By William Markiewicz

Dr. Phil helps people to fit within society and, in particular, within their intimate relationships. Sometimes he deals with lifetime situations and their unknown variables. I was struck by a couple on his TV program; the man, in his forties, with youthful aspect and attractive; the girl, an attractive 18 year old. Everybody was against this relationship from her own father, to Dr. Phil himself. His argument was that she was losing her time, missing a chance to meet boys her own age and to have other experiences of youth. All this seemed very logical and convincing -- but -- is youth really such an asset in itself?

Certain countries like Japan arrange the future with predetermined factors. It starts with the parents' social position; they can send their children to privileged schools which lead to privileged universities which lead to a predictable career. The same applied in ancient China where the Mandarins remained privileged. All over the Western world, privileged classes protect the future of their children. This young girl belonged to the upper middle class and already had all life can offer her. More young boys to meet? Ok, but not necessarily new potential. Parties, vacations -- she has them already.

Bernard Shaw said that one grows up not by discovering himself but by building himself. One becomes richer when he enriches the world; so, one "becomes" Mozart, Beethoven, Shakespeare... The man or woman who spends their 9 to 5 life with interruptions of parties and vacations, at the end of life may find themselves as they were at the beginning. The young girl on Dr. Phil's show seemed to me quite average, so it may be in her best interest to stay with her dashing "good shepherd." When she turns 40 he may still be a vigorous 60, "and for the rest may God have mercy upon them" (Laforgue).

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