Take your time with this. I promise it will be worth it. I’ve been attentive to carefully selecting every word that you are about to read.
First, I will quote Raquel: “Like a child in how my mind works yet a lot wiser than most people *around my age*.” I will rephrase what I think she is referencing.
She’s 22. In contrast, Rebecca’s 54. My age is in between the two.
Also, Raquel said “wiser than most people around” her age. As we get to know more and more people, you may eventually drop the “around my age” part. We may presume that quiet people are smart, but that is no proof. Most people are either what we could call “asleep” or “lost in idealistic dreams about how life should be.” Note that I do not know how wise Raquel is, but that could be an intriguing thing to explore (how to “grade” her level of wisdom).
Anyway, one PART of wisdom is linguistic ability. I’ve done a lot of writing “for fun”, which gives me an unusual amount of experience playing around with English.
In contrast, one of my favorite young men (Harry L.) is in his 20s and he is quite wise, but his English is “only decent.” He can understand me quite well most of the time (as long as I keep my vocabulary away from technical terminology). However, for him to put words in to English takes some effort and time. He has to think about each sequence of words that he is saying and how he wants to be understood by me.
What is very clear to me is that he pays attention to everything I share. He is eager to learn. He is open. He is tracking my logic and giving occasional feedback. He is tuning in to a wide range of frequencies that I present to him- sometimes shifting quickly from very general logic to very precise real-life applications. He can handle “mature subjects” yet he has immediate access to a childlike simplicity.
Also, even when he experiences frustration or shame, he is able to brave his way through the process… at whatever pace. I am clear that some of what I share has been challenging for him (or presented him with the opportunity to face existing challenges in a powerful way).
For instance, he might make a comment about a frustrating development in his personal life (such as a car breaking down) or how some government is restricting a medical approach that intrigues him. How do I/we “fix” that frustration? We slow it down. We bring curiosity.
In particular, I find the mental filter that he has been using, present it to him, and invite him to evaluate that filter. Generally, when the old filter has led to confusion and frustration, it is simple enough to choose to invent a new filter. Inventing a new filter does not require me but can involve me.
Back to the wording Raquel used of “like a child,” there is a huge issue of openness and humility and even respect- like giving someone a second chance to make themselves understood to you. In contrast, most adults have been programmed by schools and media and so on to focus “only on the curriculum,” then on “only on the response that gets me rewards from the authority.” The issue with that is that people tend to worship popularity or sincerity instead of accuracy.
“True or false: our school is the best in the whole district because by rewarding blind conformity it encourages independent thinking the best.”
A “loyalist” reflexively answers whatever they expect will earn the reward, and that can certainly be a useful ability- to identify what the teacher wants to hear and then say that. However, it is also useful to be able to on your own recognize flaws in logic and then determine what is accurate, even if keeping quiet about it. Even if something is disturbing to mainstream presumptions and pretenses, even if saying it openly feels scary, one can still notice what is logical and accurate, even if unpopular or even feared.
Imagine 5 sincere people who all have strong opinions about a subject. How can we tell which one is most confident in the accuracy of their perspective? It could be the one who argues the least- perhaps only asking a few questions. Rather than arrogantly arguing and ridiculing other ideas, the one who is like a child is humble and calm, rather than hysterical about defending the popular ideal programmed in to them by their teachers etc.
What ideals? Things like this: “Here is how reality should not be.”
When those people go in to a conversation, they are bringing with them the “karma” of resisting anything that disturbs their sacred idolatry. They are fundamentally opposed to learning anything new that MIGHT disrupt their fragile self-image. In other words, they are cynical. But there’s more.
They may also bring ideals like “Here is how reality MUST be.” So, in addition to resisting anything contrary to their sacred presumptions, they also have the stress of trying to justify and rationalize their prior conclusions. How? By inventing some creative way to take reality (which they have been trained to disrespect) and then warping their actual experience to fit with the pretenses that they believe to be essential to avoiding punishment and earning rewards.
They are terrified of going to hell for failing to earn their way in to heaven. They are paranoid and agonizing and guilty of “being imperfect,” which may be as hellish as it gets. They may carry immense chronic stress, especially in their neck and head where their muscles block the display of “negative” emotions like fear, grief, frustration, and anger (from their face).
So, one possible challenge for those who are “more wise than most people” is to respect the sometimes dangerous hysteria of the mainstream while relaxing one’s own lingering momentums (from long exposure to schooling and mainstream media and so on). When I was 22 and deeply ashamed of my past loyalty to “fitting in,” all it took was the mere presence of someone interesting to me to throw me in to disturbance and heartache.
“I do not want to be so interested in you. I am still catching my breath from years of repression and paranoia. It is making my heart pound just to be standing close to you. The more attracted I am to interacting with you, the more energy that I will have to use to push you away in order to maintain my pretense of composure.”