The United States has been a “young” country long enough.
For a couple centuries, our society has tried to hide its foibles and national offenses behind the disclaimer of youth. Still developing; not enough “history”; plenty to learn.
But, that argument is getting old.
The globe is now flat. Any culture is within reach; anybody can see, hear, taste, connect. There are no more excuses.
So, what haven’t we learned, yet?
We’re almost up to speed with regard to early childhood education, but still nowhere near the Asians though we have, at long last, taken their lead. The way we do business has rendered our collective skill regressive. The monied have bought out power, and with it, authority.
But, most importantly, we still have no respect for our elders.
We don’t honor our founding fathers, we abuse our ancestors, and we surely don’t even recognize the wisdom of age. Rather, we’re stuck, in arrested development, like an adolescent addict.
In countries like China, the oldest person in the room still gets the greatest degree of attention. And, it doesn’t matter the level of education, or wealth; the only factor is years lived. In such societies, age is the only quality that equates with entitlement.
Oh; but, not in the good ole’ USA.
Here, the older you get, the less anybody even listens to you. Old people are nothing but a burden to the eager and clamoring. They move too slowly; they get in the way. Entire institutions, from within all professional disciplines and created by their up and coming, are firmly in place to deal with the aging by committing them into collective isolation.
The funny thing is, the brain alone has proved capable of something about which youth knows little. By middle age, the capacity for merely absorbing new information is displaced by an ability to integrate data, and that across multiple disciplines. In short, the older person is far more likely to cross reference, from both factual and experiential material, connecting even seemingly disparate pieces and bits to draw conclusions that used to be termed “wise”.
Wisdom isn’t all that rare. It’s just rare among the young. There are some things, yea most, that require time to learn.
And, it’s definitely time.
Take a lesson, America. The older have cultivated the long view; they embody insight. Quality of life is best gleaned from the voice of experience. If you just stopped long enough to actually listen, there might be one right nearby.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 9/12/16 All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect.