I have been trying to decide if the proper phrase is “older, but wiser” or “older and wiser”. If you read the two carefully you can see there is a decided difference. In the first “older” has a slightly negative note. We are older, yes, but not necessarily does that mean wiser. Wiser is like an afterthought. To say “older and wiser” sounds to me as though the two are of equal weight. To be older is to be wiser. It is part of the experience we accumulate throughout our years.
Of course than we need to define “wiser”, coming from the word “wisdom”. That doesn’t mean just knowledge, but it means knowing how to use knowledge for a greater good.
An online definition shows us that wisdom is:
the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Synonyms get us into some other tangents such as, sagacity, intelligence, sense, common sense, shrewdness, astuteness, smartness, judiciousness, judgment, prudence, circumspection; More logic, rationale, rationality, soundness, advisability. And the
antonyms are folly, stupidity (and dare I saw Washington, D.C.)
I like the word “sagacity” which is defined as acuteness of mental discernment and soundness of judgment. To me it means someone who is “on top of things.” A “sage” is a person who fits this description. It is someone we all turn to to receive a word of direction. They are not people who live outside of the world we inhabit, but they are people who know how to live in this world and yet hold on to what is good and right.
As I look at these words and value the person who fits these various descriptions I am reminded that common sense, wisdom, good judgment, logic all require a person to take time to read good literature, to think before words are spoken and to consult with others before decisions are made. We live in a twitter, text, and tweet society where speed is the essence of communication and measured thought and deliberation will not win the race.
Those who practice contemplation or meditation; who write with a pen rather than a computer; who send letters by regular mail, who walk instead of run live a more measured existence. Time has a different meaning for them. They walk on the earth with a lighter step. To listen to and observe men and women of this nature is to re-establish that deeper core of who we are as human beings.