When reading this blog post about elders and mediation, I was reminded of the new book Counterclockwise: Mindful Health and the Power of Possibility. The author Dr. Ellen Langer details the problems with mindless assumptions about such topics as aging. She also talks about the power of professionals, who operate on those assumptions, to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. She says, "Certainty is a cruel mindset."
Dr. Langer discusses at length the certain and sure assumptions we have about aging. She believes these mindless assumptions can take away control and hope. From "Just Say No to Aging?" (Newsweek):
... Her point is that we are surrounded every day by subtle signals that aging is an undesirable period of decline. These signals make it difficult to age gracefully. Similar signals also lock all of us—regardless of age—into pigeonholes for disease. We are too quick to accept diagnostic categories like cancer and depression, and let them define us. Doing so preempts the possibility of a healthful future.
Read Counterclockwise. It will open your mind.
Note: Universal Studios has picked up a movie about Langer's work which will star Jennifer Aniston