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Gerascophobia (from Greek geraso, meaning "I am getting old") is the more intense awareness of aging and it's destructive biological attacks onto the human body, which leads to the fear of getting old, also known as aging. People fear growing older mainly because they are getting closer to their demise, among serious damage to their health. For some who fear growing old, they might have heard horror stories about the nursing home and fear that they will also be put in one of those homes when they grow old. For others, the thought of losing one's self-control such as not able to dress and feed oneself may be the triggering factor for this fear. Others also fear that when they grow old, they will be left alone by their family. Or some may fear that they will develope terminal diseases when they grow old and will be left alone to die without family members to take care of them. The reliance on care and externally supported maintenance equals a loss of personal independence.
Sufferers can have following symptoms — repulsement, disgust, loss of appetite, thoughts of dying, depression, fainting, inability to think or express oneself clearly, shaking and shivering, palpations and rapid breathing. However, Gerascophobia can also be silent.
Gerascophobia is closely related to gerontophobia, fear of the elderly, however both are usually hateless in most affected people.
It can also affect very young people, despite having decades ahead of them. That's because aging will come and mutilate one's life eventually, despite not soon.
Mind insights Edit
Due to humans being mortality salient, sufferers will often feel as though aging is the first sign that their immune systems are starting to weaken, which makes them more vulnerable and prone to diseases. Death, an individual's doomsday is coming closer with each year. They view aging as an enemy of humanity, a human flaw, brutal slow-motion torture, glorifiied slaughter, decompositive decay, long-term disability, biological time bomb, a parasitic, disgusting, creepy, scary deadly chronic disease and the ultimate involuntary biological self-obliteration, rather than a natural progression.
To them, the age of decay, even aging's earliest noticable stages on oneself or others, seems like a prerequisite, a very early sign, an initial step towards the direction of taphonomy (fossilisation) and being dust, which equals absolute non-existence, if not a creepy form of existence.
It is a feeling of powerlessness, knowing that age-proneness is currently inevitable, no matter in what physically healthy state one is at the moment. Aging is symbolized and personified as an archenemy to life and a (literal, in this case) mortal enemy, similarly to Grim Reaper with his Scythe is for death.
Even children who get confronted for the first time with the idea of evanescence, finite healthspan, external dependence (e.g. medication drugs, geriatrics tools such as wheelchair, rollator, reading glasses, diabetes medication), aging and it's self-destructive effects, such as cancer and loss of health, presbyopia (loss of eye's self-ability to focus due to failing ciliary muscle), fraility, Arthritis, facial distortion, death, etc. could become gerascophobic due to horrification and cognitive dissonance.
Aging replaces abundant health and vibrancy with limited health, external reliance, loss of mobility, healthcare-dependent and prone to diseases.
Loss of looks Edit
Aging demolishes the looks of a human body, especially facially.
The following changes occur:
- Facial distortion, loss of smoothness and bone structure deformation.
- Hanging cheek skin (also known as “face bags”)
- Wrinkles occupy the entire skin surface, especially on the face and the hands.
- Liver spots (also known as “age spots”) begin to occupy the body surface, especially the on the hands and the face.
- Many men lose hair, some men already get bald in their first third of life due to the genetic lottery.
- Hair becomes less even, more fragile, more untidy and disarranged.
Youth is an indication of high fertility.
The loss of beauty affects women much stronger than men, despite women tend to have slightly longer life expectancies than men.
That is because youthful looks are an evolutionary sign of femininity and fertility, the purpose of female attraction, to lead to procreation. However, aging has devastating effects on female attraction, because old age in a woman is an evolutionary sign of poor to no fertility.. Aging increasingly damages the female reproductive system, causing it to fail, making women lose their bio-evolutionairy purpose to produce offsprings. Because an aging woman's reproductive system can no longer fullfill this purpose, the male brain that is naturally programmed to seek fertility does consider women exponentially less attractive at a higher age.
Aging also negatively affects male attractiveness, however to a lesser extent, because the male reproductive system is affected in a far less devastating way, and an elderly man might still be able to procreate, provided sufficient remaining sexual potency, because the testicles keep producing semen cells even well into old age.
Some sufferers are more likely to seek plastic surgery to cut and stretch wrinkles to make them appear more youthful while the main concern of many other sufferers is the internal, biological long-term damage caused by the aging process.
