Thursday, June 28, 2007

Is wisdom directly proportional to age?

It is hard for people from my generation to accept the non-expressive Indian culture where questioning someone older than you is like desecrating the shrine. Very conveniently, when people don’t want you to confront them, they use this adage—“Questioning elders is not a part of our culture.” OR “do this because I said so.” Seriously, is that reason enough?

I am of the school of thought that wisdom is not directly proportional to age; experience and exposure are. I know some fifty-year olds whose IQ and/or maturity is two levels below that of my five-year old niece. They open their mouth and a meandering stream of flapdoodle flows out puerilely. The things my eight-year old niece notices or the astuteness she shares, is something I probably became cognizant about when I was double her age--where they are and what they have had the privilege of being exposed to, has played a rather important role; mostly, they owe their wisdom to their open-minded upbringing. Mind you, they are inquisitive, not incongruous.

Questioning keeps us all agile. Why do people turn apathetic after reaching a self-defined-learning-limit? I do understand the repercussions of over-communicative western societies, and I don't agree with saying what's on your mind all the time - there is a time and audience for everything. I believe there is that perfect balance of saying the right amount without being nasty or belligerent.

Hasn't questioning led to remarkable inventions and discoveries? Disagreeing with existing ideas does not have to involve a truculent or boorish formula. Couldn’t it be a recipe for reverence and inquisitiveness? Hasn’t brain drain taught us anything?

Copyright © 06.28.2007

"The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth" -- Pierre Abelard

13 comments:

Jaydeep said...

Questioning does lead to scientic discovery, invention and social awareness, no doubt, or else we would NOT have the theory of relativity :). Einstein would have never dared to question the great Newton. Coming to your point of questioning elders, whenever I talk to an elder, many a time I know that he or she is wrong or is talking rubbish. But then most of the times I just tend to agree with his opinions even if my opinions dont match just out of respect and admiration for the man and his experience. I know it sounds old fashioned but then thats how we have all been brought up I guess.

Anonymous said...

as twocents mentioned you can always be nice to elders and convey the message. you don't have to be mean and all. do you think you are true to them jaydeep in letting them believe whatever they do is right?

Anonymous said...

i agree with twocents. age and wisdom are not directly proportional. If someone could shut up my MIL!!!!!

peacelover said...

arrey yaar my dad will kill me if i tell him he's wrong shong.

s said...

my fial answer is that people need to be reminded of right and wrong however old they are.

Jaydeep you said that you agree with your elders even if they are wrong. that is not respect or admiration. it is trying to wiggle out of confrontation. if you love people truly you will tell them when they are wrong. if their own ones don't who will.

singh said...

i am totally agreeing to you. i am over 55 but i still continue to learning from my grandchildren. they teaching me computer.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, it is so not!

Anonymous said...

i don't think it is the age, rather it is the experience that age brings which i revere... however, i have to admit that at times i do let things pass even if i don't really agree with what the elder is saying.. i don't think i do that out of respect, but rather to avoid a confrontation.. here is my belief: they are too old to see otherwise, i am too hot-headed to just accept what they say. an argument with these control lines is headed into a no-win situation. better just avoid the argument!

Pradeep said...

You probably mean, "Is wisdom directly proportional to age?" Of course, the ansewr is no! First of all, we need to make a distinction btween wisdom and knowledge. Just because a young person is more computer savvy than an older person, it doesn't mean that the former is wiser than the latter. Second, wisdom, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. A pacifier-sucking baby will always wonder what's wrong with the adult folks who don't have pacifiers in their mouths! Third, the probability of an older person being wiser than a young person is much higher than the other way around; there are always exceptions to every rule, though. Fourth, wisdom is more intuitive than logical and most, but not all the people, come out wiser after having gone through the "school of hard knocks", which is a "mandatory educational institute". One man told his friend, "You know when I was 14, my dad was so out of touch with reality that I was ashamed of him, but now that I am 24, I find how remarkably my dad has changed over time!"

Anonymous said...

well, there is a very thin line between the two. every teenager thinks that he/she has seen all the latest version of world and the seniors are simply outdated versions. and the seniors think that they have seen too much of the world to really become a pope for 'pravachans' to the youngsters. but rightly said 'wisdom lies in discovering yourself first'-age does not matter.

e said...

i am in agreement with anonnymous...

m said...

A man is wise with the wisdom of his time only, and ignorant with its ignorance.

BCS said...

Wisdom,Knowledge and experience though are separated by thin lines but are miles apart in application. Of course, age is one of the factors but is not the end for achieving either. Also the fact that there could be more than one view on the same subject can not be ignored.