- Through compassion we recognize our vulnerability and our emotional, moral and spiritual response to others.
- We acknowledge the relationship between knower and the known.
- We seek an emphasis on moral and spiritual aspects of growing old, especially meaning.
It was particularly interesting to me to learn there was lots of discussion about Ezekiel Emmanuel’s article in the October edition of The Atlantic Monthly titled "Why I Want to Die at 75." Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about Emmanuel’s article. While sympathetic with his point of view, I was compelled to outline all the “personally spectacular” things I would have missed if I’d cashed in my chips when I turned 75 ten years ago.
 Active Ageing, highly productivist and with little room for our existential vulnerability;
 the decline narrative of ageing; and
 the age-defying narrative, with its emphasis on staying young, not acknowledging growth, a self-effacing strategy doomed to fail and in denial of our existential vulnerability.”
With ageing we can become our truest selves if we allow ourselves to embrace an alternative notion of activity, that of practicing the right attitudes. Virtue ethics aims at self-realization and flourishing while acknowledging the vulnerability of this striving. It also incorporates our fundamental social embedding, with its benefits and challenges.
Building resilience towards fragility requires a lifelong process of development and practice of relevant attitudes and qualities, balancing the demands of self and the world in a way that is flexible and context-dependent. In this way we can see practising virtue as trumping the unhelpful tropes of passively surrendering or actively fighting ageing.
It is tremendously reassuring to see such profound and often challenging debates embedded in mainstream gerontology, and bodes well for liberating the gift of ageing from the tired, negative, and limiting attitudes that persist in public life.