‘Don’t Trust Anyone Under 500’

‘Don’t Trust Anyone Under 500’

Advice will come at you from all directions as you go through life. When you’re in doubt about whose advice you should trust, look to the advice that has stood the test of time.

Photo by Xerones

We tend to believe that the older someone is, the wiser they are. In an open letter to the graduating class of 2015, Dale Davidson of the Ancient Wisdom Project suggests that when in doubt, seek the wisdom of very old:

Modern advice encourages us to achieve work-life balance. Ancient wisdom tells us to work hard at building a life….the next time you are looking for advice on the way forward, you might turn to a theologian, prophet, philosopher, or saint before any modern-day blogger (except for me, of course). Don’t trust anyone under 500.

Plenty of modern advice can still be worthwhile, but the older it is the more time it’s had to be tested. Even though they may be ancient, wise words from any time can have a dramatic impact on your well being now. Whether you find peace and comfort in religious teachings, or gather strength from the stoics, you can bet that any advice that has lasted for at least 500 years is probably worth listening to.

Don’t Trust Anyone Under 500 [Cal Newport]


  • I believe it was Aristotle who said, “I set my password to hunter2, anything more is pointlessly complex.”

    Now that’s solved and we can ignore all of our current cybersecurity experts. Thank god, because they keep coming up with all these confusing and sometimes contradictory rules and talking about how ‘unsafe’ it is to store plaintext passwords. They keep talking about using ‘mash and salt’ to make password databases stronger; how else am I supposed to send people a copy of their email and password when they forget it?

    Next they’ll tell me that the Nigerian Prince who took my bank account details and kindly offered me millions of dollars was lying. It just going to take a few more days, right?

    • It obviously wasn’t Aristotle who first said “I set my password to hunter2, anything more is pointlessly complex”. That’s the written history … but … Plato was the first one to say it.

      Speaking of philosophers, it’s really worth reading Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. There are some really wise comments in there. It was written for himself. This quote may be relevant to the article 😉 esp the bit about trusting anything more than 500 years old.

      “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own—not of the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”

      If I learned anything from Marcus Aurelius, most people’s happiness comes from within / most people’s unhappiness comes from within.

  • The only thing that is 500 years old, and ask a question of, would be a dragon.
    And we all know just how trustworthy those bastards are.

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