Generativity vs Stagnation

As adults in the stage of generativity seek to pass on life to the next generation, they may find themselves asking, “What do I really have to pass on?” As they try to answer this question, they may discover in themselves not generativity but what Erickson describes as its alternative: stagnation. Stagnation is the feeling of having forfeited my contribution to life in my age, a contribution that would have been handed down to future generations. A crisis of meaning may occur as adults like the heartbroken Gandhi discover stagnation in their lives and begin to think, “I had these dreams and they never got fulfilled. I’m not doing the things I really wanted to do. I am just on a treadmill, keeping in motion but not receiving life or giving it. I haven’t put my stamp on anything. Time and energy are running out. I have to take a different direction or my life will continue hollow and empty.” This search for a deeper and more meaningful way of living often involves a confrontation with inner darkness….  –‘Healing the Eight Stages of Life’


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