16 June 2008

A Beautiful Heaven

"The average age for a man in the Bronze Age was eighteen. In the Roman era, twenty-two. Heaven must have been beautiful then. Today it must look dreadful. When a man reaches forty, he has no chance to die beautifully. No matter how he tries, he will die of decay. He must compel himself to live."

A Life In Four Chapters, Yukio Mishima

9 comments:

initials CG said...

Getting close to forty?

Yeah, but if you fight it, decay can become elegant...it's when the clothes we obsess so much about finally fit. And they make us over forty's look that much more fascinating...at least that's what the 22yr blonde told me...! Not buying it either.

BTW, I think Mishima is a bit off on his facts about the ancient world. Ancient Spartan hoplites ended their service at 60. The demographic census of Augustus revealed a significant aging population over the age of 70. Life expectancy in the ancient world seems to have been as high as today.

longwing said...

I fear that in heaven, they may not want me.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Hmmm, live fast, die young and leave a good looking corpse, eh? No thanks. Far too old for that route at this point.

Mishima's is one of the oddest arguments for aging that I've run across. But why not? I'm with initials CG as the clothing thing is the only reason that I stay in relatively decent shape. I can't afford to replace the whole wardrobe. How's that for justification for graceful aging? I only hope to be getting smarter as well as better-dressed...

Heavy Tweed Jacket said...

I remember reading somewhere that Mishima may have been struggling with and fearful of his own aging at the time of his suicide. In any event, by all accounts his own death was not pretty.

CULTURE CREATORS said...

Hmmm a boy with a view & style. Glad I stumbled onto your blog:)




xCC

CULTURE CREATORS said...

Love the new Bowie pic...




Happy weekend,
xCC

saray said...

:)

suzannemarques said...

ooh. i've seen some fantastic 40-year-old men!

fear not :)

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Thanks for the nice comments everyone. I have a few years left until age forty. But it is not something I dread; on the contrary I look forward to it. The key, I think, is to age with dignity. I see too many men in their 30s to 70s who dress and act like children. What can I say about such people without being rude? Suicide, to which despairing men such as Mishima and Hemingway finally turned, seems to me a cheap, easy way out, a final capitulation. Not very heroic. Which brings me back to Mishima's comment. It resonates with me because it points to a dearth of opportunities for men to be heroic, in the modern age.