Loss of mobility and independence Edit
Symptoms include the fear of the future and the dread of needing to rely on people and external tools due to loss of strength, to do formerly self-possible actions in everyday life (loss of freedom and personal independence), which includes self-care, climbing stairs, crossing streets, walking, driving and carrying things.
Even things taken for granted (e.g. ability to step on a bus) is getting increasingly hard for elderly people.
Biological failure Edit
Gerascophobists especially fear the fade of health, the risk of age-related diseases, Frailty syndrome and the inevitable loss of well-being which comes along with the aging process. This includes restricted individual mobility, reliance on prescription medication, tooth decay and loss of denture, loss of bone density, accumulating genetic damage, facial distortion (loss of attractiveness), vocal distortion, the loss of body functionality (e.g. eyesight, which leads to reliance on external tools (i.e. reading glasses) that can break, malfunction, be forgotten and/or get lost), Cataract, Arthritis, Gastrointestinal disease (food digestion and issues and dyschezia, obstructed defecation), hydration malfunction, desert-dry skin, the increasing risk of kidney failure and cancer, lymphoma, permanent irreversible brain damage (leads to restricted environmental sensory perceptions, slower response times and weakened ability to think and make rational decisions), hearing loss, the loss of muscle mass (while fat increases), loss of fertility and potency; sensory deficits (including the ability to feel emotions), cognitive decline (forgetting, loss of remembrance (fading memories), clusminess, dementia, alzheimers, loss of mental chronometry and neuroplasticity), repulsive ugliness, and the permanent loss of overall quality of life, all of which only gets worse and leads to a dead end.
Any reminder of impermanence, biological failure and evanescence, such as the bare mention of the word “lifespan”, the name of the song Fade(d) or song lyrics such as “fading memories” anded the sight of old and disabled people, can trigger a wave of gerascophobic emotions, possibly combined with cognitive dissonance.
Physical restrictions Edit
Gerascophobia gets amplified if oneself lives in a suboptimally capable body with disabilities (e.g. wheelchair reliance, circumcision, blindness, diabetes, dwarfism, Heart block (pacemaker reliance), rheuma, tourette syndrome and more…), which restrict one's ability to experience pleasure at any age and enjoy one's one and only ever life. By the time scientists will possibly have found a cure for one's disability, that person might already have past his/her healthspan, after which their ability to experience freedom, pleasure, mobility and life enjoyment without the former disability is already restricted by new, old-age-related factors.
Old age makes the hands less controllable, less sensitive, more shaky, therefore more clusmy, increasing the likelihood of accidentially breaking things.
Precision work is significantly harder with age-related clusminess.
Also see section: #Degeneration of skills.
Loss of significance Edit
Many also fear they will not play an active role in society when they get older, thus a fading significance and the loss of sense of purpose, the fear of missing out and the fear of being forgotten.
Social restrictions Edit
Phsyical obstruction Edit
In their younger years, people, despite respecting elderly people for other unrelated reasons, tend to feel annoyed and obstructed by their disabilities, impediments and repeated needs for special care, which will only deterioate until death.
The same people become aware that they will inevitably be in this physically crippled situation oneself one day, and other people will think about them the same way, although they don't speak it.
Loss of self-esteem Edit
Jealousy, lack of self esteem and feelings of inferiority can possibly be caused by watching others enjoying the freedom of youth, vibrancy and mobility, while oneself is stuck in a biologically age-crippled, lesser capable body.
Second-hand Gerascophobia Edit
Second-handed gerascophobia is when one fears the aging and biological decay of someone else, commonly grown-up offsprings for their aging, therefore slowly dying, parents.
Loved people such as friends or family members could lose their health, which is a basic human need.
Gerascophobists describe it as “aging is slaughtering loved ones into death”.
Sense of purpose Edit
Due to the currently irreversible harmful effects of the human-biological time bomb (or age bomb) that were mentioned above, a human being's physical capabilities and freedom become increasingly, permanently restricted by old age, which could lead to uncertainty and a fading sense of purpose for life.
Crime target Edit
Due to being weaker, lesser able-bodied and slower reaction time, thus lesser able to defend themselves, elderly people are an easier, therefore more common target for criminals such as thievery and robbery.
Gerascophobists fear that their old age will make them lesser able to participate in fun activities in life, miss out on quality time with close people, and miss out on inventions scientific innovations made in future.
Death is seen as a “limbo” of eternal non-existence.
This is different from the classic fear of missing out, which rather refers to the Internet and social media.
Life planning Edit
Due to limited health, freedom and time in old age, the ability to plan a future becomes increasingly restricted.
