„We all know the type of American executive or professional man who does not allow himself to age, but by what appears to be almost sheer will keeps himself “well-preserved,” as if in creosote. … The will which burns within him, while often admirable, cannot be said to be truly “his”: it is compulsive; he has no control over it, but it controls him. He appears to exist in a psychological deep-freeze; new experience cannot get at him, but rather he fulfills himself by carrying out ever-renewed tasks which are given by his environment: he is borne along on the tide of cultural agendas. So long as these agendas remain, he is safe; he does not acquire wisdom, as the old of some cultures are said to do, but he does not lose skill—or if he does, is protected by his power from the consequences, perhaps the awareness, of loss of skill. In such a man, responsibility may substitute for maturity. Indeed, it could be argued that the protection furnished such people in the united States is particularly strong since their “youthfulness” remains a social and economic prestige-point and wisdom might actually, if it brought awareness of death and which the culture regarded as pessimism, be a count against them. … They prefigure … the cultural cosmetic that makes Americans appears youthful to other peoples. And, since they are well-fed, well-groomed, and vitamin-dosed, there may be an actual delay-in-transit of the usual physiological declines to partly compensate for lack of psychological growth. Their outward appearance of aliveness may mask inner sterility.“

—  David Riesman, “Clinical and Cultural Aspects of the Aging Process,” p. 486
David Riesman
1909 - 2002
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