Sunday, September 09, 2007

On the wisdom of age

Date Line September 9, 2007

It is said that wisdom comes with age. That is anything but true.

Wisdom is knowing, before it is tested, that an idea, or theory, is correct. Einstein had wisdom from his earliest days; even now, after he is long gone, we are still learning the extent of that wisdom.

To have wisdom does not mean that one is always right; errors occur, fault is had. There is, at those times, great wisdom in the words, “My Bad.”

The wisdom of age is only the knowledge of trial and error, the knowing what has worked, and what has not. But even there, it is what has, or has not, worked for the one who previously tried; or was previously observed to have tried. It speaks naught of their ability to achieve; or of the fire in their soul which would drive them to achieve.

Old age knows what it has seen fail. It, almost never, recognizes the success. It does not see the success that was easy, or know the turmoil of the heart and mind of one who was also fighting demons hidden in the shadows and well out of sight.

Wisdom is knowing what can be done, and knowing if you are the one who can, or should, be the one to do it.

For those who know a bit about life, there is the reality that knowing is not doing, and doing is not always the result of knowing. The goal is just to be yourself and, if you can see it, follow the path laid out.

Wisdom is putting one foot in front of the other, at a pace where your footing is secure. Wisdom is not sinking when swimming is called for, and, on occasion, sinking like the proverbial rock.

The baby, newborn of an aquatic ape, emerges swimming and with the sense not to breath until the air touches its face. How much wisdom is evidenced in that simple series of actions, how much wisdom is lost in the years to follow.

It is a sorrow, and a shame. Many mistake learning for wisdom. That which we learn is not always understood. That child, the one who is a C student in the world of A students; if they understand to the limits of knowledge all that they have learned, they are certainly more wise and learned that the A student who only parrots what is taught.

When you acquire learning, the wise will learn to the limits of their ability; the fool will learn to the extent they can appear knowledgeable of the subject. To know which is which, their knowledge must be tested at a point in time when both believe it is of no further use.

The wise have learned, have internalized experience. The fool has only retained what was required for a brief period and then reverts to type. How sad that the fools, by virtue of their higher appearance of ability, gravitate to the top; but is this not the Peter Principle? Do not the manipulative gravitate to their level of incompetence? Do they not become those who seek leadership roles; as opposed to those who are drafted into such roles in times of dire need which the former cause?

Wisdom of age, knowledge and learning, meshed with understanding of that which is, was, and will henceforth continue to be.

This little missive on wisdom – a thing to ignore. We have need of our own destruction, we are seeking it with all due haste. Look to the year top come and, if wise, realize what will be, how poor the choices are.

Ours is a time of change. We are in the periodic period of adjustment which once took many generations and now comes within living memory.

Enjoy the blessing, and the curse – become a Monk; enjoy the humor.

We make reference to the future and to the past; to the mystic and mundane; to the necessary and the arbitrary. Ours is just for fun and the edification of those whose path would allow them to affect history.

Not that they are paying attention.

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