Somewhere along human evolution from binary existence (Survival vs Death) to a blob of grey morality, perception, philosophy and dogma a fallacy was injected into the human psyche that states that wisdom comes with age. Nothing can be further from the truth.
Myriad illustrations can be conjured to rebuff this misguided notion. The field of mathematics makes for a good start. Albert Einstein discovered his groundbreaking theories in his twenties. Stephen Hawking started making ground-breaking discoveries in his twenties. Isaac Newton started his intellectual voyage in his thirties. The list is exhaustive. In recent decades there has been a surge in the number of precocious geniuses who have been exalted in television shows such as Child Genius. An alert mind will now start to make an argument that genius and wisdom are separate entities. The field of literature waters this refutation.
The Beat Generation is a classic example of genius existing in inverse proportion to wisdom. D.H Lawrence was smart but not wise; he was an alcoholic. Many other literary minds have also succumbed to various forms of perversion even to the extent of committing suicide. And of course not forgetting our very own Zimbabwean doppleganger, Dambudzo. I find it interesting that authors live a life independent of some of the very wise characters they create. I am even bold enough to claim that all writers have in some form or another written about their ‘wiser self’. This theory holds true in that subset of authors whose works are semi-autobiographical. Visual artists act in like manner.
I view age as nothing but a count-down to the inevitable. Allow me to open the pages of the Eternal Truth. King David was very wise at a very tender age to the extent that the reigning king also feared him on account of his wisdom. [1 Samuel 18:15]. David started his reign at the age of 30. [2 Samuel 5:4]. The wisest king in the Holy Scriptures, Solomon, admitted that he was young at the start of his reign but he knew that there is a way to gain wisdom in spite of age. [1 Kings 3:7-12]. I would like to draw the gentle reader to the fact that God concurred with Solomon on the definition of wisdom. It was defined as the ability to “discern between good and evil”. [1 Kings 3:9]. A very simple definition for an over-sensationalised concept.
A parallel can be drawn from the 14th Dalai Lama, Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso . In his book, ANCIENT WISDOM, MODERN WORLD: Ethics for the Millennium, published in 1999, he exhorts humanity to seek wisdom on the basis of discipline, virtue, love, compassion, patience, tolerance and forgiveness. I believe the man is worth listening to; he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 at age 54 and started his reign at the extremely tender age of just 2 years old.
I find comfort in the fact that a human being can only live up to the stipulated limit of 120 years. [Genesis 6:3]. Perhaps it is not so comforting for the citizenry of the tiny but extremely blessed nation of Zimbabwe. I also happen to think the ancient Munhumutapa Empire, whose capital was Great Zimbabwe, is the biblical land of Ophir. But I digress. In recent times a hilarious debate occurred in the nation’s parliament where-by the Minister of Justice attempted to belittle a sharp and young opposition politician on account of age and in the process kicking a hornet’s nest that is the President’s advanced age (93 years old). If this biblical truth were to be taken at face value it can be taken to mean that the said geriatric President may reign for 27 more years!