What Keeps Us Young
In many of my lectures and writings, I present the observation that people who are in love look younger, while those who hate, look older and worn out.
It was an observation made with no explanation for why it was happening.
Today, I was watching a TED talk by Elizabeth Blackburn, a biologist who shared a Nobel Prize for her discovery of what ages us. It has to do with the ends of our chromosomes, the telomerases.
She discovered that when people are stressed, their telomerases get shorter and shorter over time. When our telomerases decrease in size, our skin wrinkles, we feel more tired and we are more vulnerable to diseases.
What is stress, if not a manifestation of displeasure, a manifestation of different aspects of hate? Being in love is the antithesis: you cannot be in love and be stressed. If there is stress, it is a different kind of stress than one of hate, intolerance, and frustration.
Love keeps those telomerases long. Hate, intolerance, and stress make them shorter and age us. We now have scientific proof explaining my observations.
Now, what is a condition for being in love?
Mutual trust and respect. You cannot love someone whom you do not trust nor respect. Right?
It follows then that people who grant and command respect and trust live longer. Being tolerant of others, being patient with others and relating with others whom you trust prolongs your life. Being disrespected, not trusted, bullied and/or relating with people for whom you have no respect and whom you do not trust on an ongoing basis will shorten your life because it will be stressful.
Granting and commanding trust and respect are more than issues of attitude. A good, positive attitude helps. It is necessary but not sufficient for cultivating mutual trust and respect. We need rules of behavior that nourish trust and respect. Those that follow them, it follows, will live a longer life. And it applies to macrosystems, to countries, too.
Those countries where MT&R are the dominant features of their culture and system will be countries with sustainable economic success and will exist longer than those torn by internal conflicts, intolerance to diversity and differentiation of interests (the elite has more and the crowd much less).
What made America a successful country was not its size. Some countries are even bigger. It was not its natural resources, major reserves of gold, silver, oil or gas. Other countries have these, too. It was not
technology, either. Other countries have no less. It was America’s culture of mutual trust and respect. It is a country that made diversity a cornerstone of its culture. It is a country where fair play is the dominant characteristic of relationships. It is a country of law and order.
The danger to America is not necessarily North Korea, with its threatening nuclear capacity. It is the erosion of our culture: disrespect for diversity, the increasing gap in income and wealth between those that have and those that have little if anything. It is the inflow of immigrants with a religion that is intolerant of others who are different.
Public policy should be that anything that erodes MT&R should be avoided or prohibited. It is our strongest asset and will prolong our personal and national life.
Love and MT&R are good for the individual, for the family, for the company, and for the country.
Just dare to be thinking and sharing it
Ichak Kalderon Adizes