ODE TO WISDOM, Waltz No. 2

Remember our last chat? Dentists, last molars, wisdom. Does it ring a bell? In case you’re interested, I had my wisdom tooth examined, in the meantime. The pain has subsided somewhat, though I still feel minor irritation which I’ve been told can be relieved by rinsing with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in 200 grams of water (7 ounces )). However, having medical doctors as parents has obviously marked me for life so I just prefer good old over-the-counter pain meds to alternative medicine. Anyway, we leave my tooth for now (does it mean I’ll be wiser?) and if it keeps causing lots of pain, gets infected or interferes with nearby teeth, the usual treatment is no treatment. We basically take it out. Please note that I have to be in great pain. If not, we don’t have a deal.

Now, the million dollar question was: Does age equal wisdom?

When I was younger, I looked up to the elderly. Like all youths, I was often at odds with my parents in my teens and since they were not what I’d call my real role models, my grandparents, uncles, and some teachers certainly were. Back then, I thought that when I came of age, I would, like all adults, magically know all the answers to life and that everything would suddenly start making sense. What a worrying and sad realization when it didn’t. Naturally, I didn’t automatically learn how to handle problems and conflicts nor was there a moment of clarity where everything turned intelligible. Although I had a few tricks up my sleeve, truth be told, I wished I had more.

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During a Pentagon news briefing in 2002, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talked about the lack of evidence linking the government of Iraq with the supply of weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups. So let’s put aside my subjectivity and what I really think about the guy and concentrate on what he stated on this occasion:

‘As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.’ I would add that this could be applied to both our professional and personal life. The only thing I know for sure is that I really know nothing.

I watch my son grow, I teach him, he learns but the real question is: Who is the teacher here? I like to think I don’t teach him but, as Einstein put it nicely, provide the conditions in which he can learn. While he learns understanding of concepts, all the activities he engages in, whether self-motivated or not, whether goal-oriented or not, are done with sheer pleasure and enjoyment. At this age level, even when he uses gestures such as pointing rather than naming things, his language is clear and comprehensible. By contrast, adults frequently fail to deliver an accurate message and are unable to express opinions precisely or verbalize real feelings. Additionally, while we enable children to be more active participants in life, we often turn into passive observers ourselves. It seems we still have a lot to learn. Sometimes I feel I know so little, despite formal and continuing education and the books read. I know for sure I should have more money coming in than going out and that I shouldn’t wear flip-flops and tank tops showing my cleavage and belly to a job interview and that’s about it. So many known unknowns, and God knows how many unknown unknowns there are.

Now, back to folks in later life. I mean later. Over 70 (i.e. septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians and centenarians if they are still around). Science has proven that older people develop greater insight and are less likely to be hot-headed although their brain slows down with age (source: Daily Mail). According to a study, as opposed to young people’s brain which is driven by the chemicals fueling emotion and impulse, the aging brain is less dopamine-dependent. Therefore, slower responses of the elderly result in thoughtfulness and wiser judgments.

Since I hate generalizations, I’d say some of them because others are equally stubborn at a late age and not so perceptive as expected. Negative feelings and relationships, when nourished for a long time, harden our hearts, which is why some people continue holding a grudge or engaging in fiery quarrels till death do them part. Yes, the gray-haired might too pull a boner as if their experience hasn’t taught them a thing.

The point I’m trying to make is that we can’t and shouldn’t discredit someone just because they’re young but we cannot call them wise either. Their understanding of the world simply shows a different level of understanding. The bottom line is we can grasp some things only at a certain age. Wisdom comes (should come) in the maturity of old age when the immense experience and knowledge acquired throughout life leads (mostly…hm…sometimes) to good judgment. I’d like to think positively for once in my life and this is the most positive you’ll get from me. I retain the right to remain skeptical though.

I believe that people of different age groups could and should learn from one another. I am constantly learning from both my two-year old son, things I’ve forgotten or haven’t known I possess, and the elderly, things I have yet to learn. I need both in my life. Maybe that’s why I have friends from different walks of life and of different age groups. Without them I am like asentencewithoutspaces.

