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Addenum to AGE VS Experience debate

  1. Jul 20, 2003 #1
    addenum to AGE VS Experience debate or You'll understand when you're older

    This was origninally a sub-topic that was started in the general forum about age, wisdom, and experience, and how they all interact. Some people had some good arguments, so I wanted to add something to it.

    It's my belief that with age comes wisdom and experience, and knowledge as a by-product. However Mentat had put forth that just because someone is older, they aren't necessarily wiser. This is true. But also we must acknowledge that even if someone is very intelligent, without the knowledge and experience to guide them they are lacking.

    I won't go any deeper into detail yet, but I wanted to bring up one point. It was stated that the younger peopleare tired of older people telling them what to do when they know they are smarter than they are. So the other day a thought occurred to me, and so I have an example to present, and maybe this will help shed some light.

    A lot of times you'll hear adults say "you'll understand when you're older". This is a generic answer, and I used to get it all the time. And of course this pissed me off to no end, knowing it was an empty answer. Like when adults will tell you that you have a curfew. We'll use this as the example. The reason adults say this, is that it is a generic answer. Mostly because we don't want to, or think you aren't capable of understanding(which at times is true). We may give you a curfew because we don't want you running into people that would hurt you, or hanging out with the wrong people who would get you into trouble. We may think it's good discipline to be in at a certain time, and it help teaches responsibility. But rather than explain all that to you, we say "you'll understand when you're older. Sometimes you're too young to understand how complicated the world is, and sometimes we're just lazy and don't want to launch into it:wink:

    So that is why "you'll understand when you get older" Being a dad myself(scary thought huh?) I know that it's sometimes difficult for kids to understand why parents torture them. But we always do things(well most parents) with your best interests at heart. And when you get older, believe me you'll thank us
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2003
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  3. Jul 20, 2003 #2


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    zantra, i know where you are coming from now that i am a parent myself...today's kids do seem wiser in general, but then there are a few that allow their ego/attitude speak for their hearts...and there are many more adults that still do this as well...personally i believe both the young and older *wiser* can learn from one another, but time does have some value as long as one continues to learn lessons (time + lessons learned = experience), sort of like a good diamond needs time to get better :wink:
  4. Jul 20, 2003 #3
    Generation upon generation goes through this same thing. Our parents did, our kids are, and our great great great grandkids will too. Each generation seems to bring more awareness of the world around us, and more freedoms, not to mention newer, more radical ideas that the previous generation has to assimilate at the same time as the kids. And because the adults are exposed to certain things at the same time as kids, if not later, the kids look at it as "oh well they should know this they're the adults." And this gives them a reason to challenge us. And then eventually the kids grow up, and have kids of thier own. And just as I did, they realize that things like responsibility tend to cramp the "fun time" we're used to. And sure, there are kids out there smart enough to comprehend the "why" and the details that come with being a parent, but they shouldn't. It's better to have fun and enjoy not having to worry about that stuff. It's just the process of life.
  5. Jul 20, 2003 #4
    Sorta interesting to me as I have recently found one of the younger members of this forum telling me that I had "Come down to there level", which I had, in a manner, (The twittering from me, an adult, using the word "Wang'y", is proportional to the EI) as I ended up wondering if he could recognize that he could NOT come "up to mine", no matter what he does/did, cause it is simply the time at work in it all.

    Not his fault, not really, 17 going on........whatever.
    (his definition of a 'Foxy Lady' is my definition of Jail Bait!nogonear!)
  6. Jul 20, 2003 #5

    Les Sleeth

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    Wisdom revisited

    As you probably know Zantra, I seemd to have started that melee in the general discussion area, but not intentionally. I honestly thought it would be evidently clear that there is an inseperable link between experience and wisdom.

    At one point in the discussion I tried to differentiate two types of understandings: that which comes from intellect alone, and that understanding which comes from experience. If someone reads all the principles of how to ride a bicycle, he might have the intellectual understanding, but can he go an ride a bike based on that understanding? And then after he practices, and rides for awhile, doesn't he understand something new he didn't know before he rode?

    It's true that absorbing principles intellectually can be a great guide, but they are useless until put into practice. And so it seems to me that sometimes youth, particularly precocious youth and/or kids upset at not being properly respected by supervising adults, want to compete for the leadership role to escape oppression or gain self esteem. Unfortunately, being too young to understand what's shaped their contrary psychology, they may then generalize their experience with a few adults to all adults, and this is when it can become a problem.

