Monday, May 05, 2008

An Old Man I Met

The Old Man, a fellow blogger, said to me:

"In my everyday life I have become very private; shy, almost.

"To great measure, I ascribe it to aging. While in my early years, as a boy. true, I was shy--at least in public--I ascribe that to my general insecurity. I overcame that early, however, and learned to enjoy the company of, and conversation with others. (So much so that my daughter says I'm now the only person she knows who passed from insecurity to arrogance without even pausing at confidence.)

"Thus I have determined that my present shyness is not a recidivism to insecurity, but, caused by several factors: (1) it is related to physical deterioration: it is harder to hear; it harder to see. So one tends to 'tune out'...literally.

"(2) Part of my increasing shyness can be ascribed to my daily contact with youth. --who make up half my world, I am aware that in general they don't really want to listen to older people. They are generally too busy re-inventing the wheel to notice that we older folks are sometimes rolling right by them, with an already invented and often more knowledgeable wheel.

"However, I must admit that youth ignoring us older folks is more than often our own fault. Especially when we old folk ramble on about the past; talking endlessly, or at least longer than is necessary, on any and all particular topics.

"Why do we do that? Why are we go garrulous? (1) Because we know so much more than youthful listeners--from reading and living if nothing else; (2) we are so excited to have youthful company, non-aged company that will talk about things other than diet, medicine, death and disease and (3) pure physics: a body in motion tends to stay in motion...once we start talking our mouths and minds don't know how to stop even if we sense that nobody is listening.

"Another reason why old folks increasingly go silent with advancing years is from
(4) pride: knowing (1), (2) and (3) above, and not wanting to make a fool of oneself. So instead of falling into the inevitable garrulous trap, we sit silently around in a crowd, off to a corner, staring about, reading, watching life go by; and saying nothing...for fear of, once starting, saying too much unwanted drivel.

"However, there is a final reason, number (5), although I hesitate to admit this: I really don't care to talk to most people. I know I'm right; and I no longer need conversation to prove it to myself.

"I have long passed that argumentative phase of life, where I need everyone to know my insights are correct, and, if adopted, beneficial to the world.

"With age has come wisdom, and certitude. Life has been my lab; and the evidence to support my truth is in. And even if my certainty were to be shared with others,I don't think major change is very likely. And even if major change were to result from my insights, that positive change would probably have little resonance/benefit in my ever shortening future life. So for all the above reasons, I don't feel like talking very much these days.

"So I sit quietly in public, day-dream, ruminate, then, return home, I write my blog thoughts to no one in particular, content with the knowledge that (1) I am absolutely right, (2) I have wonderful ideas, (3) those ideas are getting better and more refined with advancing age, and (4) I have no need to share/hone those certainties in open discussion by others.

"God was probably in a similarly bored and lonely state of mind when he created Man."


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