View Full Version : Wisdom

9th May 2009, 02:44
An accumulative thing:

Your brain learns something new and pushes out something less worthy.

Someone please find an aviation application.

9th May 2009, 02:49
Which is ok until someone asks you about something that has been pushed out.......

I hate it when that happens, that moment you realise that the Fountain of Knowledge has run dry

9th May 2009, 02:51
Someone please find an aviation application

For me. Becoming established on a new aircraft type and a lot of the information stored from the previous type gets pushed out.

9th May 2009, 02:54
Sorry, might have mentioned a helichopper type reference.

tony draper
9th May 2009, 07:19
One has noted a strange phenomenon of late,one is not bragging when one states at one time one was regarded a sort of walking google, one's head glowed with the amount of obscure facts and arcane snippets contained therein,people in Pubs would phone the Towers to have arguments/bets settled and such.
Now I sit in me prooning chair frowning with the effort of trying to remember things simple things like who the freck is that filum star,whats the name of that bird on the telly, there,who wrote that,who said that,who was it that invented that thingy there,ect ect, frustratingly one knows the answer is in there somewhere but hid behind a kind of fog that surrounds one's noggin now,yet!! walked next door last night, SIL is recently into crosswords asked two questions of me and instantly the answers was there concise and direct almost without thought
One has a theory that the crumbly brain is no longer capable of self stimulation it cannot be enabled from within itself,it has to be poked by the outside.

9th May 2009, 07:27
One has always been perplexed by the notion that wisdom is an age related phenomena. One has know plenty of stupid wrinklies & many wise youngsters.

Personally one believes stupid at 20 will still be stupid at 60.:8

non iron
9th May 2009, 07:37
A desperate state of affairs Sir, if that is the case.
Not for me, once snuffed it the lights will not go out. The youngsters will get old, very old, in the course of time - left with our blue bins.

9th May 2009, 12:11
Learning something new and acquiring wisdom are, in fact, unrelated.

I think.

Standard Noise
9th May 2009, 13:36
Oh I dunno, I still remember bits from my brief stint at Gatwick. Even more from Coventry and I wish to god I could forget about Belfast Sh1tty.

Maybe mine isn't full up yet.

9th May 2009, 13:40
Personally one believes stupid at 20 will still be stupid at 60.http://static.pprune.org/images/smilies/nerd.gif
Proof positive posting!

9th May 2009, 13:53
One tends to acquire knowledge up to the age of about 50,
then it's just a case of trying to control it's loss over the
years beyond 50.
Wisdom is a toothbrush. If you need it beyond 50, GOOD.

9th May 2009, 14:25
What's the difference between memory and wisdom:confused:

I have a lot of info on my brain hard drives but have trouble accessing it.

In spite of this my wife thinks I'm smarter than her because I can access a lot more than she. Than again she thinks in the near present while I think and compare against experience from the past.

Example, she ants to take a holiday trip to some plac. I remind her that we have already been there and visited the famous sights reminding her of the people we met etc. etc.. She replies really???

Now I will admit that when I compare information coming into my brain today with info already stored from the past, I am willing to update the bits and bytes and restore it as new memory.

So again what is wisdom:confused:


9th May 2009, 14:30
Your memory tells you that a tomato is classified as a fruit, but your wisdom stops you from putting one in a fruit salad.

9th May 2009, 15:21
Have probably posted this opinion before at some stage, but it's one of those things to become blindingly evident by an actual life experience.

I had been using an ATM card for about ten years with the same PIN. Then I found myself one day being prompted to enter my PIN and I had not a clue. Not just a case of slight furrowing of the brow as to the order of the four digits, the whole entity had disappeared, to the point where there was no point even making a guess. To avoid upsetting the queue behind me I walked away from the machine a little embarrassed but sure the number would come back to me. It never did. Ever. Cancel card, new card, new PIN etc.

From this experience I hypothesized that each brain cell carries a certain snippet of information, (which is why we have so many of them) and the particular cell containing my PIN had been one of those destroyed by the previous night's excesses.

Now I carry a piece of paper with my name and address on it in my wallet for the inevitable day when the brain cell containing that particular snippet goes west. Scoff not, I am serious about this. I will never forget the feeling of absolute confusion that overcame me in that ATM queue.

Be afraid..........

9th May 2009, 15:28
I read, somewhere(?) that brain cells die at a phenominal rate.
Something like 10,000 per second. NEVER replaced!!!
But it doesn't matter, cos there are BILLIONS of them crammed
in your cranium.
Mind you, a lot of people do seem to suffer some after-effects.
Now where did I put my keys?

