Does Wisdom Increase with Age?


  • Author Nurhashimah Binti Bahrain
  • Published June 20, 2021
  • Word count 782

In biology, the correlation between knowledge and aging has a basis: as people grow older, the mind grows more, a direct by-product of only having to live longer and experience more things. Older people are often more proficient than young people in several aspects of cognition, notably those that involve several methods to solve issues, as well as life planning and setting future objectives. Those deemed "wise" are considered to have greater empathy, to be more reasonable in their views of the emotional state of others, and to be more considerate of other people's well-being. It's noticeable that wisdom is a quality that for thousands of years has indeed been highly regarded. The more situations that we have to look back on and learn from, the more we understand theoretically. Getting that deeper understanding subsequently helps one to empathize with others better. To some extent, just because someone is older does not necessarily imply that they are wiser. And for those who hold a different view, they've already displayed their depth of understanding.

Age comes with experience—people who have lived longer have had more "life experience." But, contrary to popular belief, wisdom is not a catch-all term for higher intelligence. And it doesn't mean 'all-knowing,' as many people often believe. Here is what is meant. A farmer who has solely grown tomatoes on the same plot of land for years will have an infinite amount of expertise on the topic, but that does not make him the world's wisest farmer. By a long shot, the world's wisest farmer is considerably younger than the tomato farmer, but he has more experience in the sense that he has grown root vegetables, fruits, nuts, and legumes in a variety of climates, seasons, and locations around the world. He can’t speak to farming as a whole in the same way the younger, more experienced farmer can. If the entirety of our life experience is repetitive, monotonous and practically unchanging, age will not grant us wisdom. If we want to be wise, we must become life students and learn as much as we can through experience.

A person with accelerated wisdom or wiser than those with their age has always been called an old soul (Manly, 2019). Hearing someone claim, "She has an old soul," as if they can see into their soul, is always amusing. The calm, relaxed, no nonsense kind of people: they are commonly described as an old soul. These individuals concentrate on the here and now, but still understand the significance of where they come from and where they are going. To be called an old soul is a compliment itself. It implies that we are wise beyond our years, with many more ahead of us to make good choices, bring good to the world, and our life. But if we are the person being told we have an old soul, we might not know exactly what it means. In fact, we could have spent our whole lives trying to fit in with a community that cherishes youth and action. Of course, now we use the term to refer to someone who has wisdom beyond their years. Others tend to use it as someone who is more enlightened than other people who are their age. An old soul is a unique kind of person that not many people come across. Rather than coping with mainstream society's superficialities, an old soul has deeper interests. Some people say an old soul is simply more mature than those around them. But that doesn’t tell the full story. While the rest of society follows each other like sheep, an old soul forges their own way. In the life of an old soul, banality and toxic energy are non-existent. An old soul, instead, questions conventional wisdom and critically thinks for themselves. They want to understand more about life and what makes the universe tick. Old souls are more required than ever in a world of sensationalized automated newsfeeds and bogus news.

The perception that young people are more egocentric than adults has been generally accepted in the past. For this, we need a new paradigm. We need to understand to what degree youth inclinations (even risk-taking behaviors) can often be regarded with positive intent as thoughtful deliberations, not just impulses seeking instant gratification. Sometimes, the ability of a youth to interact with those who may be "bad influences" stems from a desire to assist them rather than emulate them. A good kid in a bad crowd may be able to accomplish more overall good than a bad person in a good crowd. Thus, it can be concluded that wisdom does not always come with age.

Islamic Science University of Malaysia (USIM)

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