Teenagers and mortality

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Letticia, Jul 17, 2000.

  1. Letticia Registered Senior Member

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    I posted this several months ago, and no one ever responded - probably because it was at the end of a particularly depressing thread. Still, I'd like to know what you people think about this notion:

    Everyone knows "teenagers think they are immortal", but I think it is only true because our society is so protective of children, they have no chance to confront their own mortality. Historically, this was never true. Aside from the fact that before modern medicine most children did not live that long, up until last 50 years or so every 16 year old had seen death stare at his face at least once. Maybe he was chased by a bull. Maybe he was gathering wood in the forest and got treed by wolves. Maybe he was playing on the ice and the ice broke. One way or another, early on in life you got brutal lessons in taking care of yourself, and by the time of physical maturity (what we now call "teenage") knew you are far from immortal. That is no longer true. Except for the inner cities, American children live in a protective bubble of supervised activities, safe playground equipment, and school crossing guards.

    I firmly believe that children should be demonstrated, in a controlled environment, how to take their life in their own hands. Scuba diving is perfect. The chances of actually dying are just about zero - modern instructors are VERY good at what they do, - but if you do not pay attention, you WILL get a scare that will last all your life. And once you do things right, pass your tests and "earn your fins", you have a pride in having accomplished something - another thing often lacking in today's young lives. (Not to mention that diving is a totally unbelievable experience.)
     
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  3. dexter ROOT Registered Senior Member

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    controlled envirenment???? not facing danger??? we face guns in school, drugs, emotions (korny, i know, but suiside is death also) and each other, sure its not the same as back then, but its still bad.

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    when christianity ruled the world, it was called the dark ages.

    -dexter (nimrod242 :aol sn)
     
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  5. dexter ROOT Registered Senior Member

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    and not to mention the food

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    when christianity ruled the world, it was called the dark ages.

    -dexter (yahoo sn: rancid242)

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  7. Oxygen One Hissy Kitty Registered Senior Member

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    I think the rising violence in society is because mortality is not made real enough. These little gang-bangers think they're hot stuff until the guy next to them has his head explode by a high-speed round. They might act tough when they hear about it from a distance, but to actually have your friend's brain spattered all over your face is something that not even seasoned war veterans take too well.

    When we were very little, my father let my brothers and I read books that showed photographs of such wonderful childhood material as executions, war victims, exhumations, and even the post-war tragedies, such as the emaciated body of a child starved to death on the sidewalk. (A mother and her son, the same apparent age as the dead boy, were looking down at the body.) We would watch documentaries (not movies) about war and my father would make sure that we understood that when the soldier fell down, he wasn't getting back up again at the end of the show. He was dead, and that was that.

    While all of this served to color a dark little corner of my particular world, it also drove home to us that death was real, death was permanent, and death could happen to anybody. I saw pictures of children my own age who were dead, either from disease or from someone else's actions. I imagined how I would feel if I was looking at a photograph of my best friend, dead on the ground. It wasn't an easy thing to deal with.

    As we grew up, we lived knowing that death didn't consider us special. We were just three more souls drifting along the river of life. We could sink at any time. The effect it had on us was to realize that all life is precious and that it should not be taken away lightly. Each life is as valuable as the next.

    The trend these days, however, is to pretend that war and violence don't exist and that if we ignore them they'll go away. This makes the whole thing seem like a distant fantasy, somehow unreal, and all the more tempting because it's considered taboo. Violence is a fact of life. It happens. When we completely shield our children from it, we leave a generation of "eloi", those innocent, idyllic people from H. G. Wells' "The Time Machine", who were incapable of responding to any act of violence, natural or not. All they could do was sit and smile peacefully while these acts happened to them. They couldn't defend themselves, having no concept of what violence was or how to avoid it.

