It seems that the folklore surrounding the Elder Statesperson or Wise Woman as the ‘keeper of the wisdom’ has finally been validated by recent research undertaken by Dr. Oury Monchi and Dr. Ruben Martins of the University of Montreal’s University Geriatrics Institute. (click here to read an article describing the research)
Their finding, that the brains of older people are slower but wiser than young brains, allows older adults to achieve an equivalent level of performance with their younger counterparts.
“We now have neurobiological evidence showing that with age comes wisdom and that as the brain gets older, it learns to better allocate its resources. Overall, our study shows that Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare was on the money: being able to run fast does not always win the race — you have to know how to best use your abilities. This adage is a defining characteristic of aging.” explained Dr. Monchi.
He went on to say, “Funny enough, the young brain is more reactive to negative reinforcement than the older one. It is as though the older brain is more impervious to criticism and more confident than the young brain.”
In a society where we have shut our elderly away for decades, condemning them in the twilight of their lives to loneliness and a sense of uselessness, we cut ourselves short of the wisdom of experience that they have to offer. This is the waste of a wonderful resource.
For example, in traditional Asian countries, the elderly are often the caretakers of children, leaving the younger more energetically-able adults to dedicate their energy to bringing in the money needed for the extended family to survive.
This system appears to work because grandparents have more patience, time and love to bestow upon their charges, which is exactly how children flourish in mind, body and spirit. Time and often energy-poor young adults can confidently hand over their children’s care and wellbeing to grandparents who have a powerful reason to invest their wisdom into their dedicated task – that of passing on their ancestral qi to the youngest generation.
Of course, there are many more instances where, a cooler more experienced head can deliver better results. Research demonstrates that the stock market and high finance is dominated by young, testosterone fuelled males, who are shown to be more likely to take thoughtless risks that can disadvantage stability in the financial market, over other demographic groups.
According to Tim Evans, from the Observer, Sunday June 19, 2011 reporting on this research: “Gender inequality has been an issue … for years, but now the new science of ‘neuroeconomics’ is proving the point beyond doubt: hormonally-driven young men should not be left alone in charge of our finances…” (click here to read the whole fascinating article) Imagine if there were a lower age limit for brokers determining eligibility to manipulate our money markets. Realistically we would be steered more conservatively and wisely.
Or if one had to be a certain age (and gender?) to serve as a leader in government – certainly many of the corruption that occurs in politics due to satisfying a hungry ego by accruing power would be minimized, at the very least.
When we combine the above understanding with further recent research that validates that women under stress take longer to deliberate major decisions than their male counterparts, who are shown to take foolhardy risks when under pressure, we can begin to see why women, preferably older, would make much better leaders during these current times of great stress from the economy, environment and the pace of change. (click here to see my previous blog on this research)
I am an ardent fan of the Grandmothers Gatherings, one of which is happening in Maleny in late November (click here for the link to this event). According to Native American Prophecy“When the wisdom of the Grandmothers is heard, the world will heal” and in the light of recent research described above, I agree. (to learn more click here)
Spirit of Woman’s Wise Woman blend (click here to buy online) is dedicated to empowering women to step into their wisdom confidently and naturally, to assist in bringing the ‘heart’ back into the world…..
What do you think??