Geronto-Camps (Neologism for “Old People’s Homes”)

Whoever begets children thereby makes him- or herself – depending upon the extent to which they have received, or failed to receive, education and enlightenment in this regard – either an objective or a subjective accomplice in the later internment of his or her own children in geronto-camps.

How is this complicity of parents in the eventual internment of their own children in geronto-camps to be explained? It seems likely that there comes into play here, besides àPrimortality, another specific psychological mechanism: parents envisage their children as their children only for stretches of time lasting as long as those in which they expect, themselves, to live.   Parents aged sixty-five may have a mental picture of how the lives of their now-forty-year-old children will look in another five years’ time. But they cannot imagine the conditions of existence of these children at the age of eighty because by then they – the parents – will have long since ceased to exist. Once the probable horizon of their own lifetimes has been surpassed, parents tend to lose mental sight even of their children’s lives. This parental àDeficit of Futurity opens up, for the human mind, a certain mental latitude for the begetting of children and thereby also for the rendering-up of these children to an eventual phase in their lives – not inevitable but nonetheless far from improbable – which will be spent in the misery of a care home or old people’s home.  

How would parents react were one to ask them about this far from improbable future of their own children in geronto-camps? Many might apply the àCompensation Theorem and respond, for example, as follows: “Before he ends up in the old people’s home my child will have enjoyed a good and full life; or at least I, for my part, can say that I have done all I can to see to this!” Interestingly, this “deficit of futurity” as regards people’s own children stands in contrast and apparent conflict with that “consciousness of futurity” as it bears on the general conditions of life on our planet which is more and more widespread today among the environmentally-aware educated classes in all countries.  

How might the reality of one of these geronto-camps in fact look which one tacitly imposes on one’s own children through the very act of begetting them? Let us take a look at the first-hand account given by a care-worker who worked in five different such care-homes and old-people’s homes in Germany: “On entering the room I flinch back involuntarily, struggling with the impulse to run away. A stench of sweat, faecal matter and putrefying flesh fills the room in which the 88-year-old Christel Anders is lying curled up into a ball… When I lift the bed-covers I am hit by a wave of nausea; I run out; then I pull myself back together, swallowing back my disgust. Sticking to the lower third of the sheet dried blood and old pus. The bandage on the old woman’s heel is wet through and – judging by the experience I have gathered in these places – most likely not changed for around two weeks. The flesh beneath it has festered and gives of a stench of putrefaction. … She must be suffering truly cruel pain.” (Markus Breitscheidel, Abgezockt und totgepflegt, p. 85f)

 

Explanation of the Geronto-Camps

These conditions that are met with in the geronto-camps give the lie to the widely-held view that parents are only responsible for their children up until the moment when they attain adulthood.  Parents living in our present “Information Age” know very well what grotesque conditions obtain in these geronto-camps and do indeed themselves bear responsibility for having rendered up their own children to these “Dantean” places. We may draw up, with regard to these geronto-camps, the following list of justified reproaches that children might level against their parents at any time at all:

By begetting me you tacitly accept and approve that:

  • On many days I will not be given enough to eat and drink, while on others food and drink will be forced on me faster than I am able to swallow them;

  • I will have inserted into my body, without medical necessity, stomach probes and infusion that will cause damage to it;

  • I will not be brought to the toilet as often as I need or wish to be and catheters will be inserted into, or diapers applied to me in ways that will damage by body;

  • I will not be washed, dressed, or have my hair combed or my false teeth put in every day, even though I request this;  

  • I will not be allowed to leave my bed every day and get out into the fresh air, even should I wish to do so; 

  • I will not be able to choose or refuse, on the basis of their congeniality or uncongeniality to me, those I share a bedroom with;

  • I will have to die alone, with no one to hold my hand even in my dying hours.

(One arrives at a catalogue of this sort if one converts the list of minimal demands to be placed on geriatric care drawn up by Claus Fussek into a list of reproaches to this latter, see: http://www.integra.at/files/claus_fussek_mindestanford.pdf [last accessed 15.10.13])

Geronto-camps are the gulags of our advanced and de-traditionalized societies which have left behind them both the joys and the miseries of the formerly nigh-universal form of living in extended families. They are the scandal that cries to high heaven inherent in every pronatal attitude; but at the same time they also form the inevitable crux of the antinatalist eutopia. Because it would be above all the slow ebbing-away of humanity which would necessarily, at some point, transform the whole earth into an old people’s home of planetary dimensions. In mitigation of this fact, however, it is to be expected that a human race capable of the self-reflection which would initiate such an “ebbing away” would also be capable of forming and designing the process of its own extinction – taking advantage here both of the fruits of the whole technological tradition and of the fact that the earth’s resources would need, at such a point, to be divided up between fewer and fewer human beings – in a manner much more humane than has hitherto been imaginable.   

Old people’s homes carry the raison d’être of modern (post-)industrial societies  ad absurdum: these societies “suffer” from falling birth-rates and tend, therefore, to encourage procreation. At the same time people who have their economically active lives and the zenith of their mental and physical vigour behind them are left to perish in concentration camps for the aged, in a way which unmistakably demonstrates that it is above all in their quality as entities susceptible of being exploited and “turned to account” that human beings are allowed or made to enter into existence and the “human dignity” one hears so much about is something that falls into neglect and irrelevance once these human beings’ capacity for economic productivity is at an end. 

 

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