    It is important to keep our children from getting killed, maimed, or otherwise seriously injured. But it is also important to educate them on the day to day dangers of life. Just because you are of a peaceful nature doesn't mean everyone else is. Understand that violence is a fact of life and you can learn how to control it in yourself as well as, to a limited degree, in others.

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    I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight, kill, and die for your right to say it.
     
  8. dexter ROOT Registered Senior Member

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    nicley pute oxygen,
    but kids these days do see death, with all the movies and tv shows, video games are waht make us amune too it, im not saying dont play war video games, there the best kind there are, thats all i play, but some people should think that you cant come back to life after you take 30 rounds in the head. you will die eventually.

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    when christianity ruled the world, it was called the dark ages.

    -dexter (yahoo sn: rancid242)
     
  9. Oxygen One Hissy Kitty Registered Senior Member

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    That's the trouble. They see it faked. If an actor gets killed in one movie but comes back in another, that keeps death from being realized.
     
  10. ozarky Registered Senior Member

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    96
    Oxygen, you are so right. I applaud the actions of your father. The addage, a picture speaks a thousand words, is very true. Most of these gang-bangers, even though they may have shot someone that was standing on a street corner as they roared past at some fifty or sixty miles an hour did not see the blood and gray matter gush from the front of the head. They surely did not see the pieces of skull with hair attached mixed in with blood and brains flying through the air. You have to see a lot of this type of thing before you stop vomiting every time you see it. Sometimes a person is shot in the body, there will be very little blood where the bullet went in. All of the bleeding is internal, or if the bullet passed through the body, there may be a hole you can put your fist in where the bullet came out. A "dum-dum" bullet will effectively decapitate a man shot in the neck. A twelve gage shot gun will cut a man in half at close range.

    I have long believed in showing the people the true picture. What an automobile accident will do to the human body. Will you go down a road at 80 MPH with a picture in your mind of a neighbor or a friend that just recently was speeding and failed to make a curve and hit the tree that seems always to be at the end of the curve?

    We all have seen injury and death, if you haven't, you have led a sheltered life. I find if I think a truck is going to run the red light at the next intersection I could die. I take my foot off of the gas and look even though the signal light is green for me.
    Taking your foot off of the gas pedal is not enough to slow traffic down, but it gives you an edge, that extra split second to try and stop or get out of his way. That split second may save your life. Many have died because they had the right-of-way.

    HA HA SHE CRIED, SHOOK HER WOODEN LEG AND DIED
     
  11. silentknight Registered Member

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    1
    (I see only after writing all this crap that this topic is very very old, sorry for bumping but I thought it would be a shame to of wasted the past 30 minutes of my time by not posting it

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    The scattered input of a 15 year old. (Although the previous three words may by default in your eyes render the following opinions inheritly irrelevant and thus not worth reading).

    "Everyone knows 'teenagers think they are immortal'"

    Everyone perhaps but the teenagers themselves... as I certainly am not afflicted with any mental disorder characterized by a belief in my own immortality; as such a belief would most likely be, a mental disorder. To take your comment less literally in that you imply we are inconsiderate of our own health and safety... we hold just a great of regard to our safety and the continuation of our existence as any other human being, though i understand how this delusion could be self-induced by adult's own OVER-consideration of our safety (to the point of severe oppressive and obsessive behavior, of which i would rank far more skewed towards mental rabidness or disorder than this imagined-up hogwash about immortality.) This blunder of yours aside, I agree with your conclusion, that many common weaknesses inhibited largely by teenagers is the fault of the overprotectionism of our parents. My parents are of no such variety, if they were, my presence would of never graced this forum and I would most likely be void of any shred of intellectual thought. (AOL 'parental controls' probably blocks this site).

    Nor would I hold the desire to defend the millions that fall under the arbitrary category of 'teenager', the most feared, reviled(in the name of love), scapegoated and oppressed group in the United States of America to this day.

