You can’t teach wisdom. You just can’t. Wisdom is just something you gain through experience. The more you live life, the more you get out of it. Sure longevity helps but it doesn’t automatically make you wiser. What you know now, today, in this moment, is more than you did yesterday, last week or last year. Unless you suffered a head injury or drank too much, that is a fact. The act of living provides perspective, which is the key to everything.
But, regardless of age, wisdom or perspective, big life questions remain difficult to answer. If you subscribe to the notions of Neil deGrasse Tyson, humans are all insignificant specs in a vast cosmos. And yet, in our own personal worlds, that isn’t the case. Each of us struggle with the same basic problems and opportunities that feel incredibly, sometimes overwhelmingly, significant. Each of us is in constant search of purpose. We attempt to define ourselves through careers, relationships, and all kinds of experiences but do we ever actually succeed?
The truth is, we know that we are small. We feel it inside. We know that life will continue on without us once we’re gone and it terrifies us. We want to make a sizable impact in the world and have our voices heard but can we? Will any megaphone project the importance we know we have? These are big questions for small people but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth asking. I was curious, so I did. I asked…
Above all, what do humans want most in life?
I used a blind online survey in order to keep results as pure as possible. I did not want social media to influence answers, nor did I want answers primed by options, so the simple question was asked with an anonymous fill in the blank. My hypotheses were that answers would be that humans most want “acceptance” and to “be heard” but I was proven incorrect. If anything, I was and am impressed by the answers.
The overwhelming answer centered around one word: LOVE. Whether it was being loved, experiencing love or simply the connection with others that love implies, love was the easily the most common answer. Other answers included happiness, meaning/purpose, fulfillment, contentment, money, inner peace, satiety and God but it can be argued that love brings about many if not all of those desires. By definition, love is an intense feeling of deep affection that is tender, intimate and, perhaps above all, is about attachment.
Perhaps wisdom is attached to age because it affords you more time to experience love. Perhaps experiences that are rooted in love will deliver on that promise of purpose, of contentment and of happiness. Perhaps love is the key to a meaningful existence. Perhaps perhaps perhaps…