Dr Karen Evers-Fahey will be joining us via a Zoom meeting on November 27th and 28th to talk about individuation after the age of 70. In anticipation of her lecture and workshop, she has kindly answered several questions to help prepare us for the subject matter: Jung’s Model of Aging: Individuation after 70.
Thank you, Karen!
Our culture values productivity. How then can we retain a sense of worth as we gradually become less “productive” in society’s view?
The notion of ‘productivity’ has become a value in a culture that values and rewards individual achievement, measured by income or position. This perspective dismisses older adults as less valuable due to their diminished so-called productivity. This paradigm is part of the political Neo-liberal philosophy, for example, and found in theories of life stage development that equate industry with success and equates failure to achieve certain external benchmarks with inferiority. These theories, however, are rooted in a toxic form of patriarchy that devalues caring, connection and generativity. Jung not only has a different world view that values the matriarchal/feminine, but he also proposes a special place for the Elder to support connection to others and counters the emphasis on the individual in society.
What does it mean to ripen into Crone- or Elder-hood?
To ripen into Crone- or Elder-hood is to embrace the inner process of individuation after 70. Aging does not equal preparing for death but rather to follow a path that on the one hand deepens ones inner connection to the soul but also supports connections to the outer world.
How do we recognize a person who has matured into such a capacity/mantle?
Maturing through conscious ageing means being open to the inner process. True elders are able to let go of personal grievances and disappointments and embrace their hard won wisdom and understanding. The focus shifts from individual development to development of the community, even the world.
What types of “Pursuits” do you “typically” see in those who have individuated after 70?
Individuals in their Elder-hood aim to live their most authentic life and strive to have a community, however large or small, they care about and cares about them. This can be a formal community such as a religious group, volunteer group, creative group, or a family group. It may also be living one’s life authentically and openly so that the world sees new possibilities.