him out, hospice asked if they could place the American flag over him.  I had no idea JW's did not honor the dead who served their country in such a way, so I turned to the adopted daughter and asked what should we do?  She asked me, because she didn't know.  My hubby and I made the decision to allow them to place the flag over him, so he was taken out in the honor of a veteran with my hubby saluting him as they wheeled him past us.  I think Walt would have wanted it this way.  I later told my daughter in law/his daughter what happened and she said that is fine.  We chose not to tell Sandy his wife, we just was not sure how she would feel since she was JW.  One less thing to not upset her with is what we all agreed on.
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

hongfan

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #435 on: July 20, 2017, 10:14:24 AM »
egregious acts

Isn't "egregious" from the Latin word "egregius"?

How has it changed from meaning remarkably good to remarkably bad?

hahahaa, talked about changes along the way, Barbara.

Goodness even truth changes

What is truth?

The Greeks noticed, to the jaundiced the honey tastes bitter while to others it tastes sweet, then what is the "true" taste of honey? Is truth the vote of the majority? If it is not, what is it?

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #436 on: July 20, 2017, 12:50:52 PM »
Please consider - if your plan includes cremation please look into Lifelegacy or another similar group - you donate your body and if nothing else - no matter how old and wrinkly, your skin has such value to new born and young children burn victims - they must have several applications of skin til the final take and their little bodies do not have enough skin to take for grafts -

Your caretaker must arrange quickly, hopefully within an hour to ice you down and send your body - you can only make the arrangements through a local funeral home since the big national funeral homes will not handle the request - your body is air-shipped to Arizona where they harvest anything useful with skin being the most valuable - there is no cost and they cremate the remains sending back to the family the ashes - my best friend and her husband whose remains are at Arlington Cemetery used Lifelegacy Foundation - nonprofit in operation since 1997 inspected and licensed - adheres to FDA Good Tissue Practices and is a qualified Organ Procurement Agency under Arizona Anatomical Gift Act - Toll Free 888-774-4438

BarbStAubrey

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Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #437 on: July 20, 2017, 02:04:42 PM »
My earlier post was after I only finished up to the end of the description of Jacob's death - finished the chapter this morning waiting for my ride after leaving my vehicle for repairs - Do not remember for years and years shaking my head visibly while reading as I did agreeing with everything said by Shmuel...

Then with my heckles raised I questions by whose measurement do we use to judge success in death or life? But what really got to me and maybe it is true which would explain much to me that folks are seeking order from chaos - shoot if you want order where is there order - it all seems to be an accident of chance - to me, the explanation of the Chaos theory is the perfect explanation for life.

 How many of us thought when we were young that any of our experiences would be as our life unfolded - if this need for order is the prism used to measure, no wonder systems like the workings of Congress appear to be off the rails - life and most systems are not the organization of the law as administered by the Supreme Court therefore, I have a difficult time using lists as a behavior guide - in chaos all you can do is handle what is presented.

I like the explanation often used that life is a river - As we float down the river of life we hit rapids and waterfalls along the way - Only in his isolation of hiding from the Nazis in France did Mandelbrot put together the Fractal Geometry required toward the history of chaos, instability, the strange attractor, phase transition, and deep chaos. 

Until Mandelbrot, the English budget for coastal maintenance was off whack because a measurement of the coastal shore was so inaccurate - after using Mandelbrot's geometry the budget had to be more than doubled to adequately do the job.

But more - just like a wooden raft or canoe taking the water falls - they break up and some slats of wood go flying through the air as projectiles and other bits are churned over and over reaching the depths of the river bottom several times and then some of the chewed up pieces float down stream and others find their way to shore or are tumped behind a few boulders into a still pond - on and on the bits and pieces are torn and continue their journey as bits and pieces with maybe a chunk floating as the last remnant of what was. Sure a rubber raft usually falls without breakup but passengers are tumped into the churning water falls.

