Letter to the editor submitted on Aug 29, 2018 by Max Wiesen, Greenwich
One would hope that, by the age of 72, a human being might have accumulated perspective and wisdom.
Chinese civilization has long thought that younger generations, seated at the foot of their elderly relatives, could learn from lifetimes of experience and an awareness of approaching death.
Examples in literature, however, recognize that not all adults attain wisdom in old age.
Shakespeare’s King Lear is a prime example of the foolish old man. Lear, steeped in his own self-importance, divides his kingdom into thirds, only to exile his sole true, and loving daughter, Cordelia, and endure his reduction to “bare, forked animal” by his two greedy, grasping daughters, Goneril and Regan.
Shakespeare recognizes over and over again the fruitless endeavor of power-seeking; the folly, indeed, of the whole human experience – “pacts and sects of great ones, that ebb and flow by th’ moon.” – “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”
As if great literature did not stress the futility of amassing wealth and power at the expense of one’s soul, the Hubble Space Telescope, reaching into deep space has discovered innumerable stars (suns) that outnumber the grains of sand in all the beaches of earth. The Hubble should humble any man with even a drop of humility. With merely seconds of life to live in this vast and mysterious reality, small men like Donald Trump cling to their fragile egos and simple solutions with not a shred of awareness of the immensities of space and genius that might place them, if they only knew, in a position to actually reach out and help their fellow travelers on this planet.