    To that complicated and subconscious psychology add the irony of someone trying to understand the significance of life experience who has little of it. The very thing they need to "get it" is lacking. There seems to be no way around this communication dilemma if the youths have lost faith in adults. The redeeming factor, and another bit of irony, is that the older people become, the more they seem to understand they don't know everything, and in that specific way older almost always means wiser.
  7. Jul 20, 2003 #6
    If kids knew everything, they could go to work while I drank beers and hung out with the guys. suddenly you'd find a bunch of kids who "didn't know as much as they though they did". Essentially what would happen psychologically is that the kids would become responsible and the adults would revert to being kids. Either way, responsibility and adulthood are intertwined, and to be an adult is to be responsible, to be responsible is to understand, and become "wise".
  8. Jul 20, 2003 #7
    to repeat my position:

    i believe that generally adults are more wise than children. i also believe that a child (above maybe the age of 13(ish)) can be completely capable of being wiser than adults. a definition of wisdom is use is the ability at which one can analize (spel?)oneself. it is all to common for people (of all ages) to live their whole lives and never understand theirselfs. only once you do, (truely do, which is difficult, mind you) can you truely process information well enough to be able to question everything (which in my opinion is the golder rule). the more common definition of applied experience can be intergrated into this as well.
  9. Jul 21, 2003 #8
    I've seen a parent spit back at a child before. For the purpose of virtue, no, I don't really think adults are that great. Baby says goo goo gaa gaa I say I would like a hot dog please? Intelligence and experience are a topic when you can't keep Mr. Baby from electrocuting himself. Maturity is when parents eat taco. Children have yet to learn stupidity because I give them two thumbs up.
  10. Jul 21, 2003 #9
    Of the emboldened I agree, just that it has been my experiance that most adults do not reach that stage, "Knowing themselves" not even till close to their demise, and Yet by God's Grace I can recognize a point in my life, ~37* years of age, wherein I could honestly admit to Knowing the Truth about myself.

    I really like what Les explained.....(forgive my informality is calling you les, please...) as it is right on the mark for lots of 'stuff'.

    Then again, I 'temper' myself in life (try to) as I remember what I was like at eighteen, right out of High School, knowing that I knew, and had learned, things that my parents had never even dreamed of, thought myself smarter then them, it was ONLY time (ergo "Experiance") that could cure that one.

    EDIT *It might have been around 34, now that I think of it, as I have had more then one life altering event, so far...
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2003
  11. Jul 21, 2003 #10
    OK this was hard to sort out but I think I got it. As for an adult spitting back at a child, that's immature, disgusting, and as a parent, if I saw that I'd be appalled if I saw that(I'd probably say something too.) There are exceptions to every rule. There are a lot of good parents, and some bad parents. I don't dispute that some adults are too immature to become parents. Unfortunately there's no screening process. You just ARE a parent when you choose to be. But in general, parents are wise enough to know what's best for you. You may not agree, But adults can see things that even the most intelligent kid can't at times. As a parent, I always know more than my child. I make a point of it. If my child doesn't feel I'm wiser than them, then they don't have confidence in me. And that's just not going to work..
  12. Jul 21, 2003 #11


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    Well, I'm 23, probably one of the younger adults around here.

    Something my dad told me once was:

    A smart person will make mistakes and learn from these lessons.

    An idiot will continue to make the same mistakes.

    A truly wise person will watch the smart man and the idiot, and instead of making his own mistakes, learn from the first two.

    And in my life, I've had the luxury to see "how not to do things." For instance, also thanks to my dad, I know how not to raise a child.

    And it is the same in everything you do. Sure age=expieriance, simply because you've had more time to practice. Even with the bike riding example, an adult could have been riding for 20 years, and a kid only 2. In that 2 years time, he may be able to watch the older adult and learn tricks from him, and actually surpass the adult skill-wise in a much shorter time then it took the adult to learn to begin with.

    And of course it makes sense that each generation should have improvements over the previous. I mean, look at pro football players of today, and of 50 years ago. Simply put, there are people out there that was born to play football.

    So while one must learn from the older generation, as to not stumble on the same mistakes, (s)he must also find some means of improvement over what was shown to him/her.

    Kinda like "Student becomes the master" kinda thing.
  13. Jul 21, 2003 #12
    Since to the best of my knowledge the "Master" is God, well, when you the student, begin to think your the God, you have become the idiot your Dad told you about, cause you still haven't even learned how to be the student yet!

    Simple as that, signed; A mere student!
  14. Jul 21, 2003 #13
    I have to agree with Parsons, though only to a point. The philosophy of learning from other's mistakes is a good one, and I've applied in on several occasions myself. The trick is knowning when to use it, and when to realize that it's ineffictive in certain cases.

    I think what parsons is trying to say in his own way, is that the secret which most adults learn is that you never truly become the master. You are always a student. And remember: no matter how good you THINK you are, there's always someone better. So never stop striving for improvement-If you think you're the best, you'll get cocky, and you'll take 2 steps back for every step forward.

    "When you think you've learned everything, you know nothing. When you realize you know nothing, you're on the path to wisdom"
  15. Jul 21, 2003 #14


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    my mom would always tell me to learn from her mistakes, and that is a good piece of advise for some lessons, however, i believe there is value in experiencing most things for yourself...
  16. Jul 21, 2003 #15
    There will always be exceptions to EVERY rule without exception. There are also 11 year old international grandmaster chess players, and 10 year olds in college. That doesn't make it the norm.

    I covered all this in the age post, but I'll summarize again. Intelligence, wisdom and experience are all intertwined, but seperate. Intelligence is how you process the information given to you, wisdom is how you apply that knowledge that you've processed, and experience is something that is earned through trial and error, which takes time. In pure theory, someone could be young and have experienced a lot more than most adults have. That neither makes them wise or intelligent. And yes, part of wisdom is understanding yourself. It's said that you can't learn to truly love someone else until you can first love yourself. But wisdom encompasses more than just that understanding.
  17. Jul 21, 2003 #16


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    na, parsons just likes taking cheap shots at me.