Low Flier
9th May 2009, 15:37

15th May 2009, 08:13
What's the difference between memory and wisdom

I have a lot of info on my brain hard drives but have trouble accessing it.

frustratingly one knows the answer is in there somewhere but hid behind a kind of fog that surrounds one's noggin now

Opto-doctors point out that one may often see things more clearly in very dim light by looking at them sideways. The low-er energy red-sensing receptors in our eyes evidently are arranged in the outer circumference of the retinal vision sensor cell array, so they are not as populous in the center focus region where brighter and whiter light is aimed. Trusting one's steps in the dark on unfocussed "donut-vision" seems strange at first, but works surprisingly well.

Memory seems to work with similar indirection. Oftentimes, in fact, the harder one tries to think of a thing "on the tip of the tongue", the less one is able to recall it.

Greek philosphers contrived early-on the concept of "noema" as a sort of lens through which ideas could be seen in a conceptual focus. Nineteenth-century philosopher Soren Kirkegaard revived this idea to make a point whereby he suggested that persons might only once really perceive a Thing, and then - after the first instance, would always afterward see the Thing in terms of the recollection or experience of their first perception of it,
plus the second perception and third, etc. Eventually, he argued, one might remove the Thing altogether and the perceiver might not notice the difference, because the Noema, the sum of perceptions of the Thing and experiences and reflections about the Thing, would replace the reality of the Thing itself.

So, too, with memory. If one has a slight stumble of recollection at a critical moment - just before uttering the thought or just when needing the keys to the car - then the flood of ideas, emotions, recollections and similar tangential relevancies surges into consciousness so strongly that it becomes a noematic roadblock to actually recalling what one so earnestly wishes to remember. A proven recipe for success in recovering from this dilemma, or multilemma, is to simply stop trying for awhile, change the subject, wash a dish or pet the dog for a bit and then, lo - the hard-sought thought will slip quietly into mental focus and view - much as the dim shadows of a hardly-seen sought object finds dark focus on the rim of one's vision in the thinnest starlight IF one can relax enough to let that happen.

Wisdom one reckons, is the distillation of memories and experience into a more concentrated essence - so that one may judge quickly and well as to efficacy and truth - at least insofar as to quickly judge, by some relevant standard, what is likely to work and what is not.

15th May 2009, 08:23

I have a drivers licence in my wallet as well as heaps of other id.

I don't need a scrap of paper.

16th May 2009, 13:17
BINOS - Suggest you use your year of birth, highly unlikely you will ever forget that and not so easy for anyone to guess, (unless they have your driving licence!). Could always use it plus or minus a few years, say five.

16th May 2009, 13:56
Now I carry a piece of paper with my name and address on it in my wallet for the inevitable day when the brain cell containing that particular snippet goes west.

Bin there, dun that, admittedly a slip with a clue for a number, not my address.

No use at all; I forgot I had the clue in my wallet at the same time as I forgot the number.

16th May 2009, 15:38
As a young man I never needed to 'learn'.
I didn't revise for exams (and I got excellent results).
If I left home without (for example) my office desk keys I would know precisely when and where I last had them. I didn't keep a list of telephone numbers (well, I wrote them on the pull-out flap of my desk, but I never needed to refer to it).

In my 40s I travelled widely (as part of my work) and always knew my itinerary (and timings).

A decade later (after I had stopped working due to ill health) I noticed that I began to miss appointments and had difficulty in recalling details of things that I would have had no problems with previously.

I'm not (yet) gaga, though to return to the simile, if I mislaid my keys I wouldn't have a clue when last I had them. I recently discovered a set of house and car keys in the pocket of a winter jacket that I hadn't worn for a couple of years. I was convinced that I must have dropped them and they had been picked up by someone.
I put letters in 'safe' places and then cannot find them (I haven't seen my passport for eighteen months since I took it out of the usual place to prove my identity for some legal work).

Things are certainly worse than they used to be (like the FSL says). I guess it's an inevitable part of life for most of us. As Herr Drapes remarked, if you can find the trigger, the information is still there, but the index is corrupted. I suppose it's just like a hard drive - the information is still there, but the system doesn't know where to find it.

16th May 2009, 20:12
Painfully levering this de-railed thread back onto the tracks of seriousness:

I speak several languages (very ungramatically, tenses and genders somewhat rough-shod) and while English, German and French co-exist reasonably happily inside my brain, when I started to learn Catalan my previous Italian was evicted. In fact I had to force myself to forget Italian in order to learn Catalan. Now Catalan is a combination of Latin, French, and a lot of specific words, but has not conflicted with my French, only Italian. Odd.

