Most people know more as they get older: I give all that the cold shoulder.

What did Philip Larkin mean by:

Most people know more as they get older: I give all that the cold shoulder.


This quote reflects a rejection or dismissal of the common belief that wisdom and knowledge naturally accumulate with age. When Larkin says, “I give all that the cold shoulder,” he is expressing his personal decision to not blindly accept this notion. Instead, he seems to be suggesting that wisdom and knowledge are not automatically gained as one ages, but rather, they require active pursuit and openness to learning and growth.

The phrase “give the cold shoulder” is typically used to describe the act of deliberately ignoring or showing no interest in something or someone. Here, Larkin uses it to demonstrate his disregard for the assumption that age equates to wisdom.

In the context of personal development, this quote could serve as a reminder that growth and learning are ongoing processes that don’t necessarily correlate with age. It emphasizes the importance of continuous learning, curiosity, and avoiding complacency. It suggests that we should not just rely on the passage of time to make us wiser or more knowledgeable, but actively seek out new experiences, information, and perspectives.

Applying this idea in today’s world, we could argue that in an era of rapid technological advancement and information overload, it’s more important than ever to maintain a proactive approach to learning and personal development. Age doesn’t automatically equip us with the skills or knowledge to navigate new technologies or societal changes. Instead, we need to continuously update our skills and knowledge to keep up with the world around us.

Moreover, it highlights the value of lifelong learning, a concept that is gaining increased recognition in modern society. With the rise of online learning platforms and resources, it’s becoming easier for people of all ages to pursue new knowledge and skills, challenging the traditional notion that education ends when we leave school or university.

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