Author: Blogging_with_Bojana

I'm diggin' Need to grow, have to push Flicking through vinyl and feeding the rush I dig for that one and I open the haunt It's takin' all day from the back to the front I'm diggin' and diggin' You know Sorry baby I'm gone diggin' www.bloggingwithbojana.com

81 thoughts on “ODE TO WISDOM, Waltz No. 2”

  1. Being one who is shifting more towards the slow, pondering response I still find myself excited and stimulated by things that can cause more youthful, dopamine-triggered response. This is another example of you amazing writing that just reads with such an ease of flow. It is ALSO another example of where you can trigger my dopamine dance.

    George likee!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks dear and look who’s talking?! This stay-at-home mom was partying with a friend yesterday, booze and all. More passion and excitement in life hasn’t killed anyone. So YES to it all. Maybe we’re slowing down, but we surely need dopamine dependence at least every now and then.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The more I think I know, the more questions I have. People often look at me like I’m stupid when I ask “silly” questions, yet to me I would be stupid if I assumed I knew everything and didn’t ask. I am very good with appearing ignorant, if it allows me to continue learning, since I HAVE learned that it is more important to me to continue learning than it is what people think of me. Great post Bojana!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thanks honey.
      Same here. Imagine not asking any questions at all?! Now, that I consider if not stupid, then ignorant and disinterested. Is there anything worse than that? So let them wonder (asshats)…At least that’s a way to think about something.
      BTW, I was thinking of YOU all day. Long time no see. Everything ok there?
      Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes!!! Things are great! I am actually just winding down from a very hectic morning. I have started (only started) 15 more blog posts, I have made 4 3d printed centerpieces for my daughters wedding, ( i will drop a picture in your fb messenger), had 3 video chats and and and…now its time to slow down though…. I’ve made a fresh pot of coffee, and set a cup aside for you…. HUGS my friend!!!!

        Liked by 3 people

  3. I agree, in theory, that wisdom comes with age, but have unfortunately seen that theory too often fail in practice. I believe we know some people, I believe we ARE some people, with whom this theory will be realized, but we are – I’m afraid – exceptions. I think more to the point is that who we are in life we are in age. Asshats become old asshats. Stubborn people become old stubborn people and, in the case of the current President of the United States, fucking morons become old fucking morons. It does not have to be this way, but most people choose the path of least resistance. They cling to their early conditioning and remain blissfully ignorant and married to their stale ideas until they die. This is not wisdom to me.

    But, again, I agree in theory. We are each capable of garnering wisdom as we age, and I continue to strive to increase my personal quotient of the same. To that end, I try to surround myself with as many others as possible seeking that goal. I am thankful to have found some, out here, in the likes of you.

    Bravo, Bojana. To wisdom, then, as we change the world and, with any luck, a few ignoramus’ along the way. 😉

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Agreed, provided we surrender ourselves to the right people who we can benefit from intellectually and emotionally. So, we’re moving in the right direction. I can see us already as white-bearded (yes, me too), hardly moving, hardly talking, sharing our wisdom to youngsters. 🙂
      No, we are not married to the stale ideas, we want to initiate change and we will. Just read sth wonderful: Life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.
      Together for Victory. Sounds like a political slogan, doesn’t it. Damn, we’re no politicians and opportunists. If we were, we could benefit from our inventiveness, resourcefulness and knowledge. 🙂

      Liked by 6 people

    1. I agree only with the latter part. I’m not the same person I once was (thank God). We grow with time and we change.
      True, changes are slow but attainable. If each of us can make a tiny step towards a positive change, it means progress for the world at large.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you and thanks for the nomination but I think I’ll pass it this time. I already went through it and I’m thankful. The thing is, I don’t have time for it with the baby and all. I’ll just concentrate on writing and sharing and let the others assess my words. I think this will be an award-free blog 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Children speak freely because they are free from the weight of judgement and criticism (for the most part). I think they do not know yet that words have tremendous meaning and consequence. Adults, Secretaries of Defense for example, know their words are under intense scrutiny and carry implications which stifles creativity, transparency and honesty. It’s an unfortunate learned behavior. Wisdom will then be found in what you don’t say not in what you do

