Thursday, September 25, 2008

Whining - the New National Pastime

I have a confession to make. I’m not a Greenie. Nowadays that makes me the bad guy, because Green has become the new banner and badge of being part of the politically correct crowd.

I’ve been giving some thought lately to the fact that we have a society run by youngsters (this is because as I age, I find so many in office to be younger than I am), yet we have a population the median age of which is growing older and older.

Used to be that people respected age - being an “elder” meant having wisdom that younger people valued. Over the years that has changed; our older folks have not been considered founts of wisdom or valued parts of family and society for a long time. Rather, older folks are stuffed into retirement homes and assisted living facilities soon as they have no money left to support the younger generations that can’t (or won’t) get jobs to support themselves.

Aha, you say - the reason no one pays attention to elder wisdom is because older folks’ minds wander off the topic - but not so! Bear with me a bit longer.

The reason older folks are founts of wisdom, even though some of us are dumber than doorposts, is that we have experienced more. This is so simple concept as to be profound. No matter how smart you are, how educated you are, how technologically facile you are, if you’re young, you cannot have experienced as much as someone who has lived longer. It’s a matter of sheer numbers, quantity of time. You can never really know what can be known at 50, 60 or 70 or older until you’ve lived 50, 60 or 70 or more years. You can never apply the experience of time until you’ve experienced the time. And you cannot possibly begin to comprehend what we old folks know as we view life from the perspective of just having lived longer.

“Bail me out, save me!” is what I’m seeing everywhere nowadays. I see lots of this whining going on, and see few solutions offered that encompass the big picture. I see this as a result of inexperience (i.e., young folks’ reaction) because we’re all here on the same planet and ultimately there is no one to bail us out or save us other than ourselves. That’s something it just takes time to learn.

Let me pick on the Greens as an example. Go to any petition website these days and it’ll be Green. What is a petition? It’s a bunch of names of people who’d rather whine about a problem than roll up their sleeves and do something directly. That’s whining, in my opinion, I don’t care how noble the label.

Or look at proposed (and, more scary, passed) legislation that “fixes” things by imposing more rules and regulations in our lives, legislation which takes away personal responsibility and substitutes government responsibility. Being bailed out ends up with giving up our rights and making us dependant - like children.

Whining happens because the people who are doing it don’t have any real answers. They feel the pressure, the pain of the situation, but they don’t know how to effectively make it go away. Like children, they don’t know how to fix things properly because they just don’t have the tools, the experience and perspective to see the whole picture. In other words, they don’t go to their founts of wisdom for answers: to the old folks, their elders.

We older folks pretty much don’t qualify as real Greenies because we’re not young enough to have tunnel vision any more, we can’t see things as black and white so easily. Life has taught us painful lesson by painful lesson how unrealistic that is. We older folks - at least those of us who have moved beyond the flower power years - have been around long enough to know first hand that everything is connected to everything, and that disenfranchising anyone or disallowing anything isn’t going to solve any problems. Tunnel vision isn’t wrong, it’s just so very limited as to throw everything out of kilter when acted on.

The innocent ignorance of tunnel vision is not going to go away, so it’s up to us old folks to fix things - if only we ourselves would pay attention to our own elders. Answers for today’s problems won’t be Green, won’t even necessarily be in what we know ourselves here at this time today. The big answers for the questions facing humanity and for the planet are going to be found in the wisdom of the ages, of our own elders. I don’t think they will be Green.


Tator said...

I loved your article,read it in the Glenwood Gazzete. Totally agree with you!

cred said...

Thanks Tator. Keep reading - more to come!