I first discovered this series a few weeks ago. I found the idea fascinating and I expected to be keen to dig into it. So I read some of the pieces that I found online and I stopped. My expectation of wanting to dive into this living soap opera turned into a feeling of bleak depression. Part of it has something to do with the blandness of even the happiest of near-endings, and part of it has something to do with the sadness of seeing a seven year old quickly progress in age to that point in life when we're sort of forced to evaluate who and where we are. It was far too quick of a journey for me. Their lives are presented like a history book, that places an emphasis on wars and other human struggles. It's also similar to a newscast: the bad news overwhelms and the good news is boring, so it doesn't get much attention. It's a CV that demands to know "what have you done with your life?" in a series of bullet points that skews toward points of merit.
I suppose that part of my feeling has to do with the fact that I'm at that point in life myself. Family and peers are getting sick and dying. I'll be doing the same. A lot of us aren't mentally prepared for what it's really like to be here. I think I've been working my way through it pretty well, but it takes a lot of emotional and philosophical work that we may not have a lot of experience with.
For me, Seven Up pokes and prods at life's battle wounds without enough attention to the boring bits that may actually dominate a life, which might be where our focus needs to be if we're to attain the contentment that should perhaps be our goal, whatever our class.
I think there's something about the sheer pace through youth, adolescence, early adulthood, prime adulthood, middle age, and then into old age, which hits our own understanding of mortality at a very deep level.
I think I started watching when 35 Up came out. I’m not sure I could bear to go back and watch all the earlier series in full, for the reasons you describe.
It's a great show, but to expect people to arrive at healthy/positive conclusions by themselves isn't realistic. There is too much information presented.
It's sort of like handing Copernicus, Brahe and Keplers observations of decades worth of planetary motion to everyone and expecting people to work out Keplers Laws and Gravity by themselves. Not going to happen. It requires a whole lot of deep cognition for decades to make meaning out of all that data and that too if you are surrounded by the right people.
So whatever it is stirring in you, know that this is the age of knowledge, and use such programmes as jumping off points to go look for the best teachers to process things. It's easy to find them these days and there are so many out there.
Watching a string of these films as they have been released has been more profound, I suspect, than catching up in a condensed period of time.
The true art of these films is in what they help us to see about ourselves, as we live our by and large unexamined lives, and demonstrably short, lives.
The biggest takeaway for me was that, while you can't necessarily 'see the man' in a seven year old, you can most certainly see the seven year olds in the adults. Everyone's just trying to get along; but we're all still just kids inside, a little scared and a little uncertain about how to deal with the world at large.
That’s a very keen observation. Not quite as strong a claim, but it fits better with the minority of participants whose lives seemed to take an unexpected direction.
Growing up as a successive winnowing of possibilities; a lot of the winnowing complete as early as age 7, but by no means all.
Please avoid clicking the OP link and giving traffic to a company that engages in gray/black web and SEO patterns.
14 Up - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_YY7xxyp_M
21 Up (Part 1) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=391ljmNeLMQ
21 Up (Part 2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2Hr1rO8ncA
28 Up (Part 1) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyra0MgJ-Xs
28 Up (Part 2) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqvk0Zd9Q9k
These are the only videos in the series that I can find, but it seems that at least the first video in the series (7-Up itself) is missing. If anyone can find a link to that, I would be grateful.
I also wondered a lot about the people who dropped out at a relatively young age.
Wasn't there an American version started at one point? I remember seeing the first episode when the kids were 7 (probably in the early 2000s) but I don't know if it was ever continued.
I remember watching this at 35up and lower as a kid.
It’s really... odd that I’m going to be able to just check in on how he’s doing in 63 Up.
This despite several different eras of life involving quite different standards of living and careers.
I am still that 7 year old, just older and grayer.
This is in the FAQ at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html and there's more explanation here:
1. Try private mode
3. Use lynx
But then, this article is one of those rare ones where I'd like to be able to contribute more directly.
Don't look at me, I'm just quoting received wisdom from HN.