Old age leads to restricted visual (eyes) and aural functionality.
This could lead to disorientation and a challenged ability to balance.
The thought of relying on external tools (i.e. glasses and/or contact lenses) for basic daily actions such as reading appears horrifying. Gerascophobists consider presbyopia as semi-blindness and reading glasses as wheelchair for the eyes.
Glasses can break, can get lost, and have to be put on/off, which is similar to having to change a camera lens each time when changing the focus.
All of this does not happen to the young, functional eye that does not rely on external tools for normal function.
Old age is described as a “pit of doom”, or “eternal dungeon” by people with this mental condition, because the effects of aging are permanent.
The certainty that the health condition of elderly people will inevitably only deterioate leads to a sense of hopelessness.
The effects of aging are dark unpredictable, but always certainly negative and destructive.
Currently, as of 2019, there is no cure for aging. Therefore, it is currently impossible to outrun, escape of defend oneselves against aging.
Being exposed to aging equals the feeling of being unable to defend oneself against one's murderer.
One's counsciousness is trapped inside a body of which the functions are failing one after another.
Limited pleasure Edit
Ability to taste food Edit
Due to the degrading taste nerves, the same food tastes increasingly shallow and flat.
Sexual potency Edit
Aging degrades both the brain's ability to become sexually arroused and sexual potency, and the sexual attraction to the opposite partner due to degrading looks.
In addition, the errogenous nerve endings of the intimate organs become less sexually sentivitsensitive.
Physical activities and sports Edit
Due to frailty syndrome, the elderly body can not cope with physical sports and fun activity such as riding rollercoasters.
Degeneration of skills Edit
Because aging gradually harms the human body's phsical integrity in a cancerous way, skills that the person has acquired over his life, especially physical scills, are going to stagnate and then gradually degenerate.
See also: Section: #Clusminess.
Mid-life crisis Edit
- Main article: Wikipedia: Mid-life crisis
Aging is the reason why the mid-life crisis exists in first place.
Being in mid-life (~40 to 50 years) means that the most fertile, potent, vibrant, pleasureable, timeless and healthy years of life have already evaporated.
However, one can be in fairly good health at that age. But at that stage of life, the only years ahead of someone are the years of biological decomposition, thus the devastating effects on health and well-being listed in this article.
Irreversible damage Edit
The thought that the biologically degenerative damage caused by the aging process is permanent (i.e. affects every remaining minute of one's only life in the entire universe) can be potentially horrifying to people.
Mortality highlight Edit
In old age, the last thing humans desire to think about, which is their own mortality, become more present and apparent, while being feelingly indefinitely distant in the younger years.
Even the first signs of old age, such as balding or wrinkles are markers of mortality, and being closer to fossilisation.
Social anti-bias Edit
Partial pseudo-science quote: “In society, youthfulness is glorified and getting older is cast as something to avoid, but as your age increases, your quality of life does not necessarily have to decrease, experts said.”
Society tends to have a negative bias towards old age, however most people are not consciously aware of the root causes of the antipathy against old age itself (not elderly people, but aging itself.).
The second part of the quote is untrue when regarding scientific and biological factors, and the names of the experts were not mentioned.
The root causes include many things mentioned in this article.
Gerascophobia can affect different people at different intensities.
The more intensely affected people could have hallucinations and nightmares related to old age and related disabilities.
Insights into the Gerascophobic mind:
- Aging is the ticking time bomb of life.
- Old age is a disability.
- The elderly years are not the golden years, but the least purposeful years of life.
- No matter the excessive healthcare, aging will win anyway.
- Dementia is semi-death, because it renders the body's most fundamental part, it's thinking apparatus, unservicable.
- Wrinkles are the first step towards fossilization.
- In other words: Wrinkles are death's first knock on the door.
- Old age is a currently inescapable prison with life sentence.
- Death is eternal nothingness and unconsciousness.
- Aging is the source of nihilism.
- Aging's goal is to extinguish the species.
- Aging is world's most brutal murderer and slaughters people into death.
- Constructive Gerascophobia: Encourage scientific research towards the cure of aging and enabling eternal health.
- Not being Gerascophobic is just a lack of knowledge and awareness.
- Looking artificially young (e.g. using cosmetics) does not reverse the biological damage of aging.
- Elderly women are the polar opposite of elegance (hateless fact).
- Elderly people can still be respected despite of Gerascophobia. Their age is not their fault.
- Aging and death are, by far, the least desirable topics to think about.
