it is pointless for the old to try to school the young
Someone on Quora asked what advice was useful that nobody had ever
Thought I’d cross-post my answer here.
Nobody told me that the vast majority of wise advice you see is
abbreviated to the point of uselessness. People are shitty
communicators. I saw a figure recently saying that the body receives
eleven million bits of information per second. A few million from the
eyes, a million from the skin, so on and so forth. Your conscious mind
is capable of dealing with only fifty bits per second. The English
language contains only 1.5 bits of information per character. When I’m
done writing this, there will be only 1500 bits of information
conveyed to you. Wisdom is more than explicit precepts on how to
behave; it’s a set of attitudes and coping mechanisms. It is a way of
feeling, not just a way of thinking. You can’t accurately compress
billions and billions of bits of feeling into a couple thousand. I
sometimes think that pleasant aphorisms exist only for the benefit
of the advice-giver, so they have a handy summary of what they’ve
learned. It makes sense to them, but it won’t to you; at least, not
enough that you’ll be able to use it.
Here’s my overly-abbreviated contribution: nobody told me that some
things can’t be learned. They can only be experienced.