Much has seen said of the wisdom of old age. Old age is wise, I grant, for itself, but not wise for the community. It is wise in declining new enterprises, for it has not the power nor the time to execute them; wise in shrinking from difficulty, for it has not the strength to overcome it; wise in avoiding danger, for it lacks the faculty of ready and swift action, by which dangers are parried and converted into advantages. But this is not wisdom for mankind at large, by whom new enterprises must be undertaken, dangers met, and difficulties surmounted.
It is ignorance that is at times incomprehensible to the wise; for instance, he may not see 'the positive person' or 'the negative person' in a black and white way as many people do. A wise man may not understand it because, as a catalyst of wisdom, but not wise in his own eyes, even he can learn from and give back to fools. To think that an individual has absolutely nothing to offer to the table is counter-intuitively what the wise man considers to be 'the ignorance of hopelessness'.
Acknowledging foolishness is a very powerful and important experience. We could almost say that being willing to be a fool is one of the first wisdoms. The phenomenal world can be perceived and seen proprerly if we see it from the perspective of being a fool. There is very little distance between being a fool and being wise; they are extremely close. When we are really, truly foolish, when we actually acknowledge our foolishness, then we are way ahead. We are not even in the process of becoming wise""we are already wise.
It is important that when pursing our own self-interest we should be 'wise selfish' and not 'foolish selfish'. Being foolish selfish means pursuing our own interests in a narrow, shortsighted way. Being wise selfish means taking a broader view and recognizing that our own long-term individual interest lies in the welfare of everyone. Being wise selfish means being compassionate.
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