By Rosa Alegria
Edited in November 16, 2018
Published in Portuguese here
The trans—age revolution is a phenomena of the transitory world. A revolution that emerges from the construction of identities that no longer fit into the age groups categorized by demographic studies.
Living in the ageless world is for everyone, not just for the elders. Because age limitations affect everyone. We are already trans-age beings: individuals in transition of time, in-between ages. Thinking about the speed of transitional time, it is very likely that there will be a new word to be included soon in our official dictionary.
This is what the trans-age revolution is about: the potential of who we are, not what we should be by age, as the generational classifications establish.
Trans-age are all those who live in the transitory world of the ages who are mesmerized by high longevity and technology. They do not allow limitations to be imposed on them by the age recorded on their birth certificates.
They seek to overcome age physically (through aesthetic interventions or rejuvenating medicines), psychologically (by adopting new lifestyles), philosophically (opening minds to new values ??into previously fossilized thinking).
Overcoming age is not only confront the limitations imposed by old age and pursuing the eternal youth. It concerns choosing the age that best translates you at different times and contexts.
You can be in your fifties and work with young entrepreneurs in a startup; your relational state can make you feel younger next to them and they in turn feel more knowledgeable just by being by your side.
You can also be 20 years old and have crazy childish parents, those who usually surprise you every day, and in order not to be embarrassed you need to watch them and exchange roles.
Another situation is to live life as if there was no time. Suddenly you come across a story in the weekly magazine that features a multicolored infographic showing age ranges corresponding to different rankings. You look and get scared about the objective age that you belong to, and it bothers you because it has nothing to do with your subjective identity.
Age ratings have been used since the 1990s by researchers and marketers with marketing objectives to segment products and services and generate profits in all sectors of the economy. The sociological and demographic (rarely psychographic) foundations used in these classifications are no longer translating human complexity.
Manufacturers may be losing great opportunities for innovation because of a narrow view of who consumers are. We are much more than classifications by names and letters. The world is different and human longevity horizontalizes relations among all. A revolution is already changing social relations between all ages, transcending the age classifications whose meaning has lost strength because:
The phenomenon of increasing longevity horizons the relationship and breaks down the boundaries between the ages
Will the children being born continue to want to be labelled by one more letter they are thinking of creating?
In ancient Greek history the old were already seen as the ones left over, without being able to flaunt the beautiful bodies or have somewhere to stay. With the advent of hyper-longevity and the advances of regenerative medicine, we can extend our youth and our vitality. Therefore, this hedonistic view of aging is weakening. The grandpa young career coach and the tech geek adult mentor are social arrangements that will have more and more room in the future.
We virtualize our existences in the online world and we gather much more for values. Interests and contents than by ages, as if we were tribes floating in time. Both the architect of 75 and the engineer of 24 use AutoCAD software to design buildings, are common interests. As in open innovation platforms, the lab technician of 85 and the student of 13 can discover a molecule. Both the coach and the student will not leave the platform because of the enormous age difference between them; on the contrary, they will feel increasingly attracted by the complementarity that one exercises over the other. It is science and not age that matters.
Technology is no longer a barrier among generations: people over 50 make up the fastest growing social media group. In dealing with hybrid beings that we are (with biology, electronics and mechanics integrated into our bodies) we have to be considered by our own identity and not by age standards.
Technological insertion increasingly legitimates the validity of the human being. Being digital becomes more important than being an adult.
For the first time in history, children and teenagers have the authority of knowledge over adults. What then defines the generations? Will they continue to exist?
In the trans-age world, exponential technologies allow us to have more time (as we never imagined) and our objective realities are giving way to subjective realities. Thus our perception of time becomes by the quality of experience (Kairos time) rather than by chronological quantity (Chronos time). Chronology will be less important than experience.
It is time to rethink old mantras conditioning false identities. Why do not we start planning to develop rather than get ready to grow old? Why instead of representing generations do we not integrate all ages into clusters of solutions and milestones of planetary transformation?
It is quite possible that both age integration and intergenerational relationship can generate transformative transdisciplinary approaches to the complex challenges of the world.
When we get free from the patterns imposed on us by the economic lens created by marketers, statisticians, and demographers, we can reduce stereotypes about older people from the teens and elders intolerance toward the teens.
We need appropriate conditions that begin at educational foundations that can promote healthy and creative interactions among all generations, reducing barriers, bringing together common interests and purposes that transcend ages.
In the trans-age era what defines you? Research institutes or your personal narrative? How to generate value for the world from its rich multifaceted reality?
What does your preferable future present to you in the next 20 years? Aging or development? Years of life or achievement?
When you think about what lies ahead, can you go beyond your age?
When we do not look at the limits we reach much larger territories. The transethical world frees us from the chains of time and opens us new frontiers to go beyond.
Age transformation is inevitable and the trans-age revolution is emerging. Imagining and dreaming today is the way to create the desired future tomorrow, with fewer artificial barriers imposed by age classifications, gender, race, religion, ideology and class. We need more genuine human connections because it is in the authenticity of our relationships that we can respond with vigor to the multiple challenges and be happier.
Rosa Alegria is a Brazilian professional futurist, represents the Brazilian node of the Millennium Project, CEO of Pangera, a startup that promotes healthy and creative intergenerational relationships.