Age Brings Wisdom

Age Brings Wisdom

Is it true that "age brings wisdom"? Wisdom is a hard thing to define, and it means a different thing to each person. In an earlier post, I used the definition: Wisdom is the optimal application of perception and knowledge to (consistently) produce (universally) optimum results.

Everything that exists in the Universe - physical, conceptual and abstract - can be regarded as data. Information is the data that we have collectively tapped and defined; the data that we can transmit to each other. Knowledge, is what we personally know about the universe, about life and ourselves. Wisdom is how well we apply knowledge and information, how efficiently we translate data into knowledge, and how we distinguish between what is useful and what is useless for a given situation. Although these definitions are simplistic, they are good enough to elaborate the question "does age bring wisdom"?

If we have not yet tapped a crucial unit of data required for a situation, then, irrespective of how wise we might be, the likelihood is that we will end up with a less than optimum solution. Hence, no one person can be absolutely wise in every situation. On the other hand, knowing something is no guarantee that we will apply that knowledge in a wise way; It is proven study after study that, we all suffer from cognitive biases. Another problem is how we filter the data in terms of relevance to a situation. In this age of the Internet, where we have an information overload, this filtering process is more complex than ever. An older person does not necessarily have more information, is not necessarily more knowledgeable, and consequently, is not necessarily wiser. But, many aspects of practical life are repeated - each new generation has to figure out the same old forces of life. Rather than reinvent the wheel, we could save a great deal of time by learning from our elders, so long as we take it with a grain of salt.

Update: Someone said I didn't answer the question. Most questions can not be answered with a simple "Yes" or "No". The answer to most questions is "Depends". To understand what something depends on, we have to first elaborate on it, then use our wisdom to discern how it applies to any given situation.

Song of the Day: Cherry Bomb - John Mellencamp (1987)
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