Some years ago I met a Catalan who had been working in New York: at that time he spoke excellent English. However he had a stroke in the USA and his knowledge of English disappeared: he returned to his homeland as the stroke hadn't affected his knowledge of Catalan or Castilliano.

I subsequently found out that languages one learns later in life are not stored in the same region of the brain as one's original language and hence one or the other may be left unimpaired after trauma to the brain.

Ah well. Back to Limericks.......

Rwy in Sight
16th May 2009, 21:40

Your input is a valuable argument in favor of the ID cards. Maybe we can start with senior citizens...

Tyres O'Flaherty
16th May 2009, 22:10
I recently returned to doing my O.U. degree this year, after 13 years off.I've definitely noticed some loss of mental acuity. Which makes me feel rather silly as I've got reasonably decent I.Q.test scoring now. One tries not to wonder how much easier it would've been to get it over with when not as thick (grrrr)

17th May 2009, 10:39
OK OFSO, seriously......

Until I was 51 I carried all the phone numbers I used regularly in my head...say 20 - 30.

In my twenties I learned Arabic on a total submersion course; 7 hours a day, mostly with headset and tape, for 4 months. I had a vocabulary of 2,500 words at the end of it.

Until I was 51 I never used a diary, I knew any appointment that I had for weeks ahead and could actually picture the programme, as well as itineraries. I never lost keys because I always knew exactly where I had put them.

At 51 I stopped smoking 20 - 30 a day; I smoked the usual 30 on a Sunday, made a decision that evening never to smoke again, and have never touched one since. (No, it wasn't all that difficult; nicotine isn't nearly as addictive as the tobacco companies want you to think).

But I lost virtually all my memory abilities from that moment onwards. I've always put it down to the lack of nicotine stimulation, but now I'm wondering if it was because I crested the hill at that time, and have been gently going downhill ever since.

Now I'm trying to learn Polish. I learn 20-30 words in an evening, as I once did with the Arabic, until I can translate them in random order, both ways, without any hesitation. Next morning I cannot remember a single one. It's depressing!

Funnily enough, I still have most of my Arabic vocabulary, even though I've used it very rarely in the last 20 years. What's more, it surfaces uninvited instead of Polish words, right in the middle of a sentence. Any psychologists around who can explain that?

17th May 2009, 16:05
I have no qualifications in this area (some might well say in any other area either) but I suggest your Arabic was shifted to non-volatile memory.

I did appallingly badly at school in French (1955-1961) failed exams, hated it, couldn't be bothered. Lived in Germany 1968-1993 and although it wasn't spoken at work I did learn phonetic German from several horizontal dictionaries. I now work in Paris several times a year and guess what ? French is second nature to me. Where's it been all this time ?


17th May 2009, 16:29
I too, have experienced this 'moving out' of one language when another is learned (or used).

My first foreign language (at school) was French (and I was reasonably accomplished). When I was 25 I was sent to work in Germany, so I added to the language that I had picked-up during school trips. At age 38 I moved to Denmark (and subsequently learned Danish fairly fluently), then I was taught German formally (from a base of Danish).

Later I went to work for a German company. Frequently I would start speaking in German but end up in Danish (or using Danish vocabulary).

Now I have a French daughter-in-law and my attempts to communicate with my grandson frequently bring forth the Danish rather than the French, though if I pause and 'consider' I can usually recall the French (which I hadn't used during the 45 years since I'd left school).

17th May 2009, 18:30
Can we have some inputs please from an English plus Arabic speaker or a Japanese speaker or a Manderin speaker ?

Do these languages cause mental conflicts (as with my Catalan/Italian) or are they far enough from English not to push the latter out ?

17th May 2009, 19:19
Interesting how language fluency is linked to "Wisdom". One might imagine that part of this linkage stems from the thought that words and combinations of words are linked to meanings or ideas, and having a suitable collection of those is equivalent to "wisdom".

For the fifty or hundred thousand years of human culture in the good ol days before the Abrahamic religions grabbed civilisation by the nachos, specific practical day-to-day concept packages, meanings and ideas were commonly associated with distinct deities - so one's knowledge and one's religious training worked in parallel. The Greeks formally systematized their own virtual knowledge manufacturing process up atop Mount Ide -- where ideas were churned out in conjunction with specific deities. Similar god-factories existed for the earlier cultures along the Tigris-Euphrates and Indus watershed valleys, and the linkages of deities and paradigmatic concepts certainly persists healthy today in South Asian religions of various flavours. When Mohammed drove out the heathens from his temple, record shows they had at least one deity for each day of the calendar - so deified ideas were good for timekeeping, as well.

Reminds one of the mission statement - one of many - from Ken Kesey's merry band of Pranksters: "Cleanliness is next."