Jacob successfully took what was left of himself after his water falls experiences as did all of those at the Center with varying numbers and heights of their water falls experience  - The saying is, adversity makes you strong and so it appears these folks showed their strength - However, I'm scratching my head wondering how anyone can prepare to navigate successfully a water falls - do not think it can be done - all you can do is use your learned and innate skills to save yourself - even in a rubber raft, passengers are upended and tumped overboard - some drown and others are washed up on shore and still others are lucky to be banged into a rock they can hang onto till someone can rescue them. 

Jacob had folks rescuing him through out his life as he returned the goodness to others by rescuing others - if there is any value in the story of Jacob, that to me is the value to hold onto during our aging rather than, attempting to control our life so that we do not experience the problems associated with aging. Problems will sneak up on us just as we are sucked into the swift flow, dragging anything on the river towards the water falls - There is no order to a river much less to a waterfalls - the order is chaos and now we can even mathematically measure the chaos but we cannot eliminate chaos.   

Even her quoting Susanne K. Langer suggesting our sacred symbols are for the purpose of coherence and continuity versus being vulnerable and disoriented - cannot buy it - if writing our bio is to develop coherence then phewy - we are vulnerable, so accept it and yes, at times we become disoriented and use a support to temporarily orient ourselves - but the only coherence I can see is to practice and depend upon things like courage, self-preservation, adventure... continuity is not in our hands... even the birth of children does not guarantee the future of our genes much less the continuation of a way of life - there is just no insurance policy for the future - scary or again, the word I use over and over is life is an adventure as I bet death is an adventure since we have no clue what happens next. 

As to the symbols and rituals - to me they are feel good experiences and for me a church ritual, with all the symbols was beautiful and created a wonder beyond the ordinary and actually allowed me to see myself as vulnerable but, I sure did not see these rituals as relating me to life around me. With all the church changes, they sure did not represent continuity - I remember learning as a child that the church I attend was One, Holy, Apostolic Church and all ceremony was the same regardless where I attended mass - ha huge difference according to the dioceses you live in - celebrating mass, the prayers and hymns - how communion is distributed - the emphasis or not, on Mary or the Stations of the Cross are very different in Kentucky versus, here in Austin as they are in other places within the states I've lived including how Mass is celebrated in the various European churches. From reading the story it sounds as though the traditions in the Center were not the same as those in their European hometowns much less, carried out by some of their children. So symbolism to celebrate continuity - just do not see it...

To me continuity is freezing and recovering the past therefore, limiting growth - if we cannot grow spiritually than how does humanity become more humane - if our body grows and changes then so would our emotions and spirituality in spite of ourselves if we let in the air.

Jonathan

  • Posts: 1395
Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #438 on: July 20, 2017, 04:01:59 PM »
I seem to have offended the powers that be and so I will humbly take the consequences. I woke up feeling better and ready to run several errands, only to find a flat tire on my car. At the tire shop I was told they could see no reason why the tire had lost its air. But I know. It comes from feeling sorry for the Malakh-hamoves, the Angel of Death.

At 95, Jacob was too successful at aging well. He refused to die. Aleph people want to go on forever. And after that be remembered. Throw parties for another five years. Of course he was well-liked. But what a difficult time for the Angel. Was it too much to imagine the trying time it was for the Angel before finally getting Jacob to the other side. Wouldn't He want to take a break? The suggestion however might imply that He would not be available for others needing his assistance.

Oy, Vey!

bellamarie

  • Posts: 3007
Re: Number Our Days
« Reply #439 on: July 20, 2017, 08:18:03 PM »
Jonathan I am so very happy to see you are feeling better, and being humorous with your flat tire incident.  So sorry your day started off at the repair shop.  I do hope it got better once it was fixed. 

The Angel of Death reminded me of the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, a lurking spirit ready to come to snatch you up.  Gives me chills just thinking of it.   While reading the nearing of Jacob's death I half expected the vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) to appear.  I don't mean to make fun of this story, but I really am having a very difficult time in believing this author's whole interpretation here.  This is where needing some verification would come in handy for the doubting Thomas I am. 
 
"Sometimes books don't find us until the right time." quote Amelia says to A.J.,  from the book A Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin