Adults have a simply greater capacity for living, for understanding

It’s wisdom to acknowledge that I can’t really give advice: I don’t know who that person is or what he/she needs. I can say that each person needs to—or, will, anyway—find their own path, and I’ve made my own path—I’ve made my path by walking it—but I can’t really recommend it to others, you know? There’s something small-minded about giving advice. Like N. (or any motivational speaker, pastor, business-leader’s “leadership” book) telling me what I ought to do—he doesn’t know what I need, or even where I should go (what my goal should be), which is not to say all advice is bad. Some may help a person, but that person doesn’t know what he needs to hear until he hears it, and the advice-giver doesn’t know what that person needs. And that could be an argument for giving lots of advice and letting the receiver choose among all those—but more advice doesn’t always help. It can mislead a person, or make them feel bad (as to a perfectionist/obsessive type such as myself who tends to hear advice as shoulds and standards for judgment). I didn’t know what to say, except the banality about “each person finds own path,” which doesn’t really need to be said, and so I added no comment.

I have a note here from yesterday that says an adult’s wisdom doesn’t need to be used only for practical things such as making more money (the businessman’s wisdom) or for changing the world (the activist’s wisdom). No, wisdom is its own reward, and, yes, adults do gain practical (useful) wisdom about the external world, but they also have, as Charlie ___ did, a simply greater capacity for living, for understanding, etc.

[From Sun. 20 April 2008, Journal 99, Page 33]

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