Faces in a restaurant

Today, while having lunch in a restaurant, I happened to notice that my fellow diners around the restaurant were of a wide variety of ages, from early childhood to perhaps late seventies.

As I looked around the room I caught myself classifying everyone by age, and I realized that I do this all the time, reflexively.

So I started to study individual faces, and tried to imagine them at different times of life — either younger or older. I looked in the face of a man in his sixties and was able to make out the rough contours of the young man he had been — and perhaps still was in his own mind. I saw a young girl, and tried to imagine her as a mature woman.

Then I had an odd thought. Perhaps one day, when we are all seeing the world through augmented reality lenses, we will be able to choose how old we appear to others on any given day, or how old others appear to us.

Maybe one’s apparent age will become as mutable as any other article of fashion, something simply to put on, like a new pair of shoes.

If that happens, I wonder whether it will change the way we think about things.

One Response to “Faces in a restaurant”

  1. Manuela says:

    In this post and in a more recent one I can’t help but wonder if you have read Greg Egan’s Permutation City. Have you? :-)

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