How the wisdom of older people can help lead you to your muse
Since before written history, we have always placed value in the wisdom of our elders. People who have lived through and experienced things that the rest of us only know as history are a wealth of information and ideas that can help you find your muse.
The Wisdom of the Elders
In ancient Sparta, only men over the age of 60 could become part of the ruling body known as the Council of Elders. The general line of thinking was that if you could manage to live until 60 in a land as militaristic as Sparta, then the rest of the country could probably benefit from the wisdom that you have obtained along the way.
Sparta is not the only place that the wisdom of elders is held in reverence. The wise old man (or woman) archetype that permeates through our pop culture consciousness (Yoda is a good example) is actually rooted in real historical experiences. With age comes experience and with experience comes wisdom. This is the reason why even today the average Supreme Court Justice is over the age of 65. It is because our society still wisely values the thoughts, ideas, values and opinions of its elder citizens.
While we certainly appreciate them in our movies and in the judiciary, I have a feeling that today’s society does not appreciate what a valuable commodity our elderly citizens can be to us. With things like health care costs, job losses, and overpopulation in the headlines, many people take a look at the growing ranks of senior citizens with dismay and use words like “future financial burden”. I think instead of pissing and moaning about how all these old people are going to bankrupt us, we should instead thank our lucky stars that we have such a large collective of elderly wisdom from which to draw on.
Take this current economic mess that we currently find ourselves in. My Grandparents, all of whom lived through the great depression, would have probably laughed at this so called “great recession” we are in the middle of and let us know that cutting back on your spending and finding ways to save money is something that we should all learn. Perhaps if the economists, business executives, and news reporters would take some time off predicting gloom and doom, and spend some time talking to those who were around during the real financial troubles, they might start finding more answers on how to get out of the mess they created.
Answers to our economic problems aside, if you are currently looking for inspiration and ideas to help you spark your creative process, you too might benefit from some elderly wisdom. Next time, you are looking for an answer to a creative enigma; seek out an older and wiser person who has been there before. They will most likely help you find that missing piece to your artistic puzzle. For example, if you are an artist working with a palette knife for the first time, you might learn a few good tricks by talking with an older artist who has had experience with a knife instead of a brush.