    You've still got to prove that this god exists.

    Anyhow, you can master a certain trade, skill, etc, to a point where it can't get any better.

    For instance, turning a dirt bike around sharp turns. You can lean it so far, and your knee hits the ground. Not far enough, and you go to slow. Once you learn the proper lean for the turn, you can apply the same concept to different turns. Once you've mastered this, you can start pre-loading the suspension to force the rear tire to drift around the corner, further improving your lap time.

    I was not reffering to any supernatural beings, but moreso reality, where most of us like to do our living.

    Or perhaps your insights on gravity (also unproven) allow you more knowledge.
  18. Jul 21, 2003 #17
    What the hell do kids know? Of course when I say this I'm looking back to when I was a teenager and I didn't know Jack. And neither did anyone else I grew up with. They just "thought" they knew. How can you possibly know anything if you haven't even gotten past the age of mimicry? Or else why hang out with all your stupid friends? And so far as I can tell, the kids of today aren't altogether different, except that they might be a little more "sophisticated" in the their foolhardiness.

    Wait until life has thrown you a few curves and you've had a chance to weather the elements on your own for awhile. Or even start a family and raise a few kids. Then maybe you'll begin to appreciate where the notion of wisdom and sensibility comes in.

    Oh well, it looks like I'm preaching the same thing, "You'll understand when you get older." :wink:
  19. Jul 22, 2003 #18
    And what the hell do adults know? I know a man who tried and still tries to teach me "morals" and "values". He once even remarked, "I have too much morals." in a proud tone and goes on talking to my brother about how he must steer me from "bad" things. But he is a wife abuser, has affairs with women and loves to rake up little itsy bitsy things from the past to squabble with. Have i aroused your curiosity? Would you like to know who that man is?

    He's my goddamn biological father!

    What makes you think that we haven't been thrown a few curves and had to weather elements on our own?
  20. Jul 22, 2003 #19
    Hey, =P my father has affairs too! And both my parents are stubborn, distrustful monkeys. How can you get what is necessary for others to say you are a good person? By learning what they want. I personally don't see where the Know-it-all me comes along when my father is teaching me how to swim or play basketball. Too many parents act as if they have to know everything when they're around their children, and the children become excellent at believing polished up BS like what I'm saying. I would never tell someone that he'll understand when he's older, and apparently the only time most people would see an exception is when they realize how comprehensive the information off a google search is about sex. I've worked at McDonalds, and it's not all that horrible, and my father used to scream at me about how I'd suffer by working. Sometimes I'd forget to drain the fat and kill a few people, but this is a natural part of work for child laborers and adults. It's always the adults' fault because they tell the children to listen to them instead of themselves, rinse and repeat. Kids don't know sh*t, but adults make the kids adults who don't know sh*t by making a world of sh*t knowledge and sh*t wisdom all because we can't appear to be wrong in front of the kids. :wink:
  21. Jul 22, 2003 #20
    Yep, I had one of those too. Except that my parents got divorced when I was very young, and I got stuck living with my mother, as well as shuffled around to different relatives at times, with my mother having one foot in and out of the looney bin all the time.

    And guess what I discovered, that you become like what you hate! Indeed I had become very much like my mother, and full of anger and resentment, and despised just about everybody. While the funny thing is I never despised my father all this time? For it was all about my mother's feelings of guilt, and self-pity, and putting on a big display of helplessness in order to evoke sympathy from friends, relatives, government agencies, social workers, etc.

    It was not a very healthy relationship, and by the time I got out of school I was in pretty sad shape, full of all this repressed hatred towards my mother and everyone else. Least of all was I prepared for the real world. Like I said I didn't know Jack about it. Neither did anyone else that I knew.

    But you see this is how the problem manifests itself, because when you get real angry with someone, it isn't long before you start feeling guilty (with anger not being the best way to resolve problems), and if the problem doesn't go away, you begin to repress this hostility, only to find out that you have even more hostility, and you begin to repress that hostility too, until you've compounded the whole thing with inumerable hostilities repressed one on top of each other, at which point the pressure becomes so unbearable, that guess what? You begin to capitulate to the problem and begin to take on their identity. Ouch! This is the nature of how a guilt trip works -- and is also a very effective brainwashing technique. And kids will get duped almost everytime ... People can really screw with your brains by getting you to feel angry towards them.

    What I would recommend to you is that you learn to give up your hatred towards your father, and try to understand that somebody (probably his father) no doubt laid a similar trip on him. And, by giving up your anger (trying to remain neutral), your problem (feelings of betrayal towards him) no longer becomes a part of his, and no longer compounds it, in which case it might give him the genuine opportunity look at it and do something about it. Whereas you, will very likely not have to suffer the same fate that he did. Hey you never know?

    Indeed this is what I had to learn in order to deal with my mother. To try and understand what happened to her when she was growing up and give up my hatred towards her. And now both she I are better off in the long run for it. :wink:
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