    Liked by 4 people

    1. A blogger remarked something similar which I liked. How come the wisest people are so silent? They don’t brag, but if they talked more/passed on knowledge, maybe we could learn something.
      I agree what you said of kids. There don’t judge since they don’t know words that have consequence yet.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I agree that the wisest people are silent. And I think that they are often misjudged as uninteresting. Western culture prefers buoyancy, loudness, showing off your achievements etc. I suppose that, to learn something from a wise person, one needs to spend time with them. And to know how to share silence.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. You know I have my doubts about this wisdom thing and how we acquire it like a seniority bonus at work. What would you say to the idea that wisdom is acquired like knowledge, in a curve that rises sharply from birth until early adulthood where it reaches its peak, stagnates as we become settled, develop habits, ideas, voting patterns, favourite meals, films, friends, and that we stop thinking except about creature comforts and start dwelling in the past when we’re on the decendant? I’m playing devil’s advocate here, so don’t lob any hand grenades just yet.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha. No, I won’t and it’s ok to disagree too.
      Like I said, being an adult doesn’t make me wise. It depends on an individual, how willing they are to learn and change. With some, this development stops very early, with others, it persevere throughout life.
      Meet me in 30 years. Hopefully, I’ll have a more precise answer by then.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Don’t get me started. I work a lot with teenagers and it’s frustrating how much they don’t know. Our schools were very bad in a war-torn country in the 90s but we were curious even then. They don’t even use proper books here. Reading and curiosity is not encouraged, quite the contrary. Inferiority complex at it best.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Karl Marx (or was it Engels?) was dead right when he said that schools were only concerned with making docile factory and cannon fodder. Education? Doesn’t that mean teaching people to think for themselves?

        Liked by 2 people

  6. We have to constantly change to deal with things in life, so instead of running around without thinking, you really have to read, talk to people, learn from whoever you can. We still have to decide if the information is good or not, so I think we have to develop good judgment.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love this Bojana! I think that wisdom often comes from experience rather than age; some may argue that with age comes experience (which is often true), but I have know so many people who have experienced things earlier in life that shape the way they look at the world, things many people never experience, even as adults. I think that as we get older, we have more choices about how we respond to life and the ways in which we travel our personal paths. I have always tried to pay attention to what others can teach me, no matter their age, because there is always something to learn. I have a friend who is 85; an Iranian woman who has had an extraordinary life. I see her every Friday and from her I learn about a world that is a million miles from my own; I learn about fierce determination, resilience and kindness in the face of unimaginable hardship. I can also spend an hour talking to my 21 year old niece and learn things about the world that I never knew, because she has chosen a path so different from my own and faced adversity that I never have. I learn from you every time I read your blog and from all of the other amazing blogs that I read. I don’t know if I am, ever have been, or ever will be wise, but I feel richer for opening myself up to learn from others. Thank you for this post and for making me think and for teaching me something.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This is a very thought- provoking post. Interestingly in Ancient Greek (and in many other Ancient Societies) Elder People were considered the ultimate source of wisdom, and if someone needed advice they´d probably ask them…
    Our societies nowadays tend to emulate Youthness, but there is still respect towards them, probably more in a private scale than when it comes to Society as a whole.
    Anyway, I agree with you: wisdom is most times associated with age, as it is defined according to ur experinces … and most times we experience more and then to understand the value of each experience as time goes by. I wouldn´t dare to say this happens always, as it depends on each person too… but, having said that, I agree with you. Love & best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sadly how we degraded.
      It actually depends, right? The elderly are respected in politics, science, art (provided it’s not Hollywood. That’s why many actresses prefer making movies in Europe).
      When it comes to families, some countries, like Japan, Italy, or Latin America countries, rarely send their elderly to nursing homes. Instead, it is their duty to provide for them in the old age, just as the old supported them once. In that way, everybody benefits.
      Thanks for reading and commenting. All the best.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. “asentencewithoutspaces” Brilliant. This made me think of a Tom Robbins quote I love: “Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions.”
    I think it’s a beautiful thing that you consider your son a teacher. There is much to learn from lil’ ones who still have the innocence and courage enough to ask questions, try something they’ve never done before, make mistakes, then ask more questions until they figure it out. Loved this!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you honey and I love that quote. Yes, the conscious few vs. unconscious many.
      Now, deep down we (the conscious ones) know what we should do, but many of us preach more often than practice. Unlike children, as you said. When shall we ever learn?!

      Liked by 2 people

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