Parental Wisdom: Lacking Respect or Missing in Action?
Personal transformation can and does have global effects. As we go, so goes the world, for theworld is us. The revolution that will save the world is ultimately a personal one.-Marianne Williamson, American peace activist, author, lecturer, minister (b. 1952)
Where is wisdom in the inevitable transformation that is taking place on ourplanet? Is it stronger than ever, though apparently disguised. Has itvanished? Do we even recognize wisdom today as we did in the past?Most people would agree that Albert Schweitzer was wise. Here's anexample:
Anyone who has accustomed himself to regard the life of any living creature asworthless is in danger of arriving also at the idea of worthless human lives.- Albert Schweitzer, philosopher, physician, musician, Nobel laureate (1875-1965)
We could explain so much about our world today using this thought. Whereis that kind of wisdom? While Schweitzer's observation has always been trueof our species, the fact that today the leaders of industry knowingly poisonthe air they breathe and the water they use in their own bodies for the sakeof profit should raise alarm. They have put profit ahead of survival, which isclearly in opposition to the instinct of every living thing.Leaders of industry hold out the promise of jobs as bait so that politiciansand bureaucrats will allow them to commit acts that no other civilization inhistory has done to itself. They argue that, in effect, "my way must be rightbecause I thought of it." They argue that making their industry eco-friendlywill be economically unfeasible, though the evidence on the ground showsthat this argument is patently false.We believe them because we somehow attribute to them wisdom. Or wewant the money that derives from the jobs they will create. Today, as in thepast, wealth trumps reason. Does that mean that wisdom no longer exists?These lessons we teach to our children, whether intentionally or not.Historically, wisdom was the purview of the elderly. Elders traditionally hadexperience doing much the same activities as the younger generations weredoing. Experience derives from making mistakes then learning from them.That learning could be taught, which made the teachers--the elderly,experienced ones in society--considered wise.A century ago 85 percent of the population of North America lived in ruralareas and derived their income directly or indirectly from agriculture. Today