    (Feminazis, stop your bitching)


    There are many similarities between the hierarchys and workings of large-scale government and those of small-scale families... When a leader is put in power over a country that believes the minds of the people are collectivley ignorant and inferior to his own, and that leader believes it is in the best interest of the people to be controlled by one more knowing than them... this way of thinking has led to the massive atrocities that litter our history books. I see everyday this very way of thinking, though on a much more isolated scale, in the mentalities of parents across America. Many teens who live under oppressive parents (whom by the twisted standards of what ammounts today as "responsible" parenting, are embraced) know all too well what it is to suffer, to be dehumanized, to be branded by an arbitrary number which carries with it the weight of a million voices speaking out against us. We walk in the same worn shoes as our african predecessors who slaved in the cottonfields, whos oppression was justified by their supposed mental inferiority...was it said that they had delusions of self-immortality as well?
     
  12. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

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    dexster your quite right about suicide. by the time i reached year 11, 2 of the people in my year including one close friend was dead. i was lucky to not have to be one of the people who actually saw his dead body but a lot of friends DID come to school that way. we also almost lost another friend in year 12 to a motor bike acident that if it didnt physically criple him it did emotionally destroying his life because of the injurys he recived

    i wouldnt say that made any of us any less reckless especially on the roads. hell i illegally taught a friend to drive just after i got my own p's in my dads car risking him crashing it and if thats not reckless what is?
     
  13. one_raven God is a Chinese Whisper Valued Senior Member

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    I don;t think that line of thinking goes far enough back. It seems that the trend of not coddling children goes back to about Victorian England.
    Prior to the industrialization of Europe, it seems that life expectancy was greater than what people have generally given it credit for.
    Disease, pestillence, violence (ther than war)...
    All these things are direct or indirect results of industrialization ond over-crowded cities.
    Sure, people had animal attacks, warring neighbors and some disease to worry about back then, it wasn't paradise.
    Children, however, were well protected.
    When a child reached adulthood (13 or so), things changed.

    Besides, I'd be willing to bet that teenagers of all times had this "affliction" of feeling immortal.

    Then wouldn't it stand to reason that there would be LESS of that immortal feeling therefore LESS crime in innner cities?

    I think you may have it backwards.
    It is that facing danger and coming though it unscathed that makes us feel unstoppable.

    When people hunted for sustinenance, they also fought wars on a regular basis.
     
  14. oscarmitre Registered Senior Member

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    The young men have always fought the battles and done the hunting. Why? Because they believe they are immortal. Why? I have no idea.

    I think there is something in humanity which is deeply embedded in us (call it evolutionary biology if you wish) where we're frightened of nothing as young people but the older we get the more protective we are of ourselves. Young men in particular define themselves by their ability to face and overcome (hopefully) danger. Older men smile knowingly.
     
  15. Gambit Star Universal Entity Registered Senior Member

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    I feel sick....
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    I was a kid in the 1950s. I believe that my generation was much more guilty of feeling immortal than the kids of today are. We didn't have rampant gangfights and drug overdoses to kill us, and our parents tended to live rather safe, healthy lives so we weren't impacted by the deaths of others. Fatalities in auto accidents were a bit more common than they are now because there were no safety belts, few freeways, and the average American car handled and stopped about as well as a contemporary SUV. Still, I was a university sophomore before anyone I knew died in a road accident.

    More importantly, there were no wars. I vaguely remember the Korean War going on in my earliest years of elementary school, but nobody talked about it. I didn't know anyone who had a family member over there, certainly no one who actually lost anybody. Kids got drafted into the army after high school, but after basic training it was like a civil service job, sitting around a rather comfortable gatehouse in Germany or Japan playing poker and going into town on the weekends to hook up with prostitutes.

    These are the kids who were so unconcerned with their own deaths that what they feared most was growing up to be old geezers like their parents and grandparents. When Roger Daltrey sang, "Hope I die before I get old," he was speaking for almost everybody in his g-g-generation.

