Can we be young and defy time?

A few weeks ago I wrote a series of blogs about people who “defied” time.  I noticed that all of these individuals were older.  Ages ranged from 70 to 102.   I should add that they were older in body but not in mind.  As I was writing these blogs, I was struck with the question “Could younger people defy time?”  The answer seems pretty obvious in retrospective and so I decided to write a series of 5 blogs, (I like doing things in five) about young people who have defied time.  First, let me define what I mean by defying time.  I think when a young person defies time they are doing things well before one would expect it to happen.  Perhaps they are more mature for their age or they achieve a measure of fame, fortune or success well before most people their age. 
The more I pondered this question and who I would write about, the more I thought about the nature of knowledge and wisdom.  As I have grown older, I have separated the concepts of knowledge and wisdom.  One can be very knowledgeable but not very wise.  Paradoxically, most wise people are also very knowledgeable but perhaps not about things or specific bodies of knowledge.  For example, proof that you can be knowledgeable but not wise can be had by looking at the many foolish and dangerous things that humans do to each other. Two quotes come to mind:  Martin Luther King “We have allowed our scientific knowledge to exceed our human reason. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”  Max Plank said about the Atom Bomb, “It was a triumph of intellect and a tragic failure of reason.”  If you need more proof, just look at the daily news “Politician caught in bed with prostitute.”  “Priest accused of pedophilia.”  “CEO found guilty of insider trading.”  These are very intelligent and I would argue knowledgeable people who do wrong not because of stupidity but because of lack of wisdom.  We would like to believe that wisdom comes with age or experience, but that is not true. 
Jesus Christ was 30 when he started his ministry.  Buddha became enlightened at the age of 35. Mohammed received his revelations from God at the age of 40.  David was 30 when he became king of Israel and Solomon was alleged to be under 30 when he began his reign.  You can read all the books you want, you can attend every course in the world, and you can heap degree upon degree and it will not make you wise.  Wisdom does not occur because of age or experience.  Something deeper inside or perhaps outside brings wisdom.  I wish I could give you a formula for wisdom but I cannot.  The only thing I have really learned about wisdom is that each of us must find if for ourselves.  We can follow a teacher or a master for only so long and then we must go inside and develop our own consciousness of what wisdom is.  I also believe that goodness and kindness and wisdom go together. I do not believe bad people are wise people. Wise people find ways to do good for the world.
Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity. – Buddha
Everyone has a purpose in life…a unique gift or special talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. – Deepak Chopra

I never perfected an invention that I did not think about in terms of the service it might give others… I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent. – Thomas Edison
I want to issue one caveat.  I will start my blogs tomorrow on people whom I think have done well for the world long before we would have expected or predicted by their age.  You might not agree with my choices and that is all right. However, keep in mind that no one is perfect.  I was having a dinner conversation the other day and the subject of great photographers came up.  Someone mentioned the name of Annie Leibovitz and suddenly I heard the comment “Yeah, but she’s a bitch.”  I said “what does that mean” and was told that she was not a nice person.  I was angry at hearing this comment because I thought 1st, it has little to do with her talent and 2nd, it seems that it is often applied to people who are passionate about what they do.  Was Jesus Christ nice when he tossed the money lenders out of the temple?  Was Soichiro Honda nice when he yelled at a co-worker for not being a team player?  Was Steve Jobs always a great guy to work for?  My own experience with Dr. W. E. Deming was that he could really be a cantankerous pain in the butt some times.  However, none of this is to say that these people were not wise or even kind.  Sometimes kindness is telling people things they do not want to know. 
Whom can you think of that is young and defies time?  Are you in this grouping?  Are you a smart person or a wise person?  Can we be both kind and wise?  What would it mean for you if you decided that you wanted to be a wise person?  Where would you go to find wisdom?

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. midaka17
    Oct 17, 2012 @ 12:16:11

    Being wise to me is where space lives and time disappears – it's timeless – it's all knowing. Wise people live with love as a first response to any situation. Being wise requires constant inward reflection and patience. Wise people see and feel others suffering. They see no flaws in others but do see where love is not. They strive to live without judgement. It's the ability to have always have love for others through compassion, understanding, empathy, patience, forgiveness, consideration, respect, trust, and the ability to keep others safe and free from personal attack. Being wise is the ability to conquer fear and lay the ego to rest so it can be used to serve others, regardless of their actions – so that we may be the reflection of the creator and that which we wish to feel and have others feel at all times….love.



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