On Young Fools And Old Fools

It is not entirely unknown for young people to be foolish and old people to be wise. Well and good, but the consequence of talking too much about “foolish youngsters” contra “wise elders” is that some of the latter come to believe their title to be a tautology, as in “male penis”. The adjective, they think, is already contained within the noun; wisdom does not need to be acquired, for if they have the eldership, they necessarily have the wisdom. Behold our grey hairs, have we not ceased to be foolish youngsters and become wise elders? Young people notoriously think that they know everything; some young people who think they know everything may thus slowly and surely turn into old people who think that they know everything, without at any age having understood how much they do not know. The risible conceit of the youngster now becomes the venerable conceit of the oldster. And all we have to set against this is a single proverb: “There’s no fool like an old fool”.

Everyone at 15 thinks his parents are idiots. What, then, of the man who at 50 still thinks his parents are idiots? There would seem to be two, and only two, possibilities here: either he is emotionally stuck at 15, or else his parents really are idiots. In that second case, if they are idiots now, they were almost certainly even bigger idiots 35 years ago. But this means that, whenever the 15-year-old says that his parents are idiots, he might just be right. Only time will tell.

Posted on March 21, 2010 at 09:31 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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