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Old 12-23-2016, 07:21 AM
Location: Tennessee
23,541 posts, read 17,525,434 times
Reputation: 27576


Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
Not only is the world changing, but the rate of change in the world is accelerating. This creates a situation where knowledge is growing exponentially. Unfortunately for many seniors they are being left behind technologically. In addition the daily news cycle just seems to accelerate and we have more knowledge available on a daily basis than once even seemed digestible. What we arrive at is a world of knowledge that is so vast and ever-changing that no one, "wise" senior or techno-savvy genius, can hope to keep up. There are few people whose expertise I would defer to, a few with very specialized areas of knowledge, but for the most part, no, I do not consult "elders", because at 58, I feel that my experience is at least as valid as theirs.

I do wish my nieces and nephews would ask me for advice, I do think I have a few ideas that could help them, but they are on their own paths and do not ask. I don't believe in offering unsolicited advice, so... what can one do?
This is important and I think a lot of people miss this.

Things have changed tremendously in the last decade between when I was 20 and 30. Ten years ago, I had a very crude flip phone. I didn't even know how to text on the ten-digit keypad and figured it out for my girlfriend at the time.

Today, phones have full keyboards, with voice dictation that you can talk to text with, and you can even ask the phone a fairly natural question with something like Siri. If I'm on the road, I can simply pull over, pull an app up, and it will show me restaurants near me with reviews. If I'm lost, I have a GPS. If traffic is heavy, i can figure out an alternate path. Ten years ago, if I wanted news, I went to a website with a computer. Today, I can get virtually any piece of news at any time, and information often flows in at a huge volume if left uncontrolled.

Just the rate of change with society and technology leads to quicker "obsolescence" if people don't make a conscious effort to keep up.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:03 AM
6,212 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Originally Posted by kevxu View Post

But probably just as important is the fact that as societies have become more technologically complex they have tended to feel/believe that wisdom is a function of the quantity of information at one's disposal.

This strikes me as confusing wisdom with ego, and a sure sign of the absence of proportion and wisdom.

I have no idea what your point is when you mention confusing wisdom with ego.

I do agree that wisdom and information are not the same. I do think it is difficult to be wise and ignorant at the same time. Man's knowledge (information) is growing at incomprehensible rates and just understanding what is important is difficult.

In the old days, especially without or with minimal written records, the elders were "wise" because they knew a lot. That has changed.
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Old 12-24-2016, 11:11 AM
Location: Wisconsin
26 posts, read 19,192 times
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I received so much good knowledge from my grandparents before they passed. I was very close to all of them & listened avidly about their lives before, during & after the hard times of the “Great Depression” in 1929-1939. I regret that I never ‘thanked’ them for sharing & that they were not living to see how their wisdom helped me prepare for the “Great Recession” of 2007-2009.

My parents passed away in their 70’s, they lived their lives by the example set by their parents (my grandparents).

So although, I never actually sought out their advice/knowledge/worldly experience, it was lovingly passed on to me without ever realizing how valuable it would become in my own adult life.
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Old 12-25-2016, 05:38 AM
12,677 posts, read 14,059,781 times
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Originally Posted by jrkliny View Post
I have no idea what your point is when you mention confusing wisdom with ego......
OK, let me try again.

The reference was to technology.

What I am saying is that having access to tons of info is not the same as wisdom, though - to be honest - a number of people on this thread seem to think so. Having the ability to access or manipulate data gives people a sense of power and inflates the ego.

This isn't wisdom. It is technological know-how.

Wisdom comes from the experience of living, and being able to evaluate and meditate on that experience while holding the ego in check.
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Old 12-25-2016, 07:01 AM
Location: Eagan, MN
678 posts, read 307,706 times
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Originally Posted by yourown2feet View Post
So I wondered: Do you have one or more very-elders who are so much wiser than you, that you go to them for counsel and insight? If you yourself are in the 80-90 age range, do younger people come to you for counsel and insight? If they don't come to you, do you feel they are missing out on something - that you would have such counsel to offer, if approached?
Before I quit my job, I went to lunch with many retired people. I leaned than none of them in my sample group ever wished they waited longer to retire. It costs less to live on than they had for income.

It was not the deciding factor, but it certainly gave me confidence.
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Old 12-25-2016, 07:11 AM
6,212 posts, read 4,715,040 times
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Originally Posted by kevxu View Post

Wisdom comes from the experience of living, and being able to evaluate and meditate on that experience while holding the ego in check.
This is still a mouthful and difficult from me to understand. Let me see if I can break down this into understandable parts.

Let me try to start with "meditate". That term usually means a religious or spiritual process of relaxation or contemplation. I am not exactly sure what that has to do with wisdom. It does conjure up jokes about reaching a guru on the mountain top.

Then there is the phrase about "holding the ego in check". I am totally at a loss about this. I suppose it means that humility is a necessary part of wisdom. I guess that could also mean gaining wisdom by looking outside of ones self, which would sort of be the opposite of meditation.

"..being able to evaluate". Now that starts to make sense from me. I would call it analytical abilities or skills. Learning analytical skills is a major goal of education. We also learn on our own by trial and error in trying to solve problems. Our own personal experiences hone those skills. Clearly we can also learn from the thoughts and experience of others. As a part of learning from the experience of others, many of us read thousands of books or the equivalent in our lifetimes. Aristotle, of Plato, or Kant or thousands of others can add to our wisdom way beyond "consulting" some random elder over the age of 80.

One thing I have learned, in my experience, few people, young or old, spend much time and effort developing wisdom and understanding and knowledge that goes beyond information and facts. Those few people are the ones we should consult. Most people seem to drift though life with little thought or growth. For a huge majority of people, wisdom is merely the refinement of beliefs that are a part of their culture or religion. We see the wisdom of that approach in watching the millions of people who have become attracted to the beliefs of ardent Muslims, we refer to as "radicals".
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Old 12-26-2016, 10:39 PM
Location: At the Lake (in Texas)
2,070 posts, read 2,034,021 times
Reputation: 5032
I have always looked to people a decade or so ahead of me...I ask questions to help me prepare for the coming years along the way. I find it has prepared me, to some extent, for things that I faced along the way.

I also remember my great-grandparents, who were in their 80s when I was a small child. I remember my mother asking them questions and advice, and they gave her simple, "down home" life experience answers.

I now have an 89-year old aunt, sharp as she ever was, and I talk with her about some issues and ask her advice -- I truly value this relationship as my mother and dad are both dead.

So yes, I have sought the wisdom and advice of my "elders" and much appreciate the opportunities to do so.
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