PEAK INDIFFERENCE: I am going to borrow this term from a fellow blogger activist, Cory Doctorow. You can think of it this way. Often, when society is facing a problem that’s terrible but slow-growing, we ignore it. We are indifferent to the problem. We have climate change, income inequality, or the aging population to name a few.
The psychologist Robert Gifford, enumerated the ‘seven dragons of inaction’ from limited cognition, ideologies, social comparisons, sunk costs, discredence, perceived risks and limited behavior. At some point, the crisis gets so bad that it becomes unignorable. Our indifference reaches a peak, begins to decline and panic emerges. This could be what is happening right now with our aging population.
In the United States, the saying has been going on for a while that 10,000 people a day are turning 65 and will do so for the next 16+ years. But that’s not really the problem. Some of us are aging well. It’s when those how many thousands a day begin to turn 80. Experts say that however you are health wise you will be, until you’re 80 and then all bets are off.
Doctorow’s theory also predicts another psychological hazard. When we ignore trouble for so long, we can slip quickly into nihilism. It’s too late, we missed our chance to take action. Then what are we going to do with all these elder citizens?