The illusion of wisdom and age

The older person may be no wiser than the child.

A child may be wiser than an adult.

“James”, a reader of this blog, made an observation that in his experience children seem to be wiser than adults.  James is right.  As a child I believed adults to be wise, but as I grew older this illusion suffered many strikes as I found adults to be no better or even worse than children. As an adult I see a world in economic and ecological crisis, the adults not only failing to improve on the world they inherited from their ancestors, but creating a toxic legacy to give to their descendants.  Wise these adults are not.

Wisdom comes from doing and sensory experience; you may observe that children are constantly doing and experiencing, they are gaining quality wisdom.  In contrast many adults have gone to sleep, they follow a routine daily pattern, they prefer to watch than experience, and are more lazy than active.  The only advantage the average adult has over a child is the number of years they have lived, which provides more opportunities to gain wisdom than a child.  It is a case of adults have quantity of opportunities against the quality of opportunities of a child to gain wisdom.

I see children who blow me away with their wisdom, like nine-year-old Augustus, whose definition of love has been added to my collected definitions of various terms from illustrious philosophers such as Heraclitus, Plato and Aristotle.  In the Daily Mail is 53-year-old Andrew Marr who on being caught in a compromising position with a woman said: “I am a grown-up and I should know better.”


6 responses to “The illusion of wisdom and age

  1. a friend told me that her 4 years little girl ask her what is love ? she answers love makes our heart beat, so we need it to live !)

  2. Thoughtful post Alex…”In contrast, many adults have gone to sleep…”

  3. Absolutely! I’ve told others for years that respect is to be earned even by my elders.

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