It was this picture that grabbed Eileen’s attention in a new book at the library. This man is Andrew Wyeth the artist.

The book is Wisdom by Andrew Zuckerman.

It is a collection of photographs of people over 65 and some of their views on life.

Dalai Lama

Earlier this same day, I read and then “shared” on Facebook a wonderful homily by the Dalai Lama called “Countering Stress and Depression.”

More wisdom:

Taking a realistic view and cultivating a proper motivation can also shield you against feelings of fear and anxiety. If you develop a pure and sincere motivation, if you are motivated by a wish to help on the basis of kindness, compassion, and respect, then you can carry on any kind of work, in any field, and function more effectively with less fear or worry, not being afraid of what others think or whether you ultimately will be successful in reaching your goal. Even if you fail to achieve your goal, you can feel good about having made the effort.

The Dalai Lama’s words can sound a bit aphoristic, his life, his faith and his clarity are one’s I find inspiring and helpful.

When I sat down last night to look at the book Eileen brought home, at first I thought it was primarily a collections of photographs of the faces of famous old people.

I opened the book and found that there was quite a bit of prose with the first photograph.

So I began reading it. At one point I was so impressed with the following paragraph that I looked around for a sticky to mark it for future reference.

Regarding Chinua Achebe’s first attempt at writing fiction:

“The first attempt I made what when I was a student at the University College of Ibadan, I was told by my teachers from England, ‘This is a good piece of work, but it lacks form.’ And so I said, ‘Okay, what’s form? Can you tell me what form is?’ And the lecturer said, ‘All right, we’ll talk about it next week, I’m going to play tennis right now.’ So we didn’t talk about it next week, we didn’t talk about it next month. Long afterwards she came to me and said, ‘You know, I looked at your story and I think it’s all right.’ So I never learned what form was. Actually she had nothing much to teach me, it was a kind of instruction to me that this is something you have to do on your own. Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am and what I need, these are things I have to find out myself.”

I loved this paragraph. I added bold above so you could see what sentence grabbed me. At first I thought it might be better phrased for me this way: “Only I can teach myself who I am.” Then I decided that Achebe’s way was pithier and also maybe more clear.

I turned the page and here’s what I saw.

I started chuckling.

One last little bit before I close from Richard Adams (Yes, he’s the author of Watership Down and yes, the book is alphabetical order).

“There was a clergyman who was having a bit of a walk around in the evening and he came to a nice field and there was an old chap who was obviously a gardener, leaning on a gate smoking his pipe. The vicar knew him all right, he was one of his parishioners. Name was Giles. And the vicar looked down at the field and said, ‘Ah, Giles, you and the Lord have made a wonderful difference here.’ ‘Ah,’ said the chap, ‘and you should have seen it when the Lord had it to himself.’ “

Richard Adams.... not a picture from the Wisdom book, but still one I like.

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3 thoughts on “wisdom

  1. I am intrigued by the wisdom book. Checked the Keene library and they don’t have it. Their online interlibrary loan system ileaves much to be desired, although I did try to order it. We’ll see if it comes through. Checking on Amazon, it appears that the book you borrowed is a compilation of multiple volumes. Know anything about that?

  2. Okay, Eileen and I just looked on Amazon. I see what you mean. I think the book I have a copy of is at least three of the others together. It includes a DVD and seems to cover people that are in the three other volumes. The music book with Ozzie on the cover has people who are not in the one I have. The Clint Eastwood book/DVD is “fifty of the world’s most prominent writers, artists, designers, actors, politicians, musicians, and religious and business leaders — all over over sixty-five years old” (from the flyleaf originally fifty dollars). Inspired by Tutu’s words that one of the greatest gifts one generation can give another is the wisdom it has gained from experience.

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