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Old People Lack Wisdom

One of the more troubling myths is that, "With age, comes reason."  Aristotle did his best work at 37.  Marcus Aurelius wrote Meditations in his 40s.  Nevertheless, we all grow up being told to respect our elders, because they are so wise.  I've received little wisdom from my elders, which is why I was reading Aristotle at 19 rather than listening to old people tell me I really should respect authority.

Indeed, society simultaneously preaches that with age comes wisdom while enacting laws protecting the elderly from scams.  If an old person is so freaking wise, why protect them from scams?  They'd never fall for a too-good-too-be-true offer.  

Well, science is debunking the myth that older is wiser:

The study used brain-scanning equipment to compare the brains of younger adults to older adults as they played a fast-paced investment game. Examining the responses of older adults, Kuhnen and colleagues found a correlation between risky investments and reactions in the brain’s reward circuitry, specifically a region in the emotional brain called the nucleus accumbens.

“We found older adults made more mistakes,” Kuhnen says. “They seem unable to represent value accurately in the nucleus accumbens area.”

“When you take a long time to think, it is not clear the emotional brain will play as important a role,” she says. The results also challenge the popular notion that older adults are inherently conservative investors, Kuhnen says.

More here.  The United States Senate is loaded with old people.  The average age of a Senator is 62:

The Congressional Research Service says the current Congress is "possibly the oldest" of any in U.S. history, and the average age in the Senate is 62. Lautenberg is one of 11 Senators who are over 75, and one of 26 who are at least 70.

How much wisdom comes out of the Senate?  

Certainly turning the country over to wunderkind like Rolfe Winkler would be a very bad idea.  Someone should be kicked in the balls a few times before being given any actual responsibility.  (One reason Obama and Bush should never have been elected is because both lacked rich life experiences.)

Disregarding what people in their 20s have to say because, "They're just kids," simply evidences an absence of wisdom.  Which, given what the science says about aging, really shouldn't surprise any of us.

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