On the getting of wisdom

in life •  last year

Be kind

Image source

Ever since I first heard that film title, The Getting of Wisdom, I was entranced with the idea that getting older is actually about the getting of wisdom. Not getting wise, since that implies to me - not sure why - a rather linear, progressive action. Instead, my humble interpretation of the getting of wisdom involves acquiring it in chunks, connecting the dots between clumps of knowledge. And perhaps this is a reflection of the way life tends to work for most of us - bumpily and in a meandering way, stopping and starting as an unleashed dog wandering around its neighbourhood would.

Two chunks of knowledge, no wisdom yet

The experience of preparing my post on Monday, which was supposed to be a quick humorous jab at our Republic's sadly lacking President, but turned into a reflection on how we see faces in the oddest places, caused me to reflect the next day about how we in fact perceive faces. That, in turn, was going to be a simple post about how the brain has a part which does its bit to help us recognise and remember faces...because I'm not a neuroscientist and can only point to the coloured bits in the brain images that say "we see faces there".

But would the post allow itself to be simple? Noooo. It turned into quite an opus of research and gathering of the various insights I'd gleaned over the years, or perhaps not gleaned until I looked at them in hindsight.

...worked with a colleague in the 1980s who couldn't recognise people by their faces, but was really good at coping by knowing what we wore, how we walked, our voices....
...read Oliver Sacks, M.D.'s mind-bending The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat sometime in the 1990s and learned that some people have prosopagnosia or face blindness (along with a load of other stuff about how the brain can go seriously wrong)....

But didn't connect the two then - why not? I had the facts, but didn't have the aha! moment.

Another chunk of knowledge - any wisdom yet?

Five or so years ago, got hooked on those Scandinavian thrillers and detective novels - Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo along with his other two works in the Millennium Trilogy, which led me to the even darker and stranger Jo Nesbø and his hyper-face-recognising recurring character, Beate Lønn. That's where I learned about the unhelpfully named Fusiform Gyrus.

Not an aha moment in sight, though.

Some in-between crumbs of not-exactly-knowledge

More like awareness than knowledge. Despite my pretty terrible knowledge of art, I picked up over the years that the painter René Magritte had a thing for painting men in bowler hats, either with no faces or objects such as apples obscuring their faces. This is apparently typical of the surrealist style. Since I'm not a fundi (now there's a great South African word) on painting, let alone surrealism, it took years to filter through to me that the cover of that book I'd read in the 1980s was a play on both words and paintings. I didn't know artists were allowed to do that.

The book cover


The bowler hat and caption which are a play on paintings and words

So - any wisdom gotten?

Had I ever thought about these disparate chunks of knowledge together? No, but thanks to the Face in the Plank, now not only is it all coming together, but I have a renewed (new?) empathy for the 2-2.5% (that's at least 1 in 50) or so people in the world who suffer from face blindness. And by extension, empathy for those who battle with other unseen conditions. Thus the image I posted at the beginning:

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

The epigraph to the book on which the film The Getting of Wisdom reads:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs, IV, 7

The Steemit journey is taking me to interesting places and connecting me with interesting people. Unexpected dots, fascinating clumps of knowledge. Ways to bridge geographies, cultures and age gaps. I wonder...maybe Steemit is helping me get wisdom too, one day, one post at a time. And who knows, maybe better understand the world around me.

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Beautiful. And reading Oliver Sacks gives one great insight into his kind, perceptive wisdom, gathered over an unusual lifetime.

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Thank you, @tim-beck - and thank you for the inspiration on the quote. 😊

Seems like your path was set out from the beginning to figure out how the brain functions regarding face recognition.
It is true that everyone that we meet is fighting a battle. It may be having face blindness, struggling economically, suffering from heartbreak. A whole spectrum exists outside our view.
We just have to learn to be meek and frank and learn to be constantly altruistic towards others.

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Well, all of that will be a long journey for me! Nice to hear from you, as always, @arckrai. 😊

Great Post Mam :)

This was wonderful, TFAY. I love when we have a sort of clarity or a putting of two and two together (and wondering where that came from). As Oprah would say, these are ah-hah moments... ;-)

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Thank you, TFAY. Glad it resonated for you 😘😘

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It did indeed 😗😗

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🤗🤗 Happy me!

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Cool post, these are the kind of things i love finding on steemit!

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Glad you enjoyed it, @briantec01 😊. Thanks for reading!

Wonderful. We all fight battles, physically and mentally, but these are the battles that make us stronger

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nice post... it took me 10 min to read but after reading it i am satisfied

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Thank you, @dine77 😊

@kiligirl,
Fantastic effort! Actually I like the below mentioned quote! Respect you for sharing this amazing quote and post with us!

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Thanks for the kind words, @theguruasia.😊

nice post
if you like my post please follow upvote comment and resteem
https://steemit.com/life/@neerajsharma007/travel-with-me-visit-shimla

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Dear Kiligirl, now that right there is a darned good post! I couldn't have said it better myself! 🐓🐓 aka Ellie Mae

Wisdom! Has a nice ring to it.

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Why thank, you @mother2chicks aka Ellie Mae - lovely to hear (well, see) those words from you 😊. It's my partner's birthday today, and he's feeling a whole lot of something, but he's struggling to feel wiser - so please spare a wise Mother2Chicks 🐓🐓 thought for him! 😘😘

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You do make me chuckle with your comments. May your partner have a wonderfully blessed birthday! He is a Cancer I believe, preferring the life of a home body. Perhaps he has a touch of the Lion up him as he is right on the cusp. Whatever you do to celebrate we will be wishing him well from Florida. 🐓🐓

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Thanks, Ellie Mae, he really enjoyed his birthday. He did his favourite thing which is to make a lamb curry, and his kids came over for dinner. A good time was had by all 😊😎

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Hi Kiligirl you must be working on something special, cause it is awefully quiet on your end. See you soon! 🐓🐓

I just like the idea of getting wisdom...something about it intrigues me! I know whenever I ask my parents a question still I think when is it that you finally know everything?? Letting go of judgment of others is truly when you are wise, in my opinion!

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Sjoe, that sounds wise, @thesimplelife! But even your name sounds wise 😊. Seriously, it is intriguing, isn't it? And that moment when we realise our parents don't know everything....

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Might have helped me if I came to that realization just a touch earlier! ;-)

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😊😘😊😘

Getting wiser as you are older. probably because you (might) have experienced lots in life, so you learn thing..learn how to handle and so on, but it never guarantee, the older you are, the wiser you become . IMHO

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I think that was part of the point of what writing this post was teaching me - that the getting of wisdom isn't guaranteed, and neither is growing our understanding of the world around us. We have to listen when the clumps of knowledge are pushing us to connect them into understanding and wisdom, and always draw on kindness to be more empathetic.

Expect less and do More for new people you meet cus you have no idea what they are into. Good post

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