Friday, 20 January 2012

"I regret some of the things I wrote as a young man"

Some telling words from historian Paul Johnson on this morning's Desert Island Discs-one of my favourite radio programmes, and now wonderfully availably via it's podcast.

Paul Johnson was speaking of what he had written about Anthony Eden, the Prime Minister during the Suez crisis. "I now understand the pressures that politicians are under, and Eden was a sick man...."

Since for some years I have no longer been called the 'young doctor' in my surgery, I grow in appreciation for what the wisdom of age can bring (not that it always does!). So often as a young person we just lack understanding of a broader, fuller view of matters, which inevitably limits our judgement.  Radical, exciting ideas are a necessary accompaniment of youth, but giving youthful opinion too much clout in our culture will inevitably lead to misjudgement.

As one of Job's adviser's says, in the oldest book of the Bible,
"age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom" Job 32,7

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