    I think today's teens have much more tangible fears of dying than we did. Toxins in the air, water, and food. The resumption of the draft and having to fight yet another "land war in Asia." Terrorists. HIV: the activity that their hormones tell them to devote the most attention to can kill them. (Anything we could get was easily cured by penicillin.) And instead of 1956 Desotos, they've got all these SUVs careening down the highway like 5,000 pound cannonballs, driven by people who had one hour of behind-the-wheel practice in driver's training.
     
  17. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    4,969
    but you had reason to feel immortal, here in my own country where i know the laws and cultures i feel immortal, but if i were to go to another country i would probably get hit by a car when i cross the road normally. and i wolud get beaten up for making jokes accepted here
     
  18. duendy Registered Senior Member

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    when i read the first post of this thread, my immediate reaction was 'how middle class'...the idea that 'all' teenagers feel they are immortal. have you heard of the 'ghetto'....and the desperation for many kids living there when they fear they may get snuffed out if they aren't careful?

    that's the reality for many kids in roughplaces...and in other countries that aren't as superficially 'sheltered' like well heeled american kids

    middle-classians are basically domesticated wage slaves....living in a never never land that on all sides is surrounded by REALITY that it has created. desperation
     
  19. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    Teenagers are immortal. My son was hit by a car last summer. His body caused $2,600.00 worth of damage to the vehicle, yet he limped away and was walking fine within a few days. Had it been me or my wife, at our age, we would have been a mound of broken bones, bruised and bloody flesh.

    A young body is more resillent to injury. It's no wonder that we feel immortal when we are young. On the other hand, as I grow older, I find that all that abuse that I brought on my body is now starting to haunt me.
     
  20. Lemming3k Insanity Gone Mad Registered Senior Member

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    I have to disagree i think these days a huge percentage of teens are well aware of their mortality(pre-teen is a different matter), it stems from the depression many teens go through these days that they know they can end it whenever they want and also the media coverage of violent stabbings etc. It also must be said many adults think they are immortal and im sure virtually everyone has a 'phase' of feeling that way, in reality stupid people of all ages can think they are immortal.
     
  21. esp Registered Senior Member

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    908

    I was perhaps nine years old (I can't be more specific on account of getting old!).

    My brother who is about seven years my elder was escorting my back home from the library. As we got of a forbidden bus* I ran across the road into the path on an oncoming car. My brother shouted at me to stop. and I so stopped, with the tips of my fingers no more than two inches from the tyres of the car that would have run me down. Said car stopped after maybe a hundred yards, and the driver (who actually happened to be the leader if my school's PTA!) jumped out to see if I was OK.

    * The bus we took was forbidden because it's route meant that my brother and I would have to cross a main road!!


    Having said that, from my own being about thirteen, I have brought my own younger sibling up.

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    I'm not saying successfully

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    Point being that my life should have ended when I was seven, except that my elder brother, with more experience, saved my life.

    Suffice to say that until you're about thirteen, you're not adult enough to safeguard even your own life.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2005
  22. blackmonkeystatue Unregistered User Registered Senior Member

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    I think it depends on the person. I got a motorcycle when I was in high school, I was 16 or 17 or something. There were many many times where I should have died, and I knew it. I loved the rush. I would regularly top 120mph just for the rush. I crashed a couple times and continued to take risks. As I got into my 20s I took less and less risks, but still pushed it every now and then. I still ride and take a few risks every now and then, but I seek excitement in other things that aren't so life threatening. I had a few friends that acted the same way, but I also had a good number of friends that didn't. Some girls loved the rush on the back of the bike and others strongly insisted that I not take ANY risks. I don't consider it a result of society or anything in particular. I consider it dependant upon the person.
     
  23. Marta666 Registered Member

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    You don't realize that life is short untill you are dying. you don't realize that something is wrong untill you are crying. Teens now are way over protected. its scardy to think what will happen to them when they face the real world
     

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