Monday, August 31, 2015

The Thing About Wisdom and Voices Lost Through Censorship

It's actually Tuesday today. August 25, but something has been going on on my Facebook for the past two days that is bothering me so much that I decided to write about it. At the same time, I am not giving the person behind it the influence required to make me change my posting schedule in order to publish this and this is why this post is only going live today.

The truth is that I am furious, but I am trying to keep myself from ranting, because there's really no point. In fact, it would go exactly against the point I am trying to make. I am, however human, so if I come across as sharp in some way... Sorry. Kind of.

Yesterday, I got a status update on my Facebook that goes along the lines of the following:

"It scares me when people younger than the age of 30 gives lifecoaching and advice about living. And it's even worse because they try to be wise and then they're wiser-than-thou too. You only really know what life is about at 40, so before you try to give some advice, try living a little longer."

To which I responded, in short, that I am 26 and posting to this blog (and yes, I do give life dvice on it) and I think that it's wrong (specifically stereotyping) to assume that all people under (or over, for that matter) a certain age gives bad (or good) advice because of that.

The response:

"Blog or not, I won't fucking believe that anyone that hasn't lived 40+ years has enough life experience to advise anyone else on life. Once people reach that sort of age, they hang their head in shame for what they said in youth, because young people live in a bubble and believe it to be the whole world, and then they are arrogant and cocky too." 

I typed a long response to this, but ended up deleting most of it, because I knew that in the end, it would only waste my time to engage further than I have. And my long comment most certainly would have resulted in a longer and longer argument with someone who doesn't even respect my opinion. The point is, though, that this kind of thinking needs to be talked about. And it goes beyond age. It goes to any possible form of otherness that we can think of. (Color. Sexual Orientation. Where you're born. How you speak. What language is spoken. Beliefs.)

For simplicity (and because it was the discrimination I have just been exposed to), age will be my focus.

I am aware of the fact that as discrimination goes, 
I got it easy.

Although I wrote a short comment to close out my part of that discussion and left it at there, I feel that this needs to be part of a larger discussion. The gist of my comment was this: 

I don't care what you think. 
I will speak out. 
I will share advice. 
I will share my (much larger than people would think) life experience with other people.
Because if doing so helps one person,
my goals in writing this blog has been achieved.

More importantly: 

Dismissing people's voices/advice
simply because of some otherness
creates a situation where all you ever hear
reinforces your own possibly narrow-minded world view. 

And this is how wisdom is lost.

I might be 26. I might not know everything about life, but I am wise enough to know that I never will until the day I die. And I am open-minded enough to learn from people around me. Be they my age, younger, older, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, straight, trans, gay, Christian like me, Christian not like me, or any other faith. Or of no faith whatsoever. Or any number of other othernesses that I'm not naming because to name them all would take a book. 

Because being different from me
DOES NOT make your voice
have less value than mine.

Be it physically, or through ridicule,
or through trying to convince you
that somehow, 

Our opinions might be wrong,
but we deserve to have those opinions weighed by merit
instead of having them discounted simply because we're different.

And call me an idealist, but I expect similar treatment. Respect is a two-way road. Always. ALWAYS. 

The world would be a much better place if a lot of people

And sadly, that's not an age thing. 


Sherry Ellis said...

Age doesn't determine wisdom. There are a lot of young people who are a lot wiser than those who have been around a long time.

(And I would say that this individual who used profanity to respond to you was not the epitome of a wise person.)

Murees Dupé said...

I am so sorry that you had to be exposed to such negativity. I know this is a over used saying, "Age is nothing but a number," and it is true. You can be 50 years old and not have lived your life to the full, or have experienced great things. Someone could be 16 years old and have gone through a living hell most of us will never know, or hear about. One cannot judge a person's wisdom, or intelligence by their age.

Don't let anyone try and silence your voice. If you have things to say, say it. Unfortunately, there are people out there who think they can say whatever they want, be rude and vulgar, because they think they are older and smarter. Keep your head high and keep doing what you have been doing. Your words does touch many people's lives and inspire them. I know, you always inspire me. Sending you virtual hugs:)

Stephanie Faris said...

It all depends on the person...and the advice. Some 20-year-olds would have experiences with things I never would, for sure. I think we ALL can learn from each other but the first step is to get out of our own way. If these people would actually open themselves up to listening to other people without judgment, they'd be much better for it.

But as to arguing with these people, just remember this old saying:

"Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level and then beat you with experience!"

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I've found wisdom comes with thoughtfulness more than with age. There are young people who are thoughtful and reflective whose opinions I trust and respect, while I've known older people who are frivolous and dull. I think it's more of a personality type than an age thing.

Mike Keyton said...

Those too quick to condemn show the least wisdom

Misha Gericke said...

Sherry, I agree with you there. (Person is now unfriended.)

Awe thanks Murees. *hug* You're right about age only being a number. And about people sometimes conveniently forgetting that so they can use their age as an excuse to be rude and nasty to people around them.

Very true, Stephanie. No one, no matter how old he/she is, is right all of the time. But all people (regardless of age) deserve to have their opinions/advice/whatever measured according to merit instead of some arbitrary condition they can't help or change.

I love the way you think about it, Karen. Thoughtfulness does trump age when it comes to valid advice.

Very true, Mike.