Words and ideas are closely allied, but certainly animals (including people) are able to retain and even communicate very complex ideas non-verbally.

One rather distressing theory of consciousness says that we mostly take actions, make choices, etc., on the basis of ideas and impressions that are stored and remembered non-verbally in our memory -- which we cannot even identify because our education and social training are mostly limited to concepts described in verbal terms from a documentary verbal lineage of history and "fact". Mr. Freud and others did very well on that line of thinking.

Whether one seeks to locate and preserve wisdom, memory or verbal fluency as skills and abilities, the "wetware" in one's noggin is key to greater or lesser effect. Appropriate nutrition (not necessarily good nutrition, for the short term, at least.) is a big factor in memory skills. Adequate blood sugar helps a lot, though overdoing this with too many candy bars lead to mania rather than thoughtful focus. Alcohol ingestion leads to similar over-under states of awareness, and unpredictable results. Some foods are particularly helpful for mental acuity - as are nearly all things labeled as vitamins - when taken in moderate proportion to established limits.

Some substances influence or control our mental abilities when present in minute quantities. Dopamine, produced in minuscule quantities of nanograms per day by a few tens of thousands of neurons out of the billions of cells in one's body, determines whether one is normally competent or a physical and mental wreck. Other hormones control such important qualities as gender and heartbeat with comparably small quantities of special substances internally manufactured. Foods and herbs and such can mimic or supplement many of the body's process-controlling power-substances, changing behavior and mental faculties in the process. Some few of these have been identified that are powerful enough to have meaningful effect on mind and memory, but not so powerful as to represent immediate threats to survival or sanity. One is deliberately selecting supplementation of this sort when one enjoys a chocolate bar, a cigar, a glass of whisky or a flagon of wine.

Particularly connected to memory is the body's supply and use of choline - a fatty molecule that actually implements most of one's nerve signal transmission in the form of acetylcholine, o great mediator of synaptic junction operation. One can actually purchase capsules of this substance at health-food suppliers and chemists in many parts of the world - which are inexpensive, not obviously unhealthy in moderation, and LO, one a day will make your memory work better, odds-on. A very natural version of this comes from Soy-beans in capsules of Soya Lecithin - containing phosphatidyl choline and also inositol, a substance that aids choline metabolism in the body. Morning is the best time to take these, lest you be too wakeful at bedtime.

Other legal, commonly available supplements for mental augmentation that one has sampled that seem to be safe and effective for memory enhancement include vinpocetine, huperzine, and echinacea. Each individual has a potentially different response to such things, so starting at first with a tiny nibble of a portion is advisable. Ask you doc, say your prayers, etc. One does not condone combination of such things with piloting aircraft, unless your flight surgeon makes you do it.

The generic code name for such supplements and related meds is nootropics. Reading before leaping is a really good practice to follow.

17th May 2009, 19:50
Can we have some inputs please from an English plus Arabic speaker or a Japanese speaker or a Manderin speaker ?

Can't help you with the Mandarin but used to be fluent in Cantonese until return to UK when still but a sprog. Strange thing was that I thought I had forgotten it until I returned to S China about 8 yrs ago and found myself understanding (receiving) and - after a while - being able to speak.

Now speak Arabic (after also learning the bastardised Yemeni version as a kid) but not as well as I would like (which would be to be able to read their 6th century poets).

Qualified interpreter and Translator in Italian, get by in most European languages (except Hungarian & Finnish) and am learning Visayan.

But still have not gained 'wisdom'.:}

17th May 2009, 20:00
In "Stranger in a Strange Land" Robert A. Heinlein suggests that our physical actions are limited by our stored thoughts, and that since we normally think in a language, it is that language which ultimately controls what we can and cannot do. Hence a concept which may not be expressed in a language may not be performed.

His protagonist gains powers over his environment which seem magical to us, but are in reality a simple consequence of his learning an alien tongue in which those concepts are, unlike our own languages, possible.

Good book, too.

Tyres O'Flaherty
18th May 2009, 07:45
I grok that :ok:

20th May 2009, 08:18

1 a: accumulated philosophic or scientific learning : knowledge (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/knowledge) b: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships : insight (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insight) c: good sense : judgment (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/judgment)

This thread was confusing me because I've never thought intelligence or the ability to recall information had much to do with wisdom. According to "a" my understanding was too narrow.

As I'm getting older, my ability to recall information isn't what it used to be. And I can't even put a label on some of the things I do. The other day I was trying to call my son but my cell phone kept ringing just as I was trying to place the call. Each time there was no answer and I was getting increasingly annoyed. It took three times before I realized I was calling my own number.:ugh: If I was wise, I wouldn't admit to that.