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Speaker: Doing the right thing on retirement

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  • DexterX, in reply to Sacha,

    It is the best we can hope for.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I - without wanting to put words in Bart's mouth - think he may be using 'science' as a synonym for 'blue skies research', as many of my colleagues do. I'm a historian, or at least was trained as one, and have an interdisciplinary literature/history masters, so am equally committed to the increased funding of all blue skies research. (Marsdenable, I'd call it)

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX,

    Goff isn't supported, should he do much better than he is doinjg now I am sure Labour will deliberately implode.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    absolutely Steve - limited term projects and returns for NZ Inc. give short shrift to the long tail of much research. Though I was delighted that Marsden gave Brian Boyd funding for his Popper bio this year - that's been years in the making. Whenever I work on Marsden applications with people, I'm astounded and awed by all the fantastic good ideas they have - most of which, of course, never get funded and thus the research never takes place ....

    And you'll be pleased to know that I'm formerly Kate Apperley (the elder daughter) & thus know a little about the language/logic in CS of which you speak ....

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Richard Aston,

    Your call for a " inter generational consensus" is a good one - one place to start - you have already Ben - is finding real respect and aroha - elder to younger, younger to elder.

    I don't exactly know where to start. I guess the first one would be simply to admit that there is a problem with the current model, and to begin discussing what retirement is, what it means to people, and why it should be funded at all.

    One for me is collective rather than individual.

    That seems quite basic to the idea of all benefits. It's why the individualist focused parties are always against them.

    one view is how will we look after our elders? Together. In harsher times we threw them out to die in the cold but lets be clear these are not harsh times by any means.

    Yes, we have come a long way since the 1930s. Which makes the current crisis all the more urgent. If we've moved from the idea of destitution as a solution, what's our current definition of an acceptable life for those who can't provide it for themselves?

    I think an important question is to look at the value that the elderly DO provide, too. Obviously this is different for different people, but some generalizations can be made.

    It's clearly not about their enormous powers of body, for starters. What does their long life give them that the young don't possess in such quantity?

    Bearing witness to history is another straightforward one, they're the people who saw it happen, that can still speak of it themselves. For instance:

    As a "boomer" myself I struggle to speak for my generation - it wasn't - isn't - that unified. My friends and I were out protesting on the streets against the rise of individualism and materialism, against the rise of the economics-is-all model. Against my parents generation and my own. I was spat on for having long hair and many of us eventually jumped ship into communes and alternative lives as an antidote to despair. There was no consensus then.

    It seems important to me that we remember that before we start hating on elders. My own parents were very angrily against tertiary fees, and especially against student loans. They did all they could to stop me and my siblings from getting one. Ironically, only with my supposedly wayward brother did they actually succeed. My father was furiously against asset sales and the privatization of education. And both protested vigorously against racist rugby.

    Wisdom? This is a bit inspecific, but certainly an elderly perspective is something only the elderly can have. I can only imagine what it is like to be old, whereas they can remember what it was like to be middle aged.

    Strong attachment to place. Typically old people are going to stick around where they are. Their roots are there. Moving the elderly is like transplanting an old plant, a shock they are often much diminished by. If it has to happen, it should be done with great care.

    Dealing with suffering and loneliness. Many of their friends have died, their parents have died, their grandparents long dead. And they're often in physical pain and exhaustion, nearly constantly. We all have some of that, but it only continues to get more so as we get older. Inspiration on how to deal with that may come from them. I think we all learn about how to get old from our elders, usually picking the most graceful or engaged ones to model around. Yet it's easy to understand why so many are grumpy old buggers.

    Any others? I don't want to make the whole list! I'm just getting tired here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    it takes a village to raise a child
    and to help ease an old person out...
    we need to commune with dignity.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    increased funding of all blue skies research

    Amen

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    they can remember what it was like to be middle aged

    in a particular time and context, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    in a particular time and context, yes

    As all memories are. I don't have any of those about being elderly, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to BenWilson,

    there's patience or at least the gift of time - my 65 year old father-in-law was made redundant about 2 years ago, and in the period of his redundancy, he was a fantastic resource for school trips, attending school events etc. The teachers loved having him as he had the wisdom, as you mention, and patience to answer every question and talk deeply to the children. He's now working again, but that gift - to be able to be generous with time - is precious.

    Then there's joy. My grandmother is 91 - she has seen both a husband and a daughter (my mother) die too young. He own mother died when she was 6 months old. Her beloved brother was lost off Tobruk in '42. But her general attitude to life is one of joy, of celebration. Of particular joy for her this year has been having my 9 year old talk rugby to her - something she never imagined she would have in our largely non-sporty family. She rang both my sister and myself five minutes before the grand final kick off to tell us she loved us, to check we were watching, and to tell us about her All Blacks (fake) tattoo .... joy.

    She's also taught me a lot about tolerance. With the bearing witness and the wisdom, comes a sense that there is nothing new under the sun, and that we should be kinder to one another. Having seen it all before, our elders have much to teach us about what's important, and what's not - and accepting the quirks and choices of others seems one of the important things.

    Those are quite personal, sorry, but I hope they add to your list, Ben.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    The limitations can be easily seen when older people advise younger ones about things like how easy it is to get a job if you want one.

