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RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

As the body weakens, does the spirit strengthen?

Asked by RealEyesRealizeRealLies (28342 points ) December 18th, 2013

I don’t need, or want, any metaphysics associated with this thread.

I define “spirit” as synonymous with “thought”.

So, as we age, and our physical bodies weaken, do our thoughts… our spirit… our essence as a personage… strengthen?

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13 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

No. The brain is part of the body, and deteriorates with it. There is a reason why dementia is especially prevalent among old people.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

All old people? Most? How old?

ragingloli's avatar

over a third of people over 85.

anniereborn's avatar

If spirit is synonymous with thought, then yes, most likely that goes when the body does.

Personally I don’t believe “essence of a personage” need be tied to the biological workings of the brain.

My mother with Alzheimer’s has kept her “essence” all along. Her sense of humor, her affection and her love for music are still shining bright.

Smitha's avatar

For aged people only their body grows old their mind and spirit never gets old. It’s all in the attitude towards others, self, and life, in general that keeps up the spirits. Most of them make different choices in different phases of their lives. Some may be way too serious, and with time they gradually lose their ability to be carefree because they get too much focused on their family and other serious things. There are some who find happiness and value in having fun, enjoying life and just being a free spirit in general. This way of thinking helps the aged to maintain a young spirit.

longgone's avatar

Do you have any reason to believe it does? Why should our way of thinking change just because it gets harder to climb stairs? Or maybe you mean a different kind of weakening, such as a disability? I could understand how chronic pain, for example, could influence your “spirit”...

elbanditoroso's avatar

I think that’s a feel-good sort of statement that has no basis in fact. How would you measure “spirit” in the first place, to know if it were increasing?

thorninmud's avatar

“Spirit” is pretty hard to quantify. In terms of cognitive ability (which seems to be what you’re referring to when you say “thought), age takes it’s toll. But then you speak of our “essence as a personage”, and I don’t see that as being a matter of cognitive ability, really.

I see some people get more and more set in their ways as they get older. Their worldviews become fixed, they live more in their memories and become less open to novelty, and take refuge in their habits. You could say that their person-hood has become stronger, in that it’s more resistant to change or growth; they become “a character” who stands out all the more for having stopped moving along with the world.

For others, the reverse seems to happen. The hubris and idealism of youth yields to the softer embrace of ambiguity and practicality. Connection, both to family and friends and to the world at large, supersedes former concerns about getting ahead and standing out. Positions mellow as experience reveals the complexities of reality. Someone like this remains engaged with the world because they don’t differentiate themselves from it. It may seem like they’re less uniquely their own person because they’ve remained flexible and flow with the current.

A good question, then, might be are we closer to our “essence” when we differentiate, or when we connect?

ibstubro's avatar

There’s no blanket statement.
If the spirits weakens, does the body strengthen?

janbb's avatar

I agree. I’ve seen some people get more rigid as they age and some more open and less judgmental. Some gain wisdom, some become even more self-centered. I don’t think there is any generalization that can be made.

LuckyGuy's avatar

There are an awful lot of grumpy old men – and women – out there.
They don’t get that way by having supple minds and thoughts.

jazmina88's avatar

with fibro and degenerative disk disease, it’s hard to get by. It’s my Spirit that keeps me fired up… brain and body are tired. but there is a fire in my soul.

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