Why are Senior Citizens conservative and rigid?
Psychologists say that 'what we are today' is a result of conditioning we have had in our childhood and early adulthood. We would have absorbed several ideas from our parents, teachers, neighbors and friends without questioning as we were young. We were also told to accept what elders say without opposition or questioning. But the over a period of several decades we gain our own experience by being and observing the world. We travel and see different cultures, people, places, practices, customs etc. Slowly it dawns on most of us that the ideas that we cherish and hold as true or absolute are not really so. Different parts of the world treat things differently. There is nothing 'correct' or 'right' just because you hold some view. We first become more tolerant of others' views and accept varying views though with reluctance but with ease as we age. This is the general scenario.
However I find many senior citizens stubbornly remaining totally conservative and rigid in their views and beliefs. For some, even smoking and drinking are taboos. Others can not accept pre-marital sex or live-in arrangements with ease. Many are obsessed with age old customs and rituals – any slight deviation – even at the thinking level - brings them jitters. Discussing Sex? Total No, No! Religion is one of most binding and blinding factors in many seniors. They easily get offended, hurt, humiliated, feel let down and cheated if some noted artist paints their gods and goddesses in nude. There are some who can not tolerate young girls wearing shirts with attractive statements. I know a person who avoided me as a bug the moment he learnt that I do not fast on Ekadasi. I know persons who avoided meeting me after my wife's death, because the days were not the 'right' ones according to Shastras. Why are they so rigid in their thoughts and expectations of others, I just can not understand.
Many elders have developed hatred for anything that is foreign, anything from multinationals, anything from a religion other than their own, anyone not belonging to his caste. Why don't we develop a care free attitude? What is the problem in letting others live the way like? Why are we so addicted and bound by religion? Why should ANY religion be allowed to rule you? What is wrong if others' views do not tally with yours? Why should it? Why do we sit in judgment over others based on our narrow experience? Why do we rush to comment without getting to basics of an issue? Should our prejudices rule us all the time? Won't we ever learn some thing new?
After all, if a person passes through many decades, enough wisdom should prevail upon him to become wise, tolerant, understanding, broad minded and catholic? Becoming broad minded requires courage. Most persons are driven by herd mentality and it is safe to part of a group. Seniors, in my opinion, should wake up as they have nothing to lose. They have all the time to experiment new ways of thinking. You won't become mad, I assure you. Just try, if you are the one I am talking about.