Roland Dürre
Sunday July 24th, 2011

The Red Thread

Several years ago, Jowi, a good friend of mine, wrote about the Midlife Crisis in a forum. It is a crisis that is sometimes laid open, sometimes left to be found between the lines. It is occasionally denied and despised, occasionally hated and loved.

Here is his short contribution on the subject. I think it is still plausible and, above all, very personal.
It was a psychologist who, in a seminar of 1989, told me how he sees the development and socialization of a human being.

Each person gets a red thread during (before and shortly after) his or her birth. The red thread determines why a person does what he or she does in life.

According to this theory, a child first passes through a first social, then a first intellectual phase. This phase lasts about 5 to 6 years. After that comes a second social phase, during the ages of 6 to 8, then another intellectual phase when you are 9 to 12 years old.

During the next phase, a human being will do exactly the opposite of what he or she learned up to then (puberty and revolution).

After this – hopefully on a relatively high level – he will basically fall back on what he learned and practiced during the first four phases. Same person will then live this kind of concept for the rest of his or her life (what, when, where, with whom will I do what?).

In our traditional disposition as humans, however, we have an unalienable manifestation for  women to die aged between  28 and 35 and men between 34 and 45. This is what usually happened until 120 years ago and what we were used to for several thousand years.

Today, we live far beyond this traditional age. The red thread, however, is still oriented towards the short life span.

Consequently, the red thread will die considerably earlier than the respective human being. Along with it, the reason for what we do dies. There is no longer a “why” telling us what to do or not to do.

The loss of the red thread means that life no longer seems to have a purpose. After all, you no longer know why you do what you do.

Among the male population, when they are aged around 40, you can see their desire to exchange the fair-haired girl-friend for a raven-haired one, the BMW for a Mercedes, the racing bike for a mountain bike (or other, equally sensible exchanges).

Women sometimes get fits of crying around their thirtieth birthday. More often than not, they only see two alternatives: either become a mother, or else turn into a “power lady”. The way towards the esoterical also looks attractive. Some just remain, suffering under a feeling of emptiness.

Hardly anybody can say what is the matter.

Yet here is the news: at this stage, humans have – uniquely and creatively – the potential for designing the rest of their lives as they themselves wish. They could give their own red thread to the remaining years.

Personally, I believe this could easily be the creative phase of our earthly human life. Just imagine being able to determine for yourself why you do or don’t something in the future.

At the time, during the seminar, I just had to laugh out loud, extremely loud. They were already going to call the special friends with their white jackets, because I simply would not stop laughing. When I finally stopped to draw in some air, I knew the answer:

I was right in the middle of it.

On the next day, I cancelled the (blue) BMW I had ordered. I told my new girl-friend (the raven-haired one) who I had moved in with after my first wife had moved out eight days ago that, sadly, I had changed my mind about the two of us. On short notice and very agreeably, we parted at the firm. And then I went to spend time in the South Sea, in the mountains and in solitude. And I spent a lot of time thinking about why and how I was going to spend the rest of my life.

Yours Jowi    
(PS.: I am still working at it!)

Many thanks to Jowi for giving permission to publish his forum article in the IF blog. I know well that there is some truth to be found in it.

As far as I am concerned, I am truly glad that now, at the age of 61, I am hopefully past that stage

I am not sure if I should believe in the red thread or not. Once in a while, I do get the impression that people are born without a “red thread”. But perhaps the exception only proves the rule!

(Translated by EG)

2 Kommentare zu “The Red Thread”

  1. Chris Wood (Sunday July 24th, 2011)

    It is a myth that men used to die off at about 40. The low life expectation at birth was due to an early high death rate. Having reached 20 or so, a man had a reasonable chance to live to 70, or even “four score” as it says in the Bible. Of course women were a bit more likely to die at a child bearing age, but they too could well live to 70 or 80.

    I am still waiting to enjoy my midlife crisis. But I know it is much better to get on with life, than to chill-out and think about it.

  2. rd (Sunday July 24th, 2011)

    Hi Chris,
    woher weißt Du das? Habe immer gelesen, dass die Menschen früher nicht so alt geworden sind. Und Sterbestatistiken – so nehme ich an – gab es vor 30.000 Jahren auch nicht.

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