“In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

Dogs are often thought of having the intelligence of a toddler, putting us owners on the other end of the spectrum to say we know better. But do we?

Mankind conquered the world with the help of teamwork and communication. The way we talk, learn, gather information like we gather food has made it possible to band together and fight our natural, and later perceived, enemies together.

But is that success? Is that knowing better? What about quality of life? Happiness? Or their yins, stress and worry?

In youth we learn; in age we understand – said Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach, and I believe that when it comes to a life worth living, dogs know better. They’re the wise ones.

The same author wrote this short fable about a dog being faithful to his owner even when the owner sold him for a couple bottles of wine. The new owner treated the dog well, as part of the family, and still, when they met the drunkard again, the dog was happy to see him – breaking the new owner’s heart in the process.

Dogs don’t love as a business transaction. Their emotions are free, unquestioned, untainted. The more complex our human world has become, the more difficult it is to reach that level of zen that our companions so naturally possess.

They don’t worry whether they’re enough – whether you are enough. They don’t expect their puppies to fulfill some dream they couldn’t. They don’t ask themselves “am I happy? What’s my purpose here?”

We humans are forever immature because we keep learning but we don’t start knowing. We’re trying, often with the best intentions but we stop short.

As ChatGPT put it:

We humans may never truly reach a state of understanding because we are always learning but never fully knowing. While we may try our best, we often fall short due to our limited perspective and inability to live in the present moment. Therefore, the journey of learning and understanding is ongoing, and we must strive to continue growing and gaining wisdom throughout our lives.

Time to learn from the wise!

This post is part of the A to Z blogging challenge of April 2023.
Topic of this year is “The AI, the dog and the witchling”, real and fictional stories partially written/inspired by Artificial Intelligence, featuring Mia and Missy.
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Prompt I used: write a short paragraph based on the above quote and this additional sentence “Based on this quote humans are forever immature because we keep learning but we don’t start knowing. We’re trying, often with the best intentions but we stop short.”

6 thoughts on ““In youth we learn; in age we understand.”

  1. Dogs are wise in ways that humans are not: I agree.

    I also understand why the new owner’s heart breaks upon witnessing the dog’s delight on seeing its previous person. We are very adept at deciding/judging “worthy” and those of us who love animals strive to be worthy of them; the idea that a neglectful human could be found worthy in a dog’s eyes forces us to confront our own judgments, doesn’t it? It’s uncomfortable.


    1. It is because we think we have to be worthy of their love by being something good, doing something good. But maybe once we accept that love just is (at least the love of animals) that also gives us freedom to be who we are. And I want to believe that once that freedom is there, people at their core are indeed good.


  2. Kind of reminds me of a bit from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Humans think we’re smarter than dolphins because we invented cars, nuclear weapons, and so forth, whereas dolphins think they’re smarter than humans because they chose not to invent those things.


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