Having recently reached the age of 80, I have been thinking how difficult it is to find wisdom. I particularly note that we have elected a man to the presidency who appears to have discovered not a single particle of that rare commodity. Obsessed with himself, power, and wealth, the most fundamental traits that identify the best side of human beings seem to have utterly and totally eluded him. That some 30 million Americans support him astounds me.
His vice president amazes me. He refuses to eat a meal alone with any other woman than his wife. What kind of moral and intellectual lack of self control is that? Does his Christian belief not provide him the courage to manage his physical desires? And lacking such courage, should he hold such a position of political power? He and Trump are the most dubious leaders we have ever put into these two offices. Their positions demand wisdom and they demonstrate the most shallow thinking.
One reader answered my last commentary with essentially the argument that our trying to assist humans who have proven unable to successfully cope with life’s difficulties defeats the task of evolution. I disagree. If, for instance, mentally retarded people exist, we lose nothing by helping them lead lives as pleasant as we possibly can. We gain from compassion a sensitivity that money can never convey to us. And evolution continues.
Human sensitivity is what the Christian prophet Jesus apparently tried to convey to people. Or at least that is what those who have for 2,000 promoted these views attempt to persuade us. But they themselves often cannot achieve the moral goals they establish as their spiritual norms. Wealth has a strange effect on people’s theoretical spiritual beliefs. It changes them, almost always.
I do not, and cannot begin to know, how to measure wisdom. At 80, I am constantly aware of how little I too possess. The closest it seems we can come to finding it is to try not to harm others by treating them as we would be treated by them.
And that is the most difficult in life, is it not?