02 June 2009

Centers of Wisdom vs. Centers of Knowledge

Old people have always been considered centers of wisdom; whether or not we respect them for it, most people recognize that old folks have a helluva lot of life experience on the rest of us.

But I was listening to Guy Clark's "Texas, 1947" just now and I realized that in the last 100 years or so it's much more common to view younger people as centers of knowledge. The song was written about the first time he ever saw a Streamline train out in west Texas:
Trains are big and black and smokin', louder'n July four,
but everybody's actin' like this might be somethin' more

than just pickin' up the mail, or the soldiers from the war.
This is somethin' that even old man Wileman never seen before.
Not anymore, kids. Anyone under 20 has seen hundreds of things that their grandparents haven't seen--or even dreamed of.

I wonder what that does to our sense of wonderment about the world around us...

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