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Revista Mal Estar e Subjetividade

Print version ISSN 1518-6148


LIMA, Priscilla Melo Ribeiro de; VIANA, Terezinha de Camargo  and  LAZZARINI, Eliana Rigotto. "Old age?: it´s great, considering the alternative": reflections on old age and humor. Rev. Mal-Estar Subj. [online]. 2011, vol.11, n.4, pp. 1597-1618. ISSN 1518-6148.

This article aims to articulate the sense of humor and old age from a psychoanalytic perspective. Today's society, marked by the spectacle and the cult of beauty and youth, reaffirms the three sources of psychological distress discussed by Freud. In the present context, the elderly is almost in a place of non-existent. The elderly is still regarded as a person who existed in the past, made his own psychosocial pathway and now only expects the moment of death. Thus, old people are released in the past to revisit it through their memories, but without the possibility of re-articulate and re-launch themselves in the future. Furthermore, the current association between old age with decrepitude withdraws from the elderly the possibility of elaboration of future projects and has an impact in their psychic dynamics. Given this, three psychic styles portray the way the elderly cope and manage this impasse: depression, paranoia and mania. However, there are alternative ways to confront the finitude of life and rescue his place in existence. One such form is ironic humor that has as focus a look inward and outward. These ironic looks can provoke laughter in relation to ones' own problems, but also boost the individual to face reality and move on. Bringing the concept of ironic humor to concepts already developed by post-Freudian psychoanalysts that have studied the aging process is a challenge. Erikson with his concept of wisdom is among these authors. This psychosocial force also involves a double look and seems to walk along the ironic humor as an alternative way to experience old age.

Keywords : Old age; humor; psychoanalysis; contemporaneity; wisdom.

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