Monday, January 1, 2018

Better harvesting

Quite a few authors, leaders and others call for better living, more vitality, more alertness and awareness of our riches, our possibilities, the beauty and humor, hilarity at times, all around us.  I am all for it.  I support better, deeper, faster, slower, more savory living.  Where can we find such living?  Where can we find directions to such living?

One source is the minds of our seniors, our older citizens.  We all fear dementia, infirmity, fragility, and a sudden end, or a slow one, or some combination, is certain.  That means that the best time for summing up, reaping reflections and gathering hunches based on years of experience is while mental faculties are still available.  It is a very old observation that the elderly have experience of worth along with cooled ambition and lust that can make a valuable and somewhat impartial commentator. 

Long experience can certainly mean that somewhere along the years, various odd, challenging or fortuitous combinations of stresses and opportunities occurred. But in addition to some valuable happenings, long experience can offer a picture of a long path, the whole route, the trajectory that we are on, but haven't noticed. 

The current times and their emphasis on science, proof, evidence and critical examination have, like most things, downsides.  In general, imaginative thinking and careful testing is too valuable a combination to abandon but our seniors are living longer, and thus able to see further.  They are schooled in critical thinking and apply its principles to their own thoughts and hunches.  So, I hope they talk more, tape more, record more, recollect more and summarize more.  

I recently asked two retired experts, separately, to give a summary of their life experience on the job.  Both expressed fears they didn't know enough, were not familiar enough with current research, might not be able to answer everyone's questions. Depending on one's picture of a summing or an overview, such a request might be thought to entail a decade of writing and research.  Anyone not attracted to a big project might wisely decline. 

The characteristics of caution and reluctance seem all the more signs of a good thinker and commentator, one that would be a value to others.  I hope the sharpies among our seniors don't leave it to the avaricious, the mouthy, the overly self-assured, the more ignorant to have a say.  

Popular Posts

Follow @olderkirby