- Old age means being obsolete, dysfunctional, expired, doomed, decaying, trapped, restricted, disabled, demolished, vulnerable, fading into limbo.
The psychological stress of gerascophobia can be triggered by any reminder to old age (memento senectute) or reminder of death (memento mori), such as elderly people with rollators in public, graveyards, wheelchairs, rollators, or the degenerated, screechy voice of elderly people can trigger psychological stress reactions.
The proximity of very elderly people (see gerontophobia) can lead to a gerascophobia attack.
Despite sounding nornally when pronounced, words such as "mortality" and "aging" are considered as the ugliest, most despicable and disgusting words in the English language, in any context.
People with gerascophobia can not easily understand why other people consider aging as a rather trivial side-effect of life, and that not being gerascophobic is purely a lack of awareness and knowledge.
The fact that aging is hazardous to an individual's health is common knowledge.
Social resonance Edit
People who are lesser consciously aware of the effects of aging often suggest gerascophobists to commit suicide to evade the effects of aging.
However, gerascophobia is interconnected with thanatophobia, the fear of death, therefore death is no suitable option to circumvent aging, but rejuvenation (currently hypothetical).
Aging is the currently only option that does not involve deliberate death and keep living as long as possible, therefore the best possible option, but still no good.
Gerascophobists are also being repeatedly told to embrace aging, which is not possible considering the serious destructive effects of aging onto the human body.
- Gerontophobia – closely related: Fear of elderly people.
- Chronophobia – fear of time
- Thanatophobia – fear of dying
- Double standard of aging
- Wikipedia: “aging”, “old age”, “geriatrics”.
- Fear of Getting Old Phobia fearof.net
- Gerascophobia visualized in one picture.
- Youthtopia TV video “10 devastating effects of aging”.
- TheWheatIsHeat96 video about the horrors of aging.
- Video by THUNK: 129. Immortality
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 (at 02m:07s): Man from the film “STOP wasting your life (2019)”, directed by Prince Ea, looks alike a zombie from a horror movie.
- ↑ 2015 StatNews article about aging
- ↑ Futurism.com article by medical experts
- ↑ Article by LongevityReporter.org from December 5th 2016.
- ↑ https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/47264/title/Opinion--Aging--Just-Another-Disease/
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 Quote from BBC documentary “Can ageing be delayed, stopped or even reversed? BBC News” by Unity Biotechnology founder Nathaniel David: “Everyone you know suffers from aging. Everyone.”
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Quote from BBC documentary “Can ageing be delayed, stopped or even reversed? BBC News” by Unity Biotechnology founder Nathaniel David: “Anyone, who tells you that aging is beautiful and something to embrace, is either dishonest with you or dishonest with themselves. I see no beauty.”
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Anonymous Quora answer to “Why don't some people accept aging?”, written by a then-nearly-60-year-old woman on 2016-11-04.
- ↑ Twitter graphic: What aging does to the human body in long-term (fossilisation).
- ↑ TED-ED video: “What happens to our bodies after we die?”
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 Photo: Comparison between a young woman and an elderly woman.
- ↑ http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/BeautySecrets/story?id=2991351&page=1
- ↑ FightAging.org article “The fall into nihilism”, 2017-07-25
- ↑ Reddit comment: “Word I hate: ‘Lifespan’. Reason: Reminds one that there is mortality and end of life.”
- ↑ allaboutcounseling article: Gerascophobia symptomps
- ↑ Radical gerontophobia example.
- ↑ Reddit.com/r/offmychest thread: “Elderly people disgust me sometimes.”
- ↑ Quora question: How can I deal with the horrible thought of aging parents?
- ↑ PsychologyToday article: The complicated relationship between disability and purpose
- ↑ Article from ConfinedToSuccess.com about lacking sense of purpose due to disability: Finding purpose when disabled.
- ↑ 21.0 21.1 NJ.com article “12 disturbing ways criminals have targeted the elderly”
- ↑ Document by Marianne Pinkerton James from the Australian Institute of criminology: “The Elderly as Victims of crime, Abuse and Neglect”
- ↑ 23.0 23.1 “How do I cope with the idea of presbyopia and being chained to eyewear for the rest of my foreseeable life?”
- ↑ Tweet by @EnthusiastYouth: “Old age is the pit of doom.”
- ↑ 25.0 25.1 Article: 6 behaviours of elderly people scientifically explained.
- ↑ 26.0 26.1 New York Times pseudo-science article: “Aging well”