Sunday 30 March 2014

Havamal Snippets 134: Old men are often experienced in the ways of the world

The polytheistic, pre-Christian people of Europe (and the rest of the world to be sure), held the elders of their tribes in high regard.  They listened to them.  They showed them respect.  They considered them as human beings rather than as 'old people'.

Showing respect to elderly people isn't something that should be done because it's 'the right thing to do'.  People should show respect to their elders because it's good: It's good for the younger generation (they benefit by gaining knowledge & learned experience) AND it's good for the elder (they benefit by passing on their knowledge & experience).  Everything that is good is good for your and good for others, is good now and is good later, is good in itself and begets goodness.  The previous generation (the Baby Boomers) cast aside this concept of goodness, and embraced the opposite of this: 'instant gratification' (as evidenced by the free love, drug taking, and love of music halls).  A number later embraced the other, equally bad, alternative to goodness - 'Deferred Gratification'.  It is equally as bad because it promises a golden future at the expense of a miserable present.

Present and future generations need to re-learn the older culture which benefited all people in society (you and other people), all times that a person lived (the present and the future), if they are to grow and advance.  One way of re-learning these older traditions is to start showing respect to older people, to see them as human being with life-experience that we all can benefit from.

Ráðumk þér Loddfáfnir
en þú ráð nemir
njóta mundu ef þú nemr
þér munu góð ef þú getr
at hárum þul
hlæðu aldregi
opt er gott þat er gamlir kveða
opt ór skörpum belg
skilin orð koma
þeim er hangir með hám
ok skollir með skrám
ok váfir með vílmögum    
I advise you, Loddfafnir,
to take advice;
you would benefit, it you took it,
good will come to you, if you accept it:
[6] never laugh
[5] at a gray-haired sage
often what an old man says is good,
often [9] clear words come
[8] out of shrivelled skin,
from the one who hangs among the hides
and dangles among the dried skins
and moves among the entrails.


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