I don't believe that age produces gaps between people. Those shadowy barriers are only emptinesses, and they are caused by nothing. Most of this nothing is ignorance.
If we really knew one another, there would be no gaps; empathy would dart between us like lamplight among a thousand mirrors; we would reach and illumine one another instantaneously.
I think that age (alias time) acts like a scrim on a stage -- solely for purposes of illusion. When the lights shine on that filmy curtain, we can't see through it; when the lights shine behind it, we don't see the scrim.
How can we perceive each other truly through the veil of years? Language is a foggy lens to study anything by; and humans don't even have a common language. Yet I think we all, from the most vulnerable to the most venerable, can communicate. When we can't do it by speech, we may do it with actions or sheer goodwill, whose messages slide in silver through the dark of words like fish through the sea. Or we may reach one another on a level beyond either words of deeds.
Not long ago in The New York Times,m Malcolm W. Browne mentioned that "some of the world's most honored scientists believe in parapsychology. . . ." Parapsychology considers (among other phenomena) purely mental communion between people; and if that kind of communion ever became normal and complete, no one would need to say, "Be your age." Each could invite, instead: "Be my age." And we could be that age, at least mentally. We'd be heirs to all the ages.
Then we might share each other's thoughts, fears, longing, joy, and generosity. Time would rear no walls between us; and even people as disparate-seeming as a young father and his baby daughter would undertand one another well.
"Wah," she remarks. He, listening with his intuition focused-through the sound, wonders how to interpret her ineffable observation. The poetry of Solomon's Song comes closest: "His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me."
Seeing a third figure approaching, the infant inquires: "Bbl?" meaning (freely translated): "Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?"
Her daddy replies. "Its your mother, sweetheart. Feeding time." He knows that the baby's subsequent noises signify "He brought me to the banqueting house , and his banner over me was love."
Similarly with a senior citizen and his young parents: the gap is never in mere age.
In crowded families, the space between generations may seem big because the space between people is small. After young adults leave the family home, everyone may be better able to bridge the gaps resulting from too much proximity.
Some gaps are useful. For example, one should not be age-conscious about one's body. When that amazing apparatus receives undue attention, it goofs off like a spoilt child at a party for grown-ups.
Between myself and my own body, vast age gaps yawn: I often feel unimaginably older, or imaginably younger, than my physique. Yet perhaps this gulf is only the difference between spirit and flesh, myself and my shadow.Such shadows are mere hollows among the mountains of light.
Age gaps must surely seem irrelevant to those who believe, as I do, that we are all eternal. How could I feel older or wiser than someone who has lived, and will live, for ever? How could I feel impatient with anyone, when I myself have eternity before me? Today stands ready, vital and mysterious, to be savored and served. The family of man, equally vital and mysterious, is equally to be savored and served.
One way of serving is by sharing our uniquenesses. I think we can see these best when we assume that the little dramas of age or infancy are all pure theater and we live outside them. Then our intuitions focus through the age gaps, not on them; and we begin to see each other truly: vivid and lovely beings moving in a quite different drama behind time's gaudy, gauzy scrim.