Time and experience nurture wisdom. Wisdom comes in cycles, each new one possessed of more profound levels of insight. That is what wisdom is, after all, isn’t it? Insight born of time and experience? As time and experience accumulate over the course of one’s lifetime, the scope of one’s insight deepens. Perhaps it is odd to think of either time or experience “accumulating,” but that is precisely what happens. Not to everyone, mind you, but to enough people to call the process a natural one.

What am I getting at here? The idea may be a bit convoluted. Essentially, my argument is that one tends to grow wiser with advancing age. But the growth in wisdom is not linear; it is exponential. With each new cycle of acquiring experiential knowledge, one’s wisdom increases by a factor of itself…or something like that. Knowledge builds on knowledge. Practical knowledge, by the way, is the foundation of wisdom; a photographic memory is total insufficient to create wisdom.

During the course of my life so far, I periodically have a rather mundane epiphany. It happens in the midst of a repeated experience of one kind or another, when I realize my previous thoughts during the past or most recent experiences were incomplete. Suddenly, the effects of time and experience enable me to reassess earlier experiences, based on subsequent experience. That subsequent experience transforms my earlier understanding, adding a new layer of knowledge/insight. And so it goes. Reasonably intelligent people grow wiser over time.  I know. This is not a newsflash. But it bears memorializing, which is what I have done.


The newspaper business has changed radically during the past 50 years. Today, newspapers are available online; easily accessible from anywhere. But, like their paper counterparts, they are not free. The unfortunate difference today, compared to years ago, is that papers rarely make their contents available for a low price for a single issue. If I want to read an issue of the New York Times, for instance, I have to pay for a subscription or take advantage of a special $X for Y days/months. Unlike in years past, though, today a person has ready access to hundreds and hundreds of papers. I wish the newspaper publishing business would collectively establish a way to give access to all online papers for a reasonably low fee for a short time period. I would gladly pay $5 or $10 (depending on my mood) for universal access to newspapers in Denmark, the UK, Canada, the USA, Mexico, etc., etc. As it stands now, to get access to those same papers, I might have to pay $12 for each paper for a one-month trial. I don’t like it. But I do not understand the financial positions of newspapers and their cost to operate, so my dislike may be based on selfishness and ignorance. Oh, well. I suppose I should be satisfied with what life gives me.


The population density of Mumbai, India is 76,790 per square mile. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in such an incredibly crowded urban area. With a population of 14,350,000, Mumbai is not the largest city on the planet, but it is the most densely populated. I suppose one gets used to one’s environment; “normal” depends on one’s experience and the context of that experience. But, of course, choice—or the lack thereof—probably has something to do with it, too. Living in a chokingly dense environment may be terribly difficult, but if one does not have the resources to escape it, one’s choices are severely limited. Choices. We have almost endless choices. I feel empathy for those whose choices are limited by circumstances over which they have no control.


I have obligations today. Some will be fulfilled. Some may not. And I have wishes. Ditto.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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