Friday, November 2, 2012

Age Old Wisdom

To my son Tommy,

I am always amazed when the old is repackaged as the new.  In today's world you see lots of headlines like "Science proves an apple a day really does help keep the doctor away!" and other such articles.  There is a reason why such sage advice stays around.  Yet many people dismiss these as just sayings and don't realize they are based on factual experiences.  Though the "science" behind the original saying may have been anecdotal, it doesn't mean that they weren't correct.  Many people can recite such phrases like "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy wealthy and wise" but few follow this advice.  It is just an overused meaningless quote to them.  Then some scientist spends millions of dollars on a study and finds out, those that go to bed at 9pm and wake at 6am are in better health and tend to have more income, especially if you are scientist getting million dollar grants for this study as you wake up at 6am to start the study.

The funny thing is article after article of every self help claim this info as new.  I really shouldn't throw stones in my little glass house (or blogo-sphere as the case may be) because I do a ton of re-packaging old sage advice, wisdom, and phrases.  I, at least, acknowledge it has all been said and (can't say this next part without singing a Barenaked Ladies song) all been done before.  Many of these others try to sell you on their advice as if it is brand new.  Perhaps they supply a twist and instead of saying eat your vegetables they tell you to blend your vegetables and drink them, but the core has not changed.  Your grandpa Leo once pointed out an irony of the educated world.  He told me that to get a doctorate you had to do a thesis and many times you have to get published.  Technically you are supposed to have a "new" idea to do this.  Well if you have no "new" idea than you have to either make up some BS or frame an old concept as a new idea.  Let me tell you there are not half as many new ideas as there are new PH.D.s.  Some educated guy has to convince you that he is the first one to think of this, no matter what history tells you.  I think most of them should be given honorary Irish title for their ability to BS.

Anyways, when you hear someone saying an age old phrase, don't automatically dismiss it as trite.  Find out why people started saying it and why people still say it today.  Look for the actual wisdom inside and try to follow it in your life even if science or some super educated guy has yet to prove it in their thesis.  You may find that the fiber and nutrition in that apple a day is really the key to keeping the doctor away..

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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