    Differing contexts add richness to inter-generational conversations, so long as they are acknowledged to exist.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    The limitations can be easily seen when older people advise younger ones about things like how easy it is to get a job if you want one.

    Of course. But if you're even talking to them, there's a chance to put your perspective. And it is good to ask them about just what kind of job it was, how they got it, what sort of pay it was on, etc. All of that feeds back to them in terms they can understand. Sometimes they don't listen, sure. But that's often a two way thing.

    ETA:

    Differing contexts add richness to inter-generational conversations, so long as they are acknowledged to exist.

    Was that an edit? If so, snap.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to BenWilson,

    Was that an edit?

    Written in invisble ink the first time :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    Yes, it seems that childcare is something quite a lot of grandparents actually enjoy. I don't want to speak for all old people on that, of course. But it's the same old unacknowledged work that is actually of utmost priority and value.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    I'm not sure; I thought the term 'blue skies' referred to scientific research for its own sake, as opposed to scientific activity aimed towards particular - often economic or commercial - ends. Given the context of the discussion, I assumed that 'science' referred to research more at the commercial end of the spectrum.

    Which, I hasten to add, I have no problem with (Monsanto-style scientific imperialism excepted..). My concern was simply about the prospect of an even drier funding stream for the social sciences / humanities than we have now. Money is tight, and more money for science is likely to mean less money for everyone else (in Universities, at least). That's a concern, because I believe that the humanities have as much to offer as science or anything else in the creation of a better society.

    As for the question about whether history is a science, Bart: that's a big ass can of philosophical worms. My answer would be that academic history is increasingly about the study of subjectivities, which is probably a wee way away from what most science (claims) to be about.

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Wonderful start Ben and Kate -
    Here's one - deep appreciation of our mortality .

    The closer you get to your own death and that of your friends the deeper appreciation you have of our mortality. In this place an elder's gift is " live each day fully like it was your last, take the chances, do it , fall in love and out, and dance "

    Or as the poet David Whyte put it
    "if you are willing to live, day by day,
    with the consequence of love
    and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat"

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to John Armstrong,

    I thought the term 'blue skies' referred to scientific research for its own sake

    Edit: Or, of course any other kind of research..

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yes, it seems that childcare is something quite a lot of grandparents actually enjoy.

    My 84 years-old mother, who brought up 6 children majorly by herself (my father died when she was 31, I was 11,and all my siblings were junior to me), was a fount of wisdom & succour* when her children began families, and when their kids began having kids… yes, she looked after some, and now I love the way she is able & willing to help the grandchildren** in particular (“Naaaan, can you come and get me from/ take me back home/whatever…”)

    She has lost her parents, her 2 brothers, both her husbands, and one of her children. And many of her long-term friends. But she loves life (and doesnt fear death.) She loves her garden as well as her extended family, and is one of the most broadminded, articulate,well-read, talented & loving people I know. Such people are riches as well as resources in our communities – and that’s something Maori have always appreciated. And many other peoples as well, of course-

    * she would laugh very heartily at this
    **most of the great-grands live way out of her area

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Richard Aston,

    + a zillion Richard!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Importance of Grandparents in raising children.

    As a new grandfather myself I don't know how to describe the magic of the relationship - its nothing like parenting but it is, it has a quality of otherness to it and I can feel my grandaughter lapping it up as if it fed her soul. We play and get lost in stories,we dance, we fart and laugh, we lie around staring at the sky.

    Both my grandfathers were terrible parents but to me they were magical - I can now see as an adult they gave me a tangible link into my deeper past, my immediate whakapapa, into who I am.

    It saddens me hearing stories of grandparents retiring far from their grandkids and having little to do with them - what a loss.

    Aside from my romantic take grandparents can be significant child carers - way better than state funded early childhood education or horror of horrors - industrial day care.

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    + 1 Islander !
    Can I have your mum as my naaan ?

    Northland • Since Nov 2006 • 510 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Richard Aston,

    I understand there is a waiting list!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kate Hannah, in reply to John Armstrong,

    in an economy of scarcity, such as we have now with funding for research, there is indeed the danger of more 'science' funding taking monies away from the social sciences and humanities - I guess what I assumed (because it is my own subjective position, I hasten to add) was that Bart referred to creating an economy of plenty, predicated on funding research for research's sake, and nothing else. (No end-users, no bottom-lines, no benefit to New Zealand). That kind of funding for research means that historians are not 'in competition' with people who are curing cancer ....

    I think perhaps the best thing history and its understanding of subjectivities can offer science right now is the notion of subject position - that one needs to accept and understand one's subjectivities instead of assuming an ability to be completely objective .....and Boyd's drawing upon evolutionary theory to understand literature reveals the increasing destruction of traditional disciplinary boundaries .....

    I, for one, am firmly of the opinion that a University can only be a University if the Humanities are flourishing. That's my subject position on that one. I'm constantly surprised that most of my Business School colleagues are actually either economists or sociologists ..... not so far apart, in terms of theory and discourse, from this non-practising (ie. not paid to do it) researcher of post-Holocaust representations of genocide in a variety of "texts".

    Auckland • Since Mar 2010 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • John Armstrong, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    It appears that our intersubjective spaces are in broad alignment;)

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2007 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Kate Hannah,

    researcher of post-Holocaust representations of genocide in a variety of "texts"

    ooh, anything related to Aktion T4?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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