If you look at the Merriam-Wester dictionary, you will find the word Wisdom defined as:  “The ability to discern inner qualities and relationships.”    Somehow, I have the feeling that there is more to Wisdom than described here, so I decided to make this concept the theme for this month’s meeting on Conscious Ageing.

The six participants were offered the opportunity to discuss in pairs what they understand by the term Wisdom, to make some notes, and then bring their ideas back to the group.   And, here is some of the feedback which emerged!

As it materialised, there was a considerable amount of conformity in their findings.   Wisdom, the participants concluded was found in a fair number of personal qualities.    Such characteristics as having an open mind, being non-judgemental, having gratitude for what one has, accepting responsibility for one’s relationships, being a good listener, as well as possessing both humility and tolerance, were all part of the wisdom concept.

Participants felt that it is vital to have respect for the views of others.   This respectfulness did not necessarily require agreement but demanded an openness and a tolerance for ideas differing from their own.


The lack of tolerance for views of others has become a critical part of the current political discourse.   A semi-retired professor of Political Philosophy, Leonard Suransky, is offering our local University of the Third Age a course on the rise of Populism, a movement which is evident on both the left and on the right.  These extreme views result from feelings of insecurity and a lack of respect for the ideas of the other.

Many political analysts view Donald Trump as the arch-Populist at this time.  America is followed by many European countries for the emergence of Populist leaders, while in South Africa we have the Economic Freedom Front on the Left being led by Julius Malema and the extreme Right-wing Freedom Front Plus party at the other end of the spectrum.


Professor Robert Wright, who is a visiting professor of science and religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York, has teamed up with Tricycle Magazine to run an online course on Tribalism.   The concepts of Tribalism and Populism have much in common, and Wright with his interest in Psychology, Buddhism and Politics is teaching his ideas of how to neutralise present extremism with an understanding of Evolutionary Psychology, Mindfulness and Meditation.   The course has just started, and I recommend you have a look at it here:  https://learn.tricycle.org/?utm_source=trikehdr&_ga=2.140385459.1430994263.1558263600-1994547164.1558263600

My personal belief is that Wisdom has a great deal in common with both Conscious Ageing and Sageing.   Both of these world-views have been introduced into the lexicon of ideas during the past couple of decades.   An era in which there has been a growing backlash against Ageism – the view which promotes the idea that the greater your chronological age, the more dependent you become on society. Another feature of Ageism is the belief that after a specific arbitrarily defined birth date, you are not capable of learning new material.

One of my motivations for running groups on Conscious Ageing is to encourage people that you can maintain your capacity to learn new ideas and new concepts until the day you die.   To accept this outlook may well be considered part of Wisdom and encouraged me to share with the participants two new concepts I learned while surfing the internet this past weekend.

Mansplaining and Digital Dementia

Mansplaining defines the attitude of a male when he describes condescendingly to his female acquaintance, the meaning of a word, a statement or an idea.   I believe this is a  useful addition to my vocabulary and I am just waiting for an opportunity to say to a man, “You know; you are ‘mansplaining’ me, and I take offence to your attitude!”

Digital Dementia is a scary contemporary diagnosis for the situation when a child loses his capacity for emotional control, or whose cognitive abilities are prejudiced because of an overexposure to the screen or the different devices available in today’s environment.   The increase in the number of children with both behavioural problems and learning disabilities is profound. Parents need to be educated in ways in which they can limit their children’s screen time, as a deterrent to having the developing brain’s neurone development of their growing offspring’s retarded. It is essential that children have plenty of physical activity for developing neurons to be adequately stimulated.    Static time, staring at a screen should be limited, and the amount of time recommended will depend on the age and the needs of the child.


I believe that Sageing is an integral part of both Wisdom and Conscious Ageing.   Sageing International   www.sage-ing.org   has grown from a seed planted by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi in 2004.    It promotes some concrete activities around creating a vibrant and flourishing senior lifestyle; as well as training leaders to connect with others through programs such as Wisdom Circles.

Let’s hear your ideas

Anybody who has read this article, reached the end, and has interest in further pursuing the concepts of Wisdom, Sageing, or Conscious Ageing can contact me through the comment section on my website, And; I look forward to hearing from you!


10 replies
  1. Dr. Hazel Gaito
    Dr. Hazel Gaito says:

    Enjoyed your post Grace. Had a good laugh over the ‘ mansplainig.’
    Men indeed have a tendenxy even in the 21st century to feel they need to explain a point to a female even if not invited to do so. I find it funny and somewhat pompous.😃

    • Grace Smith
      Grace Smith says:

      Pleased that you were able to pick up a useful concept from my latest blog, Hazel. You do know that in this instance your husband is an exception!

  2. Nikki Viljoen
    Nikki Viljoen says:

    Great article Grace and Like Dr Hazel, I too had a good chuckle on the topic of ‘mansplaining’. That said, I have to talk a little on another subject and is very similar to ‘mansplaining’ but would also apply to the women. I have never fitted into any kind of box, never followed with the sheep and have always been a bit of a misfit. I am now in my 60’s and still prefer shorts and T-shirts and usually barefoot in the summer and in jeans and t-shirt during the winter months. When I go to meetings or networking events, I usually stand out amongst the beautifully dressed and turned out, both men and ladies and I actually see it written on their faces when they completely dismiss me. I find it very funny and sometimes find it really hard not to laugh when I am finally drawn into the conversation, usually very condescendingly and they suddenly realize that I am not a waste of space and that actually I know a lot more than what they thought I did and that actually I have something useful to say and they often actually learn something important from me. It’s the whole ‘unconscious bias’ thing and it amuses me no end. I often stay on the periphery of the conversation on purpose, just to enjoy the end result. So no, it’s not just men who think they need to explain things to women, in words of one syllable or less – women do it just as much and often even more.

    • Grace Smith
      Grace Smith says:

      Hi Nikki – Thanks once again for your enriching comments regarding my latest blog. Yes, I agree with you, women can indeed be both condescending and judgemental. I admire your ability to laugh at the comments of deprecating woman, as well as your capacity to not take offence. I gather that despite the prejudices that still exist in society today, you do not allow the judgement of others to upset your equilibrium. Well done. I admire you

  3. Johanna Banda
    Johanna Banda says:

    Hi Grace I think most of us will smile or laugh about the mansplaning and each one of us will react in different ways. There are times when I will keep quiet and just be a good listerner trying to understand where does all this coming from and there are times when I will just explain my feelings which I find fair on me.Thanks Grace for sharing.

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