Forever young, I want to be forever young… Yes, from Alphaville. If that song doesn’t reflect society’s obsession with eternal youth, then I’m not sure what it’ll do. However, Dorian Gray is the real reason why I’m thinking about the subject.
The Dorian Gray Syndrome
For those who are not familiar with Dorian Gray, it’s a story about a man that never ages. Isn’t that the dream? By the way, who wrote it? Oscar Wilde. There are a couple film adaptations of the book. The one that I watched is from 2009, with Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray.
The tale of Dorian Gray is pretty dark. He starts out as an innocent man who arrives to London after his grandfather has passed away. Soon he meets Basil and Lord Henry. By the way, did I mention that Dorian is an extremely handsome man? Of course he is. As a matter of fact, Basil becomes so inspired by Dorian’s beauty that he decides to make a painting of him. So far, so good. Where does the trouble start? When Dorian starts spending too much time with Lord Henry. Oh yes, that old man is not a good influence. He has nothing but bad life lessons for Dorian.
Back to the painting, Basil’s portrait of Dorian Gray is a masterpiece. The painting captures perfectly Dorian’s beauty and youth. Everyone is in awe with the painting, including Lord Henry. At this point, Dorian is no longer an innocent young man. As a matter of fact, he’s now willing to trade his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Oh well, he said it jokingly but his wish actually became true.
If you believe that Dorian Gray is a lucky bastard that never ages, then think again. Everything comes with a price. Although, he’s not ageing physically, his painting is. Therefore, his reckless lifestyle is going to be reflected on the painting. Needless to say, the painting gets pretty nasty in the end.
Eternal Youth And Beauty
“The Picture Of Dorian Gray” might be an old book, but the subjects are still pretty current. As I see it, eternal youth and beauty are very tricky subjects. Everybody wants it, but no one is willing to admit that. Therefore, they are sort of taboo subjects.
Does beauty and youth always go together? Not necessarily, one can have youth but not beauty. However, there’s this recurring idea that if you possess both then the world is going to be at your feet. Is that true? I’m not going to lie, good looks can get you far in life. However, they are not the only way to get around in this world.
If beauty privilege is real, then youth privilege is also real. However, youth privilege is a little different. It’s not about how others treat you, but what you have. When you’re young, time is on your side and that’s a luxury that money can’t buy.
To be honest, I think we all suffer from the Dorian Gray Syndrome. Maybe that’s a direct consequence from living younger. A few hundreds of years ago, people only lived up until their 40s. Therefore, the concept of growing old was a little bit different.
Technology is playing a huge role in our life span. People are expected to live longer nowadays. However, I’m not really sure how to feel about that. Would you rather live 50 years in a 25-year-old body, or live another 50 years in an ageing body? Honestly, I would choose the first one. It’s quality over quantity.
Eternal Life And Eternal Youth
Now, I have another difficult question for you. Say, it’s possible now to live forever. In this scenario, you’ll be granted eternal life and eternal youth. In other words, you get to live forever in a young body. Would you take the opportunity? Yes. Right? However, what’s the point of living forever if you don’t have a purpose in life?
As cliché as it might sound, everybody needs a purpose in life. The raison d’être is the main reason why you want to wake up every morning and do your thing. Everyone will find theirs eventually. In addition, would eternal life make sense if you had no one to share it with? Significant others, friends, people that love us… You see, purpose is the engine that takes you to a lifelong journey and our loved ones are